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. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

"Why We Might Be Alone in the Universe", and why we might not be forever


Why We Might Be Alone in the Universe”, a British short (24 minutes) by Cool Worlds, an examination of the “Rare Earth” hypothesis.


He talks about sextillions of stars in the Universe and multiples of planets thereof.

It all depends on the actual probabilities?

He can’t estimate the probability that a self-replicating system starts.
  
Of course if the universe lasts more trillions of years, there could me much more time for it to start again if it hasn’t.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

"Mickey and the Bear" will deal with filial responsibility when the parent is addicted


Mickey and the Bear”, directed by Annabelle Annatasio (83 min), was the other important film at the Maryland Film Festival that I missed due to schedules.

The protagonist Mickey Peck (Camila Morrone), 18, struggles with unelected family responsibility in her last year of high school, as she has to take care of her widower Iraq War veteran father, addicted and with PTSD, played by James Badge Dale.


She has her own goals of going to college on the West Coast, which her filial responsibility deprives her of. And her boyfriend (Ben Rosenfield) wants to get her pregnant.

The film was shot in Anaconda, MN, which I visited in 1981 (it snowed in May). 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

"Frances Ferguson" (preview, SXSW) seems an echo of my own dangerous script "The Sub"


While at the Maryland Film Festival in Baltimore yesterday, I noticed a writeup for a 75 minute black comedy called “Frances Ferguson”, directed by Austin-based Bob Byington.

The film concerns a female substitute teacher Frances (Kaley Wheless) who becomes infatuated with a physically mature student (Jake French), tries to set up a motel meeting, gets arrested, convicted, sent to prison and labeled a sex offender.
I missed the film (schedule conflict) and cannot a website or indication of availability, so I can only offer a preview. But because I had written a screenplay short around a similar concept that led to an incident in my own substitute teaching career in 2005, I want to see it.  For more details, please see the “Bill Boushka” blog, story on July 27, 2007.

The film, however, seems to have many differences from my concept.  Frances doesn’t even know what subject (biology) she is supposed to cover when she shows up.  Her behavior shows she is very apathetic to normal ideas of morality. The prison visit by her mother, shown in the trailer, seems to show that.

Ironically, however, she picks out her target after “teaching” natural selection in biology, a politically divisive idea in today’s polarized political climate.  She is also bored in her marriage (husband by Keith Poulson). She thinks normal marriage is a prison by itself.

I hope this little film shows up on Amazon soon. 

I’ll link to reviews by John DeFore (Hollywood Reporter) and Film Threat (Chris Gore) at SXSW in Austin in March 2019.


Friday, May 10, 2019

What do Marvel and Disney plan to follow the "Avengers Endgame" with?



There was no “preview” of a post-Avengers movie in the end-credits (reviewed on my Wordpress blog), but “Everything Always” predicts a permanent “Galactus” for "Phase 4".
   

There will be a differentiation between “earth” threats and “cosmic” threats.

EA talks about “branch reality” (even post infinity stones) as the only way to save ordinary humanity.
   
Marvel and Walt Disney Studios have too much going for them to let go of this.  There are always more plots.  But can “everyone” be saved, or only the most privileged? 

But at least this movie didn't end with a king-and-pawn ending and a stalemate.  Maybe the next movie will have a scene in one of Greenwich Village's little chess studios (or the Marshall Chess Club, which I visited in 2014). 

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

"To the Edge of the Universe in Under 50 Years" with constant acceleration and time dilation



Anton Pretrov examines “To the Edge of the Universe in Under 50 Years”?


The idea is a fuel supply that maintains constant acceleration of at least 1 g. The acceleration provides artificial gravity, which is better than a rotating cylinder. The longer it travels the more the time dilation.

So you can get to Mars in 30 days, to the middle of our galaxy in about 7 years your time , and the edge of the universe in 50 years (not allowing for space expansion). What you see ahead of you is blue-shifted and behind is red shifted.
  
This idea could allow selected astronauts to go very long distances to find another Earth when ours is uninhabitable – but who gets to go?

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

"Out of State": Hawaiian native men sent to a private prison in Arizona and rediscover their own roots


Ciara Lacy’s film “Out of State” was aired in abbreviated from on PBS Independent Lens on Monday, May 6.


The documentary traces the lives of some convicts from Hawaii shipped to privately owned and run prisons in Arizona.

