Saturday, January 18, 2020

"Is Film School Worth It?"

Is Film School Worth It?”  It's a very big deal. 

Tyler Mowery looks at the different ways one can become a professional guild screenwriter (or editor, or producer, or director, etc)  for a living, if that is the goal.
It is possible for people to get there with “alternate paths” even if some people in the industry would resist it for reasons of, perhaps, protectionism.
You really have similar questions in other arts fields, like classical music (playing in an orchestra, concert pianist, composer).
Tyler says he started in film school but switched to another major to finish college more quickly.  Economic Invincibility, who has a similar speaking style to Tyler (and also to Canadian Harvard student John Fish) has hinted at a similar past – he wanted to get to work quickly and be on his own.

Some YouTube producers, especially those who shoot raw news like Ford Fischer (News2share) could well consider migrating into careers as producers and directors of documentary film, given all the turmoil at YouTube with monetization and politics.
I don’t recall discussing film school before on this blog, so I thought this would be a good video to cover.
Another little tidbit:  Walt Disney, having bought 20th Century Fox etc, changed the names to 20th Century and Searchlight.  Will the wonderful Alfred Newman fanfare be kept?  I think it came in with "The Robe" in 1953.  Fox News and broadcasting is separately, and Disney wants to get rid of the "conservative" (Tucker Carlson) anti-woke stain. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

"Why Christian Movies Are Bad" (from "The Problem with Christian Media")

Josh Keefe tells us “Why Christian Movies Are Bad”, which is Part 2 of “The Problem with Christian Media

The basic reason is that they essentially video sermons, the film says.  The characters are set up to make religious points and don’t behave in a way that people normally would. Film editing often doesn’t follow the actual flow of a conversation.   He compares a bad sequence from a Christian PureFlix film to a good one from “Whiplash” with Miles Teller, and another one from “The Social Network”.

Preachers are not filmmakers, the video says. They have their own calling.  
The end of the video shows a little clip from “Inherit the Wind” about the Scopes trial.  Like, that old time religion is good enough for me.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

"COPPA Got Updated, It's Bad": well, not so fast (short)

Today’s film functions as a short, but it makes a point. It’s called “COPPA Got Updated, and It’s Bad”, by Charmx.

He describes the new “Protect Kids” act which was proposed in Congress Jan. 10 in the House.  I wrote more details Monday (Jan 13) on the BillBoushka blog and gave the Thomas link.

This is not law yet. The main provision that Charmx is concerned about is raising the age thresthhold from 13 to 16. 

This should set off a fierce debate before it goes anywhere. 
Nevetheless, should the age go up, YouTube could not continue behavioral advertising at all without age-gates on everyone even viewing the videos.  There are some more frictionless ways to do this (as an aftermath to COPA, a different law that got struck down) at the router level that, ironically, comes up as a result of my concerns during the immigration sponsorship debates (2016) and the ability of telecom companies to offer guest accounts on routers.  Put this together and find some good nifty programmers and YouTube could solve this and make some college kids good at coding rich (and pay off their college debts with ease), by actually employing them to do something badly needed for their business to continue.

One of my favorite memes is "it won't be so bad, or will it?" 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Oscar nominations in 2020 criticized for shunning PoC, women, creating hypocrisy among the woke in Hollywood

There a lot of talk right now about the lack of PoC and women in the Oscars this year, as in previous years, with the #OscarsSoWhite meme.

Krystie Lee Yandoli writes the politically correct account for Buzzfeed News.
Only Cynthia Erivo from "Harriet"  (as Minty / Harriet Tubman who help run the underground railroad to free slaves before the War Between the States) was nominated for a significant Oscar (for best actress, and best song).

Now BuzzFeed gets criticized for artificial wokeness, from commentators ranging from Tim Pool to gay male fitness guru Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell (who himself produces short films).

John Matrixx, in the video above, says that the award shows are nothing more than opportunities for celebrities to pimp their wokeness.
A bigger issue for me in submitting my own material for movie consideration (which may happen in February) is expectations of casting diversity, when in my material some key characters have to meet some specific criteria for personal appearance, to make sense at all.   

As for other comments about the Oscars, at least two of them (Best Picture) were Netflix films, one of them “The Irishman” which I will make time to watch, I hope on Thursday.  Another such film is "Marriage Story". 

Monday, January 13, 2020

"The Politics of Gay Body Hair" and the paradox of a second puberty

Bradley Birkholz and “The Politics of Gay Body Hair: My Manscaping Routine” (15 min).

