AI IS HERE

Collateral movie

If artificial intelligence in the hard sense (real thoughts) is not here yet, the soft kind (with robots) definitely is. In the new Blade Runner we see replicants acting “more human than human.” Humans have become brutal or apathetic, the result of what musician/philosophy David Byrne calls our cultural disconnection. Read THIS. Driverless cars are being created to produce more time for people to be on their screens (iPhones, tablets), allowing the big four to track people everywhere, and customize ads that categorize and target. (The opening of Blade Runner 2049 shows Ryan Gosling asleep in the driver’s seat of his flying car…which is flying.) Spying is everywhere, as today, and as revealed in the books Riveted, Weapons of Math Destruction, The Filter Bubble, Utopia is Creepy, The Four, and Future Crimes. One of the unintended results of customization (besides profits) is to polarize beliefs: you never see alternative views, because The Four only show you (in search and in ads) things you already believe, including conspiracy theories and fake news. Only by reading books can you see the whole picture, because even the networks are in the pockets of advertisers and drug companies. And literacy is slowly declining as more people turn to TV and the internet for one-liners and  “factoids,” as Ray Bradbury called them in Fahrenheit 451, about burning books. One of the lines from that movie was rendered by an Overseer: “More sports for everyone.” (He meant it as a substitute for reading, to keep people in line, as slaves to the system.) A giant Coca-Cola sign is seen in both Blade Runners, as part of the brand-washing (read Brandwashed or The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink.) The networks, or Coke itself, never mentioned these books. It is easier to double down on cute commercials for their diabetes and cancer-causing products requiring prescription drugs to treat at massive cost (while the new Drug Czar is a former Big Pharma confidant sponsoring a bill to repress prosecution of drug distributors involved in the Opioid epidemic.) Do you doubt any of this? It may be because you didn’t hear about it on the news. They have vested interests not to tell you. To keep you in the dark. You can bet that 60 MInutes is coming under fire for their report this past Sunday. Once they (and Frontline) is shut down, along with all whistleblowers, what happens then? Blade Runner 2049 happens, for real. That’s what happens. It is predicted that climate change, if ignored until 2100, will cost $600 Trillion to fix. That’s a T, in today’s dollars. Many will need to die first. But even by next year, perhaps, terrorists can sit back and watch as a Category 5 hits Miami and wipes out all those homes now shown on “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” or “My Lottery Dream Home.” In San Francisco, building codes were ignored as people watched TV, so what happens if a 10.0 quake hits the San Andreas? Most of the city (and other cities not yet burning) reduced to rubble. What happens to the economy then? Maybe Leonardo diCaprio is right. Maybe those on Instagram posting images of his satirical movie The Wolf of Wall Street should go to his actual IG account and check it out. Coffee? Time to wake up.

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Review of Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2

Saw Blade Runner 2049. Great film. Good story, but mostly a moving tribute to the original classic. Ryan Gosling is superb, and the special effects alone make the movie worth seeing. (Finally, an intelligent film after so much superhero madness and one-liners!) Never boring. Not even for narcissists with low attention span. And I didn’t see it in 3D, just standard screen. Cringed to see the giant Coke ad, but it was probably more irony than product placement. Was it a masterpiece like the director’s cut of the original with Rutger Hauer? No, but I’m not complaining. Is Harrison’s Deckard a replicant? Little chance of that. The book says no, too. There’s a bigger surprise I can’t mention. Go see it, then listen to the audiobook, which is like an audio movie. At TowerReview.com I’ve posted links to a book on how the movie was made, plus a fashion tee shirt and the bomber jacket style worn by Gosling in the film. His image appears on the link. BTW, music? No tunes to sing, but an effective and eerie original score that swells to thunder at just the right moments.

Blade Runner 2049

 

 

Ripples in Spacetime Explained

LigoA new book Ripples in Spacetime is an engaging account of the international effort to complete Einstein’s project, capture his elusive ripples, and launch an era of gravitational-wave astronomy that promises to explain, more vividly than ever before, our universe’s structure and origin. The quest for gravitational waves involved years of risky research and many personal and professional struggles that threatened to derail one of the world’s largest scientific endeavors. Govert Schilling takes listeners to sites where these stories unfolded-including Japan’s KAGRA detector, Chile’s Atacama Cosmology Telescope, the South Pole’s BICEP detectors, and the United States’ LIGO labs. He explains the seeming impossibility of developing technologies sensitive enough to detect waves from two colliding black holes in the very distant universe, and describes the astounding precision of the LIGO detectors. Along the way Schilling clarifies concepts such as general relativity, neutron stars, and the big bang using language that listeners with little scientific background can grasp. Govert Schilling (1956) is an internationally acclaimed astronomy writer in the Netherlands. He is a contributing editor of Sky & Telescope, and his articles have appeared in Science, New Scientist and BBC Sky at Night Magazine. He wrote over fifty books (in Dutch) on a wide variety of astronomical topics, some of which have been translated into English, including Evolving Cosmos, Flash! The Hunt for the Biggest Explosions in the Universe, The Hunt for Planet X, and Atlas of Astronomical Discoveries. In 2007, the International Astronomical Union named asteroid (10986) Govert after him.