Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"Venezuela Embassy Standoff": Ford Fischer documents the confrontation over "Code Pink" and its occupation for Subverse




Venezuela Embassy Standoff”, a film by Ford Fischer from News2Share, for Subverse.

The 25-minute film chronicles the confrontation between Guaido’s new government in Venezuela and the remains of the Maduro administration.  A group called the Embassy Protection Collective and Code Pink tried to hold the fort.


Gradually, food supplies, and water and electricity were cut off.

There is controversy over whether Maduro’s government (essentially communist) was illegal after the end of January.
  
On the other hand, some say that the US’s eventually entering was illegal.

I visited the protests twice.

I like the sign that the embassy is carbon neutral!
  
Here is Part II.  Eventually the activists are arrested.

Ford calls the standoff a proxy for the whole situation in Venezuela itself. Venezuela is starting to send LGBT asylum seekers (was mentioned in a meeting at the Capitol today).
  
There was an odd “threat” made during the standoff which Fischer reports on Twitter. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

"Wrestle": On Alabama, high school students grow through this intimate sport



On Monday, May 20, 2019, PBS Independent Lens aired Suzannah Herbert’s film “Wrestle” (86 min), about a high school wrestling team in Alabama, a tournament, a tough-love coach Chris Scribner, and the challenges that many of the young men face at home and in the community, link
The film has shown in several festivals, like Denver, Hot Springs, and Oxford (MS).


There is a moment of triumph at the end for one of the team members.  The film emphasizes that the sport is both an individual and a team sport. You have to make weight, have discipline. And it can be intimate. It's an unusual sport. 

The film takes place in Huntsville, in the northern part of the state near the YN border, where the NASA space center is.  I visited that in 2014, and earlier in 1989, where there was an underwater training exhibition then.
  
There is a theatrical release by Oscilloscope.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

"A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez": the 12-year Green New Deal


A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez”, an animated short film by The Interceptm 8 minutes, directed by Kim Boekbinder and Jim Baat.

AOC narrates an optimistic Green New Deal in which humankind and start to reverse climate change in 12 years – or else.


She points out that Exxon started doing studies on carbon dioxide emissions in 1977, just four years after the Arab Oil Embargo of 1073 when the mantra was to produce more oil and gas. By the late 1980s, people were starting to notice the possibility that climate would be a big issue.

She also explains her “socialist” agenda.  She points out that her native Puerto Rico lost more people to Hurricane Maria than NYC did in 9/11.
  
There are some reports that California may ban internal combustion engines in the future and allow only all electric.  How can you have adequate range?

Saturday, May 18, 2019

"Disc of Love": Can a CD player infect a car?



Ryan Davie offers a new gay short film, “Disc of Love”, from Australia.


A young man is sad that his lover his leaving for bigger things (I know the feeling) and he gives him a compact disc (remember those?) to play in the car.
  
The CD infects the car’s system and teleports the young man to the car, where he becomes a monster.
  
The problem is, all of this is inside a dream.  Row your boat.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

"Unbreaking America: Solving the Corruption Crisis": short film from Represent Us, and a call for action



Represent Us with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Silver give us a short film “Unbreaking America: Solving the Corruption Crisis” directed by M. J. Delaney (13 minutes).


The two hosts explain why normal political participation gives average votes very little say in policies that get passed.  There are several problems:  Gerrymandering, a partisan duopoly, and elimination systems that require politicians to raise astronomical amounts of money from special interests to win, which feeds the paid lobbying (K Street in Washington) industry.

There are three “lines” in the film.  One is a flat line of zero slope showing that the level of popular support for any policy (say Medicare for all) has almost no effect on whether it passes.  The other is that national changes occur when enough states make their changes.  Lawrence cited both interracial marriage and then same-sex marriage as examples of this process.  The third line is user participation.
  
The ending of the film does suggest starting a movement, knocking on doors, and the like. But the underlying ideas are important.  The group “Better Angels” comes to mind. It is hosting a closed viewing party premiere May 17.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"The Fallen": Make-a-wish project gives a kid a chance to make a superhero movie, shown by AMC



Local Washington DC stations report that a 10 year old with cancer (now in remission) Mason Bronner, made a short film “The Fallen” as a superhero movie as part of a make-a-wish project.  NBCWashington story here.


The film was premiered at the AMC Uptown theater tonight in Washington DC. (with its giant curved screen).   

It was also reported by WJLA.
  
Picture:  DC Zoo, nearby

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"Artificial Gravity": half-hour explanation explains what it would be like to really live on an O'Neill Cylinder or Stanford Torus


“Artificial Gravity”, by Cool Worlds (same publisher as yesterday) examines the practicality of life under rotational artificial gravity as a “fictional force”.


General relativity maintains that gravitational force and force from acceleration are indistinguishable. That creates the concept of permanent acceleration (until you run out of fuel) as in "High Life". 

But the artificial gravity of a rotation structure (an O’Neill Cylinder or the more modest and narrow Stanford Torus, both associated with “The High Frontier” by Gerald O’Neill) is complicated by the vertical or radial coriolos effect, which would certainly create curve balls in baseball.

He also discusses canal sickness.

Rotational instability is a problem for the O’Neill cylinder but not the torus.

The concepts shown in this film will be very important for my screenplay, "Epiphany", based on my own "Do Ask, Do Tell" books.