2015 — 14 February: Saturday

Yesterday's "Mandelbrot" (to return, briefly, to a theme I last explored in any detail when old Benoit was still alive and I got into the habit of leaving my RISC PC running overnight to generate these sort of things) is actually a 3D variant — Mrs Google can point you to many gorgeous images — dubbed a "Mandelbulb". But you probably already knew1 that...

A hint of sunshine, but it's still clearly February. And equally clearly time for another cuppa and a bite of breakfast. Brrr.

I'm now happy...

... to accept that there were flaws aplenty in Stanley Milgram's interestingly-unethical experiment on obedience and conformity to authority figures. Doesn't change the basic fact that people tend to do as they're told, and the ones who don't are simply better at saying "No, I won't". (Link.)

Being a bit...

... of a web-hopper, I also moved on from Cari Romm's essay to read the long (and equally interesting) essay by Emma Green on Fifty Shades that is currently "most popular" on the same 'Atlantic' web site. All while listening to Paul Gambaccini delving back into that remarkable 1969 film, "Midnight Cowboy".

For once...

... it seems my use of Win8.1 in conjunction with my spiffy new 4K 40" monitor puts me slightly ahead of the curve, as scaling by that operating system is rather more proficient than its many predecessors. I can only hope Windows 10 doesn't regress. But I'm not sure I understand — and very much doubt I'd be able to see! — the point of fitting 8K resolution displays on to notebook or tablet-sized devices. (Link.)

Here be the film...

... that — despite being a much more nuanced affair than Hitchcock's "Psycho" mere months later — was pulled from UK cinemas within a week back in 1960 (following the squeals of righteously-outraged film critics2) and brought Michael Powell's distinguished film-making career to a juddering halt:

Peeping Tom on BD

I've only seen it once, many years ago, but have never forgotten it. I didn't watch the post-midnight screening on ITV five years ago as I hate watching films carved up by adverts — but I'm hoping this restored Blu-ray will be a different matter. I'm not convinced, by the way, that the protagonist is technically a psychopath (that's to say born, not bred), unlike the chap in Jim Thompson's "The Killer inside me", as most recently portrayed by Casey Affleck.


Or, now that I've just been reminded by "Sound of Cinema", Tom Ripley.

Just fielded another call...

... from my favourite weekend nurse at the care-home (which is still currently on lockdown with the latest winter virus). Dear Mama is (still) not doing at all well, and I will get another call after this afternoon's visit by the doctor who, having consulted a blood specialist, is aiming both to reduce her present course of steroids (these were designed to tackle a platelet deficiency) and fix at least one further infection she now has (in addition to the aforementioned endemic virus that is not [of course] susceptible to antibiotic remedies). The game plan remains to keep the old dear tucked comfortably up in bed, where she's not in any distress but is now, I'm warned, "extremely frail". As she has been for the last two years and more. There's no question of hospitalisation or any other drastic medical intervention (as agreed long ago).

Although visiting is very actively discouraged during these bouts of viral lockdown, exceptions are possible when their customers are this frail. But, frankly, I find myself thinking "Is there any point?" It's a dismal business, but entirely natural.

I'm cheered...

... just a little to learn that of the 100 out-of-print titles I have two (of the three) most searched-for books of 2014. Actually I have two copies of the title in the #1 slot. (I bought the second in hopes that it would be revised, but it turned out to be merely a larger-format reprint of the original edition. I hate it when that happens.) Though the point is a little moot, as I can't currently find copy #2!

Psychology of Military Incompetence

Ricky Jay's "Cards as weapons" (at #23) is a title I've long sought to complete my collection of his quirky material. I also have copies of the titles at #51, and #73, but nothing else. So I suppose I could be said to score 4%... [Pause] It amuses me to note that I mentioned Ricky Jay precisely seven years ago. (I'm easily amused these days.)

This NASA footage is s(t)unning.



1  And if you thought it's unlike anything in Nature clearly you need to take a closer look at the Romanesco broccoli.
2  I've been trying to recall a good film made by a film critic. No luck so far. Those who can, do. Those who can't, criticise. Or teach. (And yes, I'm aware that Caruso's voice coach couldn't sing a note.)