Sunday, November 17, 2019

"What If We Could Build Wormholes?" Maybe the Lorentzian model is possible


“Unveiled” on YouTube has some videos about wormholes, and a good introduction is “What If We Could Build Wormholes?


The video explains the difference between Lorentzian and Euclidean wormhole.  The former is considered more likely to be possible to build in the future (and later we’ll look at a video on building one).

The technology could be like an Internet on steroids, but capable of moving people among various nodes, and it offers limited time travel, back to when the nodes were set up.

Mankind probably has a few hundred million years to do this before natural global warming (from the Sun getting hotter, not just human activity now) makes the Earth uninhabitable.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

"Masked": short film from Australia festival circuit on a female-to-male trans teenager



Masked” (15 min, from Momentum Films) is a short film (15 min) from Australia, about a trans teenager Zoe (Kelsie Schultz) who wants to transition from female to male.


A birthday arrives, and her mother still thinks this is something she will outgrow.  On social media, she gets some brutal messages (“you can’t make it as either”).  She already wears a patch on her wrist.

Some contemporary friends seem more supportive.

The film is directed by Michael Jay Haredinge and Jay Beckenleg.
  
The short has been aired in a trans film festival (it premiered in January 2019).

Friday, November 15, 2019

"Shisak": India's first silent gay film



Shisak”, by Faraz Arif Ansari, bills itself as “India’s First Silent LGBTQ Love Story”. There are no words.


The film says it is commemorating the final decriminalization of sodomy in India, where homosexuality is very much a taboo, still.

A young man, maybe 20, keeps playing eye candy with a well dressed business executive on repeated commuter train trips. 

Somehow this film (15 min) reminds me of Alfred Hitchock's "Strangers on a Train" (the opening, with the footsie playing). 
  
Will they ever meet?
Wikipedia: By Nikhil B - Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link

Thursday, November 14, 2019

"Fracture": Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins faced off in 2007 crime film


Recently I reviewed “Fractured” on a Wordpress blog about a broken reality experience associated with an accidental death.  But there is a 2007 movie called “Fracture”, directed by Gregory Hoblit, based on a story by Gregory Pyne, from New Line Cinema.  It turns out I had seen it then and reviewed it briefly on a legacy site.


Anthony Hopkins plays Ted Crawford, a structural engineer, who discovers his wife is in an affair with a cop (Billy Burke), and shoots her (Embeth Davidtz).

  
Crawford matches wits with a rising prosecutor Willy Beachum (Ted Crawford), and even tries to represent himself.  Beachum is trying to move into civilian corporate practice.  Crawford gets himself off on a technicality, but later becomes involved with taking his wife off life-support, losing his right to protection from double jeopardy.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

"Bad Boy's Group Session": Screenwriting lessons for gay comedy?


Artie O’Daly has a series of short films called “Bad Boy”, whose subject matter seems elusive.


Film #10 (like a Symphony #10) is called “Bad Boy's Group Session”.  An African-American woman counsels a young screenwriter (think “Adaptation” with Nicholas Cage playing twin screenwriters) in a group session with other characters, including another guy who is the screenwriter’s would-be boy friend.

There is a lot of word salad, with some alliterations, puns and metaphors, one referring to the scene in “Fargo” where one of the villains falls into a wood chipper (making an ending "piece-ful"). 

But the idea here seems to be that the writers have to come up with what will really sell to agents. Comedy writing for series is very hard.

I remember that a guy in Minneapolis had a script called "I Hate Speed-dating".  I heard a table reading of it in 2003.  (Remember the Jungle Theater, near Lake Street.)  This film reminded me of "Brent". 

Monday, November 11, 2019

"What Would You See Staring at a Black Hole?" (or entering a really large one, if you want to commute among universes)


Riddle has an interesting speculative experience, “What Would You See Staring at a Black Hole?
  
  
Some of the video explores the ideas of the movie “Interstellar” (Nov. 2014).
  
The video maintains that if you entered a very large black hole, like at the center of a particular galaxy 50 million light years away, you might not experience much. Time would slow down.
An observer would see you spaghettified and burned to ashes (maybe by heat from Hawking radiation), but a separate quantum copy of you would exist inside the black hole.
  
As long as the same observer didn’t see both this doesn’t contradict reality (at 7:00).  
  
Once you reach the singularity, you might be expelled to another universe through a white hole.
   
Theoretically, you could live there and then return here from a black hole in that universe.  But it might take so long that Earth would be long gone as the Sun had lived out his life and become a red giant (think about climate change then). But if somehow you could speed the process up, conceivably you could commute between universes and seem like an “alien” with your supernatural abilities, even to your friends.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

"Me, Myself and I: Dissociative Personality Disorder": can one person house multiple point-of-view identities?