Several of the men develop an interest in native dances and culture and envision new careers when they get out of jail, only to find that the programs they were counting on were cancelled when they return.
  
The men are heavily tattooed and aggressive, and from a culture that I personally have practically no communication with.

Wikipedia picture attribution: 
By Joe Parks from Berkeley, CA - Saguaro National Park, CC BY 2.0, Link

Monday, May 06, 2019

"10 Ways Alien Life Could Be Radically Different from Earth", by a known sci-fi author (Godier)


10 Ways Alien Life Could Be Radically Different from Earth's”, by John Michael Godier, a science fiction author.


The first example he gives is life with chemical makeup similar to DNA and RNA but different in chirality.  Our own chirality on Earth (as visible) may be the result of chance. Open up your college organic chemistry text to explain the concept. 

The talks about how photosynthesis would work on M-star planets, and says it might be based on retinol and be purple in color.

He also notes that on planets with very long seasons or ice ages, organisms could not simply hibernate but actually die and reanimate, maybe with new consciousness. There is a jellyfish on Earth that can revert back to “childhood” (like Benjamin Button)  and regenerate without reproduction.
He also talks about azotosome pseudo-cell membranes in worlds without oxygen.

He talks about “Snapchat”-like life on a neutron star (like the 80s novel “Mission of Gravity”).
He even says that plasma inside a star might be able to form reproductive structures, as plasma membranes have been observed.

He says that phosphorus is scarce in the universe (maybe explaining the Fermi paradox) and that arsenic is more common. Mono Lake in California may have arsenic-based bacteria.

He does explore the idea of silicon life (that was a high school science fair project for me in 1960).
Life could exist with RNA only.

He does focus particularly on Titan, which could have paper-like floating colony organisms analogous to our slime molds.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

"The Disembodied": B-movie from the 50s hints at a tantalizing male vulnerability


I can remember being tantalized by an old black-and-white movie series on Saturday nights in 1963, and one particular title was ‘The Disembodied” (1957), from Allied Artists, by Walter Grauman.


One interesting tidbit is that the series apparently got its name from the Pittsburgh Chiller Theater were supposedly it was shown.


A photographer (Paul Burke) gets involved in a jungle accident where a man is mauled by a tiger, and the party winds up in a “resort” where “voodoo queen” Tonda (Allison Hayes) is trying to entice men into losing their sense of identity and murder her scroogy husband (John Wen graf).

The 66-minute film is considered “bad”, but I seem to remember scenes were men would approach her and become aroused or tantalized by the prospect of their own destruction and physical 
desecration, as if they could be replaced by something else and remember who they had been. There was a line “she is voodoo queen” repeated with each man. 
   
The cast of the people in the house was said to be “diverse”.

Friday, May 03, 2019

"The Lie We Live" for the purposes only of corporations



The Lie We Live”, by Spencer Cathcart, Freshtactical.


We’re brought up to be obedient workers, but “to not make a difference”.

The big corporations own everything, for nothing.

In the end, a young man with an iPhone asks whether screens will save us or finish is.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

"The Library of Alexandria" on the Nile; how its fires set back human progress


The Library of Alexandria: The Crime that Set Human Civilization Back 1000 Years”, a video by “Bright Insight”.


In the ancient era, when Alexandria, at the mouth of the Nile (north  of Cairo) was the leading port city for ships to stop for trade, magistrates would go on board and confiscate scrolls, and copy them by hand, and put them in the library, and return copies to the ships.

About 700,000 scrolls were stored there at one time, until Julius Caesar started a fire that accidentally burned it down, and destroyed two thirds of the contents, around 47 BC.  There would be several more fires in the following centuries.  It was conquest and imperialism (a common crime in the eyes of the Left) that led to this catastrophe. 

The videographer argues that we might have created technological civilization hundreds of years sooner and be living in space now.  Or we could have destroyed ourselves with nuclear war or climate change sooner. 
  
Content that did survive included the theory of Euclidean geometry.

The tragedies of the library would seem comparable to an electromagnetic pulse attack on modern civilization by an enemy, or even a Carrington-sized solar storm hitting the Earth today.  We are not prepared for that.   

The title of the YouTube channel corresponds to a property of the Rosenfels idea of "psychologically feminine".
 
