­

INTERSTELLAR | MAKE ME STAY MURPH

Interstellar is a strange, cold, misshapen and off-kilter film - and yet so angular, so formed, so grand. Maybe just like our universe. I found it so tremendously moving. In so many ways, it speaks of the struggle to communicate. To each other, and ultimately to our very selves. It speaks of the horror and the pure tragedy of the unknown known - the thing you must travel and sacrifice to work out, the discovery being that it was known all along. It speaks of the humiliating known unknown - the thing you need but cannot find, in the vastness of possibility and finiteness of time. Above all, to me, it speaks of weakness in the heart of strength, of fragility. In the culminating moment, Cooper is desperately trying to speak to Murph, his daughter, back through time, using the all-but-mute mechanism of gravitational disturbances. And all he can ask his

Sam Harris Doing God’s Work

This is great stuff. Harris and Wolpe are good debaters; but Harris has tremendous patience in making sophisticated points in the face of problematic rhetorical framing (not wanting to be offensive to religious sensitivities).

HER | BEYOND THE SELF, WITH SADNESS NOT FEAR

Just saw Her, with Joaquin Phoenix. It is hardly a film - it is more of a poem to personhood and the possibility or not of love in a world of human and technical complexity and unknowns and unknowables. It builds on so many great films - I will list the themes it raises in common with classics first, and then mention how it goes beyond them. Blade Runner | what is to be a replicant (created being), what feelings/memories are and what they mean, especially if not naturally derived, rights / identity / autonomy for created and mechanically-governed beings. Moon | identity / autonomy, but also individuality (in the case of multiple clones), as well as feelings, rights and indeed the issue of being 'property' of others, without whom one would not exist Tron Legacy | self-awareness, perfectibility Solaris | identity / autonomy / rights of the 'memory beings' (not clear what they actually

Glenn Gould’s 36 Forms of Keyboard Articulation

Listening to this classic 1955 recording by Glenn Gould, it is shocking to note the levels of articulation control. If articulation implies note extension/separation and note emphasis/dynamics, the amount of descriptive options are limited to gradations of legato-staccato, and gradations of forte-piano. In Gould's hands the gradations become hyper-real in every direction. One can detect at least six note extension/separation versions: - luxuriously smooth legato, tiny overlap in notes- controlled legato, perfect flow of notes, no separation no overlap- semi-portato, definably separate individual notes, but feeling smooth and sounding phrase-wise as legato- semi-staccato, short notes, sounding truncated and consciously articulated, but not yet 'pizzicato', plucked- staccato, very short notes, sounding somewhat arid, still not yet 'pizzicato'- very staccato, extremely short notes, sounding picked, plucked, pizzicato-style.  Combine this with, naturally, around six distinct levels of dynamic/emphasis - fortissimo- molto forte- mezzo forte- mezzo piano- molto piano- pianissimo and hey presto! very

Liquid Crystal Ball 2012 REVISITED

This is an update, critique and scorecard of my Liquid Crystal Ball 2012. I think I did okay, but I thought the world was moving faster than it is - it took mostly two years for the body of these predictions to mature. The first in an infrequent series of technology predictions. This one for events in 2012 and beyond. In note-form only. APPLE | BACK ON TOP, THIS TIME ITS PERSONAL - Tim Cook stable as CEO, though one or two hardware glitches handled unusually; some kind of infighting around Jonny Ive and Scott Forstall untl things settle. Phil Schiller will smooth things over, someone may have to leave. 8/10 - FORSTALL OUT.  - Talk starts to be around who will be the visionary, ‘real’ CEO of Apple since everyone will miss this. Unlikely anyone will be happy with Tim Cook as ‘real’ CEO, and expectation that a new

I dreamt I was killed

I just had the strangest, deepest, most mysterious dream - I was killed, I died, it happened. I was on a bus driving around a hilly area, came to a plateau, like a plaza, could see another bus in the distance, a kind of open-plan (open-top on upper and lower, floors), park near a hotel, reversing, then I could make out chaos, a commotion, running for cover, then I could see a man with a machine gun point towards us, we went round the corner, he couldn't shoot. Then we were a group coming down stairs, parallel stairs, into a room, so many men with guns, shusshing us, we came down, they didn't shoot, seemed like the wouldn't kill us. Then they put us in rows, I see them giving out white gauze cloths to everyone, and black cloth bags, and placing us near bowls of purple cynaide liquid, people

Liquid Crystal Ball 2012 – The Year of Apple, Voice, Streaming, and Ricardian Revenge

The first in an infrequent series of technology predictions. This one for events in 2012 and beyond. In note-form only.

Steve Jobs: A Hero Goes In Glory

Many people are writing about Steve Jobs’ passing. They know better than me about his corporate progress, and personality, and will write well about his role in the industry and even society. I just want to offer my perceptions and feelings, his unlikely impact on my life.

Pandora’s Inbox: Some Thoughts on WikiLeaks

"Well, there's a question as to what sort of information is important in the world, what sort of information can achieve reform." Julian Assange

A Turn Against The Light

The Catholic Church and its state visit to the UK is a disaster on many levels.

New personal blog – Write

New personal blog now open. Come on over.

