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present
  • 310152.0920

  • 310151.2135

    Geoffery Wheatcroft slowly, staidly plots out recent Murdoch/News Corp. developments in the New York Review of Books. He spots the corruption of language used by the supposed perps. Does it reveal their corruption? A good read.

  • 310146.2159

    Both Casshern Sins and Deadman Walking amplify anime's advantage over western myths. Both must-see series are in Adult Swim's Toonami.

  • 310137.0820

    Two illustrations of a test designed to show Anne's ability to recognize Sally's false belief. Anne perceives Sally will believe the ball is in the basket. An element of human consciousness and a key facet of our media.

  • 310130.0920

    Mr. Dimon said the trading losses were "slightly more" than $2 billion so far in the second quarter.

    "slightly more" = 300 million.

    from John Barrow's Theories of Everything Oxford

  • 310122.1718

     

    Cognitive neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran's Tell-Tale Brain is an exceptional walk through the modular elements of brain structures that appear to regulate or promote syntax, metaphor, grammar, parts of what we label as language. By deciphering anomalistic behaviors in distinct properties of language correlated to minute parts of the brain, he comes close to proving what linguists have theorized about for decades: The human brain comes wired with language's capabilities. This neuroscientist adds forensic linguist to his titles; he combines both Pinker's and Chomsky's separate, complimentary theories as well a few others into a larger holistic one built on the available structural data. That's merely the first part of the book. What Ramachandran does once he has these pieces is to launch a two pronged adventure. Magellan cubed. First he searches for the missing link in early consciousness: when did the brain 'switch' on this language ability? Secondly he extends these brain structures into visuals. Humans are visual thinkers that enabled verbal language to communicate with. Ramachandran explores how this language 'ability' with its origins in separate parts of the brain, first operated using images the eye sees and the brain memorizes. His eureka is that humans assemble visual information, like spoken language, with properties of syntax, semantic, grammar and metaphor. His careful observations add to the book's self-awareness (he notices in the east an integration between image and context and a disintegration in the west).  He closes his book with a treatise on how visual art operates, and as a lure I've included a taste below, his 9 laws of aesthetics.. A groundbreaking highly readable book.

     Ramachandran's 9 Laws of Aesthetics (from The Tell Tale Brain)

    1. Grouping

    2. Peak Shift

    3. Contrast

    4. Isolation

    5. Peekaboo, or perceptual problem solving

    6. Abhorrence of coincidences

    7. Orderliness

    8. Symmetry

    9. Metaphor

    Below, Ramachandran's mirror-box. A device to help amputees alleviate 'phantom' pain in phantom limbs.

  • 310117.1111

    "The public doesn't demand anything...it is only after a thing is created that the public demands it."

    Sid Grauman, Hollywood's first exhibitor impresario, operator of Grauman's Chinese & Egyptian Theaters

  • 310110.1150

    www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/may/10/crisis-big-science/

  • 310107.0717

  • 310103.1407

    The racy spinoff (maybe it's a spin-oof) slash satire of Sex in the City arrives to HBO. It's named Girls. Landing virtually the same week is ABC's bizarrely scripted animation show (and strangely it's voiced and play-acted by humans) named Don't Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23.  Lena Dunham's Girls revolves around its creator who submits herself to the full onslaught of the Krafft-Ebing/Masters & Johnson sexual prey chapters only reset for 21st century STD's. Between gross-out sex acts among repellant twenty-somethings is highly cued banter meant to more than hint the city is never what is pretends it is. The city is where smart is dumb and wisdom is extinct. Dunham cheapens the proceeds by pretending to play the lowest, slightly meanest, wittiest victim of her surroundings. She and the show need us to feel for her no matter what, yet we know she's faking the down and out (it does say created by Dunham after all). Her trump card is the sex-play, it seems dead-on, factual.  And whether we like it or not, something feels fishy about her exhibitionism. Power games, role playing, even physical agression are parts of the natural human sex drive, yet by tweaking the bedroom shenanigans, and putting her self in the crosshairs, Dunham gets to milk outrage even from people whose sexuality is probably not too far from this. The audience may be cringing but she's not, she's soaking it all up, egging on her co-stars. Let's do this, let's break the barrier. Ummm, what barrier? In whose illusion does Sex and the City really exist? Dunham seems primed to shoot down the myth of the girl in the city, from Breakfast at Tiffany's on and she parries by mentioning both holy grails Sex and Mary Tyler Moore. Problem is, she's put so many blinders on her characters, the girls themselves seem more like anti-heroines pulled from Cassavettes films, not characters who have made any conscious choices in their lives, so her girlfriends on the show barely make an impression. They play who they are in real life, entitled daughters of the famous. They haven't earned their screentime and they'd barely hold an audience at a party for five minutes. Even the no-name date of the opium tea maker invoked more presence with her two lines. But maybe that's Dunham's point. Her girls aren't unique, they aren't magnetic, but they laughably throw self-help banter at each other, buying into their parent's nosey approvals. The boys get more laughs since they're caricatures, they're obnoxious. They seem to have it all figured out. Maybe this is the current result of reality TV. Dunham makes it so real, the shocked reaction must mean it finally is. But the sex isn't what's shocking, it's how boring their lives are.

    Seth MacFarlane's by-product, Nahnatchka Khan, clearly wrote a script meant to be animated, and that it should have been. The actors can't keep up with the editor's cutting. Secondary characters talk out of the sides of their mouth, cakes are flattened, dates drop asleep on cue. Take a letter, dear tv show people, switch this to an animated series, soon.  Talky, fakey, breakneck, screwball, The Bitch in Apt. 23's pilot hinges on the turnabout of the episode's new roomate, but Dreama Walker, a bland blonde with a goldfish's face can barely muster the banter to pretend she can go toe-to-toe with Krytsen Ritter. By the middle of the half hour she's figured out the whole façade.  What's worse, Ritter herself is miscast as a typecast, she's unable to fill the titular bitch's britches. She's still a former model who couldn't play mean even if her parents were held at gunpoint. Models aren't bitch material, they're pampered. She's more likely to stammer and stamp her shoes rather than toss a person across the room to make a point. You what? You lost my reservation? If you want bitches, Nahnatchka, you just had to go out to dinner in Los Angeles and hire the first leggy server you stumbled across. Or start with an archetype like Dina Spyby. The Dawson inclusion is milked for petty laughs, but they only have a tenth of the impact that an animated Dawson would have. MacFarlane can roster mutliple cameos a week by drawing and voicing them. Here, he seems like a tired joke by his second appearance. Van der Beek must know the show's a goner, who would sign a five year contract to play himself? And worse, he's the straight man.