kaffyr: (Clara and 11 journey)
I Saw "Arrival"

And it was pretty much magnificent. Dennis Villeneuve has created an amazing film based on Ted Chiang's novella "Story of Your Life." I have not read the story, but based on what I saw today, I'll be buying it soon. 

It is elegant, intellectually clean, unsettling, and challenging. It is emotionally sonorous. It is beautiful. Amy Adams deserves so much praise for every minute change on her face and in her eyes. Every character, human or otherwise is treated with respect and, as a result, acts in ways that are understandable. The music is amazing, the message about humanity, language, love, and fear, and time, and more, are what you make of them. 

If this doesn't win a ton of awards, I will be very disappointed. 

Dept. of Movies

Sunday, 11 October 2015 11:04 pm
kaffyr: Kitteh looks up, seez sturzz! (OMG Stars!)
The Martian 

(Warning; not a real review, just an immediate reaction.)

Went to see this movie tonight, and I have to echo what a lot of people have said - it's awesome. It's hard science fiction, with brain and heart, which means it does Campbell and Gernsback right, the way Campbell and Gernsback didn't, so ... without a lot of racism, sexism, etc., and with a great deal more literary and filmic sophistication than those two might ever have imagined - but still with a lot of true love for, and belief in, the power of logic, science, optimism, humanism and determination to move forward. 

Or as hero botanist Mark Watney (portrayed wonderfully by Matt Damon) says, when presented with yet another life-threatening scenario, "I've got to science the shit out of this." And he does, while a totally admirable group of science heroes back on earth do their damnedest to help him out (not always successfully.)

The look and feel of it was gorgeous; I felt like we were looking at Mars, even as I knew that we weren't. 

If this doesn't win the Hugo for best long form drama (or whatever the hell they call it next year), I'll either cry foul, or prepare myself to see the film of a lifetime if the winner actually tops The Martian. 
kaffyr: 11's profile, the quote re fezzes (Fezzes are cool)
Thanks - many thanks - to [personal profile] peoppenheimer 

For my unexpected exposure to this wonderful video. I am, as I told him, the farthest thing from mathematically inclined, but I adore this, because I know just how frakkin' important mathematics is. Just the core of the universe, don't you know ....

kaffyr: Weeping angel peers through "clock" (Time's no Angel)
So: Just How Do We Fix This?

A depressing little story from Mother Jones about the obstacles medical science faces when attempting to change the minds of anti-vaxxers.

When facts fail, do we look at how we deliver them? Do we look at what makes people reject them? Do we try to see the world from the nay-sayer's point of view in hopes of finding an argument or fact that might change her mind? Do we do all of those things?

Well, that's easy, I suppose. We do all of those things. But, lord, it's depressing to realize yet again that facts won't change peoples' minds.

(And it's depressing to realize that as a human, I could easily fall prey to the same blindness in other areas. Science? Not so much; but other areas? I'd better be willing to acknowledge my own biases.)

kaffyr: Weeping angel peers through "clock" (Time's no Angel)
What Once Was Wrong, the Inevitable Will Crown Right

When I was a little girl, I used to read comic strips in my daily newspaper. One of them was a would-be Buck Rogers strip called, if I remember correctly, Brick Bradford (which information I had to retrieve from Wikipedia. It certainly ran a long time.)

One of the adventures in that otherwise forgettable strip has stayed with me ever since. The hero sets down on a planet with a toxic atmosphere, with beings he at first thinks are unintelligent beasts. He and his colleagues eventually come to realize that this is a planet that was once like Earth, but which has become so polluted that it now has a completely different ecosystem, to which all those of the planets beings who survived have adapted. To them, Brick's obligatory scientist colleague narrates, Earth's atmosphere would be deadly.

The story fascinated me for two reasons: a) the idea that something we would consider absolutely wrong - an environment, say - would be absolutely natural to other beings, indeed necessary and non-toxic. I considered it compelling both environmentally (although I didn't think of it in those terms back in 1966 or 1967, which may have been when I read it) and philosophically; b) the idea that our world could end, that we would end, but that it might be OK, because something equally important or intelligent or what-have-you, might grow to take our place in a vastly changed world.

All of which leads me to this: Thanks to [personal profile] ljgeoff  for alerting me to this article. For all that I've just said, I'd much rather we managed, somehow against all logic, to stick around. I guess I'm not quite mature or enlightened enough to take the approach of the writer. And he's right, not me.



kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (TARDIS loves)
Braiinz, Bones and Detritus

It's been a very slow day, largely because BB and I stayed up too late to watched "I Walked With a Zombie" on Turner Classic Movies last night this morning. I suppose I should have gone to bed at 3 a.m. before the rather surprisingly good movie captured my attention.  We staggered to bed at 4 a.m., awakened at 12:30 a.m. and I worked on a story for work for the rest of the afternoon, fighting off extreme achiness while I did. No housework or other tasks done, but I'm not guilt-stricken.

(The movie is really quite good, barring some unpleasant cultural and "benign" racism Fail that sadly seems to Come With the Territory in 1943 movies. And it has some really strikingly creepy, nay, frightening, images, like the one I'll hide under a cut at the bottom. Has anyone else watched the film? What did you think of it?)

Anyhow, since I'm about to take a hot shower and more painkillers before we watched Doctor Who (w00t!!1!), I'll leave you with these two other links.

First, because I'm a fan of rhinos (one of who once upon a metaphorical time ate my nose,  another story entirely from the tale of how he got his skin oh Best Beloved): The Oldest Wooly Rhinocerous Found.

Second, because I am definitely a skiffy geek, a science geek, and an anime geek (a point that is relevant because my love of the series "Planetes" immediately made me think of it when I read the piece — "They need Half-Section!" said I,)  this story: Space Debris at 'Tipping Point.'

And now, off to ablute, get painless and hide behind the sofa.

Oh, right. The Image Under the Cut

Really, don't click if you don't want to jump out of your skin )
kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (catwins)
When Rats (and Humans) Dance the Parasite Polka

If you've ever been pregnant, or know someone who ever was pregnant, you're probably familiar with the advice to pregnant women — to stay the hell away from catboxes, in order to avoid toxoplasmosis. That, however, is just one facet of the glittering neurobiology of the parasite which causes the disease. If ever we needed proof that the universe may not only be stranger than we know, but stranger than we can know, this certainly would be a candidate:

"Toxo Modified Humans"
kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (catwins)
When Rats (and Humans) Dance the Parasite Polka

If you've ever been pregnant, or know someone who ever was pregnant, you're probably familiar with the advice to pregnant women — to stay the hell away from catboxes, in order to avoid toxoplasmosis. That, however, is just one facet of the glittering neurobiology of the parasite which causes the disease. If ever we needed proof that the universe may not only be stranger than we know, but stranger than we can know, this certainly would be a candidate:

"Toxo Modified Humans"

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