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  • 308359.1913

    California was invented by pen, written by the hand of saga scribe de Montalvo from Spain, who heard of an Eden at the other end of the recently conquered America. He never ended up visiting the coast he named, instead the conquering Spaniards did it for him, fact from fiction. 

    Conspiracy junkies unite as P.A. Anderson finally breaks free of the somber-zone and lurches out a semi-carefree hit on fellow Californian Pynchin. The underplaying of hep stat-ttire works and doesn't work. But it's still a vast improve on the recent religious zeal he's been draining. Irony rules as informer Owen Wilson is leap-frogged by Doc Sportello's metaphysical resurrecting of him to Bigfoot. Wilson's in the wrong movie since he doesn't really perform, he pretends. An east-cost affectation crashing a best-coast shrug.  Some of the interviews are alive.  Other moments seem yacking rote sentimentalism for past eras.  Altman, Chandler and Pynchon all blur into sometimes plausible characterization. Martin Short especially lets it rip, leading everyone to a cop pullover under the effects of OP VIGILANT CALIFORNIA. A medical cabal leads to the dual Japan Zen early Hindu swastika cult luring millionaires to their liquidation. Long Good Goodbye by way of blotter, except now missing Zsigmond's wide ratio.

    This was the one to commit to 70mm 'scope. Pull the camera back just a bit, give it room to breath. Darken it all, it's so damn bright. (Head slap)

  • 308359.0917

    Manucher Ghorbanifar was an arms trader during the heady days of the Reagan administration. The Executive Branch fiasco known as "Iran-Contra" was led by men who devised a new import-export system for dangerous times: the exportation of U.S. arms (proxied by Israel) to Iran and the importation of hostages (proxied by Iran) from Lebanon to the U.S. A scheme so elaborate it was bound to collapse, exposed by a dissident within the Iranian ultraconservatives who despised the two-faced nature of the realpolitik. Manucher was both duplicitous, failing every lie detector test the CIA gave him, and indispensible, rehired after every failed test to continue his shady work. Was he an Israeli agent or an unaligned profiteer, history has been unable to solve the puzzle of Manucher...

  • 308354.2134

     Masterwork pop-up, printed and bound in Cali, Columbia, 1984. Out-of-print.

  • 308352.2235

    Trailer for the presumed Episode VII bookends the awakening John Boyega (as a Stormtrooper gone AWOL) with the title itself. There's a good possibility he's been inhabited by an overload of midichlorian (gives him headaches, visions, you know, 'can't sleep' kinda thing). That means he's half of the title role, an anonymous trooper gone light-side's head of the class. Is he Skywalker's paderwan? If yes, he'll be clashing with Driver's "red sword."

    The trailer hints that Abrams has his color-wheel work under control (just notice the interplay in hues). Maybe we'll finally get to see the effect of all that TV work. His MI3 was entirely watchable, even with its existentially overwrought climax. Not a pure kineticist/jokester like Brad Bird, Abrams tries to build family tales; he peers into collapsing connections then reboots them by films' end.  When the action gets heavy the storytelling gets mired (as does his sentiment), and there's the question. Will the endless caravan of the space opera sharpen his skills? See it next December.

    Kasdan is Abrams's secret weapon. Leigh Brackett's swashbuckling overkill of a first draft in 1978 allowed Kasdan to extract Empire from both Lucas's storyline and Brackett's characterizing. Now both he and Abrams are leaping over another character heavy first-draft try (Michael Arendt's). The Disney(Pixar)-Lucasfilm pairing has terrifying potential to alter visual media. Remember Pixar was instigated at Lucasfilm, sold to Jobs for pennies, grown into a genre by itself, and sold to Disney - in-turn making Jobs its largest individual shareholder. Now Lucas follows Pixar into the fold. From staunch independent to Fortune 500 in 30 years, the polar opposite arc to Coppola.

    Visual extract: Ep I-III & Ep IV-VI are copycat visual-mirrors of one another (one hint of many, both middle films travel to cities separate from land and set high in atmospherics - above water and clouds. Physically resembling one another, Bespin and Kamino are places Boba Fett escapes from using the same ship, Slave I.) Let's hope the visuals rule again. 

     

     

     

  • 308335.1715

     

    MAIN STREET FROM BROADWAY, LOOKING SOUTH, APRIL 1920 Flushing’s first theater, the Janice, which opened November 24, 1914, is at left. Main Street is in transition here: many old wooden stores and some majestic old street trees survive but the automobiles are getting numerous and the signs more noticeable. (Frederick Weber)

  • 308334.2203

     

    http://aeon.co/magazine/science/why-has-human-progress-ground-to-a-halt/

  • 308333.0539

     

  • 308322.0759

    Piketty: "the past ‘devours’ the future through the inheritance of capital that accumulates faster than growth"

    Gundeman's anthropological review of "Capital in the 21st century."

