Saturday, September 25, 2021

Luke Korns: I Love You, Pakistan



I Love You, Pakistan by Luke Korns. 

Luke hasn’t traveled much during the pandemic. So he impulsively booked a flight to Karachi, found someone who was an astronomer to stay with. They went on a train, bus, and mountain climb, dealing with an avalanche or rock slide which they cleared by hand.

Along the way, lots of radical hospitality, no religion or politics.

At the 13000 foot summit they looked at the Milky Way on a new moon.

Picture of truck art, Wikipedia, pd

Friday, September 24, 2021

‘On the Same Team’ -- rugby players in Chile and best friends



‘On the Same Team’ or ‘En el Mismo Equipo’ (2015) by BONZO VILLEGAS and CARLOS VILARÓ NADAL is a 21 minute short about a bisexual rugby player Emmanuel in Chile.

After a super masculine teammate and best friend comes out to him, his relations with girls become ambiguous. 

Picture; Copper mine embed  Wikipedia

Thursday, September 23, 2021

‘Venus is NOT a Runaway Greenhouse Effect’, from Climate Change

Venus - December 23 2016


The Climate Change channel reports ‘Venus is NOT a Runaway Greenhouse Effect’

The video does not really say that but it does show what happens if Venus and Mars trade places.

Both planets could have had chance, to make the solar system more like that of Dune.

Wikipedia picture embed clock for attribution

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

"Minimal Surfaces": soap films follow the laws of calculus

Bulle de savon hélicoïde


The Action Lab described “Minimal Surfaces” as “The Shapes that Help Us Understand Black Holes”.

A minimal surface (which you see in reality with a soap bubble held by surface tension) is one where the second derivative of the curvature at any point is zero.

That’s not the same thing as the minimum surface area – which will be attained by a perfect sphere.

Wikipedia: embed of a helicoid, click for attribution.  Another kind of minimal surface will be the catenoid.

Monday, September 20, 2021

"Touch Me in the Morning", old times gay short


LA 2012 

Frankie Kraft has a short film, 5 minutes, Jan. 2017, “Touch Me in the Morning”.

An attractive gay man get up and waits in the living room of his Los Angeles garden apartment. In the other room, last night’s trick, who is taller, tries to woo him again, even drawing his long hair into a ponytail and playing a popular song on vinyl on a stereo.

Then the trick leaves,

Then the first guy leaves.

This looks like the 70s.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

“KIC 8462582: The Plot Thickens” by John Michael Godier



KIC 8462582: The Plot Thickens”, is a new 17 minute video about a star hidden by unexplained debris.

Science fiction author John Michael Godier updates the theories about Tabby’s Star, 1500 light years away.  It's official name includes a seven-digit phone number! Now he speculates that self-replicating robots could have mined asteroids and built an O’Neill cylinder around the entire orbit of a planet, maybe as part of a Dyson Sphere structure.

The film shows at least two O’Neill landscapes.

Wikipedia embed shows a star partially hidden by a dust ring, click for attribution. 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

"Why Will This 'Zombie' Mushroom Destroy Humanity?" from Ridddle

Amanita stirps Hemibapha 45069


Why Will This ‘Zombie’ Mushroom Destroy Humanity?” from Ridddle (Dec. 16. 2020).

There is a fungus plant that will attach itself to a certain insect and integrate itself with the insect, taking over it, even the brain, and getting it to produce fungus spores.

So the natural horror movie scenario is that this could happen to people.

Newscientist article on something similar. 

But would you remain yourself as fungal laziness took over?

Wikipedia picture, embed, click for attribution 

Friday, September 17, 2021

"Why Alien Life Will Surprise Us" from Unveiled



Unveiled explains “Why Alien Life Will Surprise Us” (Aug. 2021)

The idea of the “hive mind” was presented in the 1996 thriller “Independence Day” where the White House is destroyed with Bill Clinton in it, and where Bill Pullman plays a president (sorry, no chest hair, remember him in David Lynch’s “Lost Highway") who also acts as astronaut.

