Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?
We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.
They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to Middle-Earth.
Just in time for its first graduates, the University of the People, a tuition-free four-year-old online institution built to reach underserved students around the world, announced Thursday that it had received accreditation.
Now, with accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, a national accrediting group, Mr. Reshef said, the university will expand significantly. He expects to have 5,000 students by 2016.
The university currently has 700 students from 142 countries enrolled in its degree programs in business administration and computer science. About 30 percent are from Africa and 25 percent from the United States, most of whom were born outside the country. While the first graduating class is tiny, only seven students, it shows the broad reach of the university: One of the graduates is from Syria and another from Jordan.
Classes at the university are 10 weeks long, and have 20 to 30 students — often from as many different countries — who have weekly homework and quizzes. The university depends largely on volunteer labor. Mr. Reshef said some 3,000 professors have offered to volunteer, although so far the university has only been able to use about 100 of them.
Its deans are volunteers from New York University and Columbia.
Who wants an accredited four year degree, for free? Because here it is.