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Archive for January, 2019

X+Y” (2014)  —  movie review, released in the US as “A Brilliant Young Mind” (2015)
Today’s review is for the 2014 / 2015 movie “X+Y“, aka: “A Brilliant Young Mind“.  The movie stars Asa Butterfield as Nathan Ellis (autistic math genius), Rafe Spall as Martin Humphreys (Nathan’s tutor), Sally Hawkins as Julie Ellis (Nathan’s mum), Eddie Marsan as Richard (UK tutor), Jo Yang as Zhang Mei (Nathan’s love interest), Martin McCann as Michael Ellis (Nathan’s dad), Jake Davies as Luke Shelton (mocked math genius), Alex Lawther as Isaac Cooper (mocking math genius), Alexa Davies as Rebecca Dunn (Piano girl / jealous crush).
There is something called the “International Mathematics Olympiad” (IMO) which brings together all of the maths geniuses from around the world to compete on their respective national teams.  It seems China is the historically dominant power at this event.
Nathan is an autistic maths wiz.  The only person he is close with is his dad who dies in a car accident.  The accident makes Nathan even more reclusive / eccentric than he was before.
Nathan’s mum (the fish lady / maid in “The Shape of Water“) is not able to relate with her son and finally gets a piece of relief by shipping him off to compete in the IMO.  Nathan’s tutor (Martin) is himself a “failed” maths prodigy and slowly builds a relationship with Nathan and his mum.  Eddie Marsan plays the UK team manager who’s only concern is for the team to beat the Chinese team. Zhang Mei is Nathan’s “love” interest.  He slowly pries Nathan from his turtle shell.  Martin McCann is Nathan’s dad and is the only one who sees him as special and not weird.  At least that is how Nathan feels.  The final three main characters (Luke, Isaac and Rebecca) are other “kids” on the IMO team who are meant to demonstrate some other levels of autism or to act as a kind of alternative love interest.
Is this movie any good?  Does it say anything about math?  Does it say anything about kids?  Does it say anything about autism?  Yes, a little, nothing new, and I don’t know.
I really enjoyed this movie. I got interested in it a while back when I saw Butterfield in “Ender’s War” and thought I’d look out for any of his other work.  (I’ve seen the previews for this film and the bits and bobs available on YouTube and have been waiting for this movie to become available on cable or on Vudu.)  Now I’ve seen him in two very good roles and it will be interesting to see if he develops into a good adult actor or if he fades.  As with “Ender”, Asa plays the straight role well and the emotional role almost as well.  I don’t really understand autism, so I can’t say how accurately he portrayed the ending transformation.  My gut feeling was it was too Hollywood and not realistic, but that just may be me.
The movie relates math to various aspects of the real world: pattern recognition, music, art, architecture, philosophy and love.  They were not main points of the film though, so if you blink, you may miss a couple of them.
I don’t think this movie says anything original about kids.  Certainly nothing you couldn’t get from a half-dozen other movies starting with “Lord of the Flies”.  Yes, kids are mean and pick on other kids who may be viewed as somehow “different”.
As mentioned above, Nathan is “transformed” at the end of the movie.  I doubt autism is cured on the road to Damascus, so I didn’t care for the resolution / summing up.  It just seemed too tidy for my taste.  Apparently, the movie is based on a real-life person and his reaction to viewing the film was: I am a maths wiz.  I am not a rain man.  For me, to the extent the movie related Nathan’s love for math, I felt it stood on firmer ground.
Final recommendation: very strong to highly. I do have an “unusual” fondness for movies with even the slightest math / science / computing theme, so you have to take this recommendation with the normal grain of salt you take my reviews…   (LOL)  I’m not usually a big fan of hazy / distorted filming to represent the perception of genius, but in this case, it worked pretty well.  I liked the acting, the story and loose correlation of math to music, color, flow and pattern recognition.  I will watch it again in the future.
One final note: I got to see this movie for free!  I joined my local library (re-joined) and they have a pretty interesting selection of movies you can stream just for being a member of the library.  It saved me having to purchase a movie I really wanted to see.  They do limit my viewing to eight per calendar month, but it still seems a great deal to me!  Who knew??
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On This Day In:
2018 And May Never Be
2017 Don’t Forget
2016 I Was A Percentage Man
2015 It Waits Patiently
2014 Unknown
2013 Explaining Love?
2012 Echoes of 1%
2011 Salaam, Egypt!!
Where Do You Learn?

