Sunday, October 14, 2018

"Hyperlight": short film about faster-than-light travel poses a paradox about identity

Hyperlight” (16 min) on Dust Films, directed by Nguyen Anh-Nyugen, presents an interesting paradox about personal identity and consciousness.

A faster-than-light spacecraft is in orbit around a distant, icy world. It has encountered a failure as it came out of hyper-speed. 

Elmirissa finds her male companion lifeless, but then a duplicate copy of him appears alive.  She also finds out she has died and is a duplicate.

To get her companion back she must kill his copy.
Does your consciousness move to the copy when you come out of hyperlight travel?  Is it like a dream?

Friday, October 12, 2018

Star Wars writer fired from Marvel for behavior on Twitter (hiding behind "safe spaces"?)

Marvel Studios has fired a writer for Star Wars franchise, Chuck Wendig, for his political threads on Twitter. The story by Kate Gardner on Mary Sue is here.

The problem seems to have to do with his being trolled for creating some LGBTQ and/or non-binary characters. 

It’s unclear what happened behind the scenes with LucasFilm or even Disney.
This is going to be a controversial story. Maybe a Timcast? 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

"Babel" (2006) is an interesting networked-plot film in multiple locations

I tend to like films with intersecting stories around the world (like “Life Itself”), and one of the best examples is “Babel” (2006, Paramount) from Alejandro Gonzalez Innaratu.  It is the last of a trilogy of “death” films including “Amores Peres”, and “21 Grams”.  
The drama has interlocking stories in three major locations:  Morocco, Japan, and the US-Mexico border area.  It all starts when an American woman on a bus (Cate Blanchett) is accidentally shot by a boy while her husband (Brad Pitt) has to fend for her.

The story moves to Japan, were a troubled girl deals with a police investigation that leads eventually back to the man who provided the gun in Morocco, after considerable complexity involving her mother’s suicide.

And on the US border the American’s children’s nanny (undocumented) gets involved in complications taking the kids across the border for a wedding.

There is also a lot of backstory of the American couple who had lost a child to SIDS.
It's pretty clear how the title of the film is inspired by the story in Genesis. 

Look also at "The Edge of Heaven", June 24, 2008. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Some short films on "activists" by Ford Fischer (and an important documentary project)

I have presented and countered (with others criticism) Ford Fischer’s work for “News2Share” which he and Trey Yingst help start at American University in Washington DC a few years ago, on my “fr” blog (see Blogger profile, “Films on major threats to freedom”).

But I thought I would share is YouTube short from Providence, RI Saturday (during the same time as the Kavanaugh vote). Official name: “Clashes as ‘Providence Freedom Rally’ Clashes with Antifa”.

It’s all very combative. Someone threw urine in Ford Fischer’s face, and he says he almost vomited. 

 This little incident went around the Internet all day Saturday.

Fischer says some of the people in the crowd are “libertarians” who don’t grasp what they are getting themselves into.

Police got spray-painted in white by Antifa.
Fischer recently tweeted that he accidentally appeared in “The First Purge” (horror film, Universal, 2018), here.  But I have a cameo in “Major League 3” (sports comedy, Warner Brothers, 1997).
Providence (actually West Warwick) is the home of deceased documentary filmmaker Gode Davis (died, 2010).  His brother is trying to complete “American Lynching” with the help of PBS and I’ve had discussions with him about it (I have a small amount of footage). Gode was active in reporting the fatal West Warwick disco fire in 2003. 
Ford Fischer is also working on a documentary called “Transhuman”, Indiegogo site here

Picture: near Newport, RI, from my 2015 trip to visit Gode's brother, Greg.  

Monday, October 08, 2018

"Mythcon V" in Milwaukee: "Are Social Media Outlets Replacing Mainstream Media?", panel discussion "film"

On Sunday, September 23, 2018 I was having a nice sandwich lunch near Lake Tahoe, back on the California side (no slot machines)”, around 2 PM PDT, when suddenly my iPhone was filled with Twitter messages from Tim Pool (and others) over how Mythcon V had been delayed at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, WI (maybe 1800 miles away from me at the moment) because of bomb threats.  (Now, the Milwaukee Brewers are in the baseball playoffs, yes.) 

