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).