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To achieve satisfaction in everything desire it in nothing.  To possess everything, desire to have nothing.  To be everything, desire to be nothing.  To know everything, desire to know nothing.
  —  John of the Cross
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On This Day In:
2018 And May Never Be
2017 Don’t Forget
2016 I Was A Percentage Man
2015 It Waits Patiently
2014 Unknown
2013 Explaining Love?
2012 Echoes of 1%
2011 Salaam, Egypt!!
Where Do You Learn?

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If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple.  But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.
  ―  George Bernard Shaw
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On This Day In:
2018 Disciplined Models
2017 We Cannot Afford Enemies
2016 Love Is Just A State Of Mind
2015 Waiting?
2014 Big C, Little B (II)
Where God Has Not
2013 Chasing His Dragon
Shaped And Molded
2012 Believe In Yourself
2011 Cultural Equivalence
Why Not?
Books About Books
The Basis For Adult Continuing Education

 

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He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don’t let that fool you.  He really is an idiot.
   ―  Groucho Marx
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On This Day In:
2018 Trying To Stay Young
2017 Seems Reasonable To Me
2016 We Can Get Through This Together (In Time)
2015 How Long Is A Piece Of String?
2014 Heathen, n.
2013 Wisdom’s Folly
2012 When The Student Is Ready
Disconnected Leadership
2011 The Complex Richness Of Life

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The Punisher” (2018 – Season 2) — series review
Caution: “some” spoilers in this review.  If you intend to view the series, stop now…  You’ve been warned.  Also, much of this review is the same as / similar to my review of season one.
This is a Marvel Comics Universe “TV” series appearing on NetFlix.  The “Punisher” character was introduced in the (recently cancelled) “DareDevil” series (in season two) – and pretty much took it over – and this review is for the second season of his (the Punisher’s) series.  Basically, (in season 1) the family of a military expert is killed and he takes revenge against the killers.  He leaves one guy, who he promises (“threatens”) to come back for.  Blah, blah, blah.  Segue to season two…  So, now the guy who survived season one escapes from the mental hospital and the Punisher has to finish the job.
Ok, that’s pretty much what I expected from the end of season one…  And, it’s almost what you get in season 2.  The thing about the “Punisher” series is it is NEVER about the dozens of people he kills.  It is ALWAYS about “justice” for the guys behind the violent criminals.  The ones who are actually pulling the strings.  (And in this series, discovery means execution.)  In DareDevil, it was finding out who had his family executed.  In season one, it was about who actually did the executions.  Because that season ended in a non-fatal way, the antagonist could be a returning villain, but they could not be the “main” baddie.  Like season one, a new string-puller has to be introduced: in this case a husband and wife team who use religion to make themselves wealthy and powerful.  And, then they have a puppet (on a string)…
This season, the series still stars Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle / Punisher, Ben Barnes returns to the second season as Billy Russo (Frank’s wartime friend who was the bad guy in season 1), Amber Rose Revah returns as Dinah Madani (Homeland Security Officer), Corbin Bernsen and Annette O’Toole as Anderson and Eliza Schultz (the “real” bad guys for this season), Josh Stewart plays John Pilgrim (the hyper-violent “religious” puppet of the Schultz’s), Giorgia Whigham plays Amy Bendix (the “innocent” who must be protected by Castle), Jason R. Moore as Curtis Hoyle (the Vet “do-gooder” medic), and Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page (a carry over from Daredevil).
The season is dark but not as dark as the first season.  Literally.  There just seemed to be a lot more daylight / outdoor scenes.  But the killing is mostly done at night or in darker / indoors lighting.  (I think it’s meant to be a metaphor, but it’s easy to make this type of show more sophisticated than it really is: always remember, it’s “just” a comic book adaptation.)  The series continues to try to deal with a host of issues, “BIG” philosophical issues, from right and wrong, to innocence, vigilantism, friendship, personal loss, and a rather bizarre attitude that “justice” almost always ends with violence – particularly gun violence.  While the depiction of gun violence is pretty accurate, the depiction of physical recovery remains essentially: “and then a miracle happens.”  There are scars, but recovery (from blows, gun shot wounds, knife cuts and broken bones) is almost instantaneous.  Like I said: comic book…
Does it work and is it any good?  If you like this kind of thing (same as season one: explosions, excessive violence, explosions, hand-to-hand combat, lots and lots of guns and gun fire, and did I mention explosions), and I do, then you’ll continue to enjoy this series.  And, I did.  The question was: is it any good and was it better than season one?  Everything I said about season one remains true: “As a comic book adaptation, it is very good.  As an action / adventure / who-dun-it, it’s pretty good.  As a realistic portrayal of armed and unarmed combat, uh, it’s a comic book…”
Final recommendation: moderate to strong.  This season is rated higher than season one because they let the actors act more and kill / maim less (slightly).  In typical Marvel fashion, Billy Russo “almost” becomes a sympathetic character as we are introduced to his childhood and his earlier relationship with Castle.  Again, the series is definitely for mature audiences ONLY.  It feels strange to say (admit) it, but I (again) enjoyed the acting and the story more than I did the violence.  I particularly enjoyed the four part twist at the end of the season.  This was a better season and I hope Marvel and NetFlix give “The Punisher” another season to see where Castle’s wandering takes us.
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On This Day In:
2018 Choose Goodness
2017 Developing Translations
2016 Think Like A Hero
2015 Reductionism
2014 Gravitation, n.
2013 Ups And Downs
2012 Nerd Heard – And Good-Bye
Your Continuum
2011 Career Tips (Part 2)

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Make your own Bible.  Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.
  ―  Ralph Waldo Emerson
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On This Day In:
2018 Choose Goodness
2017 Developing Translations
2016 Think Like A Hero
2015 Reductionism
2014 Gravitation, n.
2013 Ups And Downs
2012 Nerd Heard – And Good-Bye
Your Continuum
2011 Career Tips (Part 2)

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Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.
  ―  Ralph Waldo Emerson
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On This Day In:
2018 Simple
2017 Knowledge Pays
2016 Brief Glimpses And Full Glances
2015 Pursuing Perspective
2014 Wearing Down?
2013 Labouring Under A Curse
2012 Listen To Yourself
2011 Career Tips (Part 1)
No Captain Dunsel

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Without ambition one starts nothing.  Without work one finishes nothing.  The prize will not be sent to you.  You have to win it.
  ―  Ralph Waldo Emerson
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On This Day In:
2018 Diversity
2017 Timely Planning
2016 Just Too Easy To Know Fewer And Fewer
2015 A Fine Balance
2014 Next Rung
2013 Super Bowl Prep
Romantics
A Goal For Zen?
2012 Mutant Powers Of Obsession
2011 Federal Stars
Mud Pie

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I think that both parties should declare the debt limit as a political weapon of mass destruction which can’t be used.  I mean, it is silly to have a country that has 237 years building up its reputation and then have people threaten to tear it down because they’re not getting some other matter.
  —  Warren Buffett
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On This Day In:
2018 Satisfied
2017 In The Mind
2016 Dreaming
2015 The Best Medicine Is Also Contagious
2014 Eyes Off
2013 The More Things Change…
2012 The Delicate Moment Of Giving
2011 Ready, Shoot, Aim!!

