Friday, November 30, 2018

"O'Neill Tennis": Non-extreme sports for residents or a rotating space station with only artificial gravity

O’Neill Tennis 1.02” from IBM Math and Physics, shows how sports would work on a rotating space station habitat. 

The game designer simulates a tennis serve and game on a court inside an O’Neill cylinder (space station)
When the ball is in flight, the rotation of the space station has no effect on it, which is a problem with the way people understand artificial gravity.  It moves in a straight line but appears to curve because of the motion of the station.
What would be interesting would be baseball batting cages: pitching and hitting home runs in an O’Neill stadium. Bryce Harper could set up a lab in his Las Vegas home before a Super Bowl party on Facebook Live.  Not sure how well NFL football would work, either.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

"Fantastic Quaternions": how a mathematical algebra generates the particles and forces of physics, and even the (libertarian) moral idea of "personal responsibility"

The YouTube site NumberPhile (in the UK) offers a video explaining the mathematical basis of elementary particles in physics. It’s “Fantastic Quaternions” with Dr. James Grime.

The quaternion is a number system with four dimensions that extends what we normally call complex numbers (based on two). It is possible to define consistent operations and form an algebra.  The rules, as with complex, correspond to the way trigonometric functions work when moving objects in a lattice. In fact, Grime says that a “complex number” really should have been called a “compound number”.'

It isn’t possible to define an algebra with just three dimensions.  On the other hand, there  is also an octonion, which generalizes somewhat for eight dimensions but some properties (like commutative law) get lost. The octonion corresponds to the perfect “crystal” in space-time, and can be projected onto a quaternion without loss of information, leading to a “quasi-crystal”.  But projection onto three spatial dimensions requires a fourth dimension that requires honoring a causality concept – time.  That is said to require sentient consciousness, that can make choices and be held morally responsible for choices that change the information content in the lattice – because the causality aspect of time is irreversible.

OK, this doesn’t all quite explain the personality of Donald Trump, or of me, for that matter.  But it’s a good start.

The operations of quaternions correspond to the behaviors of various sub-atomic particles. They also help explain the forces in nature (weak and strong forces especially).  Yet in the past there have been proposals for “weakless” universes, which could be more stable.

The octonion (8 dimensions) raises a question: does any lattice generating an "algebra" need to be based on a number of dimensions that is an integer power of 2?  Probably, but I won’t look for a proof right now.
When I was a graduate student in mathematics in the 1960s at KU, real analysis and complex analysis were separate year-long courses.  The Liouville Theorem got asked about in my Master’s orals in Jan. 1968.  I don’t recall quaternions being mentioned then.  The algebra portion of the degree included groups, rings, and fields.  The idea of a one-dimension space(reals) has political significance, because it can be well-ordered (like people being “right-sized”, which the Chinese want to do with their social credit score – something we’ll come back to later).

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

"Left, or Liberal?" Prager says liberals should fear the Left more than the Right

“Left or Liberal?”  This little animated short by Dennis Prager at “Prager U” popped up this morning in a Quora post
The “Left” as Prager characterizes it, has pretty much turned into Marxism and identarianism, and group-think.
“Liberals” should fear the Left a lot more than the Right.
He notes that the “Left” regards hate speech as anything that contradicts the aims of their oppressed intersectional groups, when viewed as groups.
David Brooks speaks to these concerns with his New York Times piece “Liberal Parents, Radical Children”, on Nov. 26. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

"A Handshake": two young meet in a school, and one has fantasies about the other

A Handshake” or “Une poignee de mains” by Guillaume Chep, a micro male LGBT film. .

In a boarding school in France, two young men, Baptiste and Leto, meet.  Baptiste goes on an alternative reality daydream of a romance that might happen. 

Does Leto suspect?
The film (very short) is from Queerbick.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

"What Is Reality?" from Quantum Gravity Research and Emergence Theory

What Is Reality?” from Quantum Gravity Research (and Emergence Theory) in Los Angeles.  Marion Kerr hosts, David Jakubovic directs, from Mad Machine Films. 