SciShow Psych presents “Me, Myself and I: Dissociative Personality Disorder” (DID)


The speaker mentios Ed Norton (“Fight Club”) and Jim Carrey (“Split”) as way off the mark.

There is a confusion with “borderline personality disorder”.

Does the mind really harbor separate point-of-view identities?  Possible, but probably not always. 

This used to be called multiple personality disorder;  it’s not the same as schizophrenia.
   
Todd Grande explains the controversy over “Trauma or Iatrogenic”.  

Saturday, November 09, 2019

"No Safe Spaces": new documentary on erosion of free speech on campuses and in big Tech as Marcuse-like ideas become popular in some young adults


No Safe Spaces: You Have the Right to Remain Silent”, is a new documentary about the “cancel culture” and erosion of free speech on campuses, particularly.  It started limited theatrical release on Oct. 25, 2019.


The film is directed by Justin Folk and written by John Sullivan.

Adam Carolla, Dennis Prager, and Jordan Peterson appear.

Carolla appeared on Smerconish on Saturday, Nov. 9 and discussed today’s young adults as having inappropriate self-concept and lack of respect for the idea that they should prove themselves in life, the way “we” are used to the idea. That is true with some people, but certainly not at the very top of students. Carolla expressed concern that this "right not to be offended" view was metastisizing to tech companies. The lack of free expression defeats the purpose of a university. 

Some students (like in March for our Lives) may have very “progressive” policies on some issues like gun control but don’t try to interfere with the online speech of other individuals.

You can “demand” that the movie be shown in your city if it hasn’t yet with this form.   I have done this myself.

Note video "Adam Corolla's White Privilege". 

Friday, November 08, 2019

"2019 Green Race Hightlight Reel": kayaking, from the Andraka brothers, a fall break from work and grad school


For today, a real treat and something unusual.  Here is the “2019 Green Race Highlight Reel” (Vimeo) for a recent kayaking whitewater race apparently near Saluda, NC.


Luke Andraka (Jack’s brother – Jack is known for his new test for pancreatic cancer as in the “Science Fair” movie) appears and is shown at times.  I believe Jack is in here once, and apparently raced in Europe (Croatia) last summer.

The company that markets this race is “Amongstit” and has an odd link, “Stop making videos”, where it urges organizers to do other things besides produce content.

But this is a spectacular 16 minute short film (many shots of the narrows crowded with spectators), and could well be good festival material, maybe for DC Shorts next year.  

The picture above is near Brown Mountain, my trip, 2016

Thursday, November 07, 2019

"Swimming While Black": why PoC kids don't learn to swim even today


Swimming While Black: Why So Many Black People in the U.S. Can’t Swim”, from Al Jazeera (Qatar, yes).


While leisure time increased after WWII, prevailing attitudes feared men and women of different races meeting in an intimate space.  Other problems, including segregation and the remants of Jim Crow laws, kept pools segregated.

An incident in the 1960s, where acid was thrown into a pool, may have helped prompt the Civil Rights Act.

In the 1970s, especially in some larger cities in the South, white flight to distant suburbs increased, and suburban communities had private clubs for pools that could restrict access.

A woman in South Carolina, Genesis Holmes, vowed to change this after a drowning in 2014, with a Generis Project to bring swimming lessons to her small town.

I did not learn to swim as a boy.  My father tried to get me to at a local pool in Arlington VA when I was a teen.  In PE in high school, we did not have a pool in 1961 so you didn’t have to pass swimming in high school.  You did in college, and I managed to dogpaddle across a YMCA pool (at GWU) but somehow lost the skill later.
  
Private pools were not common in the 50s when I grew up, but a friend in Falls Church had one.
One friend told me that at Duke, she was expected to pass a water survival course and stay afloat for an hour. 

In competitive swimming, shaving down and peaking would curiously be a psychological issue for only white swimmers. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

"Better Left Unsaid": documentary in progress, interviews Norm Chomsky (and he is asked to comment on Jordan Peterson)



“Better Left Unsaid”, a film in progress, interviews Noam Chomsky.


He talks about Jordan Peterson, Post-Modernism, Foucault, and Ali – and the changes in the Left, away from classical liberalism now to identity politics and intersectionality. He sees Peterson is on the far right. He seems to have some interest in leftist anarchy (like NonCompete channel’s).

Ironically, he says, however, the most extreme from of identity politics is white nationalism. 

The Right, he says, is committed to destroying human life.

The talks about concepts like “bureaucratic affinity”.

He also says that the typical hourly workplace is more oppressive than political authoritarianism, since it regiments the individual practically into slavery. Yet a Maoist would want everyone to have to take his turn at this.

