Monday, April 19, 2021

NASA: First Flight of the Ingenuity Helicopter

Mars helicopter on sol 46


NASA presents the "First Flight of the Ingenuity Helicopter: Live from Mission Control" (47 Min)

Most of the flight footage is at about the 6 minute mark. The chopper appears to have flown for about 30 seconds, in an atmosphere 1% as dense as Earth’s at Sea Level.

There will several more tests (at least five) according to Wikipedia.

This is the first flight of a human made aircraft on another planet. 

Here is a NASA HD video of the actual flight.

Wikipedia embed shows the device (p.d., click for attribution) 


Sunday, April 18, 2021

“The Eastern Bluebird: Once Nearly Gone”

Eastern Bluebird

 

“The Eastern Bluebird: Once Nearly Gone” by Lesley the Bird Nerd.

It’s true we don’t see bluebirds nearly as often as robins, and I used to note well the rare instances I saw them in the yard growing up.

The film explains the blue color of the feathers in terms of selective light refraction, not pigment.

Wikipedia embed: click for attribution

Saturday, April 17, 2021

"Why So Many People Want to Be Writers", animated

 

my high school, rebuilt 

The School of Life presents “Why So Many People Want to Be Writers”, animated, 5 minutes, 2019, 

Why not change “be writers” to “write”? Yup, many first novels are autobiographical, from those prolific with the pen or keyboard but who don't bond to people in groups easily. 

The short film makes us wonder if literature, even as we study it in high school English and undergraduate college, was a replacement for “real life” for the authors.  Remember the 1950's card game "Authors"? 

It is a desire to be heard when the real world won’t listen and is already too polarized by its own intersectional whining.  But then, for tribal people, rioting is the remedy of the unheard. 

Even Socrates said this.

So I wonder what School of Life would think of Tyler Mowery’s recent YT series “The Writer’s Mind”, on Patreon (part of it members only).


Friday, April 16, 2021

“Did Scientists Just Discover the Best Ever Super Earth?” Because it is easy to observe, not because it is habitable

Exoplanet Comparison Gliese 581 d

 

“Did Scientists Just Discover the Best Ever Super Earth?” from Unveiled, April 12, 2021

The planet in question is Gliese 486b, around a red dwarf 26 light years away.  It has 10 times Earth’s mass and is thought to be a hot, volcanic planet like Venus. It transits its star frequently in a manner that makes it very easy for astronomers to study it.

Gliese 581c is around an even nearer red dwarf star, 20 light years away, 5 times Earth’s mass, gets discusses.  Space.com thinks it might be too hot.

A better chance is 581d, or even 581g, if it exists.

Picture: Wikipedia diagram of proposed 581 planet model, click for attribution 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

"The Mind of a Writer", a short meta-film

 


The Mind of a Writer”, directed by Andrew Kan, story by Tyler Cucuzza.

A portly young man tries to write a story for a job assignment in a company making short films. He is working from home (although this little film was shot in 2016).

A homely couple comes in, sits on the couch and makes various skits   Finally when they get serious bout some romance, Kan comes up with a story that the boss likes. Ironically this film comes up if you look for Tyler Mowery's "Writer's Mind". 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

"What If We Found Earth 2.0"?

 

underground on an alien world

The WhatIf Channel presents the little short, “What If We Found Earth 2.0”?  There was a series called this ("Earth 2") in the 1990s with Anthony Sabato and an underground civilization of humanoids.

It’s likely to be somewhat larger than Earth and near a K star or possibly mature red dwarf (no longer flaring), and tidally locked.

But it would take many generations reproducing on a closed O’Neill-like spaceship with authoritarian politics to get there. 

The short had an annoying long advertorial by NetSuite in the middle.

At the end, the video takes another look at Titan.

You can also watch “What If We Discover Life After Death?” on the same channel.  It does explain the Greyson scale of 1983, and the syncing of brain to heart and nervous systems during death.

Monday, April 12, 2021

“1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted Culture”: preview and description and funding pitch from producers (concerns a Biblical translation that caused evangelical Christianity to be focused on homosexuality)

 

Cathedral of Hope, UCC, Dallas, 2018

There is a film in development named “1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted Culture”, to be directed by Sharon “Rocky” Roggio, and produced by Daniel Karslake.  This is the official site so far, and this is the Facebook page. There is also a second official site to advertise the film. 

