Sunday, July 14, 2019

"Allegro Train Review, and Russian-Finnish Border Crossing"

Since I visited a couple of Finnish cultural centers in Ohio (part of my own book research for the novel) Saturday, I thought I would select a video of the Allegro train that connects Helsinki with St. Petersburg.

The best short video available now is by Ekain Munduate and is called “Allegro Train Review and Russian-Finnish Border Crossing”.

The border check isn’t made to sound like a big deal, and the announcements are in Russian, Finnish, and English.  Russian rail gauge standards is slightly narrower than Finland’s, which causes problems with some freight trains but not with the Allegro, which runs at 220 km per hour, with a 3-1/2 hour journey including border check  (390 km).

Yet I would wonder about tourists going into Russia from the West, if they had made themselves controversial online in social media or even with other writings.
I haven’t heard much about this. 

By Otto Karikoski - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Friday, July 12, 2019

"Solar Pounder": a lot of issues covered in 3 minutes in this soft-core LGBT short

Solar Pounder”, a micro short by Body Czech, at least starts out by pretending that selling door-to-door is still viable.

“Decotah”, a tall blond salesman knocks on doors selling solar systems for home roofs.
The homeowner is straight, but his wife is in the other room.

So it sounds cynical. A lot of straight men give a little to make the sale, even to other straight men.
But why does the homeowner have that disfiguring tattoo covering his left forearm?  That seems stereotyped in some of these “shorts”. 
It stays _G-13.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

"Memento": Christopher Nolan's early thriller is a delicious plot layering experiment

Christopher Nolan’s early 2000 film “Memento” is interesting to me because it uses different presentations to show flashbacks in different time tracks. The technical term is sujet or syuzhet.

The protagonist Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) has anterograde amnesia, and is faced with solving a mystery of who killed his diabetic wife (Carrie-Ann Moss), from polaroid photos.

The film presents two timelines.  A forward timeline of what he can remember is in black and white. 

 A reverse timeline of what he cannot is reconstructed in color from photos, and the two timelines converge and meet in the middle.

He also pastes photos to his own body, shaving his thigh to get them to stay on like stickypads.
In my screenplay “Epiphany”, the current timeline (in an O’Neill cylinder) is in sepia color;  the real past events on Earth are in full color, and the imagined fiction backstories are in black and white.
The film was released by New Market (one of its first releases) but produced by Summit.

By Dr Steve Aprahamian - Picture of a chart created in Microsoft Excel, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

"The Prestige": Christopher Nolan period piece does ask good questions about the work of Nikola Tesla

Of some importance in science fiction is the 2006 film “The Prestige” by Christopher Nolan, with the title referring to the last phase of a magic act which offers a payoff to the audience.  It is based on a novel by Christopher Priest.

It is set in the 1890s in London, with two major lead magicians, the aristocratic Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and the working class Alfred Borden (Christian Bale).

The film invokes a speculative experiment with teleportation when it introduces Nikola Tesla (David Bowie), the inventor (later associated with alternating current and electrical engineering).  Angier spies on Borden and wants to produce the trick of teleportation. Eventually we learn that Borden was a pair of twins but they seem to share an identity.  There is some question in the plot as to whether a “new” Angier gets created by teleportation, or if there is anything in quantum physics or information theory that makes this theoretically possible.

The film was produced with New Market Films, which was normally an indie distributor ten years ago. It was also produced by Touchstone Films and distributed both by Disney and Warner Brothers. But the film tended to be shown in theater chains that prefer independent or art movies.

Picture: Reno, my visit (2018) 

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

"Beloved" was an unusual horror film in 1998 based on slavery-related guilt; recalled by recent film about Toni Morrison

The recent attention to author Toni Morrison in the recent biographical film, reminds many of the 1998 horror film “Beloved”, directed by Jonathan Demme (Touchstone Pictures).

Oprah Winfrey plays a former slave after the Civil War, living near Cincinnati, terrorized by the poltergeist of the child (she believes) whom she had killed years before to prevent the child from going into slavery.  Paul D. (Danny Glover) drives away the spirit from the plantation.

I vaguely recall this film at the Mall of America near Minneapolis in the fall of 1998.

Monday, July 08, 2019

"Quantum Immortality" described in a whiteboard lecture

"Werothegreat" presents “Quantum Immortality” (15 minutes)

The speaker writes on a white board, and compares human beings as conscious entities to elementary photons, trying all possible paths in life at once, and living as long as it is physically possible.

In a way, this sounds like a “dangerous” belief.  He gives an interesting diversion where he compare human life to photosynthesis which he describes as a quantum process.

He also describes the plot of the 2006 film “The Prestige” where Telsa makes a quantum immortality experiment out of himself.