Chomsky is now 90 and lives in Arizona.

At the end he is asked “did you clean your room?”

The film is to be directed by Curt Jaimungal and there is an Indiegogo funding page here

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

"Decade of Fire": a documentary of the redlining and subsequent burning of the South Bronx in New York City in the 1970s.


Decade of Fire” (2019), directed by Gretchen Hildebran and Vivian Vazquez, documents the history of the failure and gradual burning of the South Bronx in New York City, most of all in the 1970s.
  

A 60-minute abridgement of the 76 minute film aired Monday November 4 on PBS Independent Lens.
  
The official link is here or PBS
  
I can remember an Amtrak ride back from Boston that gave a complete tour of the burned out area back in 1975 (after seeing a baseball game in Fenway).

The film depicts a fire not far from Yankee Stadium during the 1977 World Series with the Dodgers.

The problem started in the 1930s with deliberate (anti-black and anti-Latino) redlining by banks, leading to a corrupt system where landlords had a perverse incentive to neglect buildings, often not having heat and running water.

Also, the buildings were poorly wired, and as residents bought more modern devices, they could not hold the load.

By the early 70s it became common to let buildings burn as part of insurance fraud.  NYC endured its financial crisis in the 1970s, with the famous “Ford to City, Drop Dead” when I lived there (1974-1978).
  
Now there is a problem that gentrification and rehab is chasing poor people out.

Monday, November 04, 2019

"Are You a Robot?!?" A captcha comes alive


A lighter film for today.

Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell’s “Are You a Robot?!?


Sometimes those captcha’s come out of your computer.

Why do companies make the target items so hard to see?

On the other hand, why do some security experts say captcha’s don’t work?
  
The next film could be, is my robot conscious of itself? 

When I was in the Army (1969), I was called "chickenman", and the short film would be "Are You a Rooster?!?"   That could make a short film. 

Sunday, November 03, 2019

"First Week of Medical School": diary vlog


Here is “KharmaMedic” and “First Week of Medical School Vlog”.

Kharma start out his third year of medical school in London, which means he would become a doctor under the National Health System if he stays in Britain.


His video filming style is similar to that of John Fish.

He really has quite a high tech setup in his apartment in a London flat, with a wide screen presenting the lecture video and various slides and text notes.

It’s easier to attend lectures remotely in the library than in person.  

Occasionally I find a “day in the life of …” type of video interesting, to see what others go through.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

"Jordan Peterson: Truth in a Time of Chaos": 2018 featurette with a long interview of the controversial Canadian psychologist


Jordan Peterson: Truth in a Time of Chaos” (2018), 50 minutes, presented by Rebel Wisdom, a UK-based media group that focuses on psychology, growth, and society.


Jonathan Pageau (is he from Britain or from Quebec?) directs the film and comes to Peterson’s suburban Toronto home in the fall to interview him, after Peterson has been challenged by “students” at the airport because he won’t yield to their demands on being willing to use gender-neutral pronouns.

There is a newer film “The Rise of Jordan Peterson” (2019), which is controversial and caused protests where it has been screened and is now on Amazon.  I expect to review it soon on Wordpress.
  
Peterson starts with the premise that self-interest is natural, and even some degree of psychopathy may be natural.  Most people are potential “losers” or helpless people born into difficult circumstances and know they will die.  But it is nevertheless everyone’s personal responsibility to overcome this impulse toward nihilism and fix their own lives (rather than count on recruiting others to solidarity with neutering the past, even though the past has summarized into systematic inequality).  
He has no objection to people’s own differences and their handling them personally their own way, even trans.  He says he has a problem with making an ideology out of using it to control other people or extract group revenge for the collective sins of the past.

He mentions the corruption of our idea of logos, and the idea of “the shadow” in horror films.

He also mentions the idea that masculinity itself is under attack.
  
He also echoes the idea that “all learning is remembering”, which sounds like something I said in high school senior AP chemistry class in January 1961, “all learning is memorizing”, and the class gasped.  The Inauguration Day blizzard as to arrive shortly.

Friday, November 01, 2019

"The AIDS Virus: Patient Zero", short documents the terrifying early history of AIDS which older generations remember


“1985: The AIDS Virus: Patient Zero” (2016) from the Documentary Channel, 8 min, tries to trace the origin of HIV (or HTLV-III) and the AIDS epidemic among gay men in North America.  The first cases of Kaposi’s Sarcoma, and then Pneumocystis pneumonia, in this cohort were documented in the press from the CDC in the summer of 1981.



People today don’t remember what things were really like then.  The number of reported cases was doubling every six months. By the mid 1980s, people whom I knew personally in Dallas were showing up in forums with forearms shaved from a couple weeks of IV mainly for pneumocystis.