The slime mold on Earth may be a model for typical alien life.

The idea of silicon replacing carbon is unlikely because silicon is just not flexible enough – yet I tried the idea with a science fair project in high school in 1960.  It did not get as far as Jack Andraka’s pancreatic cancer test or Taylor Wilson’s fusion reactor.

Picture: Gliese 581C terrestrial planet in habitable zone, artist's impression, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

"The Strangest Objects in Space" from Ridddle



The Strangest Object(s) in Space” from Ridddle (2019), Is actually two kinds of objects.

There are supposedly six known double white dwarfs known in the observable universe, the collision of two white dwarfs, which makes a star incredibly bright with infrared but not visible.

But nearer to us 5 billion years ago, before the solar system formed, two neutron stars collided, leading to the dispersion of heavy metal elements available in the solar system.

Wikipedia picture: Evolution of white dwarfs, click for attribution and explanation

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

"Patrick and Ander": Cisgender gay men are back (in a short centered around one song)


Freddies outdoors, Arlington VA

 Here is a three-minute cis gay male microfilm “Patrick and Ander”, European (it sounds like Spanish), from the paix (Peace) channel, June 23, 2021. 

The short is centered around the song “Loving You Is a Losing Game”.

In the story, Ander teases Patrick by pretending to be interested in someone else in the party circuit.

This is the older gay world where “masculinity” was what was being sought, unquestionably.

You hope everyone is invincible, but they won’t be.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

"The Beauty of Bezier Curves", used in gaming, painting, and model railroads


A real curve on a railroad, Woodbridge, VA 2021-8

Monday, as he recovered from breakthrough Covid, data scientist Michael Donnelly (known for work on Covid19) recommended this video by Freya Holmer, “The Beauty of Bezier Curves”.

A Bezier curve is parametric "curve" (equation graph) used in computer graphics and games.

The also occur on, for example, amusement park rides and would look nice in model railroads.

The high point is “arc length parametrization”.

There is also a Bezier Surface, and the concept of a spline.

Monday, September 13, 2021

"An Instant", short film from Spain (2017) about a spontaneous bond between two very contrasting gay men

Casas Colgadas de Cuenca


An Instant” (Un instante, Spain, 2017, 19 min, directed by Adria Guxens).

A scholarly boy Hugo(Andrian Sanchez-Campo), riding the train and once in a while trying things, meets rock singer  Cosmo (Marc Joy) in a bar.  Cosmo is much more daring, with tattoos and nose rings and chain smoking.

Whatever superficial disapproval, Hugo becomes attached to him, until he takes leave again, in a series of platonic encounters.

This short was in many festivals.

Picture:  Hanging houses in Cuenca (Wikipedia embed, click for attribution)

Sunday, September 12, 2021

"Is Reality Real?" Don't test it out!


Great Falls, MD, Potomac River, 2007

Is Reality Real”?, short video from “The Big Think”.

No, for conscious organisms it depends on what they perceive.

I don’t perceive what a color-blind person does.  Or what a cat (with night vision with little color) does.

I don’t smell what a dog can (and my sense of smell is pretty good, although I wondered one time if I had lost some, maybe briefly to a Covid?) 

Yet equations can predict reality, as with Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicting black holes, which we can’t perceive.

There is an interesting explanation of how sound and light are perceived differently (even if appropriate for middle school science).  When you play a chord on the piano, you perceive all the individual notes (as consonant or dissonant).  When you combine colors on a color wheel you get a new color. 

Of course, you can't undo what you just did -- that is part of reality.  You can't just roll back the clock and try again. 

Heather Heying, Bret Weinstein’s wife (Dark Horse Podcast Clips) speaks in the episode

Saturday, September 11, 2021

New YT Channel "Cross Cut Creators" introduces the work of Mr. Maximillian Reisinger, as its first (big) video


Interesting houses near Raleigh, NC 2019-2

There is a new YouTube channel called Cross Cut Creators, started by Aaron Pickrell.

