Sunday, 10 August 2014

Entertainment stuff from the week 4-10/8/14

Hi Apes,

Firstly, did anyone notice the non-sequitur in last week's Entertainment post?

The spermy bit jumps from a definition of 'species' to explaining 'this'... whatever this might be. [shrugs] :-D

I must have accidentally deleted a sentence, but then couldn't remember what it was, LOL.

So great is my commitment to honesty and transparency, that i left it in. As i usually do with my mistakes. Including the other two in that article.

That asterisk in the Redefinitioning Of The Week was not supposed to be there, misleading you to think that there might be a caveat somewhere else on the page. Oops. Sorry.

And the 'John Oliver: Right To Be Forgotten' link was not supposed to be written twice.

...then again, accidentally writing a right to be forgotten, as if the first one had been forgotten... that is quite funny :-D

All of these mistakes are examples of what happen when you hurriedly write up your blog on the morning that you post it.

Plus, my assistant is inept. Always blame the equipment, LOL

{Assistant? Why yes. These keyboards are not ergonomically attuned to reptile wings :-P }

That's something Andy Serkis never had to do in 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' which i went to see, last week.

Andy Serkis' CGI face never inadvertently fell off, mid-scene. So that's good going then. Although to be honest, they didn't add a bloopers reel to the end of the film, so we can't really be sure ;-)

Caveat: I did not see 'Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes' but 'Dawn' does feature a round-up of what happened post-Rise, in the pre-opening scenes.

So basically, the film opens with Rise's anti-vivisectionist Big Pharma conspiracy theorist bent, and i wonder whether that's going to pose much of a problem as the film progresses. It doesn't.

But the first goofs have not yet begun! In the opening scene, these supposedly immensely brainy apes Apes (throughout the film, the false dichotomy of Humans (human apes) and Apes (non-human apes) is repeated ad nauseam, but then i suppose that's quite realistic for humans to do) exhibit some fundamentally flawed hunting techniques.

Notably, standing in the way of the prey, and waiting to be run into. Hmmm.... but don't worry. It does get better.

I presume fans can excuse the human script, written onto the wall of Caesar's tribe's home, despite the Apes' will to segregate themselves from the Humans as much as possible... but that excuse evades me so far.

We have the ugly = evil trope trotted out, again, in the form of Koba, who suffered vivisection at the hands of the Humans, and consequently has physical scars. Psychological ones aren't enough, apparently.

Later on in the film, a tablet comes on, despite not having been plugged in for what i presume is years, but certainly enough for the atmosphere to drain a battery.
Our Human lead man jumps onto the Metro tracks despite the electricity being turned on. I presume no concerted effort was made to separate these two systems, in preparation for humanity's civilisatory demise, so why would they be off?
And here are the mind-numbingly petty goofs that make no difference to what we actually see on-screen:

Here's where it gets better:

Concerted efforts are made, throughout the film, to present the parallels in experience, between the Humans (human apes) and the Apes (non-human apes).

We have parallel lead families, lead men, lead women, lead heirs to Humanity and Apiaty (?!?) and parallel lead warmongerers who throw all the shit at the fan... and who turned the fan on in the first place.

By doing this, the writers create a very egalitarian structure, in the plot of the movie, which i find highly ideologically pleasing. No prizes for predicting that :-P

Ultimately, however, the film is defeatist. The lead mans acknowledge their commonalities, and depart without feelings of personal menace, but resigned to the fact that there's going to be a 'part 3' to the 'Planet Of The Apes' series.

And i can't see that being anything other than a factionalised WWIII kind of thing. It can't be as personal as this movie; but then it can't back down from the looming conflict heralded by 'Dawn'. Savour it, Tap. Savour the moment.

All in all, a good movie. Not a classic, really. And not my favourite. But one people won't hide at the bottoms of their DVD collections. My star-rating? I give it a... Gamma Virginis. It's on the main sequence, but it's clearly above the median.

Is this the point where i tell people there might be spoilers?

Umm... oh yeah :-P

Here's a film that was advertised pre-'Dawn' - The Inbetweeners 2:

'When adult actors play teenagers'

Surely there can't be a '3' can there? They're much too old.

Then again, Moore Marriott played an old man right down to his 30s.

...OK, that's a backwards example. Maybe it doesn't quite work :-P

In other news:

Gluten. It's a combination of proteins, common to various grains, that gives texture and riseyness to baked foods, and can be used to supplement protein content in deficient meals. Until recently, its presence was thought only to be a problem for people with Celiac disease, and people with NCGS (nonceliac gluten sensitivity). But the same researchers who thought they'd found evidence of NCGS, now think there is no case for it being a thing. Replicability, of course, is a touchstone in science - if you can't replicate your result, you're wrong. And they couldn't replicate their earlier findings. It seems like observed differences are purely down to psychology, which makes a lot of sense in the context of various pseudoscience-hungry companies' gluten-free marketing frenzies!

From the genuinely-mistaken to made-up technobabble: we have Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma. Yeah - sounds great doesn't it - exept no real Physicists, who are actually doing Physics at the time, will recognise this term to have an actual meaning! Maybe if they're larping, they'll go along with it, but not while they're sciencing. Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma is purported as an explanation for how an 'alternative' electromagnetism could permit breaching the law of conservation of momentum. A group of guys have ebulliently adorned the 'NASA' banner to sell the idea that they've managed 'impossible' propellant-less propulsion. Is that an oxymoron or what? There's no real research weight behind the claim, because uncertainty inherent to the experiment outweighs their claimed observed effect. Anyone remember the systematic error that produced the faster-than-light neutrinos story? Yup, we're probably looking at the same again, here.

