Thursday, August 22, 2019

"The 10 Top Chess Openings": an overview indeed



The 10 Top Chess Openings” by the Chesswebsite in 10 minutes inventories the opening moves of 10 opening amateur chess players should know.


I wonder about his inclusion of the Fried Liver Attack in the Two Knights Defense, because Black usually plays Na5 on move 6 and sacrifices a pawn for very active play.

The mention of the London System is interesting, because it looks so amateurish.  It is related to the Colle.  Against negligent defense, White can set up an impenetrable barrier on the dark squares to mount a King Side attack.
  
Some people say Magnus Carlsen is no longer at his peak, and has played some garbage openings recently.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

"High Noon": 1952 suspense film in real time, as the clock runs down, a western about standing up to a bully


In these times of political polarization, “High Noon” (1952, directed by Fred Zinnemann) may be one of the ultimate films about standing up to bullies. It was written by Stanley Kramer and produced by his company (and Republic Pictures) and released through United Artists, the independent film company of the past.

  
The film, lasting 85 minutes, is a western shot in real time, as a released con Frank Miller (Ian Macdonald) is due in a New Mexico town at high noon on a train, and the sheriff Will Kane (Gary Cooper) will have to deal with him and protect his new bride Amy Fowler (Grace Kelly).


The story concept is somewhat similar to the 1966 film “The Chase” (2016/10/13). 
   
I recall seeing this film at the old Buckingham Theater in Arlington VA (now a post office) with mother before we met father at National Airport coming back from a business trip. I remember the menacing clock being shown repeatedly.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Ubanell's new short film, "Couples Therapy", with the help of a non-Apple robot that runs iOS


Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell has a new short film, “Couples Therapy”, with Andrew Neighbors, and “Alex”,  a “therapist” who is a robot tablet (it’s not from “Tim Apple”;  maybe it is a Wacom – and the technology for touch screens with Apple may change with OS 10.15, but that’s a side discussion.)


They both have good condo housekeeping habits and can assemble furniture and fold clothes (look at John Fish’s latest video from Montreal). 

But the computer decides “they are not compatible”.

But they know that they are.

Picture: Mine, from a hotel on the 405 in LA (2012 trip). 

 Ubanell shows determination to bring masculinity (or “manliness”) back to gay short film.

Monday, August 19, 2019

"Atomic Tours" by Carl Willis and Taylor Wilson (scientist), a visit to Hanford site (Manhattan Project), along with recap of radioactive sites in former Soviet Union


Carl Willis and Taylor Wilson (scientist) present the first of their “Atomic Tours”, a 23-minute documentary film directed by Jared Branden Flande and produced in part by Taylor.


The early part of the film gives Carl’s background and shows him visiting Chernobyl and various other controversial nuclear test sites in former Soviet republics.  This is controversial (as Sam Nunn has pointed out) that the world doesn’t have much of a handle on former nuclear waste, which can fall into the hands of terrorists. The recent explosions (there seems to have been more than one and at more than one location) in Russia at sites related to nuclear-tipped cruise missiles seem relevant now.

The film then switches gears as Taylor and Carl give a tour of the B Reactor at Hanford, Washington, which was very critical for the Manhattan Project during World War II.  V-J day in Times Square in 1945 is shown, with commentary from descendants of people who worked on the Project with all the moral mixed feelings. Taylor says that the Hanford site, and what it produced, maybe the most significant location in the world regarding its current recent history.
  
The site does not have access to normal running water, which makes bathroom breaks difficult. And, no, that has nothing to do with woke political correctness.

Wikipedia attribution:
By Image#2011393 at http://www.doedigitalarchive.doe.gov., Public Domain, Link

Sunday, August 18, 2019

"The Privilege Game": a card game version of kids' "Mother May I"



Neel Kolhatkar directs “The Privilege Game” (8 min), a companion short film to one about education July 27.


In a bland UK classroom, players draw trivial pursuit-like cards that assign them social status.  Being the victim of hate speech raises your status. Trump comes along (from the US) and reverse’s everyone’s gains from wokeness.
  