There is a related post on the Book Reviews blog about libraries today. 
  
Wikipedia attribution: By CarstenW - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11993530

Monday, April 29, 2019

"How Autism Feels: From the Inside": NY Times op-docs



New York Times Op-Docs presents a short film by Joris Debeij, “How Autism Feels: From the Inside”.


This seems to be filmed in Florida. The life of Jordan Kamnitzer, who works in retail but has few social interactions, but plays jazz piano well, is shown, as he befriends a woman with more severe autism.
  
Although Asperger syndrome is medically part of the autism spectrum, in practice it works very differently, especially in the tech workplace. James Damore considers himself somewhat autistic or Asperger-like (Quillette story), but what is different is separating himself from more collective, tribali expectations of behavior.  People with Asperger’s often communicate very clearly on matters outside of personal relationships, and seem charismatic when on their own home turf. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

"Cicada 3301: An Internet Mystery": bizarre treasure hunt seemed designed to assemble "smart people"



“Lemmino” has a short film “Cicada 3301: An Internet Mystery”, about a bizarre Internet treasure hunt – actually three of them, the first of which started in January 2012.


The treasure hunt consisted of problem-solving problems on 4chan, sometimes leading to obscure websites, some of them on the Dark Web, and making at least one physical trip to find an object with a QR code to be scanned (rather like a paper wallet for cryptocurrency).

Some of the clues were in some specific books, like “Self-Reliance” and “Liber Primus”.
  
It is unclear what the purpose of the exercise was, other than to assemble a team of super-smart people.

I remember that the old Howdy Doody show had a "treasure hunt" in the real (cartoon) world. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

"Is This Geometric Structure the Theory of Everything?", by Joe Scott (the Lie Group)


Joe Scott asks “Is This Geometric Structure the Theory of Everything?


OK, quantum gravity links general relativity to quantum mechanics, the large to the small.

Scott discusses a UCLA professor now in Hawaii who developed a theory of E8 Lie Groups, Octonions that when projected make a beautiful flower-like design. At all the nodes of this structure, every possible subatomic particle can be predicted, as well as its behavior.

He also explains God, of consciousness, which is necessary to perturb the smallest pixels in the structure to create a universe.

Living things come along, to oppose entropy, and look after the universe, because they can make choices.

Does a biological lineage give continuity to consciousness (vicarious immortality)?  Welcome to tribalism.  The idea of an infinite geometric structure gives the idea of immortality some meaning.

Wikipedia attribution link by Moxness, VVSA 3.0 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

"Bitcoin: Beyond the Bubble", documentary short gives the history of blockchain and cryptocurrency



Bitcoin: Beyond the Bubble” (Full Documentary), directed by Tim Delmastro, 35 minutes, with interviews and animation, from 100th Monkey Films, gives a lucid explanation of how Bitcoin and decentralized digital assets evolved.


The film starts out with a photo of Bretton Woods, NH, as it looked in 1944 when the world’s leading democracies set up the gold standard, which Richard Nixon dissolved on August 15, 1971, creating the concept of fiat money.  That’s odd, as it led to Nixon’s price controls, as I recall. 
But the dollar note, backed up with the gold reserve at Fort Knox, had always been the world’s “reserve currency”.  Porter Stansberry and even Ron Paul have said that removing that idea could lead to world financial collapse.

Digital currency is backed by the work it is done to create it, solving complex mathematical problems (akin to mining gold). The proof of value is stored on a decentralized but linked ledger called the blockchain. Therefore no government can meddle with its value.

Other “value” could be stored on the blockchain, such as Internet content, in danger of being taken down by censorship. In a sense that gives the content potential value convertible to tokens (“dark currency” maybe).

The film compares the block chain to Bit Torrent, as P2P software which was developed as Naptster was taken down.  The Winklevii (associated with Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard) had developed Bit Torrent.

Yet, the irony is that the financial world could still try to capture the blockchain world and then lock people out, as is warned at the end of the film.
  
One speaker, named Byrne I think, looked like Steve Bannon. 

Any advanced alien civilization would have developed blockchain and digital currency.  The speed of light would still limit commerce.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

"Crypto": a recovering addict tries to save his family by investing in bitcoin (short)


Crypto” (Hollinsworth and Round Town Productions)  is an important short film by Ansel Faraj, written by Nathan Wilson, who plays the lead character Wesley, a recovering addict (in 12-step program) who considers investing in bitcoin to set up money for his son and bring his family back together.

