Thursday, January 17, 2019

"At the End": alien race offers to selectively evacuate Earth from a coming gamma ray burst from a super-nove

The CG Brothers and director James J. Whitmore present a dystopian short film “At the End” (2015), based on a  short story by Nicole Taylor.

A supernova’s effects will reach Earth and cause extinction. An alien civilization offers to rescue some of the residents it handpicks, but to take them back into slavery in a totalitarian, Nazi-like society on another planet.  The spaceships are pretty interesting to look at.  Needless to say, riots break out as the media warns most people that their personal lives as they knew them are running out of time.  It's like getting drafted. 
A young couple waits for the end “On the Beach”, literally.

The only way a supernova would destroy life on Earth would be a gamma ray burst.  As best we know, there is nothing close enough to Earth and unstable enough to create that threat.
But the social issue that the film poses is provocative and troubling.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

"The Rise of Alt-Tech": a conversation with a cryptocurrency entrepreneur on overcoming corporate Internet censorship, Patreon style

Dave Cullen, of Computing Forever (in Ireland?) interviews Bill Ottman in a half-hour video “Overcoming Censorship: The Rise of Alt-Tech”   So I’ll call this a movie (not a coma).

The speakers review the Patreon situation (that exploded Dec. 6 with the banning of Sargon of Akkad) and note that Patreon’s behavior is controlled by Stripes in the payment system (others say MasterCard, who are paired up with Stripes); yet Patreon cannot be transparent in how it is influenced. The idea of "manifest observable behavior" was reneged on. 

They also discussed how these big companies became ideological after becoming big – because liberal globalism and inclusiveness is best for their own growth – hence they have recently been tied to the Democratic Party, not the old Reagan Republicanism.  They’re left with trying to blackball those whose association seem to tie them to populism, which is indeed dangerous.
Ottman (from Minds) suggested that users start getting more used to decentralized processing, cryptocurrency, and P2P, which of course has been around for years (but remember Sean Fanning’s Napster).  Ohio, he said, accepts state taxes in cryptocurrency. Yet there have been some issues, as when Coinbase banned  the personal account of Gab’s found

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

"Will Article 13 Kill the Internet?": attorney looks at how the EU Copyright Directive works even outside the EU

Today’s “Movie” will be a 2-hour-16-minute superchat by attorney Lior Lesig ("YouTuberLaw") , titled “Will Article 13 Kill the Internet?” It offers the hastag “#SaveYourInternet”, under the channel “Legal Dissent”.

This discussion refers to Article 13, which along with Article 11 (the Link Tax) are very controversial and disturbing proposals that are percolating in the European Union, as part of the proposed EU Copyright Directive, and are likely to go into effect in most countries by the end of 2020 at the latest.

Article 13 would hold platforms (like YouTube) responsible as the speaker for any copyright infringement from users.  Various versions of the proposal limit the exposure just to “larger” commercial platforms (social media companies) and claim to recognize Fair Use but give platforms no way to protect themselves from users except to limit the content to larger users whom they know well.

Content originating outside the EU, not going through newer EU protocols, would likely be blocked in the EU, even though that could probably be circumvented by VPN’s.

Blogger, for example, probably would have to suspend EU country specific TLD’s for users who weren’r prescreened by their rules. 

The whole measure seems to be an exercise in protectionism, trying to enable legacy media companies to fend off low-cost competition from newbies. 
The first part of the video is a summary of the Article 13 provisions and shows the logical contradictions within the wording.

Monday, January 14, 2019

"Could Ceres Be Home to Alien Life?": SEA video

SEA offers an 11-minute video “Could Ceres Be Home to Alien Life?

Ceres is the largest asteroid, close to 500 miles in diameter, with one third of the mass of the asteroid belt – so it may be termed a minor planet.

It has one mountain, which may be a cryovolcano, and apparently an underground ocean, and a considerable amount of nitrogen locked in ammonia, which offers the possibility of organic chemistry around the bright spots.

It would have very low gravity.

Wikipedia: attribution: By NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA -, Public Domain, Link

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Mikel Wisler's workshop: "Screenwriting for Short Films"

Mikel Wisler does a workshop (April 2016) on “Screenwriting for Short Films: How to Structure Your Plot

Wisler presents a trailer for “Parallel”, a sci-fi, before explaining how the Internet – especially YouTube – have changed our expectations of short film.

He describes the three act structure for storytelling.  This is the proverbial beginning, middle and end, with a drop-off at the climax.

He mentions the idea of setting up the “rules” for your world, like inside an O’Neill Cylinder.  You need a provocative or exciting incident very quickly.

Wisler’s website is “Stories by the River”.

The key point for a short film occurs at about 34:05.
I wonder how his remarks apply to Carter Smith’s “Bugcrush” (2006).

Saturday, January 12, 2019

"Cat in Automatic Escape Room", normally dangerous fun for people

I’ll give a cat video tonight, to demonstrate cat intelligence.

That is, “Cat in Automatic Escape Room”.  The first 6 minutes shows the cat solving the puzzles; then the creator of the escape room explains it.
Mammals that hunt prey for a living have problem-solving abilities that resemble some of human capacities.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Andy Warhol's "Empire", sped up by a factor of 64, only one shot in the 8-hour film

I don’t recall having heard of Andy Warhol’s single-shot eight hour movie “Empire”, comprising only a shot of the Empire State Building in Manhattan, in black and white.

The video above shows the film sped up by a factor of 64.
Brenda Cronin, in the Wall Street Journal, describes a screening at the City Hall Cinema where a melee broke out after ten minutes.  Tickets were $2?