Intuitively, it seems to me that I exist simply because I must (the Anthropic Principle) somewhere.  The Earth could have been in any galaxy, it just happens to be here.  Intuitively, it seems hard to believe that once a conscious individual is aware of the self, that “they” can completely disappear. If you know that you are dead, you are immortal.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

The E8 Lattice and Lie Group: does this generate "The Theory of Everything"?

Is the E8 Lattice the True Nature of Reality?” Or is this “The Theory of Everything”?

Arvin Ash explains multi-dimensional algebra if the E8 Lie Group.

This looks like a great board game. 

Will the Hardon collider find one of the 24 undiscovered elementary particles?

See also April 26 with similar short by Joe Scott.

By derivative work: Pbroks13 (talk)Cyclic_group.png: Jakob.scholbach - Cyclic_group.png, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Friday, July 05, 2019

"The 40-Year-Old Virgin": an irreverent satire that a decade later seems to have hidden "political" significance

I had done a big writeup on this comedy on my legacy “doaskdotell” site, but I thought I would recap the 2006 comedy “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” by Jude Apatow, originally from Universal (now YouTubeMovies) here.  I remember seeing this in the old AMC Courthouse in Arlington VA before it was renovated.

Steve Carell, then about 42, wrote the script for his own depilation, where he plays a nerdy 40-year-old who has never “gotten laid”, and is challenged by Trish (Catherine Keener).

The famous scene in the middle shows women waxing his chest with various strips, to where he looks like, as the script shows, a “man-o-lantern”.

In fact, this process of violating male body sanctity is shown relatively rarely on camera in film.  There are tacky YouTube videos about the topic, of course, but they are almost never shown in a “dramatic” context in gay short films.

Swimmer and bikers "do it", of course (in competitive situations).  Head shaves as fund raisers showing empathy (cancer) are common and almost expected, but so far they've never gone below the neckline.  You wonder.  In the distant past, this sort of thing could happen in college and fraternity initiations. 

It’s also a good question, why would his (Carell's) girl friend want him to look “less” virile?

The pundits used to weigh in on this.  David Skinner wrote his famous piece for the Weekly Standard “Notes on the Hairless Man” in June 1999.  This topic took a dark turn in 2001 when there were sporadic reports that the 9/11 terrorists had shaved their own bodies that morning (another Skinner article). This supposition was shown in the Discovery Channel film “The Flight that Fought Back” (about Flight 93) in 2005, directed by Bruce Goodison.

The controversy continues with Anthony Weiner’s prosecution, which wound up accidentally affecting the 2016 election, possibly being the “ball four” that walked in the winning run for Donald Trump.
It’s also true that about eight years after this comedy/satire film was a hit, the subject of incels took a dark turn (in June 2014) with the spree by Elliot Rodger. It is still viewed as a disturbing topic online.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

"Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser": why improbable events occur and we sometimes luck out

Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser”, an experiment by Eugene Khutoryansky, narrated by Kira Vincent (26 min).

This rather intricate animated experiment with quantum waves tell us why being stared at matters. Sometimes you can change something by looking at it.

Others says that this is a way of getting information from the future.

I would say that his experiment explains uncanny coincidences.
I have had a few events in my life where the coincidences were so improbable that they seem to have been intentional.  One of them happened when I was working as a substitute teacher. Another was when a woman who was looking after an estate house right after mother died and I was on a business trip was there at just the right time. Other examples seem to happen in sports, like improbable ninth inning rallies in baseball. Others might explain “Clark Kent” like powers.

Arvin Ash has a similar video, and note how it ends

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

"Can You Swim in Shade Balls?" You don't need to peak

Can You Swim in Shade Balls?” from Veritasium.

I guess this is a more light-hearted topic.  A swimmer (not competitive near) swims in a reservoir covered with black plastic shade balls to moderate water temperature in the hot California sun (and discourage algae growth).
At leas the doesn’t have to “peak” and shave his bod or something, which is something else someday. 
I’ll stumble onto a YouTube video about, if YouTube doesn’t self-destruct first.

Monday, July 01, 2019

"How Stars May Have Just Solved the Fermi Paradox" -- it's common sense, too

Second Thought proposes “How Stars May Have Just Solved the Fermi Paradox”.  That’s been around since 1950.

It’s relatively simple.  Stars revolve around the center of the galaxy. At times they get relatively closer just as planets in a solar system do. So an advanced civilization could wait for a “good time”, to quote a good friend from the past on how “bumping frequency” in a large city helps people build relationships. (Or it leads to glances).
The short also maintains that If a civilization had visited us before the comet/asteroid strike that destroyed the dinosaurs, all traces of it might have been wiped out.