Politically and prospectively, the consequences seemed dire.  Reagan at first was indifferent (although the cause was announced in the spring of 1984 and a test in 1985 – with activists retorting “don’t take the test”). In Texas, as early as the spring of 1983, a very dire anti-gay extension of the sodomy law was proposed on the theory that the gay population could incubate a disease the speculatively might be spread by insects later (mentioned in the documentary).  Even the New York Native, Charles Ortleb’s paper, played up the Plum Island and arbovirus theory. Fortunately it didn’t go that way.

The film focuses on the history of an Air Canada flight attendant, Gaetan Dugas, said to have had over 2000 sexual partners in the few years preceding, who would get KS.

There was some theory that the virus came into the US in the summer of 1976, when “The Tall Ships” (which I attended) celebrated the 200th anniversary of the US in July on the Independence Day week.

Randy Shilts had documented these theories in his book “And the Band Played On” which became an HBO documentary. Later “The Normal Heart” became a major film and play.

Today, protease inhibitors and PrEP have hidden the disease from sight among more prosperous gay men (usually white or Asian) and the disease disproportionately targets remaining POC.

Health insurance funding for these treatments could be a political issue with “Obamacare” reform, and public health concerns leads us to hope that they are covered.

But there are theories that AIDS may have occurred sporadically as early as the 1950s or even 1920s, but never ignited (in times of more strict social mores).  But it is also true that it exploded in low-income heterosexual populations in Africa in the early 1980s, and was spread by untested blood transfusions and by the birth process.

It is thought that the virus might have spread from primates to humans in Africa in remote country by eating infected primate meat, which would not be acceptable in advanced countries today (New Scientist).

A 2014 article in the New Republic examines why the virus hit American gay men so hard in the early 80s.

But personally the real kicker is that, on December 9, 1960, one of the other Science Honor Society speakers (in my own basement) discussed “lysing leucocytes” in a project that seemed prescient in announcing that a disease like AIDS would some day appear.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

"Do We Live in a Multiverse?" (The Economist, 2015)


Here’s a short from 2015 from The Economist: “Do We Live in a Multiverse?



The video (9 min) presents the theories of MIT professor Max Tegmark.

Space continues to expand, so we can see about 42 billion light years right now from Hubble. 

There are four possible types of multiverse.

The first is simply that space keeps expanding wherever there is minimal gravity (or enough dark energy).

The second is that it breaks off into “pocket universes”, each of which can have its own laws of physics. We happen to live, according to the “anthropic principle”, in a universe where life can work.  It might be that the pocket universes all satisfy different expressions of string theory.

The third is one where universes are separated by time, and where reality may fork off into new universes, and that we personally might progress through them without realizing it.  

The last is simply the “mathematical multiverse”.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

"Silicon-Based Alien Life"


The “What-If” and “Curiosity Stream” channel posit “What If Life Was Silicon-Based?

  
The video (5 min) suggests this may exist specifically on Titan, but then it says it would need to be deep within a planet’s crust where it is hot enough, so that could be any planet.

Silicon, it says, can form long polymers.  But oxygen converts it to rock (unlike the chemically similar carbon, its oxide is solid – sand).  More apt is that silicon, in our minds, is connected to robotics and artificial intelligence, which theoretically might house consciousness, which is more than just “autonomy” but means choosing one’s own goals (the “unbalanced personality” issue). Remember HAL (== IBM) in “2001: A Space Odyssey”?, Oct. 4, 2009)

My science fair project in 1960, for which I gave a talk in my own basement in my Science Honor Society Initiation on Dec. 9, 1960, was about silicon-based life. I had tried some sort of experiment replacing carbon with silicon and it had something to do with acetylene.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

"The State of Denmark": Journeyman Pictures looks at the alt-right anti-immigration sentiment in one of Europe's most progressive countries


The State of Denmark: Understanding Denmark’s Growing Anti-Immigration Stance”, reported by Hamish MacDonald, from Journeyman Pictures, posted recently (28 min).
  

Hamish tours the country riding with a Turkish Muslim performer Ellie Jokar, and gradually uncovers the growing alt-right and anti-immigration sentiment in the country which has grown since 2014.
   
But some of it started back in 2005 with the Jyllands-Posten Cartoon Controversy

MacDonald interviews one woman who regrets the law not allowing her to wear a burqa in public.
He also interviews a Turkish woman who owns a wedding planning business for Muslims.  She has been in the country for forty years and fears being asked to leave.

MacDonald views a religious shrine called Bluestone from 965AD as a Christian symbol.

He also interviews a couple of rather tribal, right-wing politicians including Rasmus Paludan, who remains unapologetic about ethnic pride and separatism.
 