This sounds rather like “Mother May I”.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

"Woodstock at 50": CNN documentary by Bill Weir recalls the 1970 documentary in 70 mm of the 1969 hippy rock festival


Bill Weir of CNN hosted the one-hour documentary “Woodstock at 50”, where he talks to seniors who were there in a farm property in Bethel, NY (not the same as the town of Woodstock, maybe 50 miles NE in the Catskills), Aug 15-18, 1969, an event that drew 400,000 people and had off-duty police officers as a “please force” and had to get by on plenty of food and cooking donations toward the end.
  
In fact, I saw the 1970 184-minute 70mm film live documentary (“Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music”) from Michael Wadleigh and Warner Brothers in the early summer of 1970 in a Cinerama theater in Indianapolis, IN when I was working for RCA on my first job as an adult.


Weir found that many of the seniors who had attended still felt a bit like hippies.

  
CNN’s own promotional article is called “Woodstock at 50: Unseen Images of the Festival that Changed America”.
  
Weir notes that the polarization was maybe worse in 1968-1969 than it is today, before the Internet.
   
I was in the Army, stationed at Fort Eustis, but most of us heard about it in the barracks from the one television in the day room.  At least it had color. And a scanning tone that I could hear when I was young.

Friday, August 16, 2019

"How Safe Is China, Really?": Poppy (American travel blogger) documents living in China (Shenzhen)




“Where’s Poppy?” provides a 14-minute video, “How Safe Is China, Really?”


Poppy takes an air trip from Shenzhen to Nanking by air and visits some of the historical sites. Namking is half way to Shanghai. Toward the end, a woman goes way of the way to “chaperone” her back to her hotel.  I had an experience (in the US) on a bike trip in the 1990s I think I’ve share before.
   
She also left her camera and other affects unattended for a moment outside and no one disturbed them.

She has many other videos on her travel blog about life in Shenzhen, including cost of living.  Rent is about $900 a month for a reasonable high-rise, and she lives with a boy friend (white, English speaking, American).  Shenzhen is the closest big city to Hong Kong, which is certainly under stress now.

She does mention Internet service, which is like phone service and doesn’t discuss the controversy over censorship or social credit systems. She makes life there look very agreeable, in one-party unary Communist country.
  
But there is another video about how she was scammed out of $5000.

Wikipedia: 
By Simbaxu - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Film by Arvin Ash simulates traveling inside a black hole ("Crazy Journey")


I wanted to share Arvin Ash’s “Realistic Simulation: Inside a Black Hole: New Universe Through a White Hole?” (15 min).  The processed strike image reads "Crazy Journey: Inside a Monster Black Hole". 
  

Although no one can survive the tidal forces of going through an event horizon, you might someone feel pretty normal inside one if you could – but you are lost forever to the universe.  Furthermore, he says, every direction is down.

Space moves but time stops.
  
Arvin talks about the various mathematical theories about the singularity.
  
That’s why you have no sense of existence before conception, yet your life seems “indefinite” or infinite when you live it.
  
What if a black hole inside our galaxy generated another big bang?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"Happy Winter" shows middle class people celebrating "nothing" in an annual Italian beach festival



PBS POV presented a condensed (91 minutes to 51 min) version of “Happy Winter” (2017, “Buon inverno”), directed by Giovanni Tartoro, on Monday Aug. 12, main link here .  It don’t know why PBS condenses so many of these films.

The film traces some vacationers at the Ferragosto holiday on Mondello beach in Palermo Italy.


The festival provides over a thousand cabins, that are not much larger than enlarged outdoor privies, arranged in rows on the beach, painted blue.  Families “live” in them for a few days in August during the festival which is supposed to celebrate the Assumption of Mary.

During fascist Italy under Mussolini, the event provided politically oriented vacations for members of the middle and lower classes.

The families presented are in debt, dealing with aging or political challenges.  It seems strange to see living this way as a “vacation”.  Many are concerned with their social status now. 