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

"MasterCard Is the Final Boss": how globalization may have led payment processors to try to suppress conservative of even hyperindividualistic speech (and crushing Patreon)

The 40 minute documentary “MasterCard Is the Final Boss”, animated, by ShortFatOkatu , lays out a quite chilling theory of why payment processors, most of all MasterCard, are behind so many of the recent de-platformings.

He explains how Mastercard links “inclusivity” to “data” and even filed for a patent to use data to predict future political events (like Brexit).  Critical is the idea of “digital identity (at 20:30).

A financial institution’s future business growth means having more consumers, so it pays to be inclusive of groups that might otherwise be at odds with each other (such as LGBT and Muslims must both be included enthusiastically).  MasterCard also admits that it pursues political activity that advances its future profitability, which generally includes more immigration and more attention to developing countries, pretty much the opposite of Trumpism and right wing populism. It even includes participation in philanthropies or other activities from the workplace (even like kiva) that would tend to cause more overseas inclusion.  Therefore it may have a reason to pressure others into “charitable” activities that would support its own future business model (such as Facebook’s trying to get users to run donation buttons from their own personal pages, which might amount to conditionally compelled speech). 

The video also looks to a dystopian future where DNA prints could be used to exclude “undesirable” people from the financial system.

This sort of aggressive consumer globalizing has encourage the labeling unpopular people as “alt-right-adjacent” or as sympathetic or encouraging others to engage in anti-inclusive activities – which is why people like Milo and Sargon of Akkad "had to go" (as "alt-right-linked" even if not that extreme themselves).   I think this explains why Google and the progressive Left were so offended by James Damore (and Charles Murray, as well now as people like Jordan Peterson), whose ideas make moral sense from an individualistic or “personal responsibility” perspective but confound those who want to leverage identarianism for future political or economic growth.  Murray, though, doubles back a bit when he encourages a certain amount of tribalism or eusociality. Introverted people, who tend to be more individualistic and more conservative, don’t fare well with this setup.

I can remember at ING-ReliaStar in Minneapolis in the late 1990s when inclusivity was promoted but then was so benign.  Supporting diversity cost nothing then. 

Monday, January 07, 2019

"The Manchurian Candidate" (1962); when fiction comes true

The Manchurian Candidate”, based on Richard Condon’s book, has been filmed at least twice; but let’s focus on the 1962 black and white film by John Frankenheimer for United Artists.
If ends with the famous shootout scene at a convention by a previously hypnotized enlisted man Shaw (Lawrence Harvey), who gradually gets drawn into affecting the election by triggering events as programmed in Manchuria by the Soviets.

I remember a scene in a well known Connecticut Ave. apartment.

Marco (Frank Sinatra) is his CO, and Angela Lansbury is the evil Ms. Iselin, who wants to be vice president.

Guess who the Manchurian Candidate was in 2016.

Update: Jan. 11

Now see this story about the unmentionable president in the New York Times today, breaking news story about an FBI investigation into his being possibly set up by Russia.  David Hogg characterized this as the national security emergency. We need David Hogg's feature documentary now!

Sunday, January 06, 2019

"9 Tips for Writing Short Films" from a film student

9 Tips for Writing Short Films” from Blackstone Avenue.

The speaker sits in a high rise window (Toronto?)

He says, keep it simple.  Make it a story that has a point.

A short film has a length of 40 minutes or less.  Typical budgets are 4 figures, sometimes 5.

Do your research, like a school assignment.
Cast adults as such.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

"The Case Against Tattoos" and self-effacing body art

The Case Against Tattoos”, from the bad uncle, “Blue Collar Logic”.

He starts with an interesting thought experiment.

I see tattoos as disfiguring, but more for white men. His sequel is for men. 

They compromise the “trappings” of masculinity.
But the speaker points out, they are more or less permanent.

Friday, January 04, 2019

"Resignation": short film, in which a young man (and tech geek) finds out the responsibilities of being an alien when the "rescue" craft approaches Earth

Resignation” is a short film by Mike Ozmun for Rebel Hound Studios.

David Schmidt plays Gene, a young single scientist in Austin, TX with a girl friend (Ariel Gilman) who may be dying (like of cancer). He leaves his rambler home in Austin and drives to Big Bend on a day that there is a sudden announcement that an asteroid will hit Earth within 24 hours. 

When he reaches the park he meets a friend, played by Ozmun, and then we learn that they are both aliens who will be picked up by the object and evacuated.  But David wants to take care of his girl friend.  The curious thing is that he is on Earth as a contractor, as an employee of an alien company and he can “resign”, like in a chess game.

The film won an award from the Philip K. Dyck film festival, and has been shown in various short film festivals.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

"Duma": in South Africa, an orphaned cheetah practically raises a boy after father dies

Carol Ballard’s “Duma” (2005), for Warner Brothers, is another big cat film.

In South Africa, a rancher Peter (Campbell Scott) adopts an orphaned cheetah, who grows up to adulthood as a household pet bonded to the boy.  The cat, sometimes behaving like a dog, learns to operate the TV remote, and sits at the family dinner table.  Peter had determined to return the cat to the wild.

But Peter gets sick and dies, and the boy grows up depending on the cheetah as he gets bullied. Eventually Duma, the cheetah, has the urge to mate and recognized females.  He is both a wild animal and almost human at the same time.

I saw this film in 2005 at the Avalon in NW Washington.  It’s surprising it isn’t branded as Warner Independent Pictures.
By Tech. Sgt. Joe Zuccaro -, Public Domain, Link