O, Hamish, one thing, please lose the shorts. 
I spent one evening in Copenhagen in July 1972 on vacation and got a bit soused on one Heineken in the amusement park.
  
Wikipedia attribution:
By kallerna - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Monday, October 28, 2019

"How Would Anarchism Work in Real Life?"





NonCompete, the channel of “American Johnson”, has a three part series (total about 40 minutes), “How Would Anarchism Work in Real Life?”, created in August 2018. 

His political model is combining communitarianism with “anarchism”.

  
The second video talks about the “individual” and the third talks about the military and security.
  
I think his idea is related a bit to income sharing.  I have discussed Twin Oaks in Virginia, which I visited for one Saturday afternoon tour in April 2012.
  
He sees society as organized into communes, founded on the idea of localism. Each community would have about 150 people and people could exert direct democracy through Borda counts or even sortition (like jury duty).  The communes would confederate into larger units but almost all government would be local.

He talks about problems of the nation state as coercive and to his credit talks about the draft and Selective Service.
  
He thinks that most criminal behavior in poor people happen because they have no incentive to follow the rules and have nothing to lose. He thinks crime pretty much goes away if you eliminate inequality.  Is this Utopian thinking?   He seems dismissive of the idea of individual ego. 

Unrepentent capitalists would still have to be segregated and "rehabilitated" humanely, without revenge. 

Society would ideally be moneyless, and jobs would rotate somewhat, and a typical workweek would be 20 hours or less.  (At Twin Oaks it is 42 hours, as of that visit).  Sloughing would result in some separation after basic needs were met and loss of all privileges. 
    
But I can imagine a young progressive president and Congress considering allowing autonomous communal self-government in income-sharing communities in the future, maybe by the 2030’s.  The localism would go along with dealing with climate change. Is that what a David Hogg or a Cameron Kasky might actually try to do?

Picture: warehouse for tofu products at Twin Oaks, my 2012 visit, in the middle of the property 10 miles SW of Mineral, VA. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

"People Eat Live Octopus!?" -- Bostwiki's own little horror movie


“People Eat Live Octopus!?  In Korean Culture?”  Bostwiki hand-embeds (from his MacBook) two different scenes of women trying to eat live octopus in South Korea.  This video by this journalist from Kansas (now with a major paper) counts as a “short film” in my book.


The second clip is quite graphic, as the octopus tries to choke the woman with its suckers.  It’s like a horror movie scene.  A few years ago, Reid Ewing had pointed out some similarly graphic video from Japan.

The octopus is a mollusk, an invertebrate, but it is thought to have the intelligence and problem-solving ability of a house cat.  Parts of its brain are distributed into the arms, so it’s hard to imagine what its POV consciousness is like.  People do eat live oysters in the US, also mollusks, but with much less apparent intelligence.

We can wonder about eating live lobsters or boiling them live in supermarkets.  Can arthropods be self-aware and feel pain?
   
There are videos showing a house cat confronting an octopus on a wharf, and the cat chases it so it dives into the water.  Most people when watching a video like that feel an affiliation with the cat, which has similar intelligence, because it is much closer to use biologically. We don’t see the cat as “alien” but we do the octopus.

Wikipedia attribution:

By Silke Baron - originally posted to Flickr as Veined Octopus - Amphioctopus Marginatus eating a Crab, CC BY 2.0, Link

Friday, October 25, 2019

"Why Did Every Dual Use Stadium Fail?" Symmetrical outfields are boring,



Why Did Every Dual Use Stadium (MLB, NFL) Fail?, from Five Points VIDS.


It's a geometry problem, The shapes of the fields are so different. Give it on a high school math final exam. 

The video points out that Oakland stadium is the last to become baseball only, and most of them have been demolished.
  
I thought that the symmetrical baseball outfields that became standard in the 1970s were boring.
  
In 2002, I “volunteered” or was employed, whatever, in fast food at three events at the old Metrodome in Minneapolis, which is now gone (US Bank for football, and Target Field for baseball two blocks from the Gay Nineties). I also went to a filmmaking audience party with Warner Brothers in Nov. 1997 to be an extra in “Major League 3”.
 
The video gives some interesting history of Camden Yards and MBanks stadiums in Baltimore, enabled by the Colts going to Indianapolis in the middle of the night in 1984. 

The video was sponsored by Manscape, which has also sponsored some videos by Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

"My Beautiful Laundrette": a semi-LGBTQ story from the 1980s and Britain, and comes to mind with "The Laundromat"



The appearance of Steven Soderbergh’s satire “The Laundromat” on Netflix (reviewed by me on Wordpress today) brings to mind an odd “gay” (or sorts) film from the mid 1980s, a British dramedy, “My Beautiful Laundrette”, by Stephen Frears, which I barely remember seeing in Dallas (maybe it was at the old Northtown Mall).  It was distributed by Orion and now the Criterion Collection. 
  