The film will maintain that the word “homosexual” as such did not appear in editions of the Bible until February 1946, the Revised Standard Version, in 1 Corinthians Chapter 6.

It then maintains that the pervasive anti-gay culture that persisted until Stonewall and then gradually improved was instigated by this translation change.

The film website has a donation page.  I don’t know it is using indiegogo or gofundme. 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Titan: A Better Planet than Earth (?)

PIA23172-SaturnMoon-Titan-RimmedLakes-ArtistConcept-20190906

 

Ridddle presents “A Better Planet than Earth Discovered in the Galaxy”, 14 min, March 2021.

That “planet” is really Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, sometimes previously covered.  But the phrase in the title “discovered in the Galaxy” indeed sounds, well, pleonastic.

The video mentions organic compounds associated with cell membranes, including vinyl cyanide, and acrylonitrile.

You will wear a mask, indeed a spacesuit, but you might be able to fly in your uniform with the low gravity and thick atmosphere.

The video mentions the hardships of COVID lockdowns in jest.

Artist conception of ice-rimmed methane lakes, p.d., NASA, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution 

Friday, April 09, 2021

“Facing My Fear of Heights by Skydiving” , Ethan Lusby

 

In flight over Nevada, 2018

Facing My Fear of Heights by Skydiving” by Ethan Lusby Travels.

The Thumbnail title is “I Passed Out: Unconscious Ethan”.

I think Ethan in 19 now, and I don’t think this was necessarily his birthday, but (like Avi Shiffmann and Trey Yingst) he tried jumping out of planes.

This time, an instructor was strapped to him, above him.  But in other videos, I’ve seen people (Trey) jump alone.

A large crew was hired to film the jump from the plane or from other jumpers.

He recently rehabbed his van, and he is all that his dog Millie knows.

This looks like it is filmed over the desert east of San Diego, maybe closer to San Bernadino.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

“The Male Gaze: Nocturnal Instincts” (maybe, from "Poof")

 

In flight over Nevada, 2018

The Male Gaze: Nocturnal Instincts”, from NQVMedia.

Well, at 92 seconds this is a micro short film.

Two handsome young men sit on a plane (middle seat filled) in flight.  One plays fingers.  No masks. And the film was posted March 19, 2021.

Then they go home together and Dad (of one of them) finds out.

Is light gay intimacy in flight acceptable behavior (even men kissing)?  I doubt heterosexuals could get away with this.

From directors Gustav Olsson, Roberto F. Canuto, Xu Xiaoxi, Dean Anderson, Nicolas Graux and Omri Loukas.

Truth to tell, this is a teaser for a real short film called “Poof” (not yet shown).   

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

""O'Neill Cylinders Explained" on a whiteboard with equations

 

Is an O'Neill Cylinder like a model railroad loop? 

O'Neill Cylinders Explained  -- Deep Space Colony of the Future” (14 minutes) by “Epsilon Is Greater Than” (Feb. 2020).

Two scientists do the math on a whiteboard and talk about how to build sustainable deep space environments, to have sustainable life in space, without “gravity wells”. 

There is no actual scenery in this video, and the comment about HIV was a bit offputting.

They mention the O'Neill cylinders in “Babylon 5” and the Cooper Station in “Interstellar”. 

Update: April 8: Also look at Interstellar Research Group's "Construction Scenarios for O'Neill Cylinder Space Settlement Habitats, 30 min, 2019, all mathematics, here

 

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

"18-Year Old Skydiver's Parachute Fails" on first jump, leading to tragedy (and litigation)

Parachuting Pori 2019

 

18-Year-Old Skydiver’s Parachute Didn’t Open on Jump”, short from Inside Edition. 

This was apparently a birthday present (in 2016).  But was run by a company without the proper safety protocols.

Tyler Turner’s family was awarded $40 million for wrongful death.  The instructor also died from the 13000 foot fall.

Avi Schiffmann, who created a major coronavirus tracker at age 17, went skydiving (successfully) on his 18th birthday in Washington State (Instagram).

Trey Yingst (Fox News international reporter) has documented his own skydiving on his Twitter channel.  A waiter at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Arlington was, at least a year ago as the pandemic started, working on becoming a Skydiving instructor in Virginia. 