The film actually lays out the steps of setting up the digital wallet.


But he gets hacked after putting in $60000.

The film mixed black and white and sepia color in an interesting way.

The film is a sequel to a 2013 short, “A Gambling Man”, which I’ll look at later.
  
There is a feature film starring Richard Harmon called “Woodland” (directed Jon Silverberg) about a journalist’s epiphany in the woods, and it had been called “Crypto”.  I wonder if that movie’s name change was because of this short film.

Monday, April 22, 2019

"The Mystery at the Bottom of Physics": why are the constants what they are?


The Mystery at the Bottom of Physics”, by “exurb1a”, looks at the question of where the constants of physics come from.


I think that the fine structure constant is 1/137 (the reciprocal of what is given in the film). 

The multiverse theory is mentioned, as is the “Matrix”, that we’re living inside a simulation (see ad, Nov. 24, 2018).
   
Of maybe we are all puppets, as in my screenplay “Baltimore Is Missing”.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

"Alien Ore": 20th Century Fox sponsors a fan-made short film to honor the Alien franchise that started 40 years ago



Alien Ore”, a fan-made film directed by Kailey and Sam Spear, from 20th Century Fox, on the 40th anniversary of the first Alien movie.


On a gray rocky planet being mined for platinum, the crew, much of it lesbian, finds an exploded body underground and soon the insect-like monsters chase them back out of the tunnels.


I recall seeing the first Alien movie in Dallas at the Medallion theater in May 1979.

Friday, April 19, 2019

"Bent": 1997 concentration camp film focuses on Nazi treatment of gay men, based on Martin Sherman's play


I saw the 1997 film “Bent” (Film Movement and Samuel Goldwyn), directed by Sean Mathias, based on the 1979 play by Martin Sherman, in Minneapolis shortly after I had moved there.  I may have seen it in the Bell Auditorium at the University of Minnesota.


On the late 1930s in Germany, Max (Clive Owen), takes home a Nazi stormtrooper posing as a gay trick, to the chagrin of his boyfriend.


He is taken to Dachau, does the work details and befriends another prisoner but “chooses” to wear the yellow star for Jews rather than a pink triangle.

The initial processing scene is quite striking.  Not only is Max’s head shaved (no surprise) but his wad of chest hair is loped off in camera like it as an afterthought.

The playwright wrote the script, and the film often looks like a filmed stage play.

P.D. wikipedia credit for Dachau image. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

"Caged": in a European high school, a straight immigrant athlete learns to stand up for his gay friends



Caged”, directed by Dylan and Lazlo Tonk, presents a group of high school students on athletic fields at a Netherlands school.  One of the men (immigrant, Poc) has to get used to the idea that at least two of his best friends are gay, despite dating girls. He has to learn to defend them.


The sports are track and soccer, and the title of the film refers to a wire structure where athletes practice soccer kicking skills.  The campus is a huge complex of modern low-rise buildings.
  
Wikipedia attribution link for Rotterdam picture, CCSA 3.0.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

"No Country for Old Men", a very layered modern western from the Coen Brothers


Screenprism analyses (12 min) the Coen Brother’s film “No Country for Old Men” (2007, best picture, Miramax and Paramount Vantage), especially the abstract and ambiguous ending.

The sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is somewhat the alien spectator, as he relates what he sees to his wife (Tess Harper), the battle between the villain Chigurh (Javier Bardem) and Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), an ambiguous non-allegro hero.


The film suggests an internal time travel, where Bell changes places with his father, who idealized a simpler world.


The film was somewhat a modern western, set in the early 80s, just before modern tech.
  
The film is said to be faithful to the novel by Cormac McCarthy.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

"The Color Purple": Spielberg


The Color Purple”, directed by Steven Spielberg (1985) was an unusual film for this director. It told a personal story of a black girl growing up in the South in the early 1900s after abuse by her father (who made her pregnant).  It is based on a novel by Alice Walker with a screenplay by Menno Meyjas.


I can recall seeing it at Northpark in Dallas.  As I’ve gotten older, I seem to welcome this level of intimacy even more.


It would make actress Whoopi Goldberg a regular, as on the View.
  