There’s a “queer” review of it from 2011, here


  

 The film concerns a young man Omar (Gordon Warnacke) of Pakastani descent, whose well-off uncle Nasser (his father, a journalist, has trouble with the bottle) hires him to run a parking garage and then a launderette (or laundromat machine bank, so familiar everywhere).  The uncle wants Omar to settle down and marry his daughter (is this a good idea biologically?)

The plot becomes complicated because Omar has a boyfriend Johnny who is also part of a “neo-fascist” Islamophobic gang, which attacks. 

  
The whole setup sounds ironic today – particularly since Britain has to deal with Tommy Robinson (whose very name Tim Pool says he cannot mention on his video channels without being banned).  Some of the concerns about terrorism and political upheaval were going on then, and they seem to get recycled all the time.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

"The Blob", 1958; it indeed crawled out of the woodwork (or from a spaceship)


Recently I promised an entry on this movie, “The Blob”. 

Steve McQueen led the high school bunny crowd back in 1958 for Paramount, as an amorphous life form (like a slime mold) consumers all in its path, including people.


I seem to remember a scene where it sits on a chair like a cat.

  
The idea of a siphonophore animal with little differentiation in internal tissue but still able to eat things, is rather fascinating.

There was a remake in 1988 (Cinedigm).

Monday, October 21, 2019

"Blowin' Up": a judge and team of attorneys try to minimize prosecution of sex workers in NYC, pre-FOSTA



Blowin’ Up”, directed and written by Stephanie Wang-Breal (94 min, 84 minutes shown), examines the attempt of some attorneys, social workers, and a sympathetic judge in Queens, to avoid prosecuting young women arrested for prosecution.

The documentary goes back to 2004 and shows many scenes with the judge, the honorable Toko Serita.

The attorneys all say they want to go after the pimps, studios, massage parlors, and later Internet operations that they say victimize young immigrant women.

Pimps often threaten to get young women deported if they don’t go along.


The film, completed in 2018 by Once in a Blue productions and aired (very slightly condensed) on PBS POV Oct. 21, doesn’t mention Backpage particularly, but it sounds in retrospect now like an argument for FOSTA-SESTA, which passed in April 2018, and which has arguably put many sex workers at risk but shuttering the sites that they depended on to avoid looking themselves on the streets.  Some of the workers are trans and usually POC. Many of the other women seem to be from China, Philippines or Vietnam.  Remember that FOSTA targets prostitution “alone”.

Late in the film, the judge visits her native Japan.

When she returns she learns of people who have been picked up by ICE and deported.
   
The PBS presentation of this Tribeca film was followed by a brief statement by the director.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

"The Information Paradox": it gets explained all kinds of different ways



Kurzgesagt explains “The Information Paradox”.


The subtext is “How black holes could delete the universe”.  Black holes have no hair, like they've been through laser epilation rituals. 

The narrator explains what “information is” – it makes matter useful by describing how it is arranged. Placing information on the event horizon of a black hole seems to resolve the information paradox, but would allow a little bit of it slip away in Hawking Radiation.
  
The information set of your life could be stored on an event horizon and give you a kind of immortality. Maybe letting the information escape in Hawking radiation would enable you to be reincarnated somewhere (in another being or maybe even a robot). Or maybe it really would end your immortality.

Friday, October 18, 2019

"Are You Smarter than a Slime Mold?" -- maybe a model for extraterrestrial life?


Are You Smarter than a Slime Mold?”, by “It’s Okay to Be Smart”.


Slime molds are usually composed of single-cell amoebas (eukaryotic) that have coalesced to find food, but they are capable of developing fruiting bodies and allowing some cells to sacrifice themselves, called “altruism”.

Actually, there is more than one type of organization. A “plasmodial” mold has a single membrane (multiple nuclei in one “cell”), or cellular.

There have been suggestions that extraterrestrial life is likely to use the slime mold model, and that a “paper thin” mold could live in Titan’s methane lakes (not sure what it would eat).
  
The movie “The Blob” will deserve a review soon.

Wikipedia attribution:    
By Siga - Own work, Public Domain, Link

Thursday, October 17, 2019

"Visualizing Quaternions" as quarks



Visualizing Quaternions with Stereographic Projection” (4d numbers)


3Blue1brown explains how the basic operations of quaternion algebra work in 4d space, in terms of sequences of multiple rotations.
   