The people seem to enjoy the camaraderie with activities like karaoke and scraping lottery sheets.

Many of the men, particularly, are overweight and rather sloppy. 

There is a book with a similar title by Joao Tordo.
  
The film was followed by very brief comments by the director, and a micro short animated film “My Father, the Giant”.

Wikipedia attribution:  By Lahiri Cappello - Padova - FerragostoUploaded by Markos90, CC BY 2.0, Link


Monday, August 12, 2019

"An Unresolved Mathematical Chess Problem": well, it's not quite about Lie Groups


For today, I thought I would present “An Unresolved Mathematical Chess Problem”, by Xhess Network and The Problemist. Not every post needs to be political.


The speaker poses two problems.  The first is to show Mate for White in 24 moves. The position is a complicated endgame with nights and bishops and pawns and no rooks or queens. There is an odd configuration of 4 black pawns quadrupled on the h-file. It is unclear whether this position occurred in a real game or could occur.

The solution is to realize that both sides are in practical zugzwang with White being able to move only the light bishop form a8 to h1 back and forth.

The second problem is to count the number of solutions in 24 moves possible.  The problem author wants a mathematical proof (I guess this would involve number theory and could require computer simulations, maybe a master's thesis at a university.) 
       
I suppose the collection of all possible legal chess positions is a vector space, but it is hard to describe an algebraic paradigm to map game moves to operations like what we see in group, ring or field theory. The number of possible operators seems infinite, and I don’t know what body of mathematics can really prove theorems like this.  Yet chess is such an amazing game in how it works that we don’t know where it came from.  The rules would be the same anywhere in the universe, or any universe.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

"Deep Impact" (1998) simulates what happens if a comet hits the ocean, but also poses a "political" question



Deep Impact” (1998, dir. Mimi Leder, from Paramount and Dreamworks) dramatizes what happens to western civilization when the Earth is hit by a comet (not an asteroid, which was “Armageddon”, a different review).


In fact, the comet had been discovered by a high school student and the whole matter is uncovered by a sleuthy journalist in the first half of the movie.

Comets pose somewhat different risks to Earth from asteroids or very large meteors.


The scene where the comet hits the Atlantic ocean is impressive, and a 1000-foot high tsunami knocks down all the skyscrapers in Manhattan.

But the film is also noteworthy because there is a lottery to determine who will be sheltered underground to survive the event and restart America.  People get a simple phone call inviting them to the shelter.

The idea might be unacceptable today if people were chosen based on some characteristic (given the political climate today).  But a film where people are on an escape vehicle going to another planet and are hand selected can have that political objection (previous review).

Morgan Freeman plays a “black” president and nobody thought anything of it in 1998.

I originally saw the film in the General Cinema (now AMC) in the Mall of America in Minnesota.

James Horner supplies the music score.

NASA “Deep Impact” gif of a comet landing, public domain, Wikipedia reference. 

See also review of cable film “Impact”, June 9, 2009 on cf blog.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

"The Hunt" canceled by Universal after recent rampage incidents, although the movie is said to be related to a classic "The Most Dangerous Game"



Universal has cancelled the release of “The Hunt” by Craig Zobel and Blumhouse, for September, after the reaction to the two rampages last weekend.

The film has persons who have been captured finding out they are targets for a hunt in the woods.  An article (linked by imdb) by Dave Trumbore in Collider compares the film to the 1932 classic “The Most Dangerous Game” (May 5, 2009 review here) by Irving Pichel, based on a 1927 story by Richard Connell.  I was working on a substitute teaching assignment in northern Virginia in October 2005 where the story was discussed in an English class and the students were asked to write a paper on “brains v. brawn” in the story.  During the assignment, there was a major controversy concerning writing of my own that had been found on the Internet (regarding a fictitious screenplay I had written about a substitute teacher who gets into trouble, and then this happened later in real life, although not by me).  I’ve discussed this elsewhere (“BillBoushka” blog, July 27, 2007).  So this whole thing now is very ironic.  I have not heard the last of that 2005 incident, as something related to it happened in the 2016 election. This little incident keeps coming back and biting other people (like Hillary Clinton).


