📺 These 3D animations could help you finally understand molecular science | PBS NewsHour

These 3D animations could help you finally understand molecular science from PBS NewsHour
Art and science have in some ways always overlapped, with early scientists using illustrations to depict what they saw under the microscope. Janet Iwasa of the University of Utah is trying to re-establish this link to make thorny scientific data and models approachable to the common eye. Iwasa offers her brief but spectacular take on how 3D animation can make molecular science more accessible.

Visualizations can be tremendously valuable. This story reminds me of an Intersession course that Mary Spiro did at Johns Hopkins to help researchers communicate what their research is about as well as some of the work she did with the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology.

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📺 The Vietnam War: Déjà Vu (1858-1961) Episode 1

The Vietnam War: Déjà Vu (1858-1961) Episode 1 from PBS
After a long and brutal war, Vietnamese revolutionaries led by Ho Chi Minh end nearly a century of French colonial occupation. With the Cold War intensifying, Vietnam is divided in two at Geneva. Communists in the north aim to reunify the country, while America supports Ngo Dinh Diem's untested regime in the south.

The opening history is intriguing and really only seems to scratch the surface in this episode. I could have taken a more in-depth opening, though they’ve got a lot of ground to cover in just 10 episodes. Sadly, it’s the beginning and subtle causes for the war that are culturally the least understood, so this becomes a more useful place to lay them out for viewers.

I can only watch it and think about the futility of the whole thing.

I’m a bit curious how others found the flash forward portions of the late 60’s. It felt like the directors were trying to keep an American audience involved in the ongoing story, though, if continued throughout the series, these could provide interesting personal counterpoint to the overall arc of the story.

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📺 PBS NewsHour full episode Sept. 28, 2017

PBS NewsHour full episode Sept. 28, 2017 from PBS
Thursday on the NewsHour, the wreckage of Hurricane Maria poses a logistical nightmare for those in need in Puerto Rico. Also: The technology Russia used in the 2016 election under scrutiny, Yemen's war-induced humanitarian crisis worsens, the influence of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, the woman who sparked debate about discrimination in Silicon Valley and a journalist's experience with miscarriage.

The Ellen Pao interview was quite interesting and germane to much of what has been a huge story over the past 6 or so months. It reminds me a lot of Valerie Alexander’s work, which I’ve highlighted before.

The miscarriage story was just heartbreaking. I really love this series of “brief but spectacular” stories they tag onto the end of episodes though. It really adds some interest and humanity to what can often otherwise be bleak stints of news coverage. Even when they’re not uplifting–like this one–they’re always unique and interesting.

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📺 Face the Nation 8/27/17: Abbott, Bossert, Winnefeld, Donilon

Face the Nation 8/27/17: Abbott, Bossert, Winnefeld, Donilon by Major Garrett (guest host) from cbsnews.com
This week on "Face the Nation," CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett guest hosts the broadcast covering the latest on Hurricane Harvey and the week's foreign policy news.

A generally mediocre episode. I would have preferred more political news and less on the hurricane in Texas, which is already oversaturated in all senses of the word. There’s not much to say about the hurricane and the administrative response to it yet, so keep the air time for next week instead.

Pushing the emergency response guy on Trump’s positions with respect to Arpaio was a bit over-the-top. He’s obviously not going to say anything substantive on the topic. Naturally since he’s the only person the administration would put up this week, you’ve got to ask the question, but the administration (and Trump specifically) are taking the weak/loser way out of the topic. The better way to have handled it was to ask for his personal position on the topic and moved on.

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📺 Friday Night Lights Season 1, Episodes 16-18

Friday Night Lights Season 1, Episodes 16-18 from NBC via Netflix
What's high school football mean to this Texas town? Absolutely everything when the stakes are as high off the field as they are on.

The series and it’s topics seem to have become a modern-day morality play now. Connie Britton has become the moral compass of the series which is one of the few things keeping it interesting. She sure has come a long way since The Brothers McMullen in 1995.

Episode 16 is a great standout episode for it’s coverage of race, but still feels a bit on-the-nose to me.
Episode 17 covers the obligatory virginity question, but managed to stay away from the Afterschool Special coverage of the topic. It was almost relatively sophisticated for network television without being too preachy. I wonder how this would have played in the 80’s?
Episode 18 is the beginning of the Buddy trainwreck we saw coming. I’m not sure I buy Buddy moving into the Coach’s house here. I’m a Dana Nicholson-Wheeler fan, but she just isn’t given much to work with here and her character is so one dimensional from a writing perspective.

📺 Friday Night Lights Season 1, Episodes 14-15

Friday Night Lights Season 1, Episodes 14-15 from NBC via Netflix
What's high school football mean to this Texas town? Absolutely everything when the stakes are as high off the field as they are on.

We’ve now tipped fully away from the football toward a teenage-ish soap opera punctuated with some occasional adult plotlines to keep the big audience. The football, when it exists, is pretty weak and technically loose.

Episode 15 is one of the highlights of the show so far. Some interesting and timely drama that melds the football with the drama of race in America.