It looks like I covered this topic on Nov. 28, 2018.  Quaternion algebra is important because it seems to correspond to how subatomic quarks work, and even explains the fundamental forces of nature.
Because there are several rotations inherent in one multiplication, the commutative law no longer applies.  It really doesn’t with quarks either.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

"Golden Boy": will high school football continue to be a ticket to success in life? (short film)


Bobby Pollack’s short film “Golden Boy” seems to be an over-extended tale of sibling rivalry.
   
When Evan (Dylan Rourke) is offered a football scholarship, others in his life seem unwilling to let go of him.


From Annabelle films, the short (15 minutes) appears to be set in Georgia. Evan seems to be a star student, so his own threatening behavior when drugs are found in his locker seems over the top.

But now people ask if football is putting young men at risk of concussion and disability later in life.

As for the film title, I remember a door sign that one lost autumn at William and Mary, "the golden genius". 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Video Portrait of an independent journalist, composed by a journalism student


Well, this is a real short film.  It, as a "Video Portrait", portrays “News2Share Editor-in-chief Ford Fischer”, filmed by journalism student Andrew Demeter.


Fischer explains the value to the public to see raw footage of conflict in public, not just ordinary protest marches but sometimes violent protests and disorder, such as what occurred in Washington DC on Trump’s Inauguration Day, or in France with the Yellow Vest protests, or some of the Antifa confrontations.

Such journalism means some physical preparation for danger, including helmet, and hardy equipment. 
  
And right now, YouTube doesn’t seem willing to monetize it, even when it is neutral and shown for documentary purposes.

Monday, October 14, 2019

"Ordinary People" (1980) previewed today's concerns about mental health



I recall the film “Ordinary People” (1980, Paramount), directed by Robert Redford, particularly today because the title reminds me, at least, of a common term for “average joe” voters in a political world of populism.
   
  
But the film, which I think I saw at Northpark in Dallas in the fall of 1980, was quite popular with coworkers, and it’s an engaging story of how a teenage boy Conrad Jarrett (Timothy Hutton) has to work through several stages of therapy to deal with his misapplied guilt in dealing with the death of his older brother Buck (Scott Doebler) for which he blames himself.  
  

Judd Hirsch is the therapist (Berger) and the parents are played by Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore.

The film is set in an affluent suburb of Chicago.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

"Why Do Prime Numbers Make These Spirals?" -- does this affect the Universe?




Can math indeed become visual, as in “Why Do Prime Numbers Make These Spirals?


Here is a pretty math video from 3Blue1Brown, and merges number theory (of primes) with complex variables.

The idea is that you plot the points with a length of a prime number from the center, and a prime number of radians, and as you spread out, you get some predictable groupings of spirals at intervals.
  
The video also hits on a simple thing we learn in long division in grade school – remainders.

Friday, October 11, 2019

"Cat Opens Freezer and Gets Fish Fillets" and


This is not exactly a formal short film, just a short, “Cat Opens Freezer and Gets Fish Filets” (2011), from dolceluxy


The cat, sitting on a kitchen counter top, figures out how to open a freezing component of a typical refrigerator and get the fish fillets to fall to the floor.

I presume he understands that the fillets will thaw in warm air.

Here’s another video, where a house in a home in Germany opens five doors to let himself out.  He would not understand the concept of a key-locked door. 
  
When I lived in Dallas (1979), a stray cat would come and try to open the door to my apartment.  He recognized the sound of my car as I parked and would run to the right apartment on a second floor landing. 
  
Carnivores generally understand spatial relationships and that food can be behind something and be hidden from view (but not from smell).  That’s why campers have to keep food out of tents to keep it from bears.  As a mammal, if you hunt for a living, you have to be able to solve problems and have a point of view, which is why (beyond primates and cetaceans) carnivores generally have some of the intellectual aspects of people.  Cats are particularly aware of the possibility of beneficial relationships with other creatures, rather than eating them.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

"Screenagers" Two documentary films on the effect of "too much" screen time and social media on adolescents, still hard to see the films


ABC Good Morning America today mentioned the 70-minute documentary “Screenagers” (2016), directed, written and produced by Delaney Ruston. In 2019 there is a (franchise) sequel: “Screenagers Next Chapter: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience” (69 minutes).  I also see related books on Amazon but not the films.  There was a series of podcasts (one is on youtube) in 2015.  On YouTube I see trailers and interviews but no full movies.

Interested parties can request the film to arrange their own screenings. There is one in Annapolis, MD Oct 9 which is already sold out.  The film seems to have been produced in NYC and surrounding areas.

The filmmakers seem to have limited access to people who will actually organize others into screenings. I would expect to see the films available for normal rental on Amazon or YouTube, or perhaps on Netflix or Hulu, soon. As soon as I can see it or find it for rent I’ll review the full film on Wordpress.


