Julian Barbour uses Leibniz to explore the nature of physical reality. Beyond Ted Talk levels.
Lecture from the Perimeter Institute http://streamer.perimeterinstitute.ca/Flash/9a93c428-c616-4dca-8713-915277e28056/viewer.html
Lee Smolin's great, all over the place pursuit of current theoretical implications in physics (particle, wave, and of course quantum). Smolin edges us towards the possibility "space" is an illusion and that "time" is an evolving word that may house the eventual meaningful measuring of 'now.' Right now though, it seems illusory. His book is more than a clearinghouse of recent research into a pivotal tangent inside physics. It's also a warning that as we destroy mathematics in our physical world, we deform it psychically in parallel realms like academia and worse, media. That by distorting equilibrium to make a buck, we may be proving equilibrium wrong in other fields. From the epilogue:
"Neo-classical economics conceptualizes economics as path-independent. An efficient market is path-independent, as is a market with a single, stable equilibrium. In a path-independent system, it should be impossible to make money purely by trading, without producing anything of value. That sort of activity is called arbitrage, and basic financial theory holds that in an efficient market arbitrage is impossible, because everything is already priced in such a way that there are no inconsistencies. You cannot trade dollars for yen, trade those for euros, back for dollars and make a profit. Nonetheless hedge funds and investment banks have made fortunes trading in currency markets. Their success should be impossible in an efficient market, but this does not have seem to have bothered economic theorists."
- pg. 260
What Smolin suggests, without stating, is that our markets are eccentric, they thrive and die on minute eccentricities that traders pounce upon, like tears in reality.
Here's James Gleick's review in NYRB.
This monumental 9 hour, three-part 2003 documentary observes the effects of China's switch from communist to state-capitalism, as the northern Shenyang region's once mighty industry collapses. It could be one of the greatest films of the documentary genre. Factories are closed, families disperse, misery expands and the area reveals long term effects of failing infrastructure in the face of competition from a newer, rapid-growth China. Bleak, unsettling, remarkable. All shot in DV. It may change the way you look at the environment, capitalism, and the human impact on earth. Parts 1 & 2 shown as a part of MoMA's Chinese Realities/Documentary Visions.
Gatsby by Luhrmann is the pivoted mirroring of excess: our teens (2013) gazing back at their twenties . Its excesses are reversed expertly at one theater. Gatsby can be viewed brilliantly augmented by another portal with that exact era at the Ziegfeld Theater, where sixties austerity meets the glittering twenties head-on (the first Ziegfeld was built in 1927). And there's paradox to its design: this is the movie palace's last stage before its abandonment to the mutliplex. Both dreamlands are 'set' in New York as it became the western world's stage.
A devastating take-down of the Iron Lady
"Margaret Thatcher’s main achievement, you might say, was to move the spiritual headquarters of the Conservative Party from the Carlton Club to the working-class housing estates of Britain. She always slightly hated England’s elite, or hated the idea that you couldn’t have an elite of shopkeepers, and by the end she left Britain a greedier and seedier place. Despite the pomp and circumstance of her funeral and the many plaudits she has garnered since her death, her great experiment actually didn’t work: the people who could get rich got richer, of course, but she and her followers had no plan to relieve the economic misery that befell the others, the people who were now forced to live on state benefits, which continued to grow. It is the communities of the other—where no new investment took hold, where no new jobs came to replace the ones that were scrapped—that continue to fester in modern Britain."
Shane Carruth's second movie is the most modern science-fiction film of the century. 50s paranoia is explored through a bodysnatching, equity stealing criminal empire involving invasive worms, soul-hosting pigs and a silent, landscape audio-recording villain. Those under his spell become societal outcasts, and it slyly pegs our era as restrictive as the 50s, maybe worse. Victims are freed from their immersion in capitalism, yet they become slaves to both memories of loss, and their own damaged biology that's been symbiotically chained elsewhere. Carruth makes able use of 'now' travelling, tele-porting victims hunt their captor once they've discovered his harmonic output. Their zombie-like state reverses the genre's usual black-and-white territorializing. Archetypes are modernized into undetectabilty. Finally the flipside to absolutist currencies (like Walking Dead) arrives to yank us off-signal. Here the zombies revolt against their captors while remaining subtly haunted victims. And on that memory tangent, Thoreau's Walden is used ably as both a tool of enslavement and the lost chance for biocracy. And Hollywood should be scared, the revolt is original, complex and emotional. Somebody hand him a credit line. Now! On-demand beginning May 7. P.S: 'upstream' is a term in neuroscience to track the neural path into the cortex. Color perception is 'upstream' as it resides at the ends of the striate cortex. The blue we're shown spotting the orchids is technically downstream.