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).


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.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

"I Flew 10000 Miles to Meet His Parents": Not exactly in outer space, but just winter in Ontario

I Flew 10000 Miles to Meet His Parents”, a little short (10 min) by Anthony Cushion.

Actually, Anthony says he lives on the English coast, so if his husband is near Toronto, it’s more like 3500 miles. He says he flew a lot of other places.

The movie is in three parts. He arrives, he meets the dog and gets the dog’s approval. 
Then both men work out, in the middle section.

Then they go snowboarding, on a hill behind their home.  This may be somewhere around Waterloo, I suspect. It’s about 7 degrees F outside at about sunset, in February.

There’s one letdown of the whole idea of visual suspense, if you go to the Instagram linked on the video. The Before and After gives away too much.

You'd think the husband would live away from home as a young adult. But it's tough these days with the economy and low wages. 
Wikipedia attribution link for Waterloo picture by Andre Recnik,. CCSA 3.0.

Friday, March 22, 2019

"Unplanned" creates controversy before release with its "duck and cover" strategy, and gets an R rating for nothing

Chrisitan Toro of the Washington Times makes a lot of the way the film “Unplanned”, by Chick Konzelman and Cary Solomon, is being kept out of the public eye until just before release on March 29.

It’s also controversial that it got an R rating from the MPAA.

The film was shot in Oklahoma and distributed by Pure Flix amd stars Ashley Bratcher and Brooks Ryan. The film is based on the life of a former Planned Parenthood director, Abby Johnson.

The pro-life movement focuses all of its concern over the value of human life on the unborn, when you can pose the same questions in so many areas – although it’s true that there has been attention to end-of-life issues and the idea that the pressure to end life with severe disability or severe age could increase if it were permitted.
Maybe there is a deeper problem in the way our culture leaves so many people behind, “left to die”, as Alexandria Octavio-Cortez says.  But the changes aren’t just institutional, they are personal.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

"Why Do It? Why the Caravan?" LGBTQ migrants from Honduras and El Salvador make the trip in late 2018

Why Do It? Why the Caravan?”.  Now This presents an 11-minute short film (dir. Melissa Fajardo) tracing several LGBTQ migrants from El Salvador and Honduras, through Mexico all the way to the border.

At the end, the film covers the DHS refusal to allow those into the country to ask for asylum. Trump wants to hold them in Mexico so they don’t become a political responsibility for individual Americans (whom the latest information suggests could step up as sponsors after all).

Humam Rights campaign had a forum on the LGTBTQ migrant issue tonight. The possibility of sponsorship is greater than we had thought, as once in the country, is no longer restricted to relatives.
HRC showed its own similar six-minute video from Honruras on gay and transgender migrants.

USGS public domain picture of Hurricane Mitch damage to Honduras in 1998, wiki 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Alex Cohen's "Honor Among Thieves"

Here’s another short film, character driven, this time not so funny, by Alex Cohen, “Honor Among Thieves”. It appears to be set in Cambridge, MA.

Liz Kantor and Ben Sorscher play clean-cut college kids who seem to have a habit of nighttime cat burglary, looking for specific items they want.  

The scenes where they try rationalize it seemed to go nowhere.  Is this the beginning of nihilism, to deny moral compass? (a favorite term on AC360).   Liz has a line about “breaking the rules”.

Grant Hoechst provides the background piano score, somewhat impressionistic.

The dialogue, especially Ben’s, is hard to hear sometimes;  is this deliberate, or am I supposed to use earpieces for smartphone viewing? Like on an Amtrak quiet car?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"Gay and in Love at an Evangelical Christian College", from New York Times op-docs

The New York Times op-doc offers this 17-minute short film “Gay and in Love at an Evangelical Christian College”, directed by Jared Callahan and Russell Sheaffer.  

Santiago Gonzalez IV and Austin McKinley are the two characters, and the narration is through Santiago’s (first person) voice.   Aaron Michael composed the music.

Santiago says he is of Mexican descent (apparently US citizen) and Latino, but he looks white and speaks with no accent. This is very common. The two men will graduate soon from a small college in San Diego.  

