Saturday, March 17, 2018

"Hecarim: The Outlaw of the Rift": short is the first of a gamer series

Once Upon a Time: Hecarim: The Outlaw of the Rift”, by “Lulz Lol” (first of a series).

Note the quote of Reid Ewing’s video and song “Traffic Jam” (2012) at the end.  It’s time for me to drive the 405 again (that is, after renting a car at LAX). Reid shared this new video recently on Twitter.
I’m not a specialist on games or Japanese Danganronpa, but the video game does present a tribal, medieval world on another planet, with armies of little characters.  There is a place called “Summoner’s Rift” (as if out of Canterbury Tales).  The name of the chief sounds Roman. A look at authoritarian worlds, to be sure.

  The film reminded me of a sophomore English assignment back in 2004 when I was working as a substitute teacher.  The assignment (after having read a Grimm's Fairy Tale) was to write a short story fairy tale.  They all had to start with "Once upon a time"  Like " ... there lived a banana".  You know that that was. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

"Lost in Expression": low-key short film about a gay-bi fraternity pledge fending off an old boyfriend (at UNC)

A fraternity pledge (Jace, played by Casey Mills) has to fend off a clinging ex-boyfriend in Bruno Rose’s short film “Lost in Expression”.

The film was shot as a UNC student film in Wilmington NC.  There is a false ending, and the credits start, and then an epilogue with a reconciliation.

I’m not so thrilled about the obesity and tattoos.  But this is a relatively low-key film.

Picture: Mine, on US-17, north of Elizabeth City. NC.  Was in Wilmington myself just once, in 1993, Memorial Day weekend, on the way to visit an uncle in Myrtle Beach SC. But that was a very important weekend in my life (led in some ways to my first DADT book.) 

Monday, March 12, 2018

"Complicit": documentary short provides shocking statistics on sex trafficking

Here is the 2011 short film “Complicit” by Michelle Nehme, mentioned March 9.

The 19-minute film offers many brief interviews with trafficking victims and show some acting in a play. The film was shot in Austin, TX and McAllen, TX (near the border).

There are many shocking statistics presented.  Many victims are runaways who pimps find in public places like shopping malls.  A typical age is 13.  By definition, a crime occurs with the purchaser of sex when the victim is under age of consent, and trafficking would obviously be closely connected to child pornography. The life expectancy for a minor victim can be as low as 25.  80% are US born.  But the statics provided in this short film are shocking.

The film does not go into how the trafficking continues on the Internet on certain websites, but the feature (discussed Friday) may do so.  I’m now told that the feature is due in 2019.

The current bills FOSTA and SESTA in Congress could have a significant downstream effect on Internet users who have nothing to do with this practice personally. Is this a sacrifice many people will be asked to make to protect more victims? 

Picture: downtown Austin, my trip, Nov. 2011  

Saturday, March 10, 2018

"Colonizing Venus": it may be easier than Mars

“Colonizing Venus”, apparently the second film in the Outward Bound series with Isaac Arthur, starts out by proposing floating cities high in the atmosphere of Venus.

The film starts out by reminding us that we didn't know how hot the surface of Venus is until the 1960s. 

But eventually true terraforming of Venus might be possible, and easier than Mars.  The trick is to build shades and place them at Lagrange points for the orbit of Venus. Gradually, with less sun, the atmosphere of Venus cools and the carbon dioxide liquifies into an ocean under pressure. As the atmosphere cools further it might freeze. 

Venus is almost tidally locked.  But mirrors could reflect the sunlight around the atmosphere to simulate earthlike days.

I had a harder time following how you get a livable surface.  The carbon dioxide has to go somewhere. Respected science points out that Venus is so volcanic that the surface is replaced every few hundred million years.  And it’s possible that Venus had a runaway greenhouse effect about a billion years ago, and might have had life before that.  Perhaps a real tragic apocalypse. A warning about our own climate change.

Picture: Model of Venus from Meteor Crater museum near Odessa, TX, my visit, Nov. 2011. 

Friday, March 09, 2018

"American Love Story": film near completion deals with sex trafficking (now a topic in Congress with regards to Section 230)

As Congress nears the passage of controversial legislation that could expose tech companies to more downstream liability when they inadvertently provide a platform for sex trafficking (these the bills known as FOSTA in the House and SESTA in the Senate), a documentary film on sex trafficking moves into post-production.
The film is “American Love Story: A Community in Search of Freedom”, by Michelle Nehme. 
The trailer does seem to call for a total societal or community commitment to stop trafficking, and that could have a real impact on how the laws contemplated in Congress are ultimately implemented, interpreted, and enforced, and could impact speakers who have nothing to do with trafficking.
The link for the film itself is here. 
The director says she also has a short film “Complicit  which I couldn’t find. But the title perhaps hints at the role of the Internet and its permissive culture, which the bills in Congress would attack. 
I’ll review the entire film in detail when I can get it, like on Netflix or Amazon or a screener.  Paying a fair film rental is no problem.  (I hope my site for review doesn’t get taken down some day out of downstream liability concerns!  That’s the irony.  Here’s a detailed discussion explaining why)

Thursday, March 08, 2018

The Arc Gene (and mammalian consciousness, and The Garden of Eden)

Here’s a Facebook video about the Arc Gene, which infected an animal about 400 million years ago. 
The video says that the animal was a mammal, but I don’t know if mammals were around yet (mammals developed after the dinosaurs were destroyed by an asteroid strike on Belize 65 million years ago).

But the viral genes were passed through RNA into central nervous system cells and became essential to communications within the brain and between the brain and the automatic nervous system.

The video gives the virus credit for “consciousness”, which seems to have a quantum aspect in the microtubules inside neurons, gradually integrating for the organism.

A failure of the gene could lead to autism, schizophrenia, or later in life, ALS.
Here’s a similar video called “The Garden of Eden Virus”.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Timothee Chalamet at 18 plays a charismatic sign spinner in a short film by Erik Barnes

The 2014 short film “Spinners”, directed by Erik L. Barnes based on his own short story, written with Cami Delavigne, features an 18-year-old Timothee Chalamet working as a sign spinner, “Jace”, with pal Derek (Ify Nwadiwe), in an economically depressed town in the California Central Valley, on the edge of the desert.

A single mom with a small girl comes by.  The two men try to do a business transaction.  The mother has handguns in the car trunk and the girl finds them.  Things go wrong.
Yet Jace seems up to the challenge.  He certainly tries to do what he can to get the gun taken out of play.  His personality in the film is rather assertive, yet in one scene a passing bully seems to call him a “fag”. 

I believe Chalamet really does play piano pretty well.  I wonder if he could try one of my sonatas. 

Picture: 2012, mine (near Bishop CA on US 395).