Category: Videos

Creating a film in two days

| December 12, 2012 | Reply

The 48-Hour Film Project is a challenge to make a 4 to 7 minute film in only 48 hours, including writing the script, shooting the scenes and all editing the film, including the creation of a musical score. Very ambitious and intense. The
competing teams each submit films which are viewed and graded by judges. In 2011, a friend of mine, Jon Abrahams, was part of the team that won not only the local competition, but the international competition, with a film called “In Captivity.” His team’s film was featured in this Youtube introduction to the 2012 competition. Also featured here is an interview of Jon. This looks like a blast–I’d love to try it someday.

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Banana fight video

| June 21, 2012 | Reply
Banana fight video

Do check out this 3-minute banana fight video. Simple story. Superb animation. Made me hungry for a banana.

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Would you like to know how it should have ended?

| March 15, 2012 | Reply
Would you like to know how it should have ended?

Just today I learned that there is a series of videos dedicated to showing us how many major motion pictures should have ended. Below, you’ll find the should-have-endings to Harry Potter and Jaws:

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Susan Cain discusses the challenges and advantages of being an introvert

| March 8, 2012 | 6 Replies
Susan Cain discusses the challenges and advantages of being an introvert

Susan Cain is an introvert in a world dominated by extroverts who insist that introverts should act like extroverts. She recently wrote a book titled, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I took special interest in Cain’s talk because I am an off-the-charts introvert.

The world constantly dominated by extroverts is a great loss, Cain asserts, because introverts, who avoid great amounts of stimulation, often “feel their most alive, their most switched on and their most capable when they are in quieter, more low key, environments. Unfortunately, our most important institutions (schools and work places) “are designed for extroverts, and extroverts’ need for lots of stimulation.”

Society has a prejudice that creativity comes from gregarious gatherings. Schools and workplaces typically assemble students and workers into groups and ask them to work “together,” even in activities such as writing. Kids that seek to work alone are seen as outliers and problems. Most teachers think of extroverts as superior students even though research shows that “introverts get better grades and are more knowledgeable.” Introverts are often passed over for leadership positions, even though they tend to be careful and avoid unnecessary risks. Research shows that introverted leaders tend to let proactive workers run with their ideas, whereas extroverted leaders tend to interfere with the process (min 6:45). At min 8:00, Cain suggests that “ambiverts” probably have the best of both worlds.

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The stars in Chile

| March 3, 2012 | 1 Reply
The stars in Chile

To best experience the stars from the Atacama desert in Chile, use full screen and turn up your speakers:

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End the use of long-term solitary confinement in Illinois!

| February 22, 2012 | 3 Replies
End the use of long-term solitary confinement in Illinois!

Hey all. I haven’t been posting since last summer, mostly because I’ve been drowning in graduate school duties. One of these duties has been interning at Chicago’s Cook County Jail. There, I sit in on group therapy sessions for inmates with drug-related offenses. I’ve been consistently touched by the philosophical and psychological depth of these men, their gentleness and the span of their regrets. These are men who will sit down and opine for hours on topics you wouldn’t expect low-SES drug dealers and addicts to have much knowledge of: gender identity is a big topic, for example (these guys live firsthand the consequences of masculinity). And when it comes to living with shame or regret, these guys are almost the best resource you can find.

The only place where you can find more affecting people, I think, is at prisons. I’ve been volunteering for a Chicago-based group called Tamms Year Ten, which advocates for prisoners housed in long-term solitary confinement. I write and read inmates’ letters, respond to their requests for photos and magazines, and read their countless reports of abuse– from medical staff, from Corrections Officers, from mail room staff, and from the state itself.

Let’s be clear on what “long-term” solitary confinement means. These men at Tamms are housed alone for 23-hours a day, with zero human contact, for decades. Some have been locked up alone for 23-28 years.

[More . . . ]

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Same and different people

| January 10, 2012 | 3 Replies
Same and different people

A friend of mine sometimes mentioned a thought that he considered disturbing: If you could rise up high enough into the air, human beings would all started looking the same, like a bunch of ants. One consequence of this perspective is that particular humans would seem expendable and replaceable.

Personally, I vacillated between thinking that human animals are exquisitely different from each other or disturbingly the same. Along came Donald Brown to convince me that we are deluded to think that people are meaningfully different from each other.

Last night my wife and I watched an unusual video that, to me, reinforced this idea that humans everywhere are largely the same. The video is title “Life in a Day,” and it was produced by National Geographic. Imagine 4,500 hours of video all all shot on the same day, edited down to 94 minutes. Here is a description of the project at the site where you can view the entire video:

Director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) and producer Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator) team up to offer this candid snapshot of a single day on planet Earth. Compiled from over 80,000 YouTube submissions by contributors in 192 countries, Life in a Day presents a microcosmic view of our daily experiences as a global society. From the mundane to the profound, everything has its place as we spend 90 minutes gaining greater insight into the lives of people who may be more like us than we ever suspected, despite the fact that we’re separated by incredible distances.

This is a compelling video that I recommend. It reminded me that most of what I think of as “happening” are the images and sounds I personally experience. For the most part, I don’t know what in the world is going on. While I live my life, and it seem important to me, 7 billion other people are living lives that they consider equally important. The video is a terrific reminder that we are each only a tiny part of a much bigger whole.

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Maintaining Order

| November 27, 2011 | Reply
Maintaining Order

How is it that Americans are so incredibly ignorant of many of these atrocities? How is it, for example, that most people do now know that in 1954 the United States overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran to install a Shah?

The following video should be required viewing for any American who barks that we ought to invade Iran or, worse yet, “nuke Iran” (I’ve heard both of these on the street). This is insanity from a nation that claims to love liberties and spout pro-life rhetoric.

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Just Doing What God Said. Right.

| July 6, 2011 | 2 Replies
Just Doing What God Said. Right.

“Don’t put the blame on me; I’m just doing what God said.”
Excellent.

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