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You know, people talk about this being an uncertain time.  You know, all time is uncertain.  I mean, it was uncertain back in – in 2007, we just didn’t know it was uncertain.  It was – uncertain on September 10th, 2001.  It was uncertain on October 18th, 1987, you just didn’t know it.
  —  Warren Buffett
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On This Day In:
2018 Satisfied
2017 In The Mind
2016 Dreaming
2015 The Best Medicine Is Also Contagious
2014 Eyes Off
2013 The More Things Change…
2012 The Delicate Moment Of Giving
2011 Ready, Shoot, Aim!!

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A life is like a garden.  Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.  LLAP
  —  Leonard Nimoy
Back in January (click here), I posted the observation that I had just reached 1,221 email followers.  I found this an “interesting” number because it is a palindrome (reads the same backwards as forwards).  I also mentioned that I was looking forward to reaching 1,234 followers.  Again, solely because it is an interesting number: the earliest sequential number number possible with four digits.
Image of 1,235 email followers.
Today, I hit “1,235” email followers.  Now, some may ask why is that worth noting when I never posted anything about 1,234.  Three reasons…
First:  The “achievement” was a milestone, but it was not a goal.  To me, a goal is the end – like a world championship.  A milestone is a step along the way – all of the wins (and losses) along the way to reaching the goal.  I would argue, the steps you take to reach the next milestone are as significant in reaching the goal as reaching each milestone.  And, many times, the road is as important as the destination.
Second:  The “achievement” was transitory.  The morning I woke up and found I hit 1,235 (first time), I had actually missed seeing the “milestone” (1,234) because I’d picked up two new followers overnight.  This highlighted the transitory nature of arbitrary milestones.  I have since seen (and reached) “1,234” followers several times since then.  For whatever reason, some of my followers stopped following and I have also gained others.  I have actually been back down to 1,232.
I don’t really know why I  gain or lose followers.  I can only say I gain and lose most followers around days when I post about politics (criticizing Trump) or religion – particularly if I post a series (three of four days in a row).  There seems to be a tolerance level for followers: one or two times is okay, but don’t keep beating the same drum.  And, that’s okay, I’m often tempted to do the same with blogs I follow.  I don’t, but I am tempted.  LOL.
And, third:  in it’s own way, “1,235” is more interesting than “1,234”.  For the latter, adding the first digit to each in the sequence produces the next in the sequence.  1+2=3, 1+3=4.  Here, the next interesting number occurs with one place shift: “12,345”.  In the former, the number pattern increase is summing two adjacent numbers to produce the next in sequence. 1+2=3, 2+3=5.  Here, the next number in the progression would be “12,358” (still with only one place increase).
Of course, “12,321” is the next palindrome, which is also interesting.
But, why “just” interesting and not fascinating?  Well, I started playing with the numbers and what I found “fascinating” was that at a certain point it is the “visible” number which is easier to find interesting.  For example: “12”, “123”, “1221”, “1234” are all visually appealing (to me).  But, and I’m not sure why, “1,221” and “1,234” are less so.  I’m leaning to the lack of symmetry caused by the “comma” between the “1” and the “2”.  In which case, “123,321” becomes the next “true” visual palindrome.  I’m not sure if the difference is “unique”, but it is unexpected (to me) and therefore, (to me) fascinating.  Why?  Because looking back at the original post, after passing the milestone, I realized I used the number “1221” in the title and not the comma delimited “1,221”.  Somehow, I was unconsciously preferring the use (in the title) of the visual palindrome over the normal numeric representation even though logically they are equivalent.  So, while the numbers are interesting, it was my recognition of use which (to me) is fascinating.
But, like I said, this is just me being me.
(PS:  “LLAP” = “Live Long and Prosper”)
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On This Day In:
2018 Me, Too
2017 Apt Enough?
2016 Now Or Ever
21, Pause, Restart
2015 I Am Shocked, Sir, Shocked…
Lucy & FSND-2
2014 Less Difficult
2013 The Spirit Of Liberty
2012 The Essential Freedom Of Aloneness
2011 A Problem Of Scale
Fred Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
2010 Another Book, Another Jog…

