Sunday, June 23, 2019

"Apollo 11": 70 mm reconstruction of real footage from the first moonwalk


Apollo 11”, directed by Todd Douglas Miller, is a film that recreates the event that put man on the Moon on July 20, 1969, from archival footage only, some of the film in 70mm.


The film was released theatrically by Neon on March 1, 2019 and shown on CNN on Sunday, June 23, 2019 by CNN Films. Universal Pictures released the DVD.


The astronauts wore what amounts to Holter monitors underneath their spacesuits, mostly on the lower ribcages, that transmitted vital signs that were reported on the flight. 

July 20, 1969 was a Sunday. The mission took from July 16 (Wed AM) to July 24.  The achievement marked a major change in attitude toward technology as an instrument of freedom. Stonewall had occurred just three weeks before.

Picture: from NASA Virginia Air and Space Museum in Hampton VA at Langley, Aug. 2012 visit. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

"Song of Parkland": high school students put on a major musical after a catastrophic event


Song of Parkland”, directed by Amy Schatz, is a 29-minute HBO documentary about the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL in a drama and chorus class, taught by Melody Herzfeld.

The students and teacher heard the shots, and Melody sheltered them for two hours in the Feb. 14, 2018 school shooting until police led them out.


Two months later, they resume production of a musical, and students composed portions of it, like a song “Beautiful Things Can Grow”.

Eventually the students perform in Boston, New York, Washington and San Francisco. They win a Tony Award at the end.

Several students appear and talk about the production, like Alex Wild and Cameron Kasky.  Some of Emma Gonzelez’s speech from March 24 in Washington.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

"State of Pride": a young "conservative" midwestern gay man learns about different values among LGBTQ+ as he visits Pride events in four cities


State of Pride” (2019), directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, from YouTube Originals and Telling Pictures (71 minutes, 2019), presents (small town) Ohio-born Raymond Braun as an athletic, “masculine” gay man visiting pride in Washington DC, Tuscaloosa AL, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City, and encountering LGBTQ+ people very different from him.  The events seem to come from 2018.

  
Braun says he outgrew his “sassiness” and became a mainstream-valued and athletic young adult man, but “still” gay. He wrote his mother a 16-page letter coming out and was reassured by her response, before he went on the tour to make the film. 

In Tuscaloosa, he met the trans community, and especially POC and underprivileged. He learned about systematic violence against that community, and noted the cultural separation from white gay men, including racial problems in the deep south.  He is told that trans pride should be part of the regular pride weekend, and is often viewed as a “protest” rather than pride.

In San Francisco, he meets a young man who had fled Syria through Lebanon.  It was not clear whether he was a refugee or asylum seeker (or whether he was Christian or Muslim, as religion was immaterial).
  
He also met a young man who had been a gymnast but broken his neck in an accident in 2013. He was now in a wheel chair but had regained some leg use.  He didn’t even realize he was paralyzed for a few moments after trying to get up. He was also Mormon, and had done an LDS mission, and was familiar with the LDS member forced support of Prop 8 a few years before,  Braun accompanies him to a pride march in Salt Lake, where he meets and has dinner with the Mormon family.
This little film has quite a narrative, matching some of the larger films around.

The film is offered for free viewing.  It would seem that YouTube (given the current controversy) could help content creators by offering some films for rent ($3.99) from documentary or news creators affected by current issues.

Picture: Tuscaloosa, May 2014, my visit, in area leveled by 2011 tornado 

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Mandelbrot Set: a secret of life buried in the complex variable plane


I’ve not talked about the Mandelbrot set here before. So here is “The Mandelbrot Set: How It Works and Why It Is Amazing”, by Jimi.


It is a set of numbers c on the complex variable plane for which f-c(z) = z**2 + c does not diverge when starting at z-0.  It is a fractal of self-similarity, which generates amazing shapes with cardioid edges that seem to grow like plants.

This mathematical beauty seems to point to how life would evolve in an organic soup. It’s very existence seems fundamental almost to consciousness and reproduction.

This is a relative short video, but there are much longer ones on YouTube which we can come back to later.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

"What If 'IT' Was Gay": new horror short from Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell, making fun of, well, a current social media mess, perhaps


Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell offers the satirical short, “What if ‘IT’ Was Gay”, with Max Emerson, Michael Henry, Tony Directs and Ruba Wilson.


The short film is a satirical skit based on the Clarabelle-looking character from Stephen King’s 1986 novel, made into a miniseries in 1990 and a film in 2017.

If you listen to the dialogue (like “IT’s” lines at around 1:05) you wonder if there is some satire of the Maza-Crowder-gate and Voxadpocalypse.  Ubanell’s films and videos seem non-political (usually about cis male gay life), until you look at the jabs behind the lines (he made fun of Buzzfeed in an earlier film by posing as a prize-fighter).  This little film seems to want to poke fun at how silly everyone has been recently.

I’m also reminded of baseball player Bryce Harper’s meme “clown questions”.

Friday, June 14, 2019

"Titan Revealed": Maybe the best ever documentary on Saturn's moon which may have life on the surface


TexFilms offers maybe the best film about Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, yet, “Titan Revealed” (2018, 35 minutes).


The film gives the most comprehensive picture of the geography of Titan than I have seen, with descriptions and simulated scenery of the large lakes near the north pole as it emerges from Titanium winter.

The film is in even sections, the last two of which deal with what like would be like.  It would involve hydrogen as fuel, acetylene, and methane as a by-product, like carbon dioxide of animal respiration on earth.  Would the methane become a fuel for “plants”?  There has been other speculation that life on Titan might consists of sheets in its lakes that are colonial like slime molds on Earth.
  
I’ve seen animated designs of the proposed submarine to explore the lakes before.

See also “Titan: A Place Like Home”, TV blog, Sept. 20, 2013, BBC.
  
By NASA/JSC - uppper photo; NASA/JPL - lower photo - File:Titan dunes.jpg, Public Domain, Link

Thursday, June 13, 2019

"Interstellar Highway System": why black holes will draw the development of space capital cities


Cool Worlds imagines an “Interstellar Highway System” (31 min).


Is this like the Interstate highway system as Ike imagined it?

In conjunction with the Halo Drive, the speaker imagines a slingshot propulsion system where the traveler “steals” energy from a binary or circular black hole system.

Just as with the US railroad system, interstellar civilization “cities” would develop near the black holes.

Then constant acceleration and time dilation would allow “superman” to traverse the universe in his own lifetime.
  
You would have to accept the idea that people age at different rates.