Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Fire (movie review)

The religious studies student is visiting again, so when we visited Movie Madness, we each picked one consistent with our areas of investigation.  I'm into the Cult of Bucky (meant tongue-in-cheek) and so picked The House of Tomorrow.

She's into gender studies and gender fluidity, and she picked Fire, a film by Deepa Mehta, also anthropological in flavor.  We watched them as a double feature, Fire first.  One of her contacts in Nepal said this was an important movie.

The film is set in a modern India with lots of background traffic noises and smoggy skies. The Taj Mahal appears, in the new couple's honeymoon, against an uncharacteristically blue background, more of a postcard, and a metaphor for flawed relationships.

We're told a story about some deliberate blemish in the Taj structure, exacted by the slave architect, in retaliation for the master's excessive jealousy (he has the architect deliberately debilitated so he won't design a competing Taj down the road -- as if one couple's love was at the expense of all others).

The love story takes place against a backdrop of tradition and convention, which accepts a lot of cruelty, especially from males.  Women in tech encounter these attitudes when seeking self-sufficiency within the political economy.

The dependence of women, on the social networks of men, is an "in your face" aspect of some societies.  In others, there's more reciprocity.  Sometimes a system will stray from an equilibrium and enter a chaotic phase, which may result in a new equilibrium down the road, some kind of "plateau".

The elder granny character, still able to follow the action, but unable to articulate her thoughts publicly, has a front row seat on a lot of the rule breaking going on.

The younger wife and protagonist has to put up with a very reluctant husband whose primary love interest is Chinese.  The older wife is married to a guy trying to follow the teachings of his swami, but he suffers from overwhelm and occasionally needs mothering. 

Both wives see their relationships as emotional dead ends, and yet the two get a lot out of being together.

Unfortunately for the illicit couple, their relationship is occasion for blackmail and counter-threats.  A family servant is especially prone to resort to spy-and-tell as a ploy to preserve his situation, after his own illicit addictions have been found out.

My comment at the end was I'd been overwhelmed by the sound track, which did a lot to create atmosphere, pretty effectively I thought.  The music gets very ominous sometimes.

I'll bridge to the second movie through the Taj, as in Bucky lore, the Montreal 67 dome was a Taj of sorts, dedicated to his own wife, Anne Hewlett, and their relationship.  This second movie of the evening was more heteronormative as we say, and more lighthearted.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

DVD Reviews

I gradually wend my way through these "reviews" taking each as a broad license to talk about whatever. I stray into 911 territory quite a bit, and even fly over the JFK region, in the Land of Lore.

My Ex Machina review is especially cursory, as I'd not yet re-seen it. Last night I did and reiterate what I say in the Youtube. This is a remarkable movie, in terms of exploring what Deep AI would really mean.

The computer would have to know how to lie, for openers, as that's deeply characteristic of what humans do. I like "dissemble" as a synonym.

Then there's employing outright deception. Our usual idea of AI is less real (less like RI i.e. Real Intelligence). This movie points out our naivete.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Access Point

These relate to each other, through the Dymaxion House especially. Watch in any order.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Web Crawling

Everyone knows the world does not really operate according to how textbooks say it does. The sovereignties are paper tigers, dependent on more invisible institutions that prop them up.

A couple quotes from Critical Path by our Medal of Freedom winner:
In our comprehensive reviewing of published, academically accepted history we continually explore for the invisible power structure behind the visible kings, prime ministers, czars, emperors, presidents, and other official head men, as well as for the underlying, hidden causes of individual wars and their long, drawn-out campaigns not disclosed by the widely published and popularly accepted causes of those wars. 
The U.S.A. is not run by its would-be 'democratic' government. All the latter can do is try to adjust to the initiatives already taken by LAWCAP’s great corporations. Nothing could be more pathetic than the role that has to be played by the President of the United States, whose power is approximately zero.
I recently shared these passages on Facebook, in conjunction with this exhibit.

I learned a lot about Gaudi today, over at Glenn's.  Such an amazing individual.  One of his secrets is he saw possibilities in the indigenous crafts and skills of Catalonia.

He was more of a structural engineer than most architects, studying the transmission of forces with string meshes and bags of shot.  His curvilinear style has become more popular now that computer software is doing more of the grunt work.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Triangular Numbers

I find no record in my Activity Log of having shared this on Facebook. 

However it could be that when a group moderator does not approve a post, it vanishes from the accounting.  I'm not completely up on Facebook arcana.  I remember sharing it with Mathematics Education Researchers.

But then this is about Learning to Code, not mathematics, right?