Daily Archives: October 7, 2012

Rubber: an absurd movie

“Ladies, gentlemen, the film you are about to see today is an homage to the “no reason” – that most powerful element of style,” says Lieutenant Dan as he pours a glass of water onto the ground while speaking to the film’s audience, that is to say, not the viewer of “Rubber,” but rather characters within the film who are observing the events unfold from afar. True to the opening lines of the 2010 film, “Rubber” is an almost Dadaist horror-comedy that was both written and directed by Quentin Dupieux. The film is brilliant in its absurdity, however, despite its genre and b-movie plot, it is an art film that is not for casual viewing.

The Knight, the Seer and the Child: Garreth

Wynlan City Market was bustling with activity. Merchants shouted lucrative taunts to naive, unsuspecting tourists while children danced in the water fountains lining Town Square. Scents of fried meat mixed with flowery perfumes from the far south and pungent potions from the Kaitu Islands, making the air barely tolerable. Garreth pushed through the throngs of people with his hood drawn over his face and kept close to shadowy alleys. Thieves were as common as rats during the summer months, looking to lighten the heavy purse of some round-eyed tourist. He tightened his grip on the pouch he carried and raised his gaze to the Royal Embassy.

Stars above Mines: Much ado about exploration

One of the major gripes about space exploration for the past few decades involves the decreasing importance of human-based exploration of the cosmos. While many missions are currently active, none of them involve humans actually setting foot on another world. There is no doubt that for the work that is being done, having a human presence would bolster the efforts by several magnitudes. Mars rovers have travelled an impressive distance given the harsh conditions of the planet, but given that this distance happened over many years, it loses a bit of its weight. Rather than years, a human could travel the same path in a handful of days given the right conditions.

Legalization of marijuana on the ballot

When voting for the president this November, Colorado voters will also be voting for legalization of marijuana possession of up to one ounce. Known as Amendment 64, the amendment to the Colorado constitution would make Colorado one of the first states to fully legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes. If it passes it would be legal to grow, transport, and sell marijuana for anyone 21 years or older. Furthermore, there would be no need for Colorado residency allowing out-of-state users to travel to Colorado to purchase marijuana and it would have a fifteen percent excise tax of which the first 40 million would go to construction of public schools.

Presentations 101

“Communication is the most important skill scientists and engineers are never taught,” said Tim Miller during his presentation, “Mastering Public Presentations.” As the number of platforms for communication continues to increase in the digital age, this holds true now more than ever. As a result, scientists must learn to distribute their ideas to a wide audience and in a way that the public can understand.

Scientific discoveries this week: 10/8/12

Palo Alto, California – Elephants may be more vocal than science currently knows, according to a new study of various methods of communication between the massive mammals. When pachyderms want to talk to each other, what one is likely to hear is a low rumble, which sounds something like a big diesel truck engine-braking on a highway far away. The researchers studying the elephants noticed this behavior when a group of elephants was about to leave a watering hole. Two or three out of the group began making the low rumbles, then the whole group walked away. The researchers witnessed these “conversations” on 14 different occasions, all near watering holes in Etosha National Park in Namibia. The conversations appeared to be fairly lengthy, upwards of two minutes on average. Oftentimes the conversation occurred between the leader of the pack and one or two others, likely the most dominant elephants in the group. This understanding of elephant group behavior is the result of 20 years of observing the largest land mammals.

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