Thursday, August 16, 2018

"The Blues Brothers" co-starred Aretha Franklin back in 1980

I vaguely remember seeing “The Blues Brothers” while living in Dallas in 1980. At the time, the John Landis film (with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as the Brothers who try to get their old Catholic boarding school saved, was said to be one of the most expensive films ever made (for Universal).

Arehta Franklin, who passed away today at age 76 from pancreatic cancer, played Mrs. Murphy.

I do remember the final chase scene, with its geographical inaccuracies.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

"Inside Hong Kong's Cage Homes": indeed part of the People's Republic of Statist Capitalism

Johnny Harris shows us on Vox, “Inside Hong Kong’s Cage Homes.”

As on the rest of China, all the land is own by the government (except for one Anglican church. The government auctions lots to builders at high prices so it doesn’t have to charge other taxes and can pretend to be a free market haven for business.  (Singapore is a bit like this, and so is mainland China now.)  About 75% of the land in Hong Kong is not developed -- by deliberately restrictive zoning. 
People sometimes live in spaces as small as 75-120 square feet (families a little larger) and share kitchens and bathrooms, much as in dorm living.
By NASA - NASA World Wind Software, Public Domain, Link.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

North Anna Power Station, documentary film at visitor center from Dominion Power

I toured the North Anna Power Station, which is one of two in Virginia owned by Dominion Power today.

The visitor center features a 10-minute film, which focuses on how spent fuel rods are cooled under water and stored underground on site.

But I embedded “North Anna: One Year Later” which refers to the 5.8 magnitude earthquake near Mineral Va, very close to the power station on Aug. 23, 2011. 

Staff says that Dominion Power is a regulated monopoly in Virginia, so it has to get approval from the state for cybersecurity improvements, which are underway. Presumably this might include removing any hidden malware supposedly placed by the Russians in some utilities as far back as 2012 by sabotage. Actual power generation is separated from the Internet, like military systems;  also there are security procedures not to allow the reading of most removable media.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

"Why Americans (are bad at) Soccer (Well, the Men)", by Vox

Why Americans Suck at Soccer (Well, the Men)” is an entertaining 7-minute Vox Video by Phil Edwards and Mona Lalwani.

Women’s soccer does well in the USA.  The obvious reason could be competition with American football, which is a more complicated game in some ways (more chess like). But the real reason was that political infighting in the 1920s, followed by depression and war, caused American soccer to fall through the cracks.

American pro sports feature more stoppages, more ways to score, higher scores, and perhaps more entertaining physics.  In baseball you have the fact that home teams can design their own outfield dimensions, within limits.

I’ve always thought pro football should have a way to score one point (besides a conversion). Maybe a touchback (where a ball is actually downed in an end zone) after a punk or kickoff should be allowed.

High school physics and math teachers could make up amusing exam problems based on the physics of sports.  How fast does the teen Clark Kent have to run to catch his own forward pass?
But I’ll bear this video in mind if I visit Audi soccer field in Washington soon.  I’d like a new Town DC around there.

Picture: DC United Game at RFK, 2014 

Friday, August 10, 2018

"Crash" by Paul Haggis remembered as a dangerous weekend approaches

The book “The World without Racism”, by Edeah Clark, makes a reference to the 2004 film and best picture, “Crash”, by Paul Haggis.

The film presents a daisy chain of incidents in post-Rodney-King Los Angeles, where one character’s perception of another character leads to a scene and another plot thread about this secondary character. The film posts that the victims of racism often practice racism themselves.  The filmmaking and screenwriting style resembles Robert Altman. 

The plot does start with a car wreck in the first scene where Det. Walters (Dpn Cheadle) was working with partner Ria (Jennnifer Esposito).  Soon there is a major carjacking.  Later there is a sequence where a character Anthony (Ludacris) hits a van accidentally, steals it, and discovers illegally trafficked people in the back.
The director says the movie was motivated when he was carjacked (with his wife in the car as the incident started and a bizarre sequence followed) when they went to a Blockbuster video.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

"Spending a Day on Earth 1 Billion Years in the Future": it looks like Venus today

Dreksler Astral gives us a sobering look at our non-future with the short “Spending a Day on Earth 1 Billion Years in the Future”.

The temperature is risen to 70-100 degrees Centigrade and the oceans have evaporated.  All life has stopped and the surface of the Earth may resemble Venus.

It’s a good question how long civilization lasted or whether it escaped (although very selectively) to Mars or even other solar systems.

All remnants of man would be buried by feet of dust and rocks.

The obvious question is, did this come from global warming?  Well, it is climate change, but from eventual natural processes that man cannot stop. The day is now 28 hours as the Earth’s rotation slows. The Sun has gotten hotter. The Moon is farther away.  The Earth’s tectonic plates have stopped moving. Some of these predictions I have never heard of.

So ultimately global warming cannot be stopped, as the Sun changes.

But we do have thousands, maybe millions of years, before these kinds of changes would happen. 

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

HBO short film shows the life of an "Incel"

HBO Now and Vice News have a six minute short film:

This Is What the Life of an Incel Looks Like The slang for “Incel” means “involuntarily celibate”.

A young man of 23 lives alone in a room, doesn’t work, smokes a lot, and doesn’t leave his chat room.

He describes “involuntarily celibate” men as normally “meek”.  He also defines a couple of other related terms.  The film mentions Elliot Rodger and his 2014 rampage in California, and displays his “manifesto”.
Some incel chatrooms have been banned on major sites and moved to places like 4chan. There is a belief that the most attractive or aggressive men monopolize the opportunities for other men to find women.  I can remember that issue coming up in my own “therapy” at NIH in 1962, which I’ve written about on other postings.  Ironically the young (white) man in the film would be viewed by conventional society as “attractive”.  I would wonder about any connection to "schizoid personality".