     

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00664677.2014.972339

  • 308316.2209

    Note: Jaron Lanier is a technophile who shuns web 2.0. He also decries our fears of the approaching A.I. His piece here explores Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking's rejection of A.I. and attempts to debunk the "myth" of it. Is is even a myth? Is it a projection built into our psyches?

    From my point of view, the notion of A.I. is 'offering vastly superior languages to computers, rather than humans.'
     
    This is dangerous on almost nearly every index we can think of. Take any subject, say fishing. Shouldn't we know as much as any being we create knows. What limits us? Human languages' inability to reference (and share reference). This 'solution' creates a being with far larger referential abilities than us 'who' will know much more about the fish in the sea than we will (if they survive until then), it will likely be able to monitor them, swim among them, and in a few robotic moves, may have the ability to erase all life in the ocean. Yet if our languages were up-to-date, evolved like the technology around us (and the computing was actually analogue, perhaps), then maybe we could exist in parity with A.I.  
     
    So the myth of the A.I. nightmare is not unfounded. Why? Our psyches can recognize representationally the dangers lurking, how? By examining the holistic sources for A.I.'s desire.
     
    Perhaps the most glaring missing data in Lanier's piece is an origin tale (folktale or myth). He calls it Frankenstein, but it has other analogues like the Golem tale.
     
    In deeptime, the A.I. is being requested by one of two parties, ultimately, you can choose which you prefer: 
    the QUANTUM (which seems to materialize 3-D and 2-D records directly-fossils and indirectly-photographs), 
    or 'LANGUAGE,' which is the inseparable by-product of consciousness. 
     
    And this may sound absurd to the casual reader, but humans were conjured by language, not the other way around. As soon as language left the room, or the village and was used outside of our hearing and eyesight and our waking hours, then language became an 'it,' it became a being. 

     

    http://edge.org/conversation/the-myth-of-ai

     

    Although the florid prose is readable, it suffers from a strategy of "fooling us by agreeing with us."

     
    If the economy is a dominator model, then the "A.I." born from it will be as well.
     
    Which explains clearly why the A.I. omnibus is lost in euphoria like Lanier's. 
     
    Translation is merely a plateau. Look clearly at the process: the mash is another bottom-up strategy. Chomsky, Jackendoff, it's all bottom-up. It can never work. 
     

    The montage of language, and the algorithm of human gesture (centralized through the economy) have nothing to do with the neural or the quantum (the field). They, the language-algorithm, are translators themselves, between the vastly more expressive and at times random process and substructures, and the efficient goals of post 3500BC civilization. The mode of civilization that's still here. Walls and surveillance now made electronic.

     
    aside: ("Cool Popes...cool Rabbis…" this paragraph betrayed unintentional parody - these are almost all men who front religions of hoarding: war-god worshippers who extract vital energy from millennia of domination over females. And these days retain a psychic relationship to the political establishment's blade worship. These are the true bearers of "theatrical illusions," no?  The sleight of hand between religion and state. Yeah, a lot of cool art, about torture and eternity, and eternal figures). 
     
    The inheritor, male domination culture that follows horticulture (a missing transition that's missing from the joke's one-sided charisma: corpora from corpus - undead from dead). That is the "A.I.," a unifying structure on this planet of the male will-to-power network that will follow the path. Even now, it supersedes all barriers. And if the economy is the foundation the "A.I." is born from, then the male's dominator model will migrate with it.
     
    Lanier calls it "non-sense," and uses the (chillingly) blandest examples of pre "A.I.", but that's a rather humiliating cover-story for something potentially so powerful.
     
    Weirdest he attempts to separate the myth from the history. These aren't Siamese Twins, these are psychic mirrors, however asymmetric. What Lanier wants us to believe is a trick. Like any magician, he's going to saw in half the whole. Which is impossible, myth and history are inseparable in their Venn. And actually, far more likely computationally, converging. Something foreseen by Joseph Campbell.  
     
    Hawking and Musk can see this coming. By no means can they be seen as technophobes. 
     
    The "A.I."'s mythology is of becoming, of emergence, that's its corporeal goal. And who wouldn't given the chance. In Lanier's examples, us dummies are so conditioned to accept our lack of choices, we'll look like easy targets to an A.I.
     
    Anybody on the net, that is.
  • 308312.2216

     In one area above all, the failure to improve is especially egregious: education. Schools are, on the whole, little better than they were three decades ago; test scores have barely budged since the famous “A Nation at Risk” report came out, in the early nineteen-eighties. This isn’t for lack of trying, exactly. We now spend far more per pupil than we once did. We’ve shrunk class sizes, implemented national standards, and amped up testing. We’ve increased competition by allowing charter schools. And some schools have made it a little easier to remove ineffective teachers. None of these changes have made much of a difference.

    suroweiki on the new yorker