The WQED “commentary” above (7 minutes) and Fox 5 interview (5 min) include the trailer and explain the film. 

There was an experiment with mice showing that when they are exposed in youth to electronic stimuli, they do not develop as many neurons related to normal cognition as do unexposed mice.  The trailer shows the cat scans. 

The trailers show a disconnect between families, which in good faith try to limit screen time, and schools, which teach technology (an English teacher actually taught a unit on “blogging” in 2006).  Pediatricians have long said that small children should not be exposed to the fast moving images of media until ages 2 or 3.

Teenagers who accomplish a lot (like Jack Andraka with his science fair pancreatic cancer test, or Taylor Wilson with his fusion reactor, usually have a strong footing in the physical world.  Jack and his older brother Luke (also very accomplished in environmental issues) compete in international kayaking events. Taylor is used to doing outdoor prospecting in caves and in the desert (in western states).  As kids, in the 1950s, we invented outdoor forms of baseball or softball that could be played with fewer people and actually built physical “stadiums”.  That’s easier in the Midwest where there is more land.

Monday, October 07, 2019

"America": Filial responsibility in Mexico after an elderly woman, neglected, falls (and someone goes to jail)



The film “America”, directed by Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside, was presented on PBS on Monday Oct. 7.  The 76-minute film (Lifelike Docs) was compressed to about 53 minutes.

“America” is the name of a 93-year-old grandmother in Colima, Mexico (on the southern Pacific coast, near a volcano), in the Serrano family.  One day, due to her oldest son’s negligence, she falls and is seriously injured and lies in her own excrement. The older grandson and brother takes care of her, but the youngest grandson returns from his own beach life to care for her.

The Mexican state prosecutes the father and the boys wait for the trial on a charge of neglect of an elder.  This charge is relatively uncommon in the U.S. but can happen. Judging from the film, the laws on eldercare in Mexico seem to be very strict. The older grandson was almost arrested.

The boys offer to take custody of her, as their dad is also a senior citizen.  He had been in jail for eight months.


The directors do a brief commentary, about young men showing intergenerational intimacy that may compromise their independence and sense of masculinity.

The link for the PBS trailer is here.  PBS did not offer a YouTube trailer. But it showed at a ReelAbilities film festival in NYC.

Wikipedia attribution link for p.d. picture 

Friday, October 04, 2019

"Planet 9 Is a Primordial Black Hole" (maybe, and it could be a secret to immortality of the soul)



Scientists Wonder If Planet 9 Might Be a Primordial Black Hole


Anton Petrov, on “Want da Math” explains that a black hole with the mass of our Moon left over from the Big Bang might have survived evaporation until now, and that Planet 9 in the Oort Cloud might be one. There is a microlensing effect and possibly a ring of dark matter.

Such a black hole could “store” digital information on souls on its surface.  And it would be much less than one light year away.  Could it be dangerous? 

Update:

Medium offers an interesting essay on what we learn about black holes, especially when they merge. by Ethan Siegel. 


Tuesday, October 01, 2019

"Could We Live on Mars?" (short)




“Could We Live on Mars?”, posted three months ago by Destiny.


The short gives a pretty good overview of the problems, mentioning that ironically Mars doesn’t have enough carbon dioxide in its surface for easy greenhouse warming.  The loss of the magnetic field four billion years ago to natural causes (quite different from Venus) is also a big problem (and common with exoplanets).

Nevertheless Elon Musk wants to have man living on Mars by 2050. His proposed Martian city looks like a circuitboard from the 1979 Disney film “Tron”.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

"The Billion Ant Mega Colony and the Biggest War on Earth": true solidarity



Kurzgesagt in a Nutshell (and “Curiosity Stream”) presents in animation “The Billion Ant Mega Colony and the Biggest War on Earth”.
   
   
The Argentine ant is very small but extremely fecund, with one queen for about every 120 workers.

Over time, genetic diversity causes new argentine colonies to compete with or “lowball” the old ones.  This has an important parallel for human society ("scabs"). 
        
But in some environments they don’t have enough competition and tend to produce supercolonies, which are rather like "nations". 
   
This video certain gives some credence to the idea of the group or colonial mind, solidarity and authoritarianism to the extreme.

Friday, September 27, 2019

"What Is There in Other Universes?"


“What Is There in Other Universes?” by Drexler Astral.


This isn’t the parallel universe idea.  It’s more just a challenge to our own sense of centrality, which keeps being disrupted by the next think we orbit. 

Drexler says there may be nothing in other universes our senses could detect.  Our universe seems described by quaternion algebra, which gives us subatomic particles and the forces.  But some mathematicians say a universe without the weak force is possible (“weakless”) which would mean no radioactivity, and be quite peaceful.