The universe is imagined in terms of “crystals” and projections of quasi-crystals from 8 dimensions to 4 and then to 3.

Space-time is organized into pixels of tetrahedrons.  Consciousness makes the choice of the state of any pixel which affects other pixels (karma).

Reality is information.

Consciousness is necessary.

“All time exists all the time.”  And “Richard Harmon is the greatest of all time” (as per Timo Descamps after that famous sprint race.)  “Of all time”.  Timo says it twice.  In fact, “Judas Kiss” (June 4, 2011), as I remember, had some abstract physics and causal time-loops built into the plot.
Our universe may be a simulation in another quantum computer – “The Matrix”. 

To solve jigsaw puzzles, you start with "ends and corners". 

Friday, November 23, 2018

"Viper Club" deals with critical issue of citizens' paying private ransom to overseas terrorists; I missed the brief theatrical run

It looks like I missed Roadside Attraction’s theatrical release of “Viper Club” on Oct. 26, produced in partnership with Google's YouTube films. 

It appears to have played in few theaters and not for long, according to this Washington Post review by Alan Zilberman.

The film is directed by Maryam Keshavarz and written with Jonathan Mastro. 

But the point of the plot is important. Susan Sarandon plays an emergency room nurse Helen whose journalist  son (Julian Morris) has been captured in Syria.

The United States does not pay ransom to terrorists, and it is illegal for American family members to pay ransom or raise money in these circumstances.  The film trailer says that anyone who contributed to such an effort could be prosecuted.

However, according to various stories, like this one on US News by David Jackson and Kevin Johnson in June 2015, Obama cleared the way for legal private payments in these circumstances in 2015.  

It would be very difficult for a private citizen to be approached to contribute such an effort.  Yet, I personally know journalists who work overseas.  I wonder how I would react.  That’s why I regret overlooking this film when it first came out.
There seems to be one probably illegal copy on YouTube now.  YouTube plans to release it for purchase or rental (legally) in early 2019.  Netflix will save the DVD (probably LionsGate) but has no release date.  It would be desirable for this film to be released “legally” online as soon as possible, right after any brief theatrical runs, because the subject matter is so critical.

I will see the film as soon as it is properly available again, and do a full review on Wordpress then.
Wikipedia picture attribution:
By Qasioun News Agency - Damascus: Part Of The Running Battles In Qaboon Neighborhood 29-4-2017, CC BY 3.0,

Thursday, November 22, 2018

"Alpha Males": among humans, not the same as among lions and wolves

Contra Points (Patreon) offers the funny satire documentary “Alpha Males” (13 minutes).

A slender man (literally) and very smooth, presents the argument, referring to the Golden One, Nordic of course.

The video then paraphrases “alpha male” ideology, as something that arises with frustrated men low on social hierarchies. It builds up the “rationalized” thought patterns that eventually subsume white supremacy and Neo-Nazism, and shows how under certain political situations it become very dangerous if too many men really believe it.
The video uses the music of Mendelssohn (Fingal’s Cave) and Rossini and quotes Shakespeare, and looks slick with the occasional animation (including BW photos of Auschwitz). The video also explains who anti-Semitism is connected to anti-elitism. The video sometimes does use graphic language, in satirical mode.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"A Beginner's Guide to Lucid Dreaming"

Here is Ivan Moe’s short animated film “A Beginner’s Guide to Lucid Dreaming”.

It seems there are several ways for the individual to manage lucid dreams.  It is possible to have an intimate encounter with someone probably unavailable in real life, but it is very difficult to “choose” a particular person at will.

The filmmaker encourages keeping a private diary of the dreams.

It is possible to slip into lucid dreaming when napping during the day.

It is also possible to encounter paralysis in a deep lucid dream, as at the end of the night. The situation may seem illogical, such as the power being out in some rooms but not others. One may feel one is on a spaceship.  It is conceivable that some of these events can end in death, if you can’t wake yourself from an imprisoning situation.