Santiago ponders inviting his parents for dinner with his lover or intended husband, and his parent have said they love him as a son but will try to convince him to renounce his identity. Santiago talks about the tribal nature of his culture and that members of the group expect to count on all young men to join in on strengthening the group, including protecting women and fathering and raising children.

The idea that everyone can count on this reinforces marriages within the tribe.

Santiago talks about “truth” like a “feminine” in Rosenfels terminology.

The film on YouTube shows on extremely wide screen, with one-third of the width of the picture often showing a second image.

Annapurna pictures makes some of the NYTimes short film documentaries;  I don’t know if it is part of this one.  The photography is extremely professional and sharp and the film may be intended for a 360 virtual reality device.

Picture: San Diego at night, near gay bars and University Blvd, my visit, 2012 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Alex Cohen's "Swedish Fish Man", a brawl on the Harvard campus for snack food

Here’s a curious little comedy, “Swedish Fish Man”, apparently filmed on the Harvard campus.

It’s on a short film channel of Alex Cohen, writer and director.

Three undergrads chase a lonely man who likes this particular fast food (Andrei Ciupan), who is seen as a physical challenge to three young men played by Ben Sorscher, Tim Waddick and David Frankle.

There are battle royales galore with a lacrosse raquet.  In a couple scenes Ben’s handsome character just seems to be cruising.  Or you could think of the men as like tomcats just chasing their share of the food. Humans are primates, are mammals, are animals, and they can’t make their own food.

 The woodwind music score is by Harvard percussionist Grant Hoeschst; it is lively (often in a 6/8 tarantella-like meter) and accessible, and tonal (which is unusual these days).

Somehow you think about the days when Mark Zuckerberg invented “The Facebook” on campus.

Picture: My visit to the campus, Aug. 2015

Sunday, March 17, 2019

"I Am Puma": a Russian couple adopts a mountain lion cub who grows up to be a typical house cat

I_Am_Puma” is a series of videos from Russia about a couple, apparently on the Arctic coast, who adopt a puma cub, Messi, because he is too small to survive in the wild.

He grows up to be a normal puma, slightly smaller than normal, and has a companion, a white hairless domestic cat.

In the video shown here, both cats have a GI-tract infection and are coming back to health but have to get shots at home.

Messi makes a lot of different sounds and behaves like a house cat.

In another video, he messages (grooms) the husband when the husband has a sore shoulder and back.
By Cm0rris0n - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Thursday, March 14, 2019

"When You Find Out He's a Trump Supporter": Eduardo's (ideological) present to Tim Pool and "Economic Invincibility"

Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell offers the comedy short film (four minutes) about a hookup, “When You Find Out He’s a Trump Supporter”, co-starring Max Emerson.

OK, this film stays barely within PG-13 territory.  Really just barely. Eduardo may be getting put through a hidden gauntlet.

Eduardo discovers MAGA stuff in the home of his date and gets a political lesson.  There’s nothing inconsistent about being conservative and gay, if you’re a cis male.  Maybe it should be right-leaning libertarian.

Could billionaire Peter Thiel, who spoke at the 2016 convention for Trump, be brought into the conversation?  What about his immortality or longevity project?  I think there is something about sea communities.  Thiel also wants to build a floating city to deal with climate change (or maybe he can build an O-Neill cylinder with artificial gravity and place it at the right LaGrange point).  That sounds like Dubai. He founded PayPal, which has become involved in a potential collusion scandal with the deplatforming of a few “conservatives” following Sargon of Akkad’s fall from Patreon (covered on my main blog).

Eduardo’s films demonstrate a quantum tautology: men are men. Even a John Fish video on quantum entanglement doesn’t change biological fact.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

"Into the Streets": LGBT history in Cinerama at the Newseum

I visited the exhibit at the Newseum today called “Rise Up” on level 6.

On level 5, in the superwidescreen auditorium, the theater played a 30-minute short film giving gay history since the 1950s, “Into the Streets”, directed by G. Wlliamson, essentially filmed in Cinerama, as in the 1950s.

The centerpiece of the film is the course of the Stonewall Rebellion at the Stonewall bar in NYC on 7th Avenue and Christopher, on June 28, 1969, with emphasis on the silly and negative way the press covered them.