📺 Friday Night Lights Season 1, Episodes 11-13

Friday Night Lights Season 1, Episodes 11-13 from NBC via Netflix
What's high school football mean to this Texas town? Absolutely everything when the stakes are as high off the field as they are on.

We’ve now switched over on the football/drama scales, and football is just a passing interest to the show now. There is a reasonable balance between the plotlines of the teenagers and the adults though.

📺 Friday Night Lights Season 1, Episodes 5-7

Friday Night Lights Season 1, Episodes 5-7 from NBC via Netflix
What's high school football mean to this Texas town? Absolutely everything when the stakes are as high off the field as they are on.

There seems to be a nicer balance between the football and the drama of the series. I am starting to tire of the pseudo-shaky camerawork and the extreme close ups on faces during the dramatic moments–especially when it’s close ups of two people who are a few feet away from each other.

📺 Friday Night Lights Season 1, Episodes 1-4

Friday Night Lights Season 1, Episodes 1-4 from NBC via Netflix
What's high school football mean to this Texas town? Absolutely everything when the stakes are as high off the field as they are on.

The first two episodes are a bit too football centric. Not sure how long the series might have gone without toning the football action down.

🎞 Arlington Road (Screen Gems, 1999)

Arlington Road from Screen Gems
A gripping thriller about a college professor who begins to suspect that his all-American neighborsmight be terrorists. Or is he just paranoid? An edge-of-your-seat journey that reveals how little we really know about the world around us. Director Mark Pellington Starring: Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins with Joan Cusack, Hope Davis, Robert Gossett, Mason Gamble

I remember seeing a rough cut screening of this prior to release and loving it. It still holds up incredibly well today, and even has an interesting resonance in our current political climate with the alt-right and domestic terrorists seemingly more scary today than foreign ones.

This had a fantastic screenplay by Ehren Kruger which was brought to life by Mark Pellington with a fantastic cast.

While made on the cusp of the rise of the web there is a short segment where Jeff Bridges’ character does some basic internet stalking before jumping into microfiche stalking. The technology differences aren’t really terribly jarring and actually add to the plot in interesting ways.

Definitely a must see and worth re-watching again if you haven’t seen it recently.

🎞 Step Up Revolution (Summit Entertainment, 2012)

Step Up Revolution from Summit Entertainment
Directed by Scott Speer. With Kathryn McCormick, Ryan Guzman, Cleopatra Coleman, Misha Gabriel Hamilton. Emily arrives in Miami with aspirations to become a professional dancer. She sparks with Sean, the leader of a dance crew whose neighborhood is threatened by Emily's father's development plans.

I caught the tail end of Napoleon Dynamite and then found myself getting sucked into the next movie in the VH1 rotation.

This didn’t have the heart of the original, but had a cheesy enough plot to keep me engaged. And somehow they got Peter Gallagher to show up for it as well.  It was a bit reminiscent of the schmarminess of Breakin’ 2: Electric Bugaloo.

I also managed to write about 2,000 words while watching it too, so at least I was productive.

Step Up Revolution movie poster

📺 Linguist and Cognitive Scientist George Lakoff on Tavis Smiley (PBS)

Linguist and Cognitive Scientist George Lakoff by Tavis Smiley from PBS
The esteemed academic discusses Trump supporters who stay faithful to him even when he works against their material best interests and well-being.

Dr. Lakoff does a solid job of dissecting Trump’s communication style and providing some relatively solid advice to journalists and media outlets who aim to disrupt what Trump is attempting to accomplish. The discussion of morality and its role in our political system, albeit brief, was incredibly interesting.

In the last third of the interview, Lakoff provides an interesting reframing of much of the public/private case that Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson make in their recent book American Amnesia.

Apparently there is another interview Smiley’s done with Dr. Lakoff. I can’t wait to watch it. I certainly would have appreciated an extended hour or two of their conversation.

I can see people like Jay Rosen and Keith Olbermann appreciating these interviews if they haven’t seen them.

This was so solid that I actually watched it a second time. It may also be time to dig into some of Lakoff’s other writings and research as well. Some of it I’ve read and seen before in general terms, but it’s probably worth delving into more directly.

📺 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: July 25, 2017 – Rola Hallam

The Daily Show: July 25, 2017 - Rola Hallam, S2 E135 by Trevor Noah from Comedy Central
The Senate votes to begin a debate on health care, Democrats unveil a new slogan aimed at working-class voters, and Rola Hallam explains how her company CanDo is aiding Syria.

Not as solid as most episodes. The interview with Dr. Rola Hallam on Syria was the solid piece of work here.

The Daily Show S2 E135

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📺 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: July 24, 2017 – French Montana

The Daily Show: July 24, 2017 - French Montana, S2 E134 by Trevor Noah from Comedy Central
Anthony Scaramucci joins the Trump administration, Trevor bids farewell to former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and French Montana discusses "Jungle Rules."

Loved the Profiles in Tremendousness! Sad that I’m so far behind on episodes that when I’m watching the episode introducing “The Mooch” is the same day that he’s fired from The Apprentice: White House Edition.

The Daily Show S2, E 134

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