This video will show up if you search YouTube for "manscaping". 
Bradley presents his argument in three parts, and starts out with a historical perspective on how men and women were supposed to look, especially in Victorian England. He doesn’t mention that this varies by race.  Generally “white” people have more body hair than blacks or especially Asians.  That seems to have to do with having evolved in colder climates and then the way cultural norms about what his desirable compounded things. Skin color is lighter and skin thickness is less in colder and darker climates often to allow for more Vitamin D.  It’s conceivable that Neanderthal genes could have mattered, but no one has said much about that.  “White” includes most peoples in the Middle East and even some peoples in India.

But in the gay community, “smooth” was in for some people, especially in the 80s and 90s.  He notes the paradoxical or inconsistent “bifurcation” of his own body appearance, and discusses his previous work as a drag queen.  He is 22 and says he is suddenly experiencing a second period of post-puberty and likes it.  His values are changing.
In decades past, this sometimes was an issue with fraternity or even college hazing, as “leg shaving” parties were mandatory for incoming freshmen, as if they could prove they were not too sensitive to the expendability of their own bodies, when they would still be expected to reproduce and have and support families.  This was an issue at William and Mary in the fall of 1961 (actually contributing to my expulsion for refusing to participate).

Sunday, January 12, 2020

"Living on a Generation Ship": Your legacy would be all that matters, and family values would be enforced

Unveiled, with “Noah” narrating, describes “Living on a Generation Ship”.

This would be a 15-20-mile long cylindrical rotating O’Neill Cylinder with perhaps a thousand families, moving to other solar systems and planets, needing to bear several generations to get mankind a new home.  Making artificial gravity work well will be a challenge;  it is not as effective as mass-induced gravity. 
This would have a profound effect on the lives of people living out their whole lives, with no other purpose but to keep humanity going on until it could land many generations down the road. Every able-bodied adult would need to have children and the political system would be authoritarian. You have to belong.  The hive owns your consciousness.
Wikipedia attribution: Public Domain, Link

Saturday, January 11, 2020

"Could a Goldilocks Zone Galaxy Exist?" This video is not as encouraging as a lot of us want!

Unveiled has an important new speculative video “Could a Goldilocks Zone Galaxy Exist?

Not only does an individual star have a goldilocks zone where temperatures are right for planets supporting life to exist, galaxies have a similar concept.  For the Milky Way, it’s about 17,000 light years to 33,000 light years from the center with its supermassive black hole. It’s dangerous for a solar system to pass through the spiral arm of a galaxy, and a circular rather than elliptical orbit is safer.

Finally, galaxies in some parts of the Universe are more conducive to life than others.  Essentially, older galaxies have a better chance because they will have more older stars and more supernovae in their past that could have created heavy elements necessary for rocky planets and for the enzymes necessary for biology.

Our own civilization may be a relatively early one in the history of at least our galaxy.
We could also look more systematically (and mathematically) at what does it take for individualized consciousness to form and persist? Once it forms, can it really be destroyed?

Thursday, January 09, 2020

The "Secrets of Life" got even more complicated: DNA doesn't hold all the cards.

Something Encodes Our Genetics Besides DNA” by Riddle.

The video explains the bridge from RNA to DNA in biology, and notes that DNA helices contain combinations of just four nucleic acids.

But research shows that many other (over 1000) amino acids besides these four might have worked, and might occur on other planets.

The video also explains how a “living computer” could be constructed from DNA based on other amino acids that would have almost infinite storage and might last much longer than conventional hard drives or even solid state drives.

Video title: "Secrets of Life" was a Disney documentary in the late 1950s. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

"Taking on the Red Pill: Men's Rights Activism" by Knowing Better

Knowing Better reviews Cassie Jaye’s “The Red Pill” (2016), in “Taking on the Red Pill: Men’s Rights Activism” (29 min) is pretty level-headed in addressing the claims of the MRA, Men’s Rights Activists.  The "red pill" meme comes from "The Matrix" and reveals inconvenient truth's when swallowed. 

The criticism of the film focused mostly on the context around which many claims are based. He notes that MRA often comes from men who have had specific problems growing up. He admits that there is a downside to “male privilege”.  He says men’s rights and feminism could be allies (actor Richard Harmon has said that).  KB suggests that patriarchy itself is the problem:  it expects men to be hyper-competitive, ritualized, and yet prepared to make themselves disposable if need be in an emergency.

