Thursday, January 31, 2019

"Thylacine": gay short film by Lampsos about a relationship

A “Thylacine” is an extinct marsupial wolf-like mammal.

I’m not sure whether the term applies to Charlie (Peter Michael Bondillio) or Nick (Trevor LaPaglia) in this 2014 short film, apparently set on a California beach, by Alex Lampsos of the New York Film Academy.

The film migrates from library stacks to beaches.  This is about younger men wanting relationships, when sometimes it’s better to spend time alone.  This is all Ninth Street Center, Rosenfels-like stuff.

The French piano music (a Satie Gymnopede and Debussy’s Claire de Lune) seems understated.
Picture: near one of the Silicon Valley tech campuses (my trip, 2018).

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"Bell's Theorem" and quantum entanglement and polarized lenses; and faster than light travel?

Bell’s Theorem: The Quantum Venn Diagram Paradox” from “Minutephysics”.
I remember seeing the experiments with perpendicular polarized lens in high school in 1960.  You get curious results as you turn them at various angles.
The video goes on to discuss quantum entanglement, and to come up with the idea that the universe cannot simultaneously work with both realism and locality.
Bell’s Theorem used to be cited in science fiction to justify faster than light travel.  I recall that in Jeffrey Mishlove’s book in 1978, “The Roots of Consciousness” when I was still living in New York.  There was another book by Isaac Bentov, “Stalking the Wild Pendulum” that expressed a similar theory.  

I tried their experiment with 3-D glasses and it didn't happen. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

"Traveling While Black": NYTimes and Oculus present a VR film supplementing "The Green Book"

Brent Staples, in a comprehensive New York Times article, presents a twenty-minute film by Roger Ross Williams, “Traveling While Black”, in virtual reality 360 (requires a smart phone with glasses;  on a computer it shows in normal Cinemascope). The film comes from Oculus, Felix and Paul (and I believe Annapurna).

Here’s a YouTube trailer.

Some of the people are Sandy Butler Truesdale, Virginia Ali, Samaria Rice.

Many of the participants discuss their experiences in Ben’s Child Bowl, at 13th and U Sts NW in Washington FC, near the Lincoln Theater. It opened in the 1930s.  In more recent times it has also become popular in the gay community (Reel Affirmations), especially filmmakers and artists.
Until the 1960s and the Civil Rights movement, black travelers were forced to the last car on a train when passing into Virginia, and were not allowed bathroom access.

In practice travel was very difficult.  Some say it still is.

The film supplements “The Green Book” (by Victor Hugo Green), which as an index of accommodations for black people during segregation, even in the North.  That became the basic of a film by that name (my review). 
The impressionistic jazz music score is by Jason Moran.

This film was shown at Ben's Chili Bowl for FilmFestDC. 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

"Schizophrenia Simulation": It isn't really multiple identities in the same body, at least not in this film

Here is a short film “Schizophrenia Simulation” from “That Rick 904”.

An attractive young man spends a day in a suburban home, experiencing odd visual perception and unwanted sounds and images from his subconscious (“voices”) which he cannot distinguish from reality.

A girlfriend arrives at the end looking for the package that he did accept.

The episode seems to present the idea that a schizophrenic may experience life the way one could experience a lucid dream.  You believe the dream while it unfolds, but you don’t know how you got into the situation in the dream. Yet you are the “same person” as in your waking life, but somehow you have migrated into a different, if temporary, reality.  In rare cases, there could be an intimate encounter with someone you “want”. A dream can simulate what something would be like (even a NDE, which is not pleasant).

The movie “Glass” (M. Night Shyamalan) presents a character played by James McAcoy with 23 personalities.  Is each personality a different person, a different colonel of consciousness?  In terms of the physics of consciousness, that could be a fascinating idea.  If each of the 23 personalities has a separate thread and does not know the other personalities or views them from the outside, this might be true.  But in the movie it seems as though McAvoy’s character is always are of all of the personalities, at least from the script.

Can someone really house someone else’s personality after that person’s passing at times in his body, maybe as dreams?  Sounds like a sci-fi idea.  I do explore it in “Angel’s Brother”.
Schizophrenia is not the same thing as schizoid personality.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

"Why I'm NOT a Libertarian": it's mostly about inherited (dis)advantages

I’ll let Stephen Woodford, on “Rationality Rules”, explain "Why I’m Not a Libertarian".

He doesn’t believe in natural rights, or free will, and he believes that we didn’t choose the circumstances of our birth or our talents, so we couldn’t have earned all we have.

He says libertarianism is more about “freedom from” than “freedom to”. He also mentions that a personal social contract is necessary for any kind of order. (Hope that doesn't lead to a social credit score!)
Yet he says he is a “liberal”.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Food Insecurity: short film shows how spoilage in a low-income community can be deadly

Here’s a rather alarming short with a life-saving warning. Chubbyemu posts a 6 minute short, “A Student Ate 5 Day Old Pasta for Lunch. This Is How His Liver Shut Down”.

The student, 20 years old, an African-American in California in a community college but with little money, was food insecure.  He accidentally left out a pasta and his roommate put it away in the refrigerator.