His first interview (47 min, Aug 2021) is of Mr. Maximillian Reisinger – Perspectopia, a clothing and media company he created at age 17.  I’ve presented some of his videos before, and today, his “optimistic way of living” seems appropriate to counter the somber mood of the day.  He also has a MaxTV on Patreon.

Max divides his businesses or activities do into what he does with others, and what he does himself.  That’s a split I find I will have to make this fall (maybe something like an LLC could come).  He does mention some issues (around the 18 minute mark) that I am having to consider for my own operation today, at age 78.  I have to be concerned if others could take over what I do if anything happened (or, say, suppose I were isolated by a mandatory quarantine).

The interview will be today’s “film”.

At about the 20 minute mark he describes when he suddenly started to make money on his channel, when his mother was encouraging him to take a regular after school job.  His family is from North Carolina (but also France and Austria).

Friday, September 10, 2021

"How Close Can a Black Hole Be to Earth?" (Ridddle)

Artist’s impression of supermassive black hole seed


“How Close Can a Black Hole Be to Earth?” from Riddle (10 min), Sept 6, 2021.

The video mentions that many smaller black holes are effectively parts of binary star systems.  The closest is about 7000 light years from Earth (there are about 20 known in the Milky Way.

But because you can’t see a black hole, could one be relatively close and not be detected?  Probably not because you would detect gravitational effects.

The probability of a black hole nearing the Solar System is thought to be about one in one hundred billion years, seven times the age of the Universe.

Picture:  Wikipedia embed, black hole seed, click for attribution.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

"The Royal House Featurette" for Dune

Atreides Hawk.

The “Secrets of Dune” channel offers a 4-minute “The Royal House Featurette”. 

The short explains the various families controlling the four planets in the world of “Dune”.  Timothee Chalalemet will play the “prince” who will save the royal house and keep control of the main resource, “the spice” (which turns on brains) on a desert planet.

It sounds like this is a very tribal universe, where good and evil are seen through familial lenses. Yet Paul (Timothee), sitting in a buttoned-up collared shirt, seems like the prefect renaissance man, almost an example of biological virtue. This idea may not go over to well with the woke world this time around.

I read the book in the Army.  I remember Lady Jessica, the gom jabber, the Fremen, the Guild, and the oil barons.  (See May 4, 2014 for Jodorowsky's Dune film.) 

Wikipedia embed: House of Altreides hawk, click for attribution.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

"Laniakea": a space traveler finds the home of "God" from a drifting monolith


“Laniakea”, from Dima Taran, is an animated short film with a curious premise (5 min, Nov 2020).

In the future, mankind has developed the ability to travel through wormholes at supra-luminal speeds and search the observable universe for other civilizations and found nothing.

But then a monolith in space has a clue, leading to a particular planet with gigantic megastructures with nurseries for future life but no actual living individuals.

The film draws from “2001: A Space Odyssey” but maybe also “Alien”. 

The title of the film refers to our home supercluster. 

Wikipedia embed (click for attibution), map of the Universe's supercluster 

Monday, September 06, 2021

"This Virus Shouldn't Exist, but It Does": The "Girus"

Electron microscopic image of a mimivirus - journal.ppat.1000087.g007 crop


Kurzgesagt channel, in a short, “This Virus Shouldn’t Exist – But it Does”.

It describes the very large DNA virus or girus, which may be larger than some bacteria and may have more genes than most living things,

Giruses may affect the inherited genomes of organisms they infect, and have their own enemies, viruphages, against which they have their own “immunity” but which can defend an organism against the infection.

Some seem to have borderline metabolic processes, and may almost be like bacteria themselves. They seem like aliens.  The Wikipedia article doesn’t indicate them causing much human disease.

