Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Video Portrait of an independent journalist, composed by a journalism student

Well, this is a real short film.  It, as a "Video Portrait", portrays “News2Share Editor-in-chief Ford Fischer”, filmed by journalism student Andrew Demeter.

Fischer explains the value to the public to see raw footage of conflict in public, not just ordinary protest marches but sometimes violent protests and disorder, such as what occurred in Washington DC on Trump’s Inauguration Day, or in France with the Yellow Vest protests, or some of the Antifa confrontations.

Such journalism means some physical preparation for danger, including helmet, and hardy equipment. 
And right now, YouTube doesn’t seem willing to monetize it, even when it is neutral and shown for documentary purposes.

Monday, October 14, 2019

"Ordinary People" (1980) previewed today's concerns about mental health

I recall the film “Ordinary People” (1980, Paramount), directed by Robert Redford, particularly today because the title reminds me, at least, of a common term for “average joe” voters in a political world of populism.
But the film, which I think I saw at Northpark in Dallas in the fall of 1980, was quite popular with coworkers, and it’s an engaging story of how a teenage boy Conrad Jarrett (Timothy Hutton) has to work through several stages of therapy to deal with his misapplied guilt in dealing with the death of his older brother Buck (Scott Doebler) for which he blames himself.  

Judd Hirsch is the therapist (Berger) and the parents are played by Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore.

The film is set in an affluent suburb of Chicago.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

"Why Do Prime Numbers Make These Spirals?" -- does this affect the Universe?

Can math indeed become visual, as in “Why Do Prime Numbers Make These Spirals?

Here is a pretty math video from 3Blue1Brown, and merges number theory (of primes) with complex variables.

The idea is that you plot the points with a length of a prime number from the center, and a prime number of radians, and as you spread out, you get some predictable groupings of spirals at intervals.
The video also hits on a simple thing we learn in long division in grade school – remainders.

Friday, October 11, 2019

"Cat Opens Freezer and Gets Fish Fillets" and

This is not exactly a formal short film, just a short, “Cat Opens Freezer and Gets Fish Filets” (2011), from dolceluxy

The cat, sitting on a kitchen counter top, figures out how to open a freezing component of a typical refrigerator and get the fish fillets to fall to the floor.

I presume he understands that the fillets will thaw in warm air.

Here’s another video, where a house in a home in Germany opens five doors to let himself out.  He would not understand the concept of a key-locked door. 
When I lived in Dallas (1979), a stray cat would come and try to open the door to my apartment.  He recognized the sound of my car as I parked and would run to the right apartment on a second floor landing. 
Carnivores generally understand spatial relationships and that food can be behind something and be hidden from view (but not from smell).  That’s why campers have to keep food out of tents to keep it from bears.  As a mammal, if you hunt for a living, you have to be able to solve problems and have a point of view, which is why (beyond primates and cetaceans) carnivores generally have some of the intellectual aspects of people.  Cats are particularly aware of the possibility of beneficial relationships with other creatures, rather than eating them.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

"Screenagers" Two documentary films on the effect of "too much" screen time and social media on adolescents, still hard to see the films

ABC Good Morning America today mentioned the 70-minute documentary “Screenagers” (2016), directed, written and produced by Delaney Ruston. In 2019 there is a (franchise) sequel: “Screenagers Next Chapter: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience” (69 minutes).  I also see related books on Amazon but not the films.  There was a series of podcasts (one is on youtube) in 2015.  On YouTube I see trailers and interviews but no full movies.

Interested parties can request the film to arrange their own screenings. There is one in Annapolis, MD Oct 9 which is already sold out.  The film seems to have been produced in NYC and surrounding areas.

The filmmakers seem to have limited access to people who will actually organize others into screenings. I would expect to see the films available for normal rental on Amazon or YouTube, or perhaps on Netflix or Hulu, soon. As soon as I can see it or find it for rent I’ll review the full film on Wordpress.

The WQED “commentary” above (7 minutes) and Fox 5 interview (5 min) include the trailer and explain the film. 

There was an experiment with mice showing that when they are exposed in youth to electronic stimuli, they do not develop as many neurons related to normal cognition as do unexposed mice.  The trailer shows the cat scans. 

The trailers show a disconnect between families, which in good faith try to limit screen time, and schools, which teach technology (an English teacher actually taught a unit on “blogging” in 2006).  Pediatricians have long said that small children should not be exposed to the fast moving images of media until ages 2 or 3.

Teenagers who accomplish a lot (like Jack Andraka with his science fair pancreatic cancer test, or Taylor Wilson with his fusion reactor, usually have a strong footing in the physical world.  Jack and his older brother Luke (also very accomplished in environmental issues) compete in international kayaking events. Taylor is used to doing outdoor prospecting in caves and in the desert (in western states).  As kids, in the 1950s, we invented outdoor forms of baseball or softball that could be played with fewer people and actually built physical “stadiums”.  That’s easier in the Midwest where there is more land.

Monday, October 07, 2019

"America": Filial responsibility in Mexico after an elderly woman, neglected, falls (and someone goes to jail)

The film “America”, directed by Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside, was presented on PBS on Monday Oct. 7.  The 76-minute film (Lifelike Docs) was compressed to about 53 minutes.

“America” is the name of a 93-year-old grandmother in Colima, Mexico (on the southern Pacific coast, near a volcano), in the Serrano family.  One day, due to her oldest son’s negligence, she falls and is seriously injured and lies in her own excrement. The older grandson and brother takes care of her, but the youngest grandson returns from his own beach life to care for her.

The Mexican state prosecutes the father and the boys wait for the trial on a charge of neglect of an elder.  This charge is relatively uncommon in the U.S. but can happen. Judging from the film, the laws on eldercare in Mexico seem to be very strict. The older grandson was almost arrested.

The boys offer to take custody of her, as their dad is also a senior citizen.  He had been in jail for eight months.

The directors do a brief commentary, about young men showing intergenerational intimacy that may compromise their independence and sense of masculinity.

The link for the PBS trailer is here.  PBS did not offer a YouTube trailer. But it showed at a ReelAbilities film festival in NYC.

Wikipedia attribution link for p.d. picture 

Friday, October 04, 2019

"Planet 9 Is a Primordial Black Hole" (maybe, and it could be a secret to immortality of the soul)

Scientists Wonder If Planet 9 Might Be a Primordial Black Hole

Anton Petrov, on “Want da Math” explains that a black hole with the mass of our Moon left over from the Big Bang might have survived evaporation until now, and that Planet 9 in the Oort Cloud might be one. There is a microlensing effect and possibly a ring of dark matter.

Such a black hole could “store” digital information on souls on its surface.  And it would be much less than one light year away.  Could it be dangerous? 


Medium offers an interesting essay on what we learn about black holes, especially when they merge. by Ethan Siegel. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

"Could We Live on Mars?" (short)

“Could We Live on Mars?”, posted three months ago by Destiny.

The short gives a pretty good overview of the problems, mentioning that ironically Mars doesn’t have enough carbon dioxide in its surface for easy greenhouse warming.  The loss of the magnetic field four billion years ago to natural causes (quite different from Venus) is also a big problem (and common with exoplanets).

Nevertheless Elon Musk wants to have man living on Mars by 2050. His proposed Martian city looks like a circuitboard from the 1979 Disney film “Tron”.