The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.
An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.
For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.
It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.
That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91% of Americans aren’t in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.
This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think…
SO SOMEHOW MY YAOI SHIRT ENDED UP IN MY DAD’S LAUNDRY BASKET HELP I CAN’T BREATHE
OMG GUYS PLEASE STOP REBLOGGING THIS MY DAD IS CALLING HIMSELF THE YAOI GOD
As someone who wants to study the human consciousness I found this very interesting.
Scott Routley was a “vegetable”. A car accident seriously injured both sides of his brain, and for 12 years, he was completely unresponsive.
Unable to speak or track people with his eyes, it seemed that Routley was unaware of his surroundings, and doctors assumed he was lost in limbo. They were wrong.
In 2012, Professor Adrian Owen decided to run tests on comatose patients like Scott Routley. Curious if some “vegetables” were actually conscious, Owen put Routley in an fMRI and told him to imagine walking through his home. Suddenly, the brain scan showed activity. Routley not only heard Owen, he was responding.
Next, the two worked out a code. Owen asked a series of “yes or no” questions, and if the answer was “yes,” Routley thought about walking around his house. If the answer was “no,” Routley thought about playing tennis.
These different actions showed activity different parts of the brain. Owen started off with easy questions like, “Is the sky blue?” However, they changed medical science when Owen asked, “Are you in pain?” and Routley answered, “No.” It was the first time a comatose patient with serious brain damage had let doctors know about his condition.
While Scott Routley is still trapped in his body, he finally has a way to reach out to the people around him. This finding has huge implications.
ON THE DAN RIVER, N.C. — Security is high at the Duke Energy power plant in Eden, N.C., a month after the plant spilled 35 million gallons of toxic coal-ash slurry into the Dan River. And it isn’t hard to see what has made company officials nervous.
Federal prosecutors and environmental advocacy groups are investigating Duke, the country’s largest electricity provider, for evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Thousands of people in towns downriver are angry and scared; town officials are openly complaining that Duke kept them out of the loop at key moments after the spill. That intense scrutiny is an uncomfortable development for a company accustomed to cozy relationships with North Carolina officials. The state’s governor, Pat McCrory, spent 29 years as a Duke Energy employee and lobbyist and has benefited handsomely from its support of his campaigns.
(Photo: Gerry Broome/AP)
HOLY SHIT SIGNAL BOOST
SIGNAL BOOST THIS
Okay, well since I’ve had a few days to sleep on it, I suppose I should give my take on a certain movie so it doesn’t linger on the brain and crush me. I thought Frozen was… Okay. It’s no The Snow Queen, but don’t get me rough, there are a lot of pieces and relationships that were good. Two sisters that grow awkwardly apart, the iceman using his deer to fill in for his conscious and solitude, Prince using the princess naivety to his advantage (It’s royalty. Messed up stuff happens), the snow man having an upbeat optimism that a child would think up, the duke is funny, the parents don’t hate their ice daughter so much as worry, and the villagers are just in shock more than anything. Everything else though, in terms of pacing, space, and camera work, really needed improvement.
I’m not smacking any hate down on it, like when people saw the movie Man of Steel, and the neck-snapping scene, and suddenly folks call the whole movie terrible. I simply mean that when looking at this film there are definitely things that could have made the film even stronger and more memorable.
1) Orphan Boy - Now when the sisters are having fun with snow powers to establish their sibling norm before things go bad, that’s fine with me. Someone said it was rushed, but it got things across. But then when the parents come in, things tip over to “WOAH, SLOW DOWN THERE!” territory. I don’t mean anyone should get off their horses and skip to the rock folk, cause that’d look silly, but by gosh it’s like the film got a once over with a timer with scissors.
Okay, so we run across the boy/deer whom we later find out was an orphan and got adopted by the rock folk. Yeah, that could have been pointed out. Not saying things like a man’s emotional upbringing should be spelled out, but was that suppose to be a big revelation? Shouldn’t the fact the rock folk overall reveal, are the ones that adopted him, and their not his insanity from being an orphan all his life, be a greater revelation because they were shrouded in mystery the first time?
Wouldn’t it be better if after we see the family leave the castle in a hurry we cut to the boy/deer wandering in the forest, cold and tired, with the boy talking to the deer about how they’ll have to find a place to sleep, and the way the boy playfully pretends to make the deer talk could then show a clear evolution of their adult relationship. Then, when the deer has to jump back as the royals pass by them it can serve as a symbolic and metaphorical way to say “their paths have crossed”, instead of “oh look, it’s that boy from earlier. He should get in on this plot”. At least make the sassy rock lady not say the ”Oh I’m keeping you” bit so it’s an actual surprise. Would cost you 30 seconds.