Wikipedia: embed, click for attribution 

Sunday, September 05, 2021

"What Is Marxism?" as presented by Ryan Chapman


railroad are private property (VA railway, CSX)

Ryan Chapman answers, “What Is Marxism?”, 34 min, Sept, 5

This is a discussion of original Marxist theory.  The idea of property had originated with Locke and before industrialization and encapsulated the value of labor performed with individual agency.

With assembly line work, people are paid wages but lose agency over their work, and the surplus value is captured by the bourgeoisie, which becomes exploitative and oppressive.

Other concepts are historicism and materialism.

Then there is the replacement of “competition” with “association”.  Property that generates wealth has to be owned in common under Marxist theory.

The activism required to remove class oppression would be authoritarian and sweep the world.  For example, inherited wealth would be confiscated.  (That was a particular target of the Peoples Party in the 1970s).

Saturday, September 04, 2021

"The Undeparted": documentary ghost story set in rural Maryland ("long" short film)

Waverley Marriottsville MD Jan 11


The Undeparted” appears on YT as a 36-minute short documentary film from October 30, 2020, by Chris MacGuiness. 

The filmmaker visits the owner of an antique shop in Marriotsville, MD, near highway 99 NW of Baltimore.  She describes the spirits in the building who move and drop objects at night and even turn on electrical appliances.  Then they visit a nearby house that is also haunted.

There is also the ruins of an old mental institution nearby, in which over 100 people died one year.

There was a particular man who lost all of his loved ones and felt deserted and then deteriorated and passed away after a stroke. It sounds like an unremarkable story.

Nevertheless, the story is spooky, especially the music.  It would be interesting to visit the area to see if one can find the antique shop.

The film, shot in the late fall on a gray, foggy day, claims presentation in many film festivals, including Austin.

The subject matter reminds me of Peter Straub's novel "Ghost Story" which became a movie in the 80s. 

Picture:  Waverly Mansion in Marriotsville, Wikipedia embed (click for attribution), doesn’t look to be the same as the home in the film.

Update: Sept 7

Drove to Marriottsville MD and took some pix myself.  It's not quite the same as the long shot in the movie because the area is heavily wooded and seems to be in a Piedmont plateau ravine/

House (antique shop??? in the movie) 

Sanatarium (apparently -- on the road that T-'s into the main road

Rural Maryland (Burkittsville, NW of Brunswick and not too far from Tim Pool's "Cast Castle" now, was the site of "The Blair Witch Project" in 1999.    And The south Jersey pine barrens were the site of the similar film "The Last Broadcast" also around 1999. 


Thursday, September 02, 2021

"An American in Paris II" by Max

Gare du Nord night Paris FRA 002


An American in Paris II” aka “I Hung out with Strangers in Paris”, by Max Reisinger, he calls this episode 1 of his gap year.  Also, “Paris is the loneliest city in the world.

There’s plenty of Debussy in the back ground, moog style, a bit microtonal, but I’d like to hear it on piano.  There is a silly sequence where he moves around a park, sitting in chairs, playing philosopher.  And there is a game of boules in the film, like in an Irving Wallace novel ("The Plot", which I read while in the Army and was supposed to get made into a thriller but never did).  

He does mix a lot toward the end, outdoors (nobody wears masks, no one seems concerned, everyone is vaxxed I presume).

I barely remember the 1951 musical as a kid, pre-Cinemascope (by two years). 

Picture: Northern station (you take the Chunnel train there, which I did in 2001), Wikipedia embed, click for attribution.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

"Keep In Touch", gay short film on "Keep It Short" KIS channel

Amsterdam with North Sea Canal by Sentinel-2, 2018-06-30


The channel KIS KIS (Keep it Short) offers the 9-minute film “Keep in Touch”, directed by Niels Bourgonje.

A teenage boy goes to a party, supposedly for straight high school dating, where they play “spin the bottle”.  He happens to sit by another young man who intrigues him.  Then during the bottle game, after some missteps, he gets to “kiss” or to “have” him.  The others more or less approve.

With Valente Ave and Tonko Bosser. 

Amsertdam with North Sea Canal, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution