Monday, August 20, 2012

Video-ade: The Employment, Death By China, and A Flight Through the Universe

They say when life gives you lemons make lemonade. I like lemons, but none have recently come my way. However, life has given me several videos I would like to share. So today I will make some video-ade (sugar free).

1. As with many examples of artistic expression, I believe this first video is open to multiple interpretations, even if the director, Santiago Grasso, had a specific message in mind. In fact, the message I took from "The Employment" changed after I watched it a second time. It will get you thinking... maybe about technology, maybe about "serving others", maybe about cheap labor, or maybe something else.

[If the video does not work you can also try viewing it here.]

I believe the video can serve as sort of a Rorschach test, though like that test the interpretation of the results may not be straightforward. Whatever the case, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section or email me. If there is enough interest, I will share them together along with my own. One perpective can be found in Andrew S. Allen's piece on the site The Short of the Week. And watch the credits section in the video for a glimpse of what might be Grasso's opinion of it all.

2. Speaking of Rorschach tests, I would be curious to see the results of one taken by Peter Navarro -- the director of the next video which is a trailer for the documentary Death by China. Like the previous video it touches on the issue of employment. But what might be most memorable is author Gordon Chang stating, "China is the only major nation in the world that is preparing to kill Americans". Really, see the video for yourself:

Did that catch your attention? Well, it certainly caught Charlie Custer's attention, and he shared his thoughts on China Geeks. I would agree with him that the trailer is an example of "scaremongering". Instead of me waxing poetic about the dangers of self-fulfilling prophecies, I invite you to consider Custer's thoughts. All I will say for now is that I fear Navarro took a post of mine a bit too seriously.

3. Finally, for a sense of where employment and China's supposed thirst for American blood fits into the grander scheme of things, watch the video "A Flight Through the Universe":

This video:
was made by Miguel Aragon of Johns Hopkins University [!] with Mark Subbarao of the Adler Planetarium and Alex Szalay of Johns Hopkins. There are close to 400,000 galaxies in the animation, with images of the actual galaxies in these positions (or in some cases their near cousins in type) derived from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 7.
To be even more boggled consider that galaxies (the smallest objects in the video) can range in size from 10 million stars to a 100 trillion stars and that the video only includes a fraction of the known universe.

It might be best to consider the title of the video to be "A Flight Through a Model of the Universe". As far as we know, the above experience would not be possible in the real universe for a variety of reasons such as a) it would require traveling faster than the speed of light, b) the images we have of these galaxies are from different ages of the universe, and c) even at theoretically possible near-light speeds visual experiences become rather funky. Regardless, this most excellent video provides a taste of what we know about the incredibly vast cosmos.

There is a lot out there, folks. Don't forget your towel. And I doubt anything out there cares if it was made in China.

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