Turtles All the Way Down

The post I intended for today is taking longer than expected, and I can’t seem to get started on my backup idea (the time change and chilly weather have me in hibernation mode). So instead, here’s my current favorite tune, Turtles All The Way Down, by Sturgill Simpson, from his 2014 album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music:

I first heard this during the closing credits on Hulu’s Reservation Dogs (episode 8, season 2), and it really caught my ear. And mind. Such great lyrics. (Here’s a non-official version with the lyrics.) Enjoy!


John Wick

This weekend I had the immense pleasure of watching all three extant John Wick movies. Part of the pleasure was watching them over the course of only two evenings. While the first film, in multiple ways, stands alone, the latter two (and presumably chapter four coming out next year) tell a single story.

If you like gun fu action thrillers and somehow haven’t seen these, you’ve missed something rather special. The attention to detail, the tactical reality of the fight scenes, and a whole lot more, place these movies, especially the first, among the best of their kind.

They’re a wonderful contrast to what movies seem to have turned into.

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Friday Notes (Nov 11, 2022)

I hadn’t planned to post today, but I can’t resist the allure of 11+11=22. That’s just too tasty. Bonus, it also works in the arguably more sensible European mode of daymonthyear. (Although, as mentioned in the previous Notes, I prefer yearmonthday because it sorts nicely.)

The last two posts were heavy on the math, so I promise (other than the date thing) no math in this one. But since it’s unplanned, it might end up a bit of a ramble.

But then that’s what Friday Notes are for!

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QM 101: Diffusion in 2D

Last time I began exploring the similarity between the Schrödinger equation and a classical heat diffusion equation. In both cases, valid solutions push the high curvature parts of their respective functions towards flatness. The effect is generally an averaging out in whatever space the function occupies.

Both equations involve partial derivatives, and I ignored that in our simple one-dimensional case. Regular derivatives were sufficient. But math in two dimensions, let alone in three, requires partial derivatives.

Which were yet another hill I faced trying to understand physics math. If they are as opaque to you as they were to me, read on…

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QM 101: Heat Diffusion

This is the first of a series of posts exploring the mysterious Schrödinger Equation — a central player of quantum mechanics. Previous QM-101 posts have covered important foundational topics. Now it’s time to begin exploring that infamous, and perhaps intimidating, equation.

We’ll start with something similar, a classical equation that, among other things, governs how heat diffuses through a material. For simplicity, we’ll first consider a one-dimensional example — a thin metal rod. (Not truly one-dimensional, but reasonably close.)

Traveller’s Advisory: Math and graphs ahead!

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Actors, Roles; It’s a Wrap

Over the last nine posts I’ve been pondering the topic of Who Can Play Who when it comes to adaptations of existing works. To wrap things up, and because ten is a magic number to us humans, it seems reasonable to try to boil it all down to something coherent. If that’s even possible.

I find myself conflicted sometimes between what I’ll call a stage play sensibility that allows huge latitude in casting actors versus my sensibilities about live-action adaptations of well-established existing properties.

I think that changes the equation.

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Predator: Prey (and AvP: 2)

Speaking of women-centric movies and TV shows, recently I watched Hulu’s Prey (2022), the latest entry in the Predator franchise. Not to be confused with the Aliens vs. Predators mini franchise, the crossover with the Aliens franchise.

The evening was a double feature. First, I watched the second entry in the AvP series, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007). I can’t say I’m a huge fan of these movies, but I’ve generally enjoyed them. Prey got lots of praise, and I’ve long wanted to see The AvP sequel (although I wasn’t expecting much from it).

As it turned out, AvP: Requiem won the night. Prey has a lot going for it but has too much Mulan and Dances with Wolves for my taste. I found it distracting and detracting.

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Elevation of Women

Women, in most societies, have long suffered as second-class citizens. In the beginning it was due to biology, but modern cultures generally erase those differences. Paradoxically, women have historically also held a revered position (“Women and children first!”). Art, literature, and social practice, all elevate them above men, albeit selectively.

Ironically, elevation is also a problem. In at least two ways. Putting anyone on a pedestal is never a good idea. That’s a topic for another time. There is also the zero-sum version of elevation: glorifying one group while disparaging, even attacking, another. That also is never a good idea.

As it applies to movie and TV roles, it’s the topic I want to discuss here.

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Objectification of Women

Recently I’ve been thinking (and posting) about acting roles in adaptations of existing works, especially of comics and animations. A few months ago, I ventured down the YouTube rabbit hole of fan media commentary channels where the topic is a common one. Fans naturally have strong opinions about their favorite characters.

I’ve long said sexual differences make social gender issues more challenging than social race issues (because race is a social construct). The issue of gender swapping is likewise more challenging than that of race swapping.

Here be dragons of objectification, exploitation, and the Male Gaze.

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Live-Action Adaptations

I seem to have a penchant for trilogy posts. It wasn’t intentional this time, but I ended up writing a trilogy of posts [1, 2, 3] about the Netflix adaptation of The Sandman (1989-1996), the much-loved graphic novel authored by Neil Gaiman (and drawn by various artists).

The Netflix adaptation offers some good examples of actor swapping, which has been my theme lately. Ultimately, I think the real problem is realistic live-action adaptations of singularly and visually well-defined drawn or animated characters. For instance: Superman, Homer Simpson, and Mickey Mouse.

When real people portray them, race and gender come into play.

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