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Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb.  That’s where the fruit is.
  —  H. Jackson Browne
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On This Day In:
2018 Me, Too
2017 Apt Enough?
2016 Now Or Ever
21, Pause, Restart
2015 I Am Shocked, Sir, Shocked…
Lucy & FSND-2
2014 Less Difficult
2013 The Spirit Of Liberty
2012 The Essential Freedom Of Aloneness
2011 A Problem Of Scale
Fred Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
2010 Another Book, Another Jog…

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You’ll never know how strong you are — until being strong is the ONLY choice you have!
  —  Bob Marley
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On This Day In:
2018 A Good Definition
2017 Getting It Done
2016 Getting To Know Me
2015 Why I Pay Taxes
2014 Inequality Of Sacrifice
2013 I Never Saw A Moor
2012 Fill In The Blank
Not For Naught
Cliff Notes To Life?
2011 Conference Games Sunday

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The few who do are the envy of the many who only watch.
  —  Jim Rohn
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On This Day In:
2018 Spineless Capitulation By The Democrats
Woe Is Me…
2017 Sincerely Yours
2016 Only Good To Say
2015 A Series Of Temporary Conditions
2014 Gaps
2013 Duty
2012 Cost Not Price
Superheroes
2011 The Simple Normalcy Of Everyday Life – “Squirrel!”

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To sin by silence when they should protest, makes cowards of human beings.
  —  Abraham Lincoln
[It is vitally important to continue resisting the programs of President Trump and the Republican Senate.  It is equally important to support the Democratic control of the House of Representatives.  Remember, if there is no clear election in the Electoral College in 2020, the decision of who will be the next President will fall to the House of Representatives.  I believe this is what the Republicans were actually hoping for when the “Anyone but Trump” Republican movement went silent.  They didn’t have to get Trump elected President in the popular vote.  The Republicans only had to tie up the Electoral College.  In which case, Paul Ryan most probably would have been “elected” President.  One: he was the Republican VP nominee in the prior election (2012).  Normally, when the ticket fails, the VP choice is the next one in line to be put forward.  And, two: Ryan was the Speaker of the House, which means he was already the “prime” person to be elevated from the House to the Oval Office.  When (in 2016) Florida went to the Republicans and the House was retained by the Republicans, they only needed one of the Rust Belt states and South Carolina to stop Clinton, irrespective of her national popular vote count.  The same conditions will be true in 2020, if the Republicans can somehow flip the House back to their control.
Added to that (final control of the Presidential election), the House also has primary responsibility for seat reapportionment after the 2020 census.  If Republicans flip control back (to themselves) they will use even more gerrymandering to reduce the value of the popular vote.  (Of course, this presumes the Republicans retain control of the majority of the State Houses, too.  Since they control 32 States to the Dems 14, it seems likely they will.)  Don’t misinterpret me.  The Democratic Party will also gerrymander, but they “generally” do so to increase the value of the popular vote.  They (the Democrats) “only” do this because the demographics of the future favor the the Democratic Party.  Basically, older (mostly white male) voters are dying and the younger voters (across all genders, ethnic breakdown, income and education levels) replacing them on the voting roles are trending to the Democratic Party.  And without newer ideas, the Conservative / Republican Party will continue to wither away.  IMHO: It is only “Dark Money” and the Citizens United decision which have propped the Republican Party up this far.
A word to the wise should suffice…   Stay engaged locally.   #Resist  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 More Executive Time For #DumbDonald
2017 Watched The Inauguration
Two Geniuses
2016 Come Dance And Laugh With Me
2015 Looks Good To Me
2014 Desire For The Sea
2013 The Fierce Urgency Of NOW
Happy Inauguration Day!
2012 One Path
Sorrow And Joy
The Seven Year View
2011 Emergent Practicality

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