This is a followup to the physics of the color purple.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

"Cultural Marxism Explained" in filmstrip style




Cultural Marxism Explained”, by Dr. Jordan Cooper, from July 2018. .

The video is in the style of a grade school filmstrip.


Cooper explains the history of Marxism, and then the development of the Frankfort School and Critical Theory.

He sees cultural Marxism as the attempt to redistribute wealth or opportunity strictly along to the idea of belonging to an oppressed group.  Christianity does reinforce helping the oppressed, but on a case-by-case basis. Until Christianity, he says, here was no coherent moral theory that it was important to help the poor or oppressed.
  
You can pay attention to opportunities for oppression on a much more individualized level (“pay your dues”).  You could, for example, restrict the use of inherited wealth much more than we do now. “Class” and “oppressed group” are not always the same.  I faced this kind of a problem as an individual after a career-ending layoff at the end of 2001 taking my turn with more regimented, menial jobs.  That is cultural Marxism at an individual level. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

"Brain Divided": an animated story about a split personality, with a real twist



Brain Divided”, a CGI animated short (5 minutes) by Josiah Haworth, Joon Shik and Joon Soo, and the Ringling College of Art and Design, has an odd concept, about a split personality.


An alien with a split brain codes a program to make two abducted humans go on a "test" date inside their space colony – it’s heterosexual and has plenty of male chivalry. But the split personality within the alien mind (split between red and blue moral values) causes the same among the male human character.
  
An odd sci-fi concept indeed.  Remember “Donovan’s Brian” controlling the stock market (Lew Ayres) back in the early 1950s?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

"Hunter Avallon Fails to Use Facts and Logic":



Suris has short films similar to yesterday’s, where he offers commentary on another (conservative’s) presentation.
  
This time is “Hunter Avallon Fails to Use Facts and Logic”.  There is an alternate title that is not too complementary. See the embed (well, "Who Knew?") 


Avallon attracted attention when he his channel was banned for part of the day April 8, one day before important House hearings on Internet content moderation. This 20-minute video was made April 9.

Most of this particular video deals with a lot of the canards (choice or lifestyle, etc).  Ar 4.16 Suris does respond to the apparent argument that people have a moral obligation to have children.

Suris does a nice job of destroying the usual stereotypes of LGBT persons (although they were already going away with Stonewall).

Here is a rationalWiki biography of Hunter.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

"Why You Shouldn't Debate Leftists": an annotated response




“Why You Shouldn’t Debate Leftists: A Response to Prager U” from Vaush. This indeed a good meta-interview.


Interesting meta-video, responding to Owen Benjamin of Prager, who divides the world into “liberals and conservatives V THE LEFT.   Owen claims that the far Left has different aims, and wants to destroy current society with expropriation to invent their own egalitarian utopia. The Far Left wants America to be ashamed of its exploitations of PoC.
  
The response mentions that in the first half of the 19th Century, all children were referred to as girls until about age 5, when boys began to behave like boys. I had never heard that.

The format of this film reminds me of the book "The Life of a Fact". 

Monday, April 08, 2019

"There's No Purple Light" (not a feature classic film)



There’s No Purple Light This should not be confused with Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple” from 1985 with Whoopi Goldberg, which we can come back to another time. There is a certain correspondence.  


This little short explains the color wheel, and why there is no purple light, even though we can see a color purple as next to red on color wheel.

It has to do with combined signals of rods and cones.

It also has to do with primary colors for paint, compared to mixing light.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

"NYC, 1981: A Most Violent Year", as Reaganism started





New York City, 1981: A Most Violent Year”, from A24 films (6 minute short).


In 1980, John Lennon had been killed near the Dakota.

In 1981, the AIDS epidemic was just beginning to be noticed.

A black man describes witnessing a kidnapping and then being kidnapped himself in the same convenience store one week later.  He resisted. The bullet is still at the base of his spine.

Friday, April 05, 2019

"The Capitalist Agenda" (and rejecting it for "fun and profit", maybe)



For the sake of journalism, I’ll present American Johnson’s “The Capitalist Agenda” (or “Here’s Wht Capitalism S___ and Why It Needs to End”, as an animated short (in a series).


It’s on his “NonCompete” channel.

He explains how capitalism replaced feudalism and how that did give the underclasses a new chance.

But only a few people get a chance to make it if they’re not already rich.