The film also went back to the 1950s with the Truman and Eisenhower purges of gays from the government and the history of Frank Kameny.  In the mid 1960s, the atmosphere started to change, although you wouldn’t have realized it from the CBS special with Mike Wallace, “The Homosexuals”. Starting in 1970 in NYC (and 1972 in Dallas) there were big pride marches.

Homosexuality as practiced in private became much more acceptable in the 1970s, despite Anita Bryant.  The film covers the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and Reagan’s indifference, and the surprising fight over gays in the military, up to the time of Obama’s repeal in 2011.

Lou Chibbaro, from the Washington Blade, seems to do most of the narration.

There was also an eight-minute short film “The Hollywood Effect” in one of the booths on Level 6.

The short showed that gay material became acceptable on cable television and then indie film sooner than in large Hollywood films.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

"Just One Tree", short film from The Outsidely

A new website from Australia, "The Outsidely",  set up to work on climate change offers a short film, “Just One Tree’, by Ramsay Taplin.

The film presents the tree as nature’s major tool for balancing the right amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

He also discusses the depletion of insects.

The bad news is cutting down of forests, in Australia, and in Brazil in the Amazon under a new right wing leadership.

The one question I would have is, large trees too close to a house can fall on them in storms.

When we played back yard softball in my childhood, there was a large poplar tree that knocked down a lot of home runs.  Then it was struck by lightning in 1986 and barely missed the house.

Monday, March 11, 2019

"Captain Marvel" and Hollywood's blatent but necessary consumerism

OK, Tim Pool gave “Captain Marvel” 4/10 on Twitter.  Indeed it comes from Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

Brie Larson becomes the superhero;  we remember her from “Room” (Nov. 3, 2015).

Marvel Studios give a good synoptic gospel trailer  starting with an image of a defunct Blockbuster video store; later Carol Danvers questions whether her life is “real”.

I’ll skip it, but mention the controversy over the deleted Rotten Tomatoes “pre-reviews”, as Metro-UK and then Cinemablend explain things.   

The film seems to have done rather well at the box office.

But I can’t go along with the idea of seeing another comics movie that seems made just to push casting “diversity” as a new diversity Law.

“Economic Invisibility” has an interesting perspective about this film as becoming an example of “forced consumption”.  He even speculates about a future “Hollywood subsidy tax”. Well, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb pointed out (“Skin in the Game”), more of is need to return to the “real life” transaction economy rather than mull in the lucid dreams of the attention economy.

Picture: Reno, my picture, 2018/9.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

"Leaving Neverland" (HBO) stokes the problem on "unpersoning" people from history for distantly past misdonduct

I don’t think I have time for the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland”, but here is a  first hour from the Documentary Channel , or the HBO-sponsored trailer here for Dan Reed’s four-hour opus.

Now some men speak up about what they allege was going on.  But of course we had heard this at the time of the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray in 2009 for involuntary manslaughter for a cocktail of sleep medicines including propofol.  At the time, there was a lot of talk of inappropriate behavior on Jackson’s part with kids, which led to charges and an acquittal.

But the most interesting commentary comes from Tim Pool “Erasing Michael Jackson, Unpersoning Is Here and Is Getting Worse”.

The video has a cartoonish picture of a Book Burning Mobile (“Fahrenheit 451”, etc).  When a person’s moral reputation has been tarnished by revelations years later, they are to be removed from history. In fact, the radical Left wants to start over with its own pretend history.

Flickr photos of the Neverland ranch in the past are here.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Chemistry set art work: "Recreating One of the Weirdest Reactions": a solution shimmers in patterns and then turns to coca-cola

Recreating One of the Weirdest Reactions” reminds me of an old art project in New York by Stewart Lamle back in the 1980s, mixing odd paints and chemicals to get bizarre recursive patterns to put on fabrics.

Science teacher (?) Tim Kench, on a YouTube channel by NileRed, presents an interesting experiment that creates a solution with recursive patterns (fractal, almost Mandelbrot-like) in reddish colors, like a design – that get overridden by bubbles and turn blue.

This would make chemical art work for a museum.

The chemicals include sulfuric acid, and complicated oxidated salts with iron and bromine, and one organic acid. But the experiment would probably appear in an undergraduate course in advanced inorganic chemistry (or descriptive inorganic).

Like the ingredients for many experiments in a typical academic chemistry laboratory, many of the ingredients are toxic.

