Friday, March 31, 2017

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (2003) **

A showcase for Ms. Mirren, in more ways than one, in a not very well written nor directed film.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

None Of Us Will Change Our Minds About Trump Or Any Other Fucking Thing

"The basic understanding that psychology has come to embrace,” Kruglanski said, “is that our opinions, impressions, and attitudes are ‘motivated.’ In other words, our opinions are not formed by information alone, because information can be manipulated and distorted. The dog that wags the tail of information is personal motivation. We assume we want the truth, but very often we want something else: to make a decision so that we can move on. Certainty is critical to this process, and the dynamic applies to everyone; we all hold views and make decisions based on our motivations.”

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) **

Easily the most violent film to glorify a non-violent hero you could possibly make. The cast is fine and the direction is heavy-handed and repetitive, trying to shell-shock the viewer into a feeling of relief at the end of its marathon running time. It succeeds.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hot air?

It seems, therefore, that flatus can cause infection if the emitter is naked, but not if he or she is clothed. But the results of the experiment should not be considered alarming, because neither type of bacterium is harmful. In fact, they're similar to the ‘friendly’ bacteria found in yoghurt.

Conclusion: do NOT let Dr. Karl shop for yogurt!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

New video of events before fatal Ferguson shooting in film - SFGate

Previously released surveillance video shows Brown strong-arming the store's co-owner, Andy Patel, and pushing him as he left the store during the second visit. Patel reaffirmed his version of events on Sunday, telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Brown "grabbed the cigarillos and stole them."

And as we all know, aggravated petty theft is punishable by death without trial.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Paterson (2016) ***

A film about our need to find patterns and meaning and if they are not there, to make them up. Typically well made Jim Jarmusch film.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Raymond Chandler: A Biography - Tom Hiney ****

However bleak his life could be, Chandler tried never to give up the possibility of happiness, or lose sight of the human comedy in his failure to find it. He felt jinxed in the struggle, but he was resolved to approach the world with something more than pessimism.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Why words can bend the truth: the disturbing fact about memory | Oliver Burkeman | Life and style | The Guardian

One of the most quietly unsettling findings in psychology, for my money, is “verbal overshadowing” – a weird fact about memory that’s liable to make you wonder if anything you believe about your life is really true. The finding is this: putting your experiences into words – talking about them with others or writing them down – makes you less likely to recall them accurately. If you were to witness a mugging, say, then scribble a record of what you’d seen, you’d be more prone to misremember than if you’d written nothing.

3quarksdaily: Akeel Bilgrami on fascism and the ‘movement vacuum’

Here is my worry about the reaction to the Trump victory today. The hand-wringing and the hysteria about his election and post-election pronouncements, though perfectly understandable and justified—since he is monstrous on a whole range of issues—nevertheless may have the effect of giving the impression that there was some real intrinsic merit to the political establishment that Hillary Clinton represents. That would be complacent. My own view is that it should go without saying that Hillary Clinton would have been better than Trump, but if it goes without saying, then don’t say it. Because to keep saying it may give rise to the complacence that the political establishment in the U.S. has intrinsic merit.

Monday, March 06, 2017

The Simple Truth About Consciousness

In some respects, some non-human animals are probably more conscious than we are, either because their sense organs are more sensitive or because they have senses we lack. Some birds can directly detect properties of the earth’s magnetic field; elephants can detect subtle seismic signals; sharks, platypuses, and electric eels can sense electrical fields. What we have in common with all of them is that each of us is a brain floating in a nutrient bath and connected to a body and sense organs. Whatever the species, the brain owner in such a system is probably conscious during most of its waking hours.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Is Consciousness an Illusion? | by Thomas Nagel | The New York Review of Books

You may well ask how consciousness can be an illusion, since every illusion is itself a conscious experience—an appearance that doesn’t correspond to reality. So it cannot appear to me that I am conscious though I am not: as Descartes famously observed, the reality of my own consciousness is the one thing I cannot be deluded about. The way Dennett avoids this apparent contradiction takes us to the heart of his position, which is to deny the authority of the first-person perspective with regard to consciousness and the mind generally.

Nagel starts his review by laying out Dennett's argument, then forgets about it once the word "illusion" is used. Perhaps it would be more correct to say that Dennett says consciousness is an emergent property at the manifest level of reality and does not exist at the scientific level. It is a real thing at the manifest level.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

I, Anna (2012) **

A noir pastiche that doesn't hold together well is more of a showcase for the two leads who do not disappoint.

Americans By Heart: Undocumented Latino Students and the Promise of Higher Education.

What was often omitted in this partisan rhetoric was the fact that many who are classified as undocumented or illegal were brought to the United States when they were young, and have grown up, attended high school and lived most of their lives in America. Of the estimated 11.9 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, 9.6 million are from Latin American countries with Mexico accounting for the largest share at seven million (Gonzales, 2009). Sixty percent of undocumented immigrants between the ages of 18 and 24 have completed high school, and nearly half of these high school graduates within this age range have or are enrolled in a college or university.

Oscars Stage Manager Details PwC Accountants’ Incompetence: ‘They Froze’ (Exclusive)

Each PwC partner had a complete set of envelopes, and each was supposed to have memorized the winners in each category. Leonardo DiCaprio, who presented the Best Actress award, entered from stage left and received the envelope from Ruiz; when it came time to present Best Picture, Warren Beatty received an envelope from Cullinan — but the PwC partner mistakenly gave him the spare Best Actress envelope that bore the name of Emma Stone and “La La Land,” rather than the Best Picture envelope that bore the name “Moonlight.”

Natoli broke down what happened next: “I was in the wings stage left with Jimmy [Kimmel] when they announced ‘La La Land.’ We watched for about 10 more seconds, and during that entire time Martha was no more than five feet away from us. When ‘La La Land’ was announced, she did not try to get my attention, she did not say anything. And she’s supposed to have memorized the winners.”