Th DC LGBT outdoors group Adventuring has, in the past, arranged jump lessons and hot air ballooning.  Wikipedia embed of a typical 

Monday, April 05, 2021

"Sol 87": an astronaut alone with a robot finds a sentient being

PIA23304-Mars-ImpactCrater-Sep2016-Feb2019

 

“Sol 87”, directed by Justin Kruse (Empty Can Films, 11 min), presents James MacDonald as a solo astronaut exploring Mars, especially caves, with the help of a robot REX,

The Rex finds something, enclosed in a box, that may well be alive, looking like a squishy monster with tentacles. Someone else had placed it there. But how has it survived in a cave in a lantern?

Wikipedia embed:  NASA picture of impact crater, click for attribution 

Saturday, April 03, 2021

“We Need to Talk about Anti-Asian Hate”, from Eugene Lee Yang

 

driving to downtown LA, 2012

Here is a special 70 minute documentary on YouTube “We Need to Talk about Anti-Asian Hate”, written and directed by Eugene Lee Yang..

His film discusses the 1991 killing of Latasha Harlins, by a manager at a Korean store in Los Angeles, and the subtle effect it had of diving POC minorities for a time.  After Rodney King’s killing in 1991 and the acquittal of the policeman, Korean-American businesses became targets of looting. The Oscar nominated documentary short “A Love Song for Natasha”, on Netflix is mentioned in the film (Esquire review).

He has a featured YouTube creator essay today by the same name here. 

I simply never encounter this personally.  There is an element of our society that is very tribal and very gullible and influenced by slogans (as from the mouth of former president Donald Trump). 

One of the main grocery businesses in Arlington VA, the Westover Market, which has a bar and book-reading events (though not during the pandemic) and runs charity events and concerts outdoors is run by a Korean-American (mixed) family.

Friday, April 02, 2021

“How Opportunity Shocked NASA Scientists” (documentary of its findings before Perserverance)

PIA19673-Mars-AlgaCrater-ImpactGlassDetected-MRO-20150608

 

Astrum presents “How Opportunity Shocked NASA Scientists” (63 min, March 30, 2021)

At the end of the video there is a livestream of a big Martian dust storm.

The film presents some simulations of what Mars would have looked like when it had more water.

Opportunity, of course, landed in 2018 and paved the way for Perseverance.

Wikipedia embed: MARS Alga crater, impact glass, NASA photo, click for attribution

Thursday, April 01, 2021

"Bridgeton" said to set an example for Hollywood's future attitudes and policies on casting diversity

Disneyland, Anaheim, 2012


Connie Guglielmo writes about the colorblind casting of Bridgerton on Netflx as exerting a real influence on Hollywood as a whole.

But the concept works only when a film or series is essentially abstract enough that characters, at least how they look, become more interchangeable.  That sounds more common in comics or fantasy.

This might not work so well in films tied to specific personalities or characters where appearance somehow matters. My own screenplay "Epiphany", in a sci-fi spaceship setting, has about 15 major characters, and three are black. But for some of the characters, looks matter and do influence what happens to or with them. 


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Extrasolar planet surfaces in 360-degree-alternate reality, from "We the Curious"

 

My own train display, another world

We the Curious” provides a video showing the “surfaces” of at least four exosolar planets, intended to be viewed with 360-degree virtual reality headsets,

Shown are (1) the atmosphere of a hot Jupiter (2) an ocean planet (3) a planet covered with volcanoes (4) a planet more like Earth, but tidally locked around a red dwarf.  The video title says it shows 6 planets, but I counted only four.

The films were prepared at the University of Exeter, there are other videos.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

"Why Cockroaches Are So Hard to Kill", from Science Insider

Cockroach head

 

Science Insider presents the 4-minute film “Why Cockroaches Are So Hard to Kill”.

 

A super immune system, a huge number of olfactory an taster receptors make them able to eat anything.  The American cockroach has a very large genome.

If it is decapitated, the body can survive a week.

It also molts almost its entire body several times in growing into adulthood. 

Wikipedia embed: head of American cockroach 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

"Inside the George Floyd 'Autonomous Zone'", from News Nation Now, in Minneapolis

 

downtown Minneapolis, 2019

 

"Inside the George Floyd Memorial ‘Autonomous Zone’”, by NewNationNow.

Some persons manning the zone did now allow people from the public in to film (even though it is a public street) and when one person was shot in an incident, reportedly police and fire were not let in.

The intersection is 38th St and Chicago Ave, called the Phillips neighborhood. 

It is about a mile south of Lake Street, which connects Uptown to Highway 55.

I lived in Minneapolis 1997-2003m but downtown in the Churchill Apartments.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

"Red Rover": a "sci-fi short film about the end of the world"

 

Hudson Valley town, Oct 2014

The “Short of the Week” channel offers a 2014 film (in Feb. 2021), “Red Rover”, directed by Brooke Goldfinch.  The film was funded in Australia but is set in the Hudson Valley, New York. It calls itself a "Sci-Fi Short Film about the End of the World". 

The link is hereYT has marked this film as age-restricted (although it isn't really clear why). 

As an unstoppable asteroid approaches Earth, people prepare their last day.  A fundamentalist Christian family gets up its kids for one last breakfast.  The oldest sister encourages her teen brother and one other sibling not to eat the food but to take it and run out. 

The family dies immediately of poisoning, and the girl pukes on the way out.  They make it to town and find a sex orgy in a motel.  Then the go into the woods to meet their maker.

Starring Natale Racossin, Christopher Gray, and Idela Cory.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

A preview of "Not Going Quietly" from SXSW, about activist Ady ABarkan, who has ALS

 

Austin, TX 2011

There is one other film to preview from SXSW, which I would expect to become available virtually (or maybe be released theatrically first) before too long, “Not Going Quietly”, directed by Nicholas Bruckman, a biography of activist Ady Barkan.

Barkan was diagnosed with ALS in 2016 at age 33, shortly after the birth of his son. He became an activist for health care reform (and practicing attorney), with a confrontation with Republican Senator Jeff Flake on a plane.

The major film about ALS from the past was “The Theory of Everything” (about Stephen Hawking, reviewed here Nov. 14, 2014).

Ford Fischer (News2Share) provided some health careprotest footage for this film, which won the SXSW award for Documentary Audience. 

This film might well fit PBS Independent Lens (hope they wouldn’t cut the 96 minutes to fit if they buy it;  PBS often cuts and over-frames the films it airs).

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

"How to Tell if You Are on the Autism Spectrum": the (evolutionary) value of absolute individualism

 

northern VA, right after 2016 election

A channel called “Aspergers from the Inside” offers at least three videos on how someone can determine if they are autistic (Aspergers is clinically seen as part of the autism spectrum), and the most important one is “Are You Undiagnosed Austistic? How to Tell If You are on the Autism Spectrum”, which was a “patron’s” choice (from Patreon).  The video is self-described as a “Part 2” (Dec. 2019).

The speaker, an articulate young British man, mentions three main signs: (1) you “feel different” (2) you find yourself not being believed by others (3) not being able to mix naturally into a group without a lot of conscious effort.

On the first point, he mentions asking one time as a boy if he was an “alien” from another planet. It would be like asking a cat to join a “pack” of dogs (or wolves). 

He also says that people with Aspergers are often targets of gaslighting in social situations.

Asperger’s might be a “genetic” adaptation to the reality that it is sometimes an advantage to be able to function well alone without others in the environment.  That is why (most species of) cats are more solitary than most dogs or canids, they have to be able to hunt and survive alone.  Persons on the high end of Asperger’s are often likely to question the motives of their “tribe” and less likely to join in with “solidarity” with others or believe in identarian theories of abuse (intersectionality).  Jordan Peterson seems to urge everyone to take on a pinch of Aspergers with his “clean your room” ideology.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

"FTL" ("Faster than Light") directed by Adam Stearn, short film

 

Kennedy Space Center, FL, 2015

“FTL”  (“Faster than Light”) directed by Adam Stearn (14 min, 2019)

A mission uses faster-than-light technology to reach Mars in 3 minutes (light would take 15 minutes under the best circumstances).

On the way back, the crew (Ethan Kane) the ship gets lost and is rescued by a bizarre spider-like alien spacecraft that recombines Ethan’s body in space suit in the driveway of his Florida home, to a loving family.

Monday, March 22, 2021

A preview of "Kid Candidate" from SXSW; a joke video leads to a city candidacy run for Amarillo, TX (on the high plains)

Palo Duro lighthouse

 

SXSW was held online 100% virtually March 16-March 20, and I discovered this morning that none of the films can be viewed right now,

But I found a video channel ("Office Hours Live") with Tim Heidecker, who interviews the director Jasmine Stodel and star Hayden Pedigo, of the documentary “Kid Candidate”.  Hayden made a joke video in 2018 about running for the Amarillo TX city council, and wound up being dared to do so.  The film “Kid Candidate” is about the campaign in 2019.  He lost.  But he actually spent effort on underserved minorities in the city.

From 48:00 to 1:00:00, Tim interviews both of them on this video.

Hayden also performs music, which can be accessed on his Instagram channel.

I moved from NYC to Dallas in January 1979 (stayed there until 1988) and in my first year there I did a one March Saturday SW Airlines Peanuts fare trip with car rental to Amarllio, and almost got fogged in returning home, in a normally dry place.   I also drove to the Palo Duro Canyon.

When I moved to Minneapolis in September 1997, after having authored my first DADT book, I met a Hamline University senior, Anthony Sanders, who sponsored my first lecture about my book at the campus.  He had run for the St. Paul MN city council in 1997 as the libertarian candidate at the age of 20 as I remember.

So I’ve seen this sort of narrative before in my own life.  I also remember the activity of “ballot access petitioning”.  Did Hayden have to do that in Amarillo?

Let’s home “Kid Candidate” gets distribution (Netflix?? Hulu??).

Stephanie Crawford has a twitter thread that discusses the rest of the 2021 SXSW.

In early March 2020, the in person SXSW was canceled for coronavirus, as a warning of the lockdowns to come.

Palo Duro canyon picture embed, Wikipedia, click for attribution.

 



Saturday, March 20, 2021

"Can Cats Recognize Their Owners?"

Felis silvestris catus lying on rice straw

 

Senior cat wellness asks “Can Cats Recognize their Owners?” (May 13, 2020)

Yes they do, but not from vision resembling faces, has human faces look the same to us, just as theirs might to us.  And they are farsighted.

But the do go by smell, sound, maybe magnetic fields.

When I lived in Dallas in a garden apartment 2nd floor, a neighborhood tom whom we named Timmy recognized the sound of my car and would run to the front to of my apartment, remembering exactly which one it was.

replacement apts on Lucas St in Oak Lawn, near Dallas North Tollway, where I lived in 1979


If he spent the night, he would come into the bedroom and knead the pillow if he had to go outside. "Mr. Clinton" on Louis Rossmann's channel is so much like Timmy (screaming at the mention of Cuomo) that I wonder if he is a reincarnation of Timmy. 

Wikipedia picture of a cat in a loaf position, embed, click for attribution 

Friday, March 19, 2021

"7 Reasons We Probably Live in a Simulation", from Unveiled

 

Arlington VA park, and a box

Unveiled has a plethora of videos about the idea we live in a simulation or matrix, and here is one, “7 Reasons We Probably Live in a Simulation”.

One of the best reasons from my perspective is so many ironic coincidences in my own life that are far more common than chance would predict.

The video also discusses “The Mandela Effect” and “déjà vu”, which I do experience.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

"The Complete Evergreen Story" following the 2017 Day of Absence

The Evergreen State College

 

Benjamin A. Boyce presents “The Complete Evergreen Story”, much of it told through meetings and interviews in July 2017, about the woke “day of absence” on the Evergreen State College Campus in 2017.

Dr. Bret Weinstein had refused to participate because it seemed like a group-oriented, reparative remedy that depended on arbitrary assignment of people into groups rather than their own individual actions.

Yet many (woke) students took the position that providing identity-based safe-spaces was necessary, otherwise the world would become a privilege-based meritocracy, and could navigate toward fascism.

This seems like a question of “mandatory socialization”.

The college is located in Olympia, Washington. The college has unusual approaches to curricula and majors, as Wikipedia explains.

Wikipedia embed of panorama of campus, click for attribution.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

"The Seven People Who Can Turn Off the Internet", and it has nothing to do with the supposed "Internet kill switch"

 

Looks like a cochlea (VA Blueridge somewhere)

“Half AS Interesting” presents “The Seven People Who Can Turn off the Internet”.