Then there was a volley tweets to the effect that the extremely confrontational and combative far Left knows it is dying and is getting desperate. I didn’t learn that the panel had gone on for a couple more days, before I flew home.

I guess it’s gotten worse this past week during the Kavanaugh hearings. 
But here is the one hour “film” of “Mythcon V”, the panel discussion “Are Social Media Outlets Replacing Mainstream Media?”. David Smalley moderated. The panelists were Steven Knight (“Godless Spellchecker”), Claire Knight (from Australia, “Quillette”), Jeremy Hambley (YouTube channel, “The Quartering”), and Tim Pool, formerly with Vice News and Fusion, now running his own Timcast channel on YouTube.   The session took place around 10:30 AM CDT on Saturday, September 22.

The biggest theme recurring through the one hour is the way the organized Left is prodding mainstream companies to hit back, by deplatforming at least the most objectionable content providers – namely (for now) Alex Jones.  (Frankly, I think Jones only made David Hogg more powerful by calling him a space alien.)  Some attention was paid to the power of credit card companies to shut down platforms.

So there seems to be a real power struggle, at least in my view. Pool pointed out that local news legacy media can no longer afford to hire court reporters to investigate corruption, and the competition with new media does not always work in the public interest.  The panel did mention the channeling by social media of sometimes false content into echo chambers, as a major problem, but did not give that aspect the attention I would have expected.  Claire and Pool noted that major newspapers no longer make their profits entirely from news operations, but use real estate to bolster the bottom line of their often holding companies to satisfy fiduciary responsibilities.

But new media does need to support itself (and this could get into campaign finance and issue advocacy law, as I have been discussing recently in other blog posts) and there is some shift from ads (and “clickbait”) to paywalls and simply using crowd funding. 

Quillette made somewhat on an impression on me, with respect particularly to science reporting and expanding on the bureaucratic limitations of legacy media – not only on climate change (suddenly a big story in major media today on a dire new IPCC and Global Carbon Project report) but possibly less reported issues like power grid security.  I may share my own work on this with Quillette soon, based on the potential interest Claire showed in the panel.

The panel also discussed the proposedInternet Bill of Rights”, as Kara Swisher recently outlined in the New York Times here.   But on an international level it breaks down.  It’s more than just the US First Amendment (Pool said that the First Amendment incorporate five different rights – they’re not all exactly the same thing). Everyone was aghast at Google’s capitulation to get business in China. 
There was a fleeting reference to the recent controversy in Europe over the Digital Common Market and Copyright Directive (Articles 11 and 13) without specific mention by name.  These could have more effect even on US new media than they realize now.  There was also a reference (without name) to the proposed new decentralized Internet architecture (“SOLID”) proposed by Tim Berners-Lee and being developed at M.I.T. in Cambridge, MA.   

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Vox short film explains why social media sites self-destruct

Why Every Social Media Site Is a Dumpster Fire” with Carlos Maza.

This video from Vox pretty much explains why social media sites incentivize extremist content, that tends to appeal to “tribalism” in most people.  (Carlos looks pretty hot in the video!)

Siva had pretty much covered the same ground in “Anti-Social Media”.

It leads you wondering, do some people have less of the tribal genes?  Maybe introverts? Maybe those with some mild autism?  Strong individualists?   Maybe those with “schizoid personality” which may not be such a bad thing.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

"I Lost All My Friends in the Culture War": It can happen, maybe worse

OK, this soliloquy by a young woman who names herself “Critical Condition” gets to count as a movie once: “I Lost All My Friends in the Culture War”.

She was raised in Christian conservatism, left home as a young adult, and began to make friends with more liberal people, even “the hippies”.

But as the outside culture war heated up, she says, her views, almost by default, got to be seen as falling into the well of “hate speech.”  She found herself solo in both social media and real life, it seems.
I can remember after my William and Mary expulsion of 1961 my father said I would lose all my friends. I did not.