Furthermore Fox News had claimed (as quoted in the Collider story) that the film satirizes killing of Trump supporters (the "basket of deplorables"), and Trump tweeted about it.
 
But NBC News says that the film presents "the rich stalking the poor." 
It sounds reasonable to expect a DVD or VID eventually, from an indie distributor. 

But any writer with an edgy script that gets a movie greenlight has to wonder if politics will outrun his/her work.  My own “dangerous” screenplay is integrated into the backstory of a screenplay feature of mine where the characters have been abducted by “angels” and are being studied (and "chosen" for a journey) as they live in an O’Neill cylinder.  Will that be too controversial?
 
Regal Potomac Yards in Alexandria VA still had a poster for the film in the lobby tonight. 

Friday, August 09, 2019

"Are We Alone in the Universe?" I say, consider the orcas



I wanted to share an Arvin Ash short, “Are We Alone in the Universe? Likely Yes, and Here’s Why


OK, there are some really improbable things that happened.  The collision that gave Earth a nearby large moon and an iron core and strong magnetic field.

And some fortuitous extinctions and survivals, like a single backboned "worm" survived one of the older extinctions.

But we are not the only really intelligent species.  Dolphins including orcas have more brain power than we do – their sonar is essentially a biological Internet. And they have been intelligent longer than we have.  But they went back to the water – free fish – and lost the use of hands and tools.
  
Quantum theory suggests that whatever can happen eventually does.  Maybe civilizations are spread apart in time as well as distance.  

Thursday, August 08, 2019

"Homegrown Revolution": important film about urban homesteading in Los Angeles


Path to Freedom – “Urban Homestead” offers the 2009 short film “Homegrown Revolution”.


One of the speakers makes an interesting reference to the Vietnam era draft.

But he took up urban homesteading in Pasadena CA when he returned.  In the 1990s he started farming with mulch.  He also took action to protect his family from food additives (or “alien food” as he calls it).

He also makes biodiesel fuel.

“Don’t look to others to change. You have to change yourself.  The government won’t do it.”  Sounds like Jordan Peterson!

Economic Invicibility (youtube channel) has sometimes advocated this activity, as has Tim Pool.
  
This group was involved in a trademark controversy (the Dervaes family) described today on my trademark blog.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

"The Carrington Event of 1859": short film from a sci-fi author gives a level-headed explanation of a event that could sack the power grids today


John Michael Godier explains “The Carrington Event of 1859
  
  
Godier, a science fiction author, doesn’t overplay the narrative, but warns that similar coronal mass ejection occurred in July 2012 and the Earth missed it by only a few days.  It could have done trillions of dollars in damage to US infrastructure. He also discusses a 1989 incident in Quebec. 
   
He also demonstrates with animation and art what the auroras looked like as far south as the Caribbean in 1859 and in the American west.  The CME arrived on September 1, 1859.
  
Telegraph operators actually got electric shocks from the effects, and messages got sent even when the equipment was off.
  
He also talks about a similar event in 774 AD.
  
Wikipedia attribution:
By Richard Carrington - Page 540 of the Nov-Dec, 2007 issue of American Scientist (volume 95), Public Domain, Link

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

"What Caused the Big Bang?"


What Caused the Big Bang?”, from Deep Astronomy.


This is one of many typical videos that try to explain how space expanded from nothing, and is counterintuitive because space, while constant expanding, is simply all that there is.
It is like blowing up a balloon where we live on the surface (or inside it).

The big shakeout resulted in the four forces of physics and matter instead of antimatter.

A better question is, “why am I, me?”  Why do I live now?  If I had lived at the time of the resurrection and ascension, that might have explained everything.
  
Instead, I watch, and create a progression of my own ironies, the information of which will always exists and influence what follows me.