KB does give a lot of attention to the fungibility idea early in the video.
KB does talk about the draft and covers the recent interest in Congress in requiring women to register for the Selective Service System since women can not do almost any combat jobs.  He also covers the history of the male-only draft in court. He says that no one born since 1956 has actually been drafted.  

I personally that that the world is unstable enough that the idea that people might have to learn to protect one another collectively is relevant, and that is often part of the arguments for the 2nd Amendment.

He also says there are biological differences, statistically, between men and women which explain why men can play professional baseball or football but women can’t.

He covers the issue of Incel and MGTOW, and also notes that some people in the MRA movement are sympathetic to the alt-right.

He talks about the claims in custody cases and also reverse domestic violence issues.  He doesn’t mention that men have been made responsible for child support when named by women when they had not actually been the biological fathers.

I talked about similar issues on a topic called "Relationship Paradox" at the end of a lecture I gave at Hamline University in February 1998 (on crutches, after an accident), starting at 53:10 on this Vimeo link
The video seems to be sponsored by Curiosity Stream.

Monday, January 06, 2020

An early Golden Globes, essentially calls "1917" best picture before many moviegoers have seen it (a good way for Universal to sell tickets)

I hadn’t been aware that the Golden Globes had taken place this early in January, but they are already done.  The main site announces the winners. LA looks spring-like even in early January (after all, the Tournament of Roses and Rose Bowl have just happened.)

“Best dramatic pictures” is Sam Mendes’s “1917”, which is in only one DC theater now, but will open in general release Friday January 10. 

Jeremy Jahns reviews it, and says the story is simple:  two British soldiers are chosen to go behind enemy lines and deliver a message to save their unit – as the Brits push back on the Germans during World War I, which made young men so expendable.
Best “comedy or musical” was “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”.

Best actor in a drama was Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker”.  Phoenix almost gave up acting.
Best actress in a drama was Renee Zellweger in “Judy”.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

"Scenes from the Men's Toilets at a Ceilidh": conversation in a "john"?

Scenes from the Men’s Toilets at a Ceilidh”, directed by Louis Norris (2019, 10 min, many festival  awards).  

A tall handsome guy from England (Joe Sefton) attends a square dance in Scotland after invitation by his boyfriend (Ben Walsh). But he has doubts as to whether his Scottish friend has come out to his family. But affection builds in this film, shot entirely in a modern latrine with a lot of white tile.  This is indeed a curious idea for a film.
There is bagpipe music, but the title reminds me of Samuel Barber's "Music for a Scene from Shelley". 
Maybe the movie makes a good case for deep cleaning. 

Saturday, January 04, 2020

"The Case for Non-Carbon Life": Maybe silicon works in very hot places

The Case for Non-Carbon Life”, from Unveiled (6 minutes).

The basic idea is that silicon might behave more like carbon at very high temperatures (on hotter planets, maybe on “hot Jupiters”, maybe on Venus now).  The video discusses extremophiles on Earth.

The video notes that arsenic can substitute for phosphorus in some life forms (like in Mono Lake in California).

Silicon’s 4  covalent-available electrons are in the third layer deep which makes their compounds less “hardy”.
The video speculates that even dark matter could be alive.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Bostwiki: short film on setting up his own deep-fake

Bostwiki: “I Paid the Internet to Deep Fake Me”.

Bostwiki, in a 22 minute film, sets up an experiment in which he will be deep-faked and used in porn.

The biggest risk might be for politicians or executives, along with extortion, throwing the stock market. This wouldn’t work if the public caught on to it.

It takes advantage of the fact that some actions (like securities trading) happen on belief and rumor without the time to fact-check.

The “deep fake” industry draws a line between public figures and non-checkmarked persons.
Bostwiki, like Economic Invincibility and Tim Pool, drives holes into conventional leftist and liberal positions on things, mainly for being naïve.

Update: Jan. 8

Facebook has banned some "deep-fakes" but not satirical fakes, story by Tony Romm, et al in the Washington Post today, p. A14. 

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

"Scientists Hear Plants Produce Loud Screams when Damaged" (Petrov)

Scientists Hear Plants Produce Loud Screams When Damaged”, video by What Da Math by Anton Petrov.

There is a legend that a mandrake root is pulled, it emits a scream that kills the animal that pulled it.

The paper by Katherine Wu in Smithsonian is here, based on this Biorxiv abstract.

The sounds are ultrasonic, way above human hearing but bats might be able to hear it.  The sounds are generated by bubbles.
The video is associated with the Team Trees project (John Fish video). High school biology teachers will love this one.