Paleontologists have breathed a sigh of relief, at the auction of a pseudo-coprolite for $10,370. It was being sold as a 6 million-year-old turd, and would have been highly valued for its contents, if real - revealing the dietary content of prehistoric organisms - a treasure trove of information. But it's thought that this poo is actually 'fake' i.e. actually a length of siderite, extruded through the knot-hole of a tree, like toothpaste from a tube, consequent to volcanic activity.

A year on, why is the Discovery Channel still trying to convince people that a shark that's been extinct for 1.5 million years - Megalodon - featured in their non-documentary that they broadcast in August 2013? A bizarre story, from a channel with a very dodgy record on Science broadcasting. If you want to see a real megalodon in action, then your best opportunity's going to be in the videogame Battlefield 4 :-D

The holotype for the supposed Homo floresiensis species, discovered in Liang Bua cave in the island of Flores in Indonesia, has been studied extensively, by evolutionary biologists, and anthropologists. Detailed reanalysis by an international team of researchers has come to the conclusion that there is no good case for the Homo floresiensis species' existence. The skeleton had already been recognised as a composite - it consists of bones from different individuals. Reanalysis of the skull, in particular, has revealed that it is within human ranges of morphology, for someone with Down's Syndrome. Down's could also explain the short thigh bones found at the site. Taking these factors into consideration, the individual would not have been majorly disproportionate to modern humans, living at the site, today. This means the researchers have concluded there is no evidence of the existence of a non homo sapiens species provided by the bones.

Evolution can be rapid at times, though. No doubt about it - this research shows real difference. In six generations, some Bicyclus anynana butterflies have evolved, under human evolutionary pressure, to become purple-winged forms of themselves. This genetic modification involved no engineering - it was all done using the old-fashioned slap-dash method of synthetic selection - the method that's been used to create Frankenfood atrocities such as bread and carrots. Aaargh - fear the butterflies!!!! <s> You can, of course, see pictures of them, at the link.

Not to be outdone, physicists have discovered a seam of atomic hydrogen gas 2.6 million light years long, stretching between galaxies 500 million light years away. It's a million light years longer than a gas tail found in the Virgo Cluster, a few years ago, and yes, there is a picture of it, at the link. The seam is so large that contains 15 billion (note the 'b') times as much hydrogen as the Sun - more than the Milky Way and Andromeda combined!

Crashing back to Earth, for some engineering news: students at UNSW (University of New South Wales) have broken a 26-year-old speed record for covering 500 kilometres in an electric car, with one battery charge. That's pretty immense. The first ever Formula E motor racing season starts next month, in Beijing, by the way. So if you're into that kind of thing... well, now you've been notified. I suggest following it on YouTube :-)

------------------------------------------------------ contemporary stuff

'Lose 1kg/ 2lbs per Day! Diet Tips!'
This video is not about what you think, LOL. I can barely wait to see the universe, hehe :o)

'Invisible vibrations reveal hidden soundtrack'
Wowzers! This is thoroughly amazing.

'NASA | The Rosetta Mission Asks: What is a Comet? [HD]'

'Rosetta arrives at a comet - Sixty Symbols'

'Why do Beer Bottles Foam Over?'

'What Causes Traffic Jams? - A Week in Science'

'Look-and-Say Numbers (feat John Conway)'

'Paper plane program makes crazy designs fly'

'10 Amazing Paper Tricks!'

'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: New York's Port Authority (HBO)'
The Streissand Effect hits another home run. Now even this abject foreigner knows about the Port Authority :-D
{Note that i've only posted this one once :-P }

'ReUse Your Toilet Paper - Seventh Generation {The Kloons}'

'Double Dutch'

'Phone Crack'

Cinderella is the second issue in Sess's analysis series - the Princess Project. Try saying that ten times, and quickly! Don't worry, though - she's no Anita Sarkeesian :-D

------------------------------------------------------ of the weeks

Word Of The Week: sprunt -- formally, as a verb, germination or jumping forwards, as a noun, a leap, steep ascent, or something short and stiff, as an adjective, lively or vigorous; historically, a term in scottish english, for chasing girls around haystacks after dark; contemporarily, as a fictional genital perfume for women, apparenly invented by George Carlin.

Quote Of The Week: “If you can see the mountains, it’s going to rain; if you can’t see them, it’s raining” - Irish 'proverb' (actually Dave Allen)

Fact Of The Week: After the first clinical cases of AIDS were reported, it took just 2 years until a variety of drugs became known as treatments, under the title of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART). It took little over a decade to turn a death sentence into a chronic-but-manageable condition unaffecting of life expectancy. This is a triumph of Science. On the other hand, AIDS-denial and the I-SCAM industry, through opposing real medicine, have been responsible for 171,000 new AIDS cases and 343,000 surplus deaths between 1999 and 2007 alone! Superstition denied these people the success of Science.

------------------------------------------------------ non-contemporary stuff

'Queen + Adam Lambert These Are The Days Of Our Lives Merriweather 20 July 2014'

'Marple Matrix Style - Dead Ringers - BBC'


'Venn Pieagram'

'Victorian Strangeness: Seven singular sports from the Victorian era'

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