Time seems to expand during a lucid dream.
But the young man, Jared Loughner, who shot Gabbie Giffords in Tucson, AZ on Jan. 8, 2011 was obsessed with lucid dreams (story by RyanHurd)

Monday, November 19, 2018

Kate Julian's microfilm, "The Sex Recession"

The Sex Recession: For Better or Worse”, by Kate Julian, very short animated film.

The reason young adults have less sex (and so for older adults): the Internet.

People are also dating less (with the intention of marriage and kids).

Fantasy can be more satisfying as an alternate reality, even in dreams.  What used to be viewed as a legitimate approach might be viewed today as sexual harassment.

Yup, this can drive down the birth rate and exacerbate the eldercare crisis eventually.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

"Face/Off": 90s sci-fi film predicts today's face transplant technology

Face/Off” (1997, summer) is a bizarre science fiction film (Paramount), directed by John Woo, where the hero Sean Archer (John Travolta) has his face replaced with a transplant from arch enemy Castor Troy (Nicholas Cage), who has killed Sean’s son.
But Troy regains consciousness and soon the masked enemy is threatening to destroy LA.

The film was mentioned in an ABC 20-20 episode regarding a face transplant to a young man who had survived a suicide attempt by shotgun.

Friday, November 16, 2018

"Rising" from the Ad-Council: "Why does it take a disaster to bring us together?"

David Nutter’s short film “Rising” (11 min. written by Lena Waithe) and sponsored by the Ad Council channel, was advertised in the New York Times Thursday, link

The tagline is “Why does it take a disaster to bring us together?”

The film shows a Muslim family being rescued from a flood that might have referred to Hurricane Harvey in Houston in 2017. 
The Ad Council has a number of other very short films on its YouTube channel.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

"Ant Head": new set-piece horror short film by David Lynch

So there is a lot of buzz about a new short film in black and white from David Lynch, called “Ant Head”.

At 13 minutes, the film comprises a head of cheese with ants swarming on it. At about 8 minutes, the film goes negative, and a voice starts describing the mayhem inflicted by the ants, including flaying a man. The film goes into the head at the end.

The only characters – living souls, as my dad would have said – are ants.

The background of the still shot has catenary power wires above a commuter railroad. 

The film was posted by Sacred Bones Records and features a hyper percussive music score by Thought Gang, with “Frank 2000” and “Woodcutters” from Fiery Ships.  Angelo Badalamenti collaborated.
There is a writeup online by Andrew Todd.

 Of course, the title reminds one of "Eraser Head" (1979).  In heaven, everything is fine. Remember the Lady in the Radiator? 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"What Alien Life on Other Planets Would Look Like": do we care that they look like us?

What Alien Life on Other Planets Would Look Like” from “Be Amazed” (12 minutes).

Well, not like Mark Zuckerberg.

Two of the most interesting ideas were “energy beings” inside stars, formed by nuclear molecules created by the strong force.  I think there was a horror film in the 1950s where lightning is alive.

Another idea is that carbon dioxide becomes a super-critical fluid at high pressure and could support earth-like (deep inside volcanoes) bacteria on dry planets.

The film thinks creatures could fly in the atmospheres of gas giants or brown dwarfs.
Convergent evolution suggests that a planet really similar to Earth could develop similar creatures.
So could your super Clark Kent teen alien really come from another planet through a worm hole?
But do we really care what he looks like if this is possible?  We want him to be a better version of us.    
You can still theorize that angels are aliens, or that Jesus was one. 

Note: the was an announcement of the discovery of a cold dry planet around Barnard's Star, 6 light years away, a red dwarf. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"When Humanity Becomes a Spacefaring Civilization": Will Mars become "The New World"?

When Humanity Becomes a Spacefaring Civilization”, by Computing Forever, is worth a look. A bit of a right-wing outlook, however. 

