Monday, December 17, 2018

"Man on Fire": documentary about a pastor who immolated himself to atone for the town's past racism

On Monday, December 17, 2014 some PBS stations aired the 1 hour documentary “Man on Fire”, directed by James Fendleman and produced by James Chase Sanchez, for PBS Independent Lens. 

The film accounts for the self-immolation of pastor Charles Moore, 79, in the parking lot of a Dollar General store in Grand Saline, TX, in the eastern part of the state.

His motive was to atone for the town’s generational history of racism.

Many people interviewed believe that race is no longer an issue for most people today. The film does account for a history of lynching in the past, which is also covered in the late Gode Davis’s unfinished film, “American Lynching” (the estate has apparently secured the materials and a PBS station in Boston is working on it, I believe). 

Moore had considered ending his life on the SMU campus in University Park, Dallas.

The Texas Observer covers the film in this article, “The Truth about racism in East Texas”.   There is an earlier article by Michael Hall in the Texas Monthly.
The official link is here. The film beings with a reenactment of the event.
Picture: from Balch Springs, TX

Sunday, December 16, 2018

"Beloved Sam": a challenged young man in Germany recalls his relationship with a charismatic American young man, in letters, as his brother overlooks

Beloved Sam”, (“Gebliebter Sam”) from Queerblick (a short film video distributor in Germany), directed by Jugentreffs, from Think Big.

David (Johannes Adam) A somewhat portly man in Germany writes to a past American companion Sam (Noah Hutchins) who says he had come out as a tween and seems very mature and articulate indeed a few years later, having moved from the US back to Germany.  In writing the letter, David recalls his meetings with Sam, and also his troubled relationship with his own brother.

This film is very short (4 min); in German with titles but with the flashback encounters in English.

I was most recently in Germany in 1999 (Berlin, Dresden); also 1972 (Frankfurt, Hamburg, saw the Wall from the train in the countryside.)

Image: Wikipedia: By VollwertBIT - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Saturday, December 15, 2018

"Stockholm Daybreak": two straight young men have an encounter at summer arctic dawn on a pedestrian bridge in the city

Stockholm Daybreak” (“Gryning”), by Elin Overgaard, presents two attractive straight young men (Tom Ljungman, Aavid Arnesen) at daybreak on a summer morning (around 3 AM) after being in a disco and not picking up women.

Nevertheless, they gradually decide they can become curious and affectionate about one another. Oh, but they’re not gay.
The film is shot on a bridge over a canal in the city. Sometimes the rising Sun overexposes the shot. I was there in 1972 (as far north as Kiruna).  The encounter is intimate, but gentle and not too explicit. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

"Your New Social Credit Score": fictitious now (except in China), but could it happen in the UK, or even the US?

Tom Scott has published a YouTube dystopian animated short, “Your New Social Credit Score”.

The film refers to a fictitious social credit system for England and Wales, after Brexit and even Scotland’s and Northern Ireland’s separation.

It’s an obvious extension of China’s social credit score system now going into effect now.

I like (I’m kidding) the “certificate of disassociation” where you tell the government you have no connection with a person who is being blackballed.  The number of “disassociations” you get would lower your score.

I supposed voluntarism could be highly recommended to raise your score.
Maybe this is what we mean by personal “rightsizing”.  It sounds so very Marxist.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

"The Choice": animated film show how a young adult male executive can stay thin, or get fat

“Project Better Self” offers this animated short microfilm, “The Choice”.

A young junior exec who works in “good clothes” makes his little choices about snacks, naps, walking, driving.  His workplace doesn’t have Varidesk yet.

I’m reminded of those Macy’s store ads of men with “slim” and “very slim” waists.  This guy remains slim with only one future.

I have to say, in gay bars, for men,  tall and thin is definitely in, whatever the openness to fluidity. A cat would jump onto the shoulders of the tallest guy on the dance floor to watch the action of everybody. That would make another idea for a short film.
Maybe the hapless guy in this short film has never read Stephen King’s “Thinner”.

Monday, December 10, 2018

"Tetration": when algebra gives more clues as to what generates consciousness

Tetration” sounds like a horror film for DC Shorts.  Actually, it’s another entertaining math tutorial from “The Taylor Series”.

This little film explains why addition and multiplication work so well as operations in group theory when applied to real numbers (and complex).  It gets iffier when you get to quaternions, which generate the behavior of elementary sub-particles of baryonic matter and of the forces in nature.

It gets iffier, too, as operations get more complex (exponentiation and then tetration)   The commutative (and maybe associate) laws on your middle school algebra tests stop working. That’s troubling for consciousness. (Tetration is not the same thing as titration, like in chemistry quantitative analysis.)  

But his building new operations is important, because it could contribute even more to physics, like string theory.  You go from math to physics, to chemistry, to life (biology) to generating and recycling individual consciousness.   We don’t know once a new occurrence of a consciousness is instantiated and attached to a body (yours, or the bobcat who visits your house for food) whether it exists in some form once you’re gone.  If you know you’re dead, you’re immortal.  Math doesn’t tell us yet.   Nor does math explain group v. individual consciousness.  But it may tell us how easily life would arise on alien worlds. 

Sunday, December 09, 2018

How to unwrap the Earth into a gigantic O'Neill Cylinder

“3Blue1Brown”explains “But Why Is a Sphere’s Surface Area 4 Times Its Projection?

This 17 minute video offers two visual proofs of Area – 4 times pi times radius squared. The visual methods correspond to differentiation and integration in calculus. 

The unrapping of the sphere as a cylinder offers what – well, an O’Neill cylinder.

The projection of a shadow onto a flat plane also offers some possible sci-fi concepts if you want to make a movie about life in space.

This little video reminds me of my substitute teaching days.