2) Rock Folk - So the family goes to the, um, I’m going to say a cliff alcove, and the rock folk pop up to speed through their first appearance to give plot points, yet are somehow a surprise reveal in their second appearance for a funny song and more quick plot points, then are never seen at the end despite an atmosphere of celebration they could have with their boy?
How about when we get to the rock folk’s place it’s all foggy, and dark, with rays of moonlight coming through the trees so the area is mysterious with atmosphere so your like, “Oh man, what is this place about.” instead of, “Oh uh, where’s this place. It’s rather vague.”. And what if the rock folk took a second to respond, cause of distrust of outsiders. Which would allow us to linger in this place wondering what’s going on here that the king and queen know about but we don’t yet know. Then when the rock folk do come out it’s cause they understand the weight of this unusual magical plight, but stay hidden in the shadows so all we see is broad shapes and glowing jewels. That way, their physical appearance is a mystery for when we have Kris reveal them, their distrust of most outsiders would explain why they hesitate to move until Kris convinces them out of their shells, why they stay close nit to one place, and why we don’t see them at the end. Would cost 30 seconds at most to put in. Sound good?
3) Do you want to build a snowman? - There are ice resistant gloves? Did they come from the rock chieftain, or whoever gave Elsa her powers? Who gave Elsa her powers? Someone from Norse mythology might be cool. Parents assumingly die quickly because no time for Mufasa emotional death. Could have put a shot of them in fear as the ship gets capsized. Anywhere between 10 seconds and 2 1/2 minutes for all of that.
4) Coronation Day - Does anyone remember Beauty and The Beast? Me to. Thank god for Roger Allers. Anyway, remember how at the start we got to go through that French town so we got a sense of community and felt like we were part of that town? Well the song we get for Coronation Day tries to do that, and I get this isn’t a large town, but let’s get these jams more flowing.
Wouldn’t it be great if instead of constantly switching from dock, to court yard, to some castle room, the whole town felt interconnected and we wove and zigzagged through the village as they get jazzed up to celebrate, and are filled with whispers of curiosity of what these locked away girls have been up to with over the top fast paced expressions/ gestures, and Anna has the camera following her around as she swoops through the palace so it feels like a real interconnected place that has solidly defined spaces, and the servants are trying to be professional but are sunken/hunched/wringing their hands in worry for the girls since they’ve grown close to them like family having to protect their secret, even from Anna, and in the process we get a feeling of how deep and warm this town is that apparently is impressive enough to do business with other kingdoms? Just fix up the lyrics a tad and a couple continuous moving shots, and it’s no time change at all.
5) The camera can move - The coronation starts, we pan down from a choir to the start of the crowning, missing out on Elsa awkwardly walking to the altar while trying to stay in control in front of so many eyes, but whatever, and everything else after that I got to ask, does the cameraman know there aren’t really any walls holding him down. Back that lens up and spin it around. Show some atmosphere, music, dance styles, something to fill the room with anything besides wood and people. Swoop around the place to give a sense of excitement. Zoom through something to make an intense transition. Imagine yourself as a bird, or a ghost, or a ghost bird. I know this isn’t Sleeping Beauty’s ballroom, but Gaston made a pub look like the party of the season. Cinderella wasn’t even in widescreen, and that place felt like an ocean of marble. The camera plays with reality’s depth and motion. 15 generous seconds for mental investment.
6) Up on a mountaintop - We then find Else is on top of a mountain… Wait, what? She’s just there? You sure it wouldn’t be good to have her running through the forest as it freezes in her path, looking toward a mountain ahead of her, and then as she hears wolves, and or freezes a falling tree, she panics and starts making ice columns to leap onto to get to the mountain so it can symbolize the connection to her childhood playing and her process of braking away into “let go”? Gives things a nice setup I think.
But I don’t think anyone minds that too much, cause that song Elsa sings is great. Though wouldn’t it add to that greatness if the film’s direction had her embrace her villainy with such liveliness it could rival Maleficent, but in the end this bad guy who’s a girl will be redeemed. Or at least as her song finishes we zoom out to see this sprawling Ice Kingdom of hers growing out like a beautiful frozen plant virus, instead of stopping where it doesn’t look like a box cover for a dollhouse/magic mountain add on. Cause the latter makes me think they’re going to put that in like Cars in Autopia. Adds 30 seconds to 1 minute and 30 seconds.