The video (7 minutes) describes how the domain name and IP address system works, and how there is a complicated system of public and private keys (comparable to what exists for crypto currency) involved in resolving a domain name.  Ultimately, there are seven individuals responsible for the integrity of these keys.

No, I’m not one of them.

Sometimes you get a “can’t find DNS” or a NXT DOMAIN error, that seems to happen when the backbone companies that manage this setup have an issue (I think one of them is Century Link). One of my Wordpress sites sometimes gets one of these errors around 9 PM many night.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

"Abandoned: Memphis Pyramid": series looks at abandoned monoliths

Bass Pro Shop, Memphis, TN (33126417384)

 

Bright Sun Films presents “Abandoned: Memphis Pyramid”

It is part of a series of abandoned construction projects. 

At one time, in the 1950s, developers want to put up three pyramids on the Mississippi river.

When plans for a basketball arena floundered, it became a shopping mall, and there was interest from fast food chains.  I drove past it in a visit in 1992. 

Picture: Wikipedia embed, click for attribution 

Monday, March 15, 2021

New Mexico State University graduate student Andrew Dotson makes higher math entertaining: "Reimann Curvature Tensor"

LasCruces NewMexico ISS011-E-8410

 

New Mexico State University graduate student Andrew Dotson makes higher math entertaining with his 42 minute lecture  Reimann Curvature Tensor”, which is Episode 15 of his “Tensor Calculus” series.

One aspect that is interesting is how he presents his material using video editing and an interesting setup of devices in his apartment, which creates a particularly effective blackboard (or whiteboard), so this video may be interesting to other YouTubers wanting to polish their style of presentation and make it more professional.

Tensor calculus can describe what it would be like to live on other surfaces, like inside an O’Neill Cylinder in outer space (“Rendez-vous with Rama”), or maybe a Klein Bottle if we could become 4-dimensional beings (well maybe we can through dreams, if you ask Christopher Nolan (“Inception”)).

Dotson begins each video with “hello smart people”, but sometimes he touches on subjects covered by other college YouTubers (especially John Fish at Harvard).  He is particularly interested in the right place for graduate school and advanced degrees in theoretical subjects. 

One question would be, whether this branch of mathematics really will show us how to move to Space if we have to (we will some day; even without the pressure of Global warming now, the Earth would warm up anyway because of the Sun in a few hundred million years).

He also talks about partial differential equations, a dreaded subject at KU for me in 1966 because it was poorly presented (then).

KU McCollum Hall dorm, 2006, now torn down and replaced (I was there 1966-67). 

Picture: Wikipedia embed of NASA picture of Las Cruces NM from space, PD, click for attribution 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

"Asking Online Strangers for Advice" from Perspectopia (Max Reisinger)

 

UNC Chapel Hill, April 2015

Asking Online Strangers for Advice”, edited and directed by Max Reisinger, for his new Perspectopia channel and clothing business. 

The channel also has an earlier film of how Max selected YouTube partners for his business. The real point of reviewing this film is to discuss how teen entrepreneurs are quickly organizing, even in the middle of a pandemic (or hopefully toward the end now).

The current film (9 minutes) comprises short testimonials by young people, one of which says “be kind, and not just because people are kind to you.”  I’ve seen similar sentiments on Twitter from Trey Yingst (formerly News2share, now Fox correspondent from Israel), and from the “real” David Hogg (a 19 year old in North Carolina, going to UNC Charlotte and working in the real world for a grocer).  For the record, Max himself has yet to turn 18, and is finishing his last year of high school at UNC Chapel Hill (some of it virtual).  Max covers topics for young adults in a manner that reminds me of John Fish (21, Harvard), Nate O’Brien (22 years old, I think, Santrel Media in Philadelphia), and even Tyler Mowery’s screenwriting channels (2 of them).  All of these influencers talk about the importance of reading a lot of books, including fiction.

While mentioning companies started by very young people, we have to mention “that” David Hogg (Harvard) and his new pillow company, Good Pillow, with William LeGate. Yes, the motive for the company is partly political (anti-Trump), and we won’t get into that right now.  On the other hand, the “real” David Hogg at UNC sells sewn potholders and other hand art woodwork.  To an outsider, it looks like there is synergy between these companies and maybe they could work together.

In one earlier video, Max showed how he imprints his Perspectopia T-shirts or jackets with a press in his home.   The Perspectopia channel page shows a drawing of an alien city.