The pasta contained a common bacterium but an unusual substrain that makes a liver toxin because of slightly different biochemistry (like an extra ammonia radical or something).  The student started vomiting shortly after eating the lunch and passed out.  He died within 24 hours.  The liver toxin prevents the normal ATP metabolism from working in body cells.  The biochemistry resembles that of Reyes syndrome in children from aspirin. 
The film does show how food insecurity can be deadly in low income communities.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A film production company in Minnesota is sued for its content choices under a state public accomodations law (Telescope Media Group)

There is a case in Minnesota where a film or video production company is regarded as a “public accommodation”.  This is the Telescope Media Group in St. Cloud, and the case is Telescope Media Group v. Lindsey

Apparently the group emphasizes its own style of Christian films.  It apparently made a video arguing that marriage is only for one man and one woman, and was challenged legally under Minnesota’s “public accommodation laws”.

This case parallels Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, bur here the creative activity is filmmaking.

Now there would seem to be an issue as to whether the company produces films with “other people’s content” rather than its own (theoretically that could even have been my book when I was living in Minneapolis from 1997-2003). 

One the one hand, if I were to produce my own screenplay (“Epiphany”, derived from my three DADT books) with a company, where at the end only “the chose few” get to escape a dying Earth for another planet – could I be pursued to produce another film where there is no Darwinianism (or Specer-ism) and everybody survives and lives happily every after?  Theoretically I could be viewed as favoring “Nazi” philosophy materials otherwise.

On the other hand we expand out and look at cases where on the Internet, Patreon seemed to be de-platforming conservatives – it wasn’t a public accommodation (Jan. 16). But now there is information to the effect that it has come under the clandestine influence of payment processors, who will be investigated for anti-trust violations by suppressing competition.

James Gottry has a story about the company in the Minnesota Star Tribune. 

When I lived there, IFPMSP was active there and had monthly screenings at Bryant Lake Bowl on Lake Street in Minneapolis (Josh Hartnett was there sometimes).  So the group ought to be concerned about this case. 
The Center for the American Experiment wrote up this case in an article called “Opposite of Free Speech” on p. 18 of the Winter 2019 issue of Thinking Minnesota. 
The article defended free speech from both sides and did not oppose same-sex marriage per se.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"Quantum Leap Tackles Gays in the Military": Matt Baume adapts an old sci-fi sitcom to give a brief history of the DADT policy and repeal

Matt Baume (on Patreon) presents “Quantum Leap Tackles Gays in the Military” (2019).

“Quantum Leap” was a sci-fi series where Sam goes back to the past and borrows the body of someone and changes the future.  His companion is a holographic character named Al.  (In Dan Fry’s “To Men of Earth”, that’s the name of the human-looking alien.)

The video frames little scenes from the episode, focusing back in 1964 where Sam inhabits the body of a gay sailor, closeted, who has to change his behavior to avoid a lynch mob.  (That was the year of real lynch mobs in Mississippi against three civil rights workers.)

The character survives to participate in Stonewall in 1969, although, as Matt notes, most of the participants were fluid or drag queens and not macho-men like Sam.
The narrative does note how the AIDS epidemic forced a lot of men "out of the closet", and curiously the "personal responsibility" or "chain letter" narrative from the right wing that became so threatening in the mid 1980s was largely forgotten. 
The rest of the episode recalls 1992-1933, when Bill Clinton proposed eliminating the ban on gays in the military.  Republicans went to their base, and Clinton had to settle for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue”.  It would have been nice to mention Keith Meinhold, Joe Steffan, and Tracy Thorne. 

Another video, on Trump’s transgender ban, seems in order.

Monday, January 21, 2019

"We Believe: The Best Men Can Be": Gillette inserts itself into the debate on culture and values

We Believe: The Best Men Can Be  is a micro-film (less than 2 minutes) from Gillette.

The film addresses #MeToo, inappropriate pressure on women in the workplace, and fathering boys not to engage in bullying.  Toward the end, it refers to “the best a man can be” and today’s boys are tomorrow’s men.

It is still ironic that his comes from a company that makes shaving gear.  You can blow this up into talking about support sessions (for cancer treatment) called “Be Brave and Shave”.  And there is the idea "Be all you can be" (in the Army). 
The "CharismaMatrix" offers his critique of the film and notes that implies men shouldn't wear shorts in public. (What?  Long stockings with garters? Prudishness about the hair? or absence of it?)  He also makes up a mock "toxic femininity" commercial. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

"After the Fall": a young woman survives a zombie apocalypse with a weapon and a diary, and slowly finds other "live ones"

Douglas Anderson Cinematic Arts and Diamond Acres Media present Matthew Manyak’s 2017 film “After the Fall
The girl (Brittany Paul) keeps a diary, and travels with an AR-15. She traverses a southern pine forest, in early winter, heading north (later we will learn she is near Jacksonville, FL) . She carries a weapon, and shoots cannibals.  Soon she finds another young woman (Brennau Schuman) but when the girl shows a flesh-eating bacteria wound, she asks to be shot. Brittany continues north and finds some men in town who are still alive.  Maybe she’ll be pregnant and civilization can start over.

The film uses sepia colors, and it is often hard to tell if this is a northern or southern landscape.

Picture: Disney Epcot, 2015

Thursday, January 17, 2019

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

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