The speaker scoffs at treaties that claim that the entire solar system or even universe belongs to humanity.  He says that eventually a country (where from Earth or an alien planet or solar system light years away) that lands on another planet (even Moon) and can defend it will be able to claim legal title.
He also parallels the political process of colonization of the Moon and other planets (especially Mars) to the New World.  Living on Mars after terraforming, people will change physiologically in low gravity and simply become different. This could lead to new kinds of controversies parallel to those about race today.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

"The New Politics": sci-fi short: what if your "alien" lover is a hologram and you don't even suspect it?

Joshua Wong presents Aleisha Rose as the heroine in a Dust sci-fi short film, “The New Politics”. Some of my Facebook friends say they want a break from politics now, for spiritual renewal.

Aleisha plays Zara, who is preparing for combat in the People’s games.  She can grow her clothes on her body and even her wristwatch or fitbit.

She doesn’t know she is a hologram and a character in a real human’s video games.

Of course, if she were a white male, it could be interesting, especially if “he” could teleport himself around the way Clark Kent does.  Lose the metal wristband watch. A mockingbird will get named after you.
What if your boyfriend were a hologram and you didn’t know.  Let “Next Door Mates” do a film on that theme.

Friday, November 09, 2018

"We Are Not Alone": Is Oumuamua a spaceship from a dead alien civilization?

We Are Not Alone”,  Is Oumuamua an alien space ship?  Is the civilization that could have sent it still around? 

Clixroom presents an interview with a Harvard professor.

Interesting facts:  It accelerates more than the Sun can account for;  it has a constant spin so it is not outgassing like a comet.  It has the reflectivity of a light sail.

But we did not get signals from the objec
The professor suggest we look for planets with dead civilizations.

The object seems to have come from an M-star, which may be one of the more stable ones without excess variation in solar radiation.  Such a star’s planets would be tidally locked.  That suggests such a planet would have been inhabited as a satellite civilization from somewhere else, a premise of Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” (2012).

Wikipedia attribution link for gif by nagualdesign, CCSA 4.0. 

Thursday, November 08, 2018

"The Black Hole", from Dust films, convenient tool for burglars

Napoleon Ryan stars in the “super short” film “The Black Hole” directed by Phil and Olly, from Dust films, sci-fi for binge watching (and too much screen time, as my iPhone now keeps track of).

I can remember in the early 1980s that proficiency with xerox machines for presentations and walkthroughs was an important part of the workplace.  The name of this film could be an unfortunate pun.

The protagonist prints a dark spot with what looks like and all-in-one printer. He finds it an effective burglary tool, and it doesn’t remove any body hair when he sticks his arm through it.  But it can remove him altogether.  He’ll never create Napoleon Dynamite’s dance moves.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

"Straight A": In Japan, a gay college student with an American boyfriend must come out to his "ancestral" father

Todd Lien directs a short film “Straight A”.

In what appears to be a home in Japan, a college undergraduate boy has a rather athletic white American boyfriend, Kyle.

The boy’s father is still concerned about the family’s bloodline and has trouble accepting what is going on.

The father says he wants to be a friend of his son, like Kyle.

The dialogue between father and son is in Japanese with subtitles.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Copyright Office allows more filmmakers important DMCA exemptions, a welcome development

The Copyright Office has interpreted copyright law in a way favorable to most filmmakers.

Now the exemption to DMCA circumvention prohibitions allowed only to documentary filmmakers, will be allowed to all filmmakers, as long as the intention transformative, such as parody or to demonstrate historically significant information.

Techdirt has the story by Timothy Geigner here.  I would expect to see Electronic Frontier Foundation comment soon. 

Thursday, November 01, 2018

"Wherever You Are": In rural England, a grieving father looks for the companion of his deceased son

Gabirel Varita and Joan Montinenos direct “Wherever You Are

In rural Britain, a grieving father (Guy Hargreaves) looks for the boyfriend of his deceased son. He uses an old ring rotary phone, so this film looks set in the past a few decades.

He is often riding trains, but there are many flashbacks where he and his son play with toy Thomas trains.
The film won awards at the Shropshire Film Fesitval.