All of them have mentioned how they relate to investors and spend time on business proposals.  The Harvard David Hogg even showed a daily schedule for a Monday, where he would do school homework and meet with investors, and get up at 3:30 AM.  He used a planner that looked motivated by John Fish’s growth notebook.  The two David Hogg’s, if claiming opposite political loyalties, are more alike than they think.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

1950s High School Dress Club and Classroom Management (as per David Hoffman)

 

My high school, 1961 (Washington-Liberty now, Arlington VA)

David Hoffman Has Some Fun with 1950s High School Dress Codes.  Did They Work?” (Sept 2020). 

Well, sort of.

But two-thirds of the film shows a middle school math teacher, a Mr. Grimes, try two different styles of “classroom management”. The class is ninth grade, which used to be "junior high school".  After my time it moved to senior high school.  He finally has to teach the concept of ratios.  (No Hilbert spaces this time.)

With the first style, he is antagonistic and has severe discipline problems.

With the replay, he is more laid back and gets better, though not perfect behavior.

When I worked as a substitute teacher, 2004-2007, at least with middle school, classroom discipline was an issue.  I was too laid back to intervene in situations I had no real knowledge of.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Disney rates four of its classic films as not for kids now because of stereotypes

New Switzerland

 

The Walt Disney Company has removed four of its classic films from its app offerings for kids (still available for adults).  Why dies this remind me of COPPA and YouTube's "made for kids" at the end of 2019 (when life was still normal). 

They are “Dumbo”, “Peter Pan”, “The Swiss Family Robinson”, and “The Aristocats”.

I remember seeing Dumbo as a boy;  Peter Pan has been remade as a musical, and I recall reading “The Swiss Family Robinson”.

Screenrant has a description of what stereotype support Disney found necessary for self-censorship. Dumbo accidentally walks into "Jim Crow" territory, quite literally.  As the article says, "stories matter". 

Picture: Map of “New Switzerland” in “Swiss Family Robinson”, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution

Thursday, March 11, 2021

"What Was the First Virus?" short from the "History of the Earth" channel

SARS-CoV-2 genome

 

What Was the First Virus?”, from the History of the Earth, researched and written by Leila Battison, narrated and edited by David Kelly, and Art by Khail Kupsky.

The film starts out by describing how soldiers brought smallpox to Rome from afar at around 100 AD, and were horribly disfigured when they survived.

Viruses are depicted as being possibly “progressive”, “regressive” (from former cells) or even originating in replicating molecules (which might happen in the lakes of Titan). 

An interesting point was that some bacteria have regressed to becoming parts of mitochondria of cells or larger organisms. 

Retroviruses are particularly effective at creating new genetic material to become part of higher organisms, like the placenta of mammals.

Wikipedia embed of Wuhan-Ju-1 first SARS_CoV2 virus, p.d., click for attribution. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

What should a proposed film treatment (leading to the spec script) comprise?

 

fortune telling ad road sign in Spanish

Shane Stanley, “Writing a Treatment and Synopsis for a Screenplay”

Stanley suggests that a treatment, besides a logline and tagline, would include a functional summary of the components of the work

For example a paragraph for each of the five acts (Freytag or “Shakespeare” structure).  But there are other models, such as Don Harmon’s story circle, or Michael Hauge’s Six Parts (similar to Freytag but there seem to be two critical points of plot turns in his model).

If you were submitting a treatment for copyright there might be a question as to who owns the “structure” you are using (legally). 

But the basic parts of any story can be aggregated and numbered into various steps and sub-steps,

I think, especially in science fiction, you need to summarize the “rules” in your world.  This may lead to a political structure which could become disturbing or controversial.  Imagine how alien civilizations, maybe on more than one planet, could have had to deal with race or even gender and sexuality. (I still wait for a movie on Clive Barker’s “Imajica”.

You would want to list the major characters and suggest a character arc for the major ones.

Stanley suggests specifying alternative possible endings.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

"Day in the Life as a Ballet Dancer": 20 years old, "studying" in Germany

Stadtbild München


Tristan Simpson renders “Day in the Life as a Ballet Dancer”.

Tristan says he is 20 years old and is from the US but studying in Germany. The video was shot recently, just with a preview of spring.

He says his mornings are free, but include a regular gym workout (which he is allowed to film – just himself), and then class (with all the usual stretches) in the afternoon.