He also tries to debunk meritocracy.

You have to watch further videos to find out how to replace it.

Umair Haque seems to want to go back to a system of guilds.  So much for self-publishing.

No matter how good you are at your own goals, if you are seen as an enemy merely because of capitalism, you can be destroyed, he seems to be warning.  I’ve seen this threatening posture by the far Left before.  Except that this channel wants to “reject capitalism for fun and profit”.  That sounds like an oxymoron. 

Try this article from John Nichols in The Nation, when socialism "worked', if you like. 

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

"Just Role With It": When is an actor in a gay scene transformed by the experience?



Just Role With It” is an R-rated gay short film (so I won’t embed it) where an actor is practicing his lines for a play where he loses his girl friend.  Here’s the link (Helix Studios, and the video resolution quality is finally better than for some of their earlier videos).
  
His best male friend comes over, and suddenly really “becomes” that other character.

 Some people have really been transformed by the characters they acted, as this documentary short shows.  (No, really, please don't model your behavior after cigarette smoking in older films; O want your body to stay biologically young forever.) 


Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell did a video where he tries drag at a dance party in West Hollywood (see the LGBT blog March 31), where the challenge is not to be changed by the “acting” experience.  (Was it at The Abbey?  That's the bar I remember well.) 
      
What if a virus could transmit your identity and consciousness temporarily to somebody else?  The picture above poses the question (UFO's). 

Monday, April 01, 2019

"10 Types of Physics Majors" on April Fools Day



Here’s an April Fools short, “10 Types of Physics Majors”. The film calls itself a “Joke”.

The same stereotypically manly handsome actor plays both professor and student. He looks familiar.


I like the way they throw around the idea if string theory as an answer to everything.
  
This video reminds me of asking a professor about the idea of pursuing a PhD in computer science and not knowing what an index register is (back in the 1960s).

Sunday, March 31, 2019

"Russell's Paradox": does this create quantum theory? does it contradict my existence?





Jade Tan-Holmes explains “Russell’s Paradox: A Ripple in the Foundations of Mathematics” on the Up and Atom channel.

She starts out by describing the Barber’s Paradox.  (See my GLBT blog today with an embed of a short film by Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell doing drag without really doing drag – you’ll see that paradox.)


There is the idea that biology is based on chemistry, which is in turn based on physics (I remember a middle school substitute teaching assignment on this idea back in 2005), and physics is in turn based on mathematics.  She doesn’t mention it, but elementary particles seem to follow the mathematics of quaternions.

The Foundations of Mathematics are traced through Plato and Aristotle, up toe Frege, whose set theory was undermined by a letter from Bertrand Russell stating the paradox, enumerated here in Wikipedia. Frege actually had a nervous breakdown over the contradiction.

But does this contradiction somehow generate quantum entanglement?

A co-worker friend back in 1971 when I worked for the Navy Department gave me a used copy of a biography of Bertrand Russell.  We used to tease each other with conjectures.

As taught in graduate school, mathematics used to be divided into Analysis and Algebra, with topology overlying analysis, and then there is such a thing as algebraic topology. 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

"A Dandy in Aspic": 1968 thriller set in Berlin reflects today's cultural wars over individualism, perhaps


Since the recent performance of “Eugene Onegin” (Tchaikovsky) at the Kennedy Center brought up the subject of a dilettante or dandy (a pejorative in the view of George Gilder, for example), I thought I would quickly revisit the 1968 thriller “A Dandy in Aspic”, directed by Thomas Mann and Lawrence Harvey (uncredited), from Columbia Pictures.

Harvey plays British double agent Alexander Eberlin, who is challenged to hunt down a Soviet spy Krasnevin, with the help of tag-team sidekick Gatiss (Tom Courtenay) as well as girlfriend Caroline (Mia Farrow)

The only problem is that Karsnevin is the same person.  So it’s a setup for artificial schizophrenia.


The promo trailer is a documentary about divided Berlin was it was in the mid 1960s (post Kennedy).

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Note the partying, the tattooing and painting, and the hippy life on the West side, compared to the discipline of the East.

Films like this were the rage a few decades a year;  they could make public life look eventful without dealing with the moral quandaries of the inequality underneath at a personal level.
  
