Lasting stuff

This is the slow dissolving, long lasting stuff edition:

  • Photography is deadFrom Erwins HomeThe essence of film-based photography is not only the fact that the mechanism of capturing an image and fixing it in a silver halide grain structure creates a final picture that can hardly be altered. The fundamental issue here is the fact that the laws of physics create the image, in particular by the characteristics of light rays and the interaction between photons and silver halide grains. Photography is writing with light, and fixing the shadows. Human interaction and manipulation are minimized and reduced to the location, viewpoint and moment of exposure by the photographer. Reading the new book about Cartier-Bresson, the Scrapbook, makes one aware of that peculiar and forceful truth that photography is not only intimately linked to the use of film, but in fact depends for its very existence on film.If photography is dependent on film and not the photographer’s drive, interest, eye, skill, and talent, than all I have to do to become a great photographer is blow the dust off my old film camera, load it with film, stand on a corner and, every once in a while, snap the shutter.
  • Now is not the time to hear that global warming is going to increase drastically, though I have at least two years to move before it gets really bad.Not everyone agrees with the predictions, though. Freeman Dyson a physicist at Princeton states, My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models. (via 3Quarks)

    An interesting read, but in the end, Dr. Dyson doesn’t convince one of anything. His arguments are based more on anecdotes and opinion, rather than presenting anything factual that one can then review and either accept or reject. He also has too much belief, in my opinion, on humanity’s ability to ‘fix’ things at some future time if predictions of climate change do occur. He then wraps all of this in his ‘heresy’, as if to make himself seem a maverick, when there have been people who have argued against the prevailing views of global climate change. He strikes me as man who doesn’t want to see what the climatologist are predicting, but rather than focus on the sacrifice of today’s people, he disputes that any such prediction can’t be possible because of all the variances that exist in the world. The thing is, from what I know of climatological models, these do account for all that ‘messiness’.

  • Loren Webster wrote an in-depth review of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZAMM). I enjoyed reading the posts, and hearing Loren’s views.I read ZAMM once, a long time ago. I remembered thinking after reading the work that this was a book written by a man for men, though there is nothing in the work that is even remotely sexist. I felt, though, that I was reading a book written in language I’ve learned to speak fluently, but wasn’t my native language. After Loren’s reviews, I might try reading it again, and see if I still suffer the same disconnect.
  • If you haven’t seen the South Korean film The Host (Gwoemul), I can’t recommend it too strongly.I was expecting a creature feature, but I wasn’t expecting such excellent special effects, darkest black humor, and a fascinating look at South Korean culture, which may, or may not, match what actually exists in South Korea. Not to mention subtle and not so subtle digs at the US.

    I don’t want to give away much of the storyline other than a huge creature terrorizes Seoul, capturing the youngest daughter of an amazingly dysfunctional family. The rest of the movie is then taken up with the family’s attempt to rescue her from the beast, taking the members to hospitals, along water fronts, and into telecom companies.

    This is not a ‘likable’ family, either, at least not in the beginning. But as they traverse the shoals of bureaucracy and the lies of corporate and military leaders alike, not to mention the homeless, ecowarriors, and, well, the beast, they rather grow on you. One reviewer described it as …a mutant hybrid spawned from the improbable union of Little Miss Sunshine and Godzilla, which is as good a description as any.

    There was one scene, in particular, where the family is seated at a table eating their dinner. It was seemingly incidental to the movie, but it captured simply, without edging over into the maudlin, the relationships within the family–all without one word being exchanged. It was brilliantly done, unusual, but captivating.

    I watched it in Korean with English sub-titles, which I recommend; in my opinion, dubbing destroys movies. I wanted to see The Host at the St. Louis film festival last year, but they were out of tickets. Too bad, too, because I bet the movie was exceptional on the bigger screen. Still, it translates to the smaller screen nicely.

    Rotten Tomatoes critics give it a 92%, unusually high for that site. Out of five stars, it gets a five star rating from me.

The Host Movie Poster

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