7) Colors of the wind - So Anna and Kris have a nice small talk on the trip up. That’s nice, but shouldn’t we pull back to enjoy the winter wonderland that has befallen this summer like terrain a little more? Remember Balto and how fringed the air seemed? Even if you weren’t really there, you felt how unbearably cold and long his journey was just from the look of the scenery. Isn’t there a reverse of that? I know it’s causing devastation, but it’s a magical devastation. Remember Spirit, Bambi, Lion King, Pocahontas, Brother Bear, and how you could tell yourself “Yeah. This is the glory that is nature. I think I’m cured of depression”. I know those were focused around animals mostly, but nothing? No wide shots of this bountiful solid water on land? Just a gander at the awesome trees with frozen drips and a couple frozen rocks, all mostly given in stiff shots focused closely on the two main characters? Not even going to show how the boy/deer naturally bob and weave through the trees like snowboarders on hooves since they’ve become so skilled at these movements in their saluted? Kids absorb the wonderment of the world visually you know. It’s like their eyes are hungry for rainbows, but less scary.
8) Hi Olaf - I like this guy. Mostly, like everyone, because he didn’t come off as annoying as we thought he was going to be, and his morbid humor. But he’s so clumsily shoved in the scenes. When we’re introduced to him it’s just,” Who said that?” pop onto center stage, headshot, and song about the sun. Slow down on the Red Bull there! You need to spread things out. If you put in scenes like that, with the movie cover, you’re going to give the impression its his story and you want to make Christmas sales. Which is fine, but be subtle. Put some buildup to his showing. Have Anna and Kris just miss seeing him cause he’s slipping on ice, or hits a snow pile. Then he pops out and gets smacked. Lumiere and Cogsworth didn’t just jump out and say, ”oh hi new lady” at the front door. Save his love of the sun for a scene or two later when our characters are shooting the breeze for development. Winnie The Pooh is nothing but breeze shooting. Don’t blow the details in the first minute.
And when he comes in to meet Elsa and she’s surprised to meet him, I don’t think we’re suppose to feel the same. We just met him too didn’t we? Not even 5 minutes ago. Yet the tone suggests it’s been awhile and we’re suppose to be used to him by now. Well, do some of that buildup. Have the characters talk about their backgrounds more. Have them fight while Olaf moderates. Get lost in a cave. Fight wolves and have Sven lose his antler, which symbolizes masculinity. Slide on a frozen lake that then cracks open and they have to fight an icicle serpent monster. Then everyone has an emotional connection to all these individuals. It might cause parts of the plot to change, but it’d gain stronger focus.
(9 Jam down the twist - Oh wow. Kris and Sven look so small compared to that falling ship, Elsa is emotionally crushed and freezes the air, and a different kind of true love saves the day? Awesome! Just one other thing could use a fix to make this emotionally charged for everyone. You ever hear of “show don’t tell”? Put your hand down Steven King! Well, as we’re supposed to believe, it’s a kiss that saves the day. But we don’t need that hammered in like a nail in sand. It gets said a bunch of times. I don’t know how many exactly cause I was watching the movie, but enough that I said to myself, “Yeah. I remember that being said. Why are you reminding me again?” And everyone says it like it’s so obvious. As if to say, ”Oh duh. I remember that from school.” You’re supposed to say it with magical whimsy so the words can give it power. If there’s no enchantment in your voice for something getting repeated over and over it’s going to look like a setup. Throw a well written vocal steak on that emotional trap. Okay?
Thank you. My head feels better.
If the movie had just done these steps, this would have been a piece of art that could last from childhood to adulthood. Everyone wins to enjoy it forever. As is, if it were split into a 3 part special on T.V., it’d be great. But otherwise, after one or two watches, is there anything in Frozen that makes you really want to see it again in the next month, or year, or 10 years? There are a lot of movies and shows out there, and if you look at them together you can actually tell how the team working on it felt.
Adventure Time = Crazy fun up in here.
Family Guy = We want out of our contract.
Star Wars = We all went to an awesome science convention and met a lot of smart people that inspired us.
Fantasia = Early 20th century version of getting high on good beats.
Frozen = Boss gave us orders that we followed by the books and had a set due date to meet.
The movie has a lot of nice pieces to it, but when they’re blocked together they look jagged and rushed into each other. As if someone has a bunch of rough small blocks that still need to be molded together and smoothed into one large beautiful peace.
P.S. If you think I’m cynical, I also snuck into the last 1/3 of Saving Mr. Banks and cried at least 3 times. Done by the same company, except this movie made me unable to look at kites the same way ever again. Not so much drunk bankers though.
P.P.S. Don’t say it’s just a kid’s movie. Kids aren’t dumb, and deserve good things like everyone else.