Saturday, September 19, 2020

"Bisexual": a straight college student feels reticent about his girlfriend after an accidental encounter at a houseparty


Connor Barker presents “Bisexual” (2019).

In middle class London, Jonathan, a 19-year-old straight student, has gone to a house party and woken up in bed with another man.

As he leaves for home, he tries to remember the encounter.  The film is sketchy and dark as to details.

He gets home, and soon his girl friend, Amelia, lets herself in.  Jonathan finds he is reticent and not in a hurry to go out with her but finally does.

There is music from FreeMusicWave (the song “Birdy”).

 Picture: 17th St in Washington DC, recent 

Friday, September 18, 2020

"Did We Just Detect Life on Venus?" Well, the atmosphere stinks (with phosphine)


 Did We Just Detect Life on Venus?”  Well, maybe.  

Cool Worlds explains how Venus may have had water on its surface until 750 million years ago.  Then some massive volcanic event resurfaced the planet, so this doesn’t seem to have just been global warming. Since Venus doesn’t have plate tectonics, it had no other way to vent its internal heat.

The announcement was based on the discovery of phosphine gas in the high atmosphere, where bacteria (extremophiles, able to deal with an acidic environment) had bubbled up billions of years ago.

National Geographic maintains that on rocky planets phosphine is made naturally only by biological processes.   

However phosphine is made deep in the atmospheres of gas giants like Jupiter.

Picture: Venus near the horizon (Wikipedia embed, click for attribution) 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

"Capitalism and the American Pandemic Response" from "Second Thought" (back in March)


Capitalism and the American Pandemic Response”, from Second Thought, on March 28, 2020, certainly pits the “ethics” of capitalism against handling the coronavirus.

Toward the end, the speaker pits saving the lives of the elderly against the financial stability for everyone else.

But lower income working people definite take contagion risks that white-collar work-from home "nerds" don't have to take, and the latter group still seems to have very little illness.  

There is a lot here about the failures of our system in health care.  Insulin costs $300 here and #32 in Canada.  Truvalda costs $8 in Australia and $2000 in the US (and related drugs might work against coronavirus).

The top “0.1%” owns as much as the bottom 90%.

The speaker insists that workers organize and accept the idea of class struggle and considers rentiers parasites and criminals.

He also says that landlords don’t “work” for a living.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

An indie journalist records "What Portland, Oregon Looks Like Right Now", and it is in ruins

Portland Protesters in Tom McCall Waterfront Park on June 3, 2020

 “What Portland, Oregon Looks Like Right Now”, by NALF.  He says he will do another video soon on the aftermath of the Oregon wildfires, dated Sept. 9, 2020.  

This is an unedited tour of the barricades and homeless camps, everywhere, after over 100 days of protests and rioting after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. The protests seem to have stopped with the smoke and nearby wildfires. 

One comment said that downtown Seattle looks the same.

Why did Portland’s and  Oregon’s politicians allow this to happen?

I visited Portland in 1996 when I was researching my first DADT book.

Picture: Wikipedia embed, protesters at Waterfront Park, click for attribution., 


Monday, September 14, 2020

"Unravel": a male couple unravels (short)


Travis Bryant presents a new gay short film, “Unravel”.  

He appears to play one of two gay men in a breakup of a relationship which has gone on for some time but become stormy.

Music by Los Leo. 

I think Travis plays the “smoother” man.  I could lose the tattoos, as for the other partner.

The film has the air of a Terrence Mallick meditation.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Ethan Lusby: "Escaping the Wildfires in Oregon"

Downtown Portland from SE Portland during 2020 wildfires - 2020-09-09 - tedder

 Ethan Lusby, an 18 year old adventurer, has a channel called “Van Life”, and the latest episode is “Escaping the Wildfires in Oregon: Vanlife Update”.  

He woke up at 4:30 AM in a trailer park and could smell the smoke, and drove away from Oregon, toward California, and got to safety.  He had to get gas in a station running on a generator without power.

It will be interesting to see if he reports further on the wildfire catastrophe in northern California and the Pacific Northwest (which should have some rain).

Ethan, in other videos says he is gay.  Right now, he travels to outdoor areas alone with his dog, and seems to be making YT a business.  His speech manner is gentle.  He is quite accomplished at outdoorsmanship and backpacking, and at some athletic skills like diving and swimming in natural environments. He is much better at this stuff than I was at his age (which would have been 1961) and that really matters to me now. 

I hope Ethan can provide more reporting on the wildfire crisis!

Picture: Portland after during wildfires, unclear if the smoke will stop the protests for a while 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

"T-Cells and COVID-19 Immunity": short from SciShow

Blausen 0625 Lymphocyte T cell (crop)


“What Do We Know About T-Cells and COVID-19 Immunity?” from SciShow, narrated by Hank Green.

The speaker explains that T-cell “immunity” refers to the T-cell response, in directing memory B cells to make antibodies to a virus similar to ones it has seen, and killing infected cells.  It does not make one immune to COVID by itself.

He notes a rather disturbing observations:  strong T-cell response in females correlates with a worse outcome, but in some men it has resulted in cytokine storms.

However, we’ve noticed that outdoor protesters (who use masks sometimes but shout a lot) don’t seem to be getting severe COVID, and neither do the journalists who cover them (male or female).  

And there are numerous reports of severe illness even in young women. What seems to be a common denominator may be size of exposure, in a prolonged indoor event or in a large household.

Wikipedia embed:  3-D rendering of a T-cell, click for attribution