Paul Rosenfels Community associate Rachel Bartlett had lived in Berlin, especially East Berlin, in the late 2000s, and curiously missed how it was before the unification in 1989.

Wikipedia attribution link for Berlin picture 2007, under CCSA 3.0. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

AP Calculus exam: Liouville's Theorem (there are two of them), and why we exist at all (and why I feel like a substitute teacher again today)



OK, you AP calculus students, here is your test this Friday.   Or it is a free-response question for college credit.  This was meaningful twelve years ago when I worked as a substitute teacher (high school), which is a saga in itself.  You have to prove two controversial theorems in complex variables, and one in statistics.

Ritvikmath, in this video, proves two of the least intuitive theorems in mathematics (complex variables), the Morera Theorem and the LiouvilleTheorem (that a bounded everywhere-differentiable function remains a constant everywhere, like Facebook).   It probably does not apply to quaternions.  There is a related theorem in statistics of significance in fluid mechanics.  (The spelling of the mathematician's name is different from the Kentucky city's.) 


The math professor’s technique is simple: write the steps of the proof on simple sheets of paper and use colored felt ink.  You don’t need fancy cameras to make the videos.

The Liouville (an odd spelling of a French mathematician’s name) was a question in my Master’s Orals at the University of Kansas, I believe on January 18, 1968, on an unusually mild winter day in Lawrence. I stumbled through this theorem (its in the Chapter 7 of my DADT-III book) and probably barely passed the orals.  (Yup, “You passed”.  But “He’s going into the service”.) 

On campus, we used to talk about “all this useless math” that gave people deferments from going into Vietnam combat.  No matter, quaternions probably explain the elementary particles of physics, and the entire Universe follows the laws of mathematics and statistics to a tee. We wouldn’t have Facebook’s algorithms or today’s Internet without it.  We all exist because statistics says we must at some point.

I gave a much better technical talk, on my Master’s Thesis (Minimax Rational Function Approximation) at one of my first job interviews in Princeton NJ in December 1969 just before getting out of the Army.
  
What “professionalism” means has changed so much since then.

Also, for a video about a physics exam, try this

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

What is the factorial of a non-integer like 1/2 ? This problem deserves animation



Can a non-integer have a factorial?


Presh Talwakar (of “Mind Your Decisions”) uses inductive reasoning, in a nice animated video using a Texas Instruments Calculator (so common in AP calculus classes) to show how a continuous factorial function would behave.

It turns out to be the gamma function, where it turns out to be the sqrt(pi)/2.

The function is important in quantum physics. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

"Article 13 Cometh": Sargon of Akkad revisits the world of "The Ten Commandments" and even "Avatar" to mock the EU vote on cutting off Internet content creators, gradually




This counts as a film. Sargon of Akkad has made a 13-minute documentary “Article 13 Cometh” about the EU MeP passage of the Copyright Directive. It's renumbered as Article 17 now. 


Much of the film has a static background of a scene in ancient Egypt alone the Nile with the Pharaoh responding to Joseph’s lucid dreams and making them public.  I guess that in ancient Egypt telepathy functioned as a kind of Internet, like in the movie “Avatar” for the residents of Pandora.

Sargon then shows some progressive interviews, or YouTube executives (including the original claim that YouTube would be able to allow only established companies to post), to examining the importance of preventing downstream liability from being removed.  Content creators really are better off it they are liable for what they post, rather than the platform.  That sounds like an irony.
  
He also shows a tape of the 16 seconds it took the MEP’s to vote and defuses the rumor that Sweden pressed the wrong button.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

"Flat Earth": Logan Paul's official movie (is it the first?)



Logan Paul (who turns 24 on April 1) has released his first “official movie”, that is: “Flat Earth: To the Edge and Back”   It runs 50 minutes, almost long enough for a grindhouse feature. 


So he makes a bombastic, mega-satire of what happens when someone breaks into his palatial LA home and smashes all the globes.  He gets with some of his friends and flies to a Flat Earth convention in Denver and tries to pretend to be a “true believer” to get a girl friend.

But some of the attendees are indeed into creationism.

And somehow they manage to take a million dollar rocket ride to the edge of the Earth. It's icy. 
    
But Paul makes a great point: how do you know what you agree upon as unchallenged truth? 
  
We’re seeing all the social media unraveling today on issues like whether biological gender is real.
  
Paul is growing up, however.