Friday, March 05, 2021

"Escape from Hong Kong" (DW Documentary) as activists and journalists seek asylum in Britain

Cross Harbour Tunnel (1)


Escape from Hong Kong: A New Life in Exile”, a 29-minute film (2020) by Nicole Krattli, posted by DW Documentary on March 2, 2021. 

Direct link to play on YouTube.  Note the embed gives you this (image). 

China has indeed hastened on its end of the bargain of “one country, two systems” as in the past few years it has cracked down on criticism of China and of pro-democracy for Hong Kong, particularly with the massive protests in 2019, just before the pandemic.

The film traces four young men who have emigrated and sought political asylum in Britain (as Hong Kong was at one time a crown colony).  One of them, in particular, has no employment and seeks income from a blog (no link given).  They could face danger from hits from China (that’s more common with Putin and Russia). The UK used to extend just six months of asylum but now it is essentially five years.

YouTube places the video under age-restricted community guidelines, despite the absence of sex and minimal violence (in a few demonstration scenes), maybe because of political sensitivity.  You have to be logged on to your Google account to watch.  I've embedded an explanatory video from Vox from 2019 on the overall situation. 

Wikipedia embed of Cross Harbor Tunnel, click for attribution

Thursday, March 04, 2021

“I Hated 1950s Physical Education: Here’s Why”, according to filmmaker David Hoffman


D in tumbling, 1959 PE


David Hoffman presents, “I Hated 1950s Physical Education: Here’s Why” (22 min).

Hoffman presents a PTA meeting in 1956 where parents and teachers discussed whether kids needed organized instruction in “play”.

The film offers a newsreel-style argument for socialization, learning to compete as part of a team,

But it’s also interesting that during the Eisenhower years, the military had noticed that American boys were not as fit as European boys.

We had pretty well organized phys ed, and I was not good at it.  But one time I “pitched” a shutout of 3 innings in softball (a one strike rule) and hit a singe-turned-home run when it skipped between the outfielders with no outfield fence.

We did not have swimming in high school, and I had to deal with it in college.

But the very worst topic for me was tumbling.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

"A Fresh Start: From an African Refugee Camp to the U.S."

Entebbe vue du ciel


DW Documentary (Germany) offers “A Fresh Start” (42 min), directed by Gregoire Gosset, with the long time “From an African Refugee Camp to the U.S.”.

The film tracks several people from Uganda to the United States being settled as refugees.  One of the most important is a father with five children, who had fled genocide in the Congo in 1996 to Entebbe in Uganda. The closeness and warmth of the family in crowded circumstances is very noticeable, but it would make the family vulnerable to Covid anywhere in the world until vaccinated. They will have a better chance of getting vaccinated here. 

Generally, families are housed in setaside apartments and entire group, often a church, looks after them.  Sponsorship in the United States, outside large organizations, is usually limited to blood family.  Maybe that will change under Biden.  In Canada, groups of individuals up to five can agree to be responsible for supporting a refugee (or sometimes an asylum seeker) for up to a year. In the gay community, people sometimes house asylum seekers themselves (I considered this in 2016), and that can bring additional personal risks (including now Covid).  

The family mentioned above is settled in Chicago.  The film tracks a couple other men, one of whom his hitchhiking to meet up with a fiancĂ©e already in the US in Salt Lake City.

Wikipedia embed of Entebbe, click for attribution. 

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Interesting film clip from David Hoffman of a sharecropper interview on Senator James Eastland's plantation in 1964


scene near Tupelo MS 2014

David Hoffman, 78-year-old filmmaker, presents a video “He Risked His Life Filming a Mississippi Senator’s Plantation in 1964”.

One of Hoffman’s colleagues recorded the interview on Senator James Eastland’s plantation, in a house lived in “for free for life” by sharecroppers, although there was a catch.  Eastland was an ardent segregationist and went out of his way to reduce benefits for blacks returning from the military after WWII and the Korean War.  

Many of the “houses” were not any larger than outhouses or privies.

Monday, March 01, 2021

Golden Globes, held virtually, stirs discussion about black representation in the sponsoring Foreign Press Association


New Orleans FQ, 2006

NBC aired the Golden Globe’s later-than-usual award ceremony Sunday night, Feb. 28, with introductions by SNL’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as hosts, and the biggest controversy seemed to be the lack of black persons in the sponsoring Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Yahoo! news story.  

A highlight of the evening was the posthumous award to Chadwick Boseman for best actor in a drama, as Levee in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, by George C. Wolfe, a Netflix film. Boseman died at 44 if aggressive colon cancer, a young age for this malignancy.

 Ford Fischer notes that he has been credited now in Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe awards, since “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” won for best comedy.  Best picture was the underwhelming “Nomadland with Frances McDormand. 

Here is the list of winners (NY Times).

Sunday, February 28, 2021

“Multi-Species Civilizations and Co-Alien Habitats” by Isaac Arthur, gets beyond race


Langley Museum, Virginia, 2012 

Isaac Arthur explores “Multi-Species Civilizations and Co-Alien Habitats”, by Isaac Arthir.

Arthur starts out by invoking the world of the first Star Wars Movie (1977) with dozens of species, consorting with one another in that gay bar scene on another planet. 

Earth is “lucky” that there is just one dominant species, which is entirely interchangeable reproductively and biologically equal in capability.  Race is not as big a problem, as species equality if they were able to live together. This might not be the case in all alien worlds.

Actually, dolphins and orcas may be about the same as us in intelligence, but live in separate environments.  Even so, there are ethical and moral problems, with using these equals in amusement parks, or in the distant past as a source of whale oil.

But intelligent beings based on totally different biology are unlikely to share the same continental living spaces, despite all of Isaac’s claims.  Isaac’s ideas of breeding cats or dogs with human intelligence sound interesting, but then what about other apes. 

Our nation of intelligence is also limited by culture.  Your cat is smart in ways you are not because “they” can survive in the wild on the own when you cannot. And animals may understand our world better than we think they can, as when they warn us of gas leaks or approaching storms.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

“This Is What Happens to Your Brain as You Are About to Die”, animated, sounds like a dangerous temptation (also, "Flatliners")

Vertebrate-brain-regions small


This Is What Happens to Your Brain as You Are About to Die”, animated, from the Infographics Channel, Nov. 29, 2020.

The main point here seems to be that if your body dies before your brain does, your brain has a chance to shut down slowly.  The brain, even without oxygen, can shoot itself up with serotonins in the last few moments to make them pleasurable.  People talk about a “life review”.  Time may slow down and it may seem eternal.

On the other hand, if the brain is destroyed by traumatic injury (like a bullet or explosion), or even by a burst aneurysm, no such opportunity exists.  That is something that a terrorist could try to take advantage of.  It could also mean that violent suicide by weapon means there is no such afterlife preview.

The short mentions the two films "Flatliners" (1990, which I saw, and 2017) (tidbit review of 1990, Joel Schumacher, Columbia Pictures).  

Look at my review of Eben Alexander’s “Proof of Heaven”, Books blog, March 30, 2013. 

Hashem al-Gailhi reports "Your Brain Still Works After Death" (2018) and a few memory cells may work at the cellular level for up to two days, possibly growing cancer cells.  Yet bodies are often cremated within that time. 

Wikipedia embed of comparative anatomy of human and shark brains, click for attribution.