Two-thirds through the video (12 min), yes, he shows up close enough that you see that he shaves his legs for tights, but not close.  I don’t think I’ve had a video about a swimmer, or a biker.

Wikipedia embed, Munich, click for attribution 


Monday, March 08, 2021

"What to Do Before Making Your Video": advice from senior documentary filmmaker David Hoffman

 

W Va Allegheny Mountain on US50 2009

David Hoffman:  What to Do Before Making Your Video” (Jan 22, 2021)

He particularly talks about setting up situational videos where the reaction of the subject to the surprise circumstances is the reason for the video. So you could film a celebrity to get their reaction to a surprise filming.  Some of his advice might apply to filming demonstrations and protests, or maybe even the police.  He presumably is emphasizing YouTube, or perhaps a short film for a festival submission.

He also talks about getting liability insurance and mentions two times he was sued.  One time a doctor sued him for referring to the doctor as a hippy, but the court bought the argument that no harm was shown.  But another time his filming a teenage girl led (supposedly) to her being bullied at school, but still the case got dismissed.

This short is apparently #5 in a series, and he says he has a sequence of lessons on Skillshare.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

"Gone with the Wind" now stirs up calls for censorship among anti-racism proponents

 

Modern Atlanta, airport, 2014

Recently we’ve been hearing more scuttlebutt of sales of classic movies from the past that show African-Americans in a bad light in today’s cultural standards, despite historical relevance.

The most notorious of these is “Gone with the Wind” (old legacy review by me), directed by Victor Flemming and George Cukor, Selznick International and MGM, which I saw twice as a child (the first time on a long Sunday afternoon at the Arlington theater around 1954), based on Margaret Mitchell’s one novel (1936).  My parents had the Motion Picture Edition of the book with heavy technicolor illustrations.

Jennifer Schuessler had described the controversy for the New York Times in June 2020, here

A few of the most controversial scenes from the book were changed in the movie.

It’s a story of resilience, of a girl who seems spoiled, loses it and gets is back, and loses it (love) again.

Saturday, March 06, 2021

"The Plot Against the President": a "conservative" film accuses Democrats of undermining the peaceful transfer of power in 2017, as Trump took office

 

Protest sign day after Trump's inauguration in 2017

The Plot Against the President” (Oct. 2020) is not well known as a film outside of conservative circles, but it surely must have been shown at CPAC recently in Orlando.  It is directed by Amanda Milius, and based on the book by Lee Smith “The Plot Against the President: The True Story of how Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History”, published by Center Street (which also published Andy Ngo’s “Unmasked”).  The film distributor seems to be Turn Key Films.   Right off the bat, the movie title reminds me of a little known Irving Wallace novel, “The Plot”, from the 1960s.

The basic irony is that the Democrats, according to this film, not only colluded illegally to prevent Trump from winning (and failed), they also tried to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power in 2017 (and I saw no real evidence of that).  Today, we know what happened after the 2020 election and on January 6 (which will generate a major PBS movie soon). 

The narration goes at breakneck pace, so it’s easier to give the basic references on Wikipedia, to the Nunes Memo, a link that also produces the 4-page PDF.  There are accusations of improper surveillance of Carter Page, accusing him of setting up deals with the Russians for his own benefit.  We could pass along the summary of the MuellerReport on supposed ties of Trump to Russia. An important figure in all of this was George Papadopoulos.

The film makes many other ironic points.  One is that a private citizen cannot legally conduct “diplomacy” outside of the government or State Department.  I have come close to doing that on at least one occasion. It talks about quasi-memes like “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” and the “Three Jump Rule”, which made it easy (supposedly) to go after Steve Bannon after first doing Carter Page.  They note that it is not legal for a private citizen or journalist to disclose classified information that “they” (watch my pronouns!) come in touch with, but, oh no, CNN can read it to you.  There is a lot of material on how FISA works in the film.

The music score by Stephen Limbaugh sounds rather post-romantic. 

Armond White has a useful discussion in National Review of the film.

Tatiana Siegel writes  in Hollywood Reporter that the film was held up by Amazon for “content review” before allowed on its platform, where it can be watched free by Amazon Prime members.  Now that is the process that self-publishing platforms use to clear self-published books for legal risks and, they say, hate speech.