When I was a senior in high school, I accidentally got a little bromine on an index finger.  If formed a dark sliver of a burn that took about three months to heal completely.

Jack Andraka’s book “Breakthrough” (Book reviews blog, March 18, 2015) has an appendix with some home experiments (like making a lava lamp) that are simpler and safer than this.  Nevertheless, this film demonstrates the possibility of chemical abstract art.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

"Midnight Cowboy", classic film from 1969 (time of Stonewall) about gay hustlers, provokes controversy over airport name

I remember seeing John Schlessinger’s “Midnight Cowboy” in 1969 at the Post Theater at Fort Eustis VA (when I was in the Army), where an officer in the waiting line said it is about “homosexuality and all that”. It’s based on a novel by James Leo Herlihy.

The United Artists film (now Criterion Collection) became a cult classic quickly, as a country hick Joe Buck (Jon Voight) befriends a city hustler Ratso (Dustin Hoffman). The film, shot at 1.37:1 often in black and white, has a restroom scene that at first earned it an X rating.

The film attracted attention in the media recently when John Wayne’s son fought off attempts to remove John Wayne’s name from the airport in Orange County CA over concern of Wayne’s criticism of this classic movie and his supposed homophobia, which the son denies in context.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

"Goodbye Charley": a gay highschool athlete experiences the afterlife, only visible to his lover

Goodbye, Charley”, a six-minute short film by Nate Trinrud, with Austin McKenzie as Charley, is a supernatural story about the afterlife.

Charley, a star baseball player, is shown transparent walking around the high school, walking through students as they prepare for his memorial assembly.

Only his lover, also on the team, can actually see him, as they say goodbye in a final scene.

The film was shot at the University of Southern California.

The film does not specify the cause of death.

The film is loosely based on the 1964 comedy by  Vincente Minnelli for 20th Century Fox Cinemascope.  Charlie (Debbie Reynolds) is first a male screenwriter who is shot by a jealous husband at sea and comes back to life as a woman, while his best friend, a novelist (Tony Curtis) puts his affairs in order.  The transgender theme is definitely ahead of its time, which was quite homophobic still. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

"Oblivious": short film shows how parents in a "good home" fail to notice a daughter lured into trafficking online

Mikey Hardesty presents “Oblivious”.

The film claims to have won Best PSA in a Colorado Film Festival for Youth. Does it really show how an upper-income privileged teen would fall for trafficking?  

A teenage girl in a nice home in Colorado still keeps connecting with johns on the Internet. When she gets to the motel, unbeknownst to her “oblivious” mother, it’s apparent she’s under a pimp’s financial control, but why?  She just needs to keep her life secret.  

With FOSTA on the books, the operator of the website the characters use and possibly their webhost would be liable for civil damages and possibly criminal prosecution. What if the website operator didn’t know?

Wikipedia attribution link, picture of San Juan desert in southern CO, CCSA 3.0.  I drove through the area in 1984.  I didn't recall that the area is a basin with no water outlet.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

"Flower Man": a straight man has to offer himself to get a discount for his wedding bouquet, and he has so little to lose

Rocco Fallon presents a 3-minute short film “Flower Man: Love in Shop when Buying Flowers”.

A straight man about to be married has to talk down the price of the wedding bouquet.  The gay flower shop owner wants something in return for the discount.

The gay owner looks a little more masculine at sight. The straight guy doesn’t really have anything to lose, even if the final seconds.

The film is by “TV Love”.

Friday, March 01, 2019

"A Good Student" but not a good teacher

Kate Saxton’s “A Good Student” popped up quickly as I searched for "short films".

Peram Hasibi plays a young (male) high school teacher taking money (actually cash in envelopes) for grades, and a (female) student decides to “end it”.  He looks like a graduate student, but dressed in coat, shirt and tie.  The film doesn't say what he teaches (maybe math?)  Maybe this is more like a community college environment.

He doesn’t ask for intimacy (which would be more predictable).  And he doesn’t expect power over students.

A relatively straightforward film, which seems to be a film school project.

I was an assistant math instructor at Kansas University in the 1960s and I gave hard tests.  At that time, I could have power over who might get drafted because of the student deferment system of the time. That could make interesting fodder for short film.