Arvish Ash has some related videos that explain how the universe came from a zero-size object to a finite object through quantum tunneling, for example

Monday, August 05, 2019

"The Distant Barking of Dogs": a boy and his grandmother deal with civil war in eastern Ukraine in 2014


PBS POV presented an abridged (91 min to 53 min) version of “The Distant Barking of Dogs”, directed and written by Simon Lereng Wilmont, on Monday, August 5, 2019. The PBS link is here
  

In late 2014, as winter falls into the eastern Ukraine, civil war rages between the Ukraine and Russian separatist forces probably supported by Putin.  The area is called Donbass and the village is Hnutove.

A ten year old boy, Oleg, living in a rural shack with his grandmother Alexandra, deal with the shellings in the distance. The script says that Oleg often vomits during the shellings.

At school, the teacher says that the kids must learn to live in a war zone where things can hurt them, and that they must learn to protect themselves and their families.  This is made to sound almost like the conscription of children into adult ethnic conflicts.

This is a Sundance project film, from Final Cut for Real.
  
The presentation was followed by a very brief director interview statement.

Wikipedia attribution: 
By Unknown - This image is available from the New York Public Library's Digital Library under the strucID 487268This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?1216161, Public Domain, Link

Saturday, August 03, 2019

"What Is Time?" Joe Scott goes back in time as he eats a banana



What Is Time?” in the “Answers with Joe” Scott, who has a good science series. 


A photon moving at the speed of light does not “experience” time or age.

But the main reason to share this video by Joe Scott is the sequence starting at about 9 minutes where he eats a banana as time moves back, and with each bite more banana remains to be eaten.
  
Time is an essential part of the topology of the universe, if you accept the idea of near-speed-of-light travel and time dilation.

Friday, August 02, 2019

"Why You Should Never Travel to North Korea": followup by Jacob Laukaitis


Jacob Laukaitis, now 25, explains “Why You Should Never Travel to North Korea”.  This video follows up an earlier film presented here Aug. 24, 2017.


At the time I reviewed the first video, Otto Warmbier had already been returned from North Korea and died upon arrival in the US.

But Laukaitis (who was born in 1994 in Lithuania, three years after the breakup of the Soviet Union) had made his earlier travels look interesting.

Now he admits that the North Korean government stages everything he was allowed to see, and almost all the money spent there goes to prop up Kim Jong Un’s regime and nothing goes to the people.
  
Wikipedia link, White House picture of Trump with Kim Jong Un (p.d.)  

Thursday, August 01, 2019

"The Early Internet Is Breaking": Old amateur digital content from the early web melts away (and now there is censorship)





Quartz presents “The Early Internet Is Breaking: Here’s How the World Wide Web from the Early 90s Will Be Saved” directed by Meghan McDonogh and Marie LaCerte.


Two former “Netizens” Dragan and Olia recall how it was in the clownish days, of Hometown AOL (which opened pretty much in 1996 after Congress passed Section 230), augmenting to corporate content of AOL and Prodigy; soon there were many small personal web pages, and I supported my own first “Do Ask Do Tell” book with a site called “hppub” (acronym for High Productivity Publishing) hosted by a coworker’s company then called “Virtualnetspace” itself residing on a Rackspace in suburban Maryland called “Announce”.  I had it hosted this way for four years and it was surprisingly stable.

The big platform was Geocities, with over 38 million pages;  one of these belonged to the Paul Rosenfels Community or the Ninth Street Center.

The film notes that many old sites are lost as owners simply don’t renew domain names.  They also note the demise of Myspace (a target of Dr. Phil) as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram took over.
  
They barely mention the censorship problem, which has erupted as a (“regressive Left”) backlash against the Trump administration and particularly the fear of the stochastic threat of the alt-right, as illustrated by Charlottesville, which has even led conventional hosting companies to cancel accounts of a few of their extreme customers, setting a dangerous precedent.

There is a project to archive older sites (besides the Internet Archive Wayback machine itself) called Webrecorder.  I'll look into this.