A Turn To The Light

Ted Koppel and Fareed Zakaria - top flight US journalists - are finally breaking ranks and turning to the light. It’s time to let the mythos of American exceptionalism go, both in victimhood and in triumph.

Speak As You Find

Cameron, on his laptop.

Hej Då, Nya Sverige

There was a time when Sweden was the icon of international modernity, at least politically. Palme was an unquenchable force on the international stage, at least in terms of ideas. So great: leftism underwritten with effectiveness, and self-restraint in governance. And now? A vast royal wedding, at which we get to watch a room of full of spectacularly ugly, ageing ‘dignitaries’ eating food which we paid for. Good bye, New Sweden.

Speak As You Find

Speak As You Find By John M on June 9, 2010 2:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) The best way to understand people, I find is not to listen to them, not even to study their work, but just to observe them when they least expect it. I sat two seats down from Cameron Sinclair during Svensk Forms Swedish Design Day, and observed that for most of the other presentations, he was working. Not surprising (he can recount himself the size of his … um … inbox). But when Cara McCarty from Cooper-Hewitt, the US National Design Museum, put up a video from the Girl Effect campaign - a really brilliant, text-led film, by Wieden + Kennedy, backed by the Nike Foundation - he was suddenly all eyes and ears. I mean, really. The concentration was like a physical addition to the space. You can’t fake

British Politics – Bringing it into the next century (i.e. 20th)

British Politics - Bringing it into the next century (i.e. 20th) By John M on May 9, 2010 2:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) What do you need to look at for evidence that mainstream British politics is ‘broken’? The unseemly resistance to electoral reform. The people who seem most arrogantly sure that reform would be ‘pointless’ are the people who have the least to gain from it. 0 TrackBacks Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: British Politics - Bringing it into the next century (i.e. 20th). TrackBack URL for this entry: http://johnmanoochehri.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/17 Leave a comment Name Email Address URL Remember personal info? Comments (You may use HTML tags for style) About this Entry This page contains a single entry by John M published on May 9, 2010 2:32 PM. 'What Planet Are You On?' - Four Arguments to Bring Climate Change

‘What Planet Are You On?’ – Four Arguments to Bring Climate Change Deniers Back to Earth

“If a man opposes evident truths, it is not easy to find arguments by which we shall make him change his opinion. But this does not arise from either the man’s strength or the teacher’s weakness; for when the man, though he has been confuted, is hardened like a stone, how shall we then be able to deal with him by argument?” Epictetus, Discourses, c. 100 AD   WHAT PLANET ARE YOU ON? [draft] If we start the modern environmentalist clock in, say, 1962, from the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, we can neatly summarise that we are already 47 years late in acting on environmental sustainability, because we still haven’t implemented the letter, let alone the spirit of intelligent resource use and sensitive treatment of nature which she urgently called for. And although environmentalists are all for speeding up change, there’s one thing thing guaranteed to leave them

One Less Star | On beginnings and endings

One Less Star | On beginnings and endings By John M on January 31, 2010 7:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0) JD Salinger died. His death marks the passing of the first of the real influences of my life. There’s no point talking about Salinger in terms of his ‘literature’, because the emphasis of his working life - before, during, and after his period of publication - was to avoid, to deny, the phenomenon of ‘literature’, as something additional to life. Salinger managed to speak directly to certain people, directly and only about certain things. The reason why he succeeded is that he didn’t ‘write’: he polished away scenes of people, feelings, places, contexts and complexes until, if you had any kindredness to that world, you were there. In a way that perhaps only some people will really feel, he at least matches Chomsky in articulating

Hanna furnaces of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation, Detroit, Mich. Cleaning out loose coke after removing a door preparatory to putting door back (LOC)

Hanna furnaces of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation, Detroit, Mich. Cleaning out loose coke after removing a door preparatory to putting door back (LOC) By John M on January 26, 2010 2:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) Hanna furnaces of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation, Detroit, Mich. Sample image from The Commons collection on flickr (public archives on flickr, great). 0 TrackBacks Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Hanna furnaces of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation, Detroit, Mich. Cleaning out loose coke after removing a door preparatory to putting door back (LOC). TrackBack URL for this entry: http://johnmanoochehri.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/11 Leave a comment Name Email Address URL Remember personal info? Comments (You may use HTML tags for style) About this Entry This page contains a single entry by John M published on January 26, 2010 2:45 AM. A Private Concert in Public was the

Richter: The Limit

Richter: The Limit By John M on January 10, 2010 4:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) I definitely believe that the greatest pianist we have on record, all things considered (great performances, range and depth of repertoire, power of interpretations, technique, quantity of material), is Sviatoslav Richter. But there is a limit: his Chopin performances. In my heart of hearts I think he just doesn’t understand Chopin, as, say, Krystian Zimerman. When he plays Rachmaninov and Scriabin, the sky is pushed back, the waves are taller, every breath contains more life. It’s miraculous. But with a Chopin Ballade, it feels like someone filleting a fish brilliantly, pulling out all the content, meticulously … yet a person who doesn’t like eating fish, doesn’t know what to do with it all. If Rachmaninov and Scriabin are articulators of the grand, often partially formed statement, Chopin is the master