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Small into large, and other transforms

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — our advertising and magic series continues — the Volkswagen bug in its many transforms! ]
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In our last magic and commercials post, The magic of miniatures, we saw the power of associating the small with the large. Volkswagen seems toi have taken this idea to new levels, with the assistance of toy manufacturers and the film industry.

Let’s start here:

Okay?

Hey boy, c’here!

Remember Chuang-Tsu? Here’s a fragment in Burton Watson’s translation:

Once Chuang Chou dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn’t know he was Chuang Chou. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Chuang Chou. But he didn’t know if he was Chuang Chou who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Chou. Between Chuang Chou and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.

This post is all about the transformation of things, eh?

Okay, who’s dreaming here?

There and back again — the mechanics behind the dream:

Mechanized?

Speedy?

Lookee here, it’s love at first sight!

And finally, the film:

As we say in cricket, Howzzat??

Rachel Maddow’s mille feuille explanation of Mar-a-Lago layering

Monday, April 15th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — think of these screen-grabs as frames in a comic, okay? — delicious ]
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Rachel Maddow:

on having her first taste of mille feuille on her b’day —

**

Rachel:

Apparently this is a whole category of dessert ..

It looks like a normal cake from the outside .. That is what this news story out of Florida is .. So it’s not s million layers of cake, it’s a million layers of weirdness, one on top of another, that culminate in tonight’s news story ..

Rachel:

At this point in the delicious layer cake, we’ve got the massage parlor owner selling Chinese nationals personal physical access to the President, his family and cabinet-level officials in the administration, while she is simultaneously hanging out at the President’s private club, taking pictures with him, and working with the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government in a number of murky organizations that seem to have no public-facing purpose.

Rachel:

Layer on top of that, the arrest on March 30th, of a new lady we had not heard of before ..

Undisclosed cash flowed at Trump inaugural ball with ties to China, embattled Saipan casino

and so forth…

**
And here’s the icing (?) on the cake:

Don’t you mess with (2) the night sky, superb and sacred

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — a disgusted follow-on to Don’t you mess with my mother the moon ]
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Disgust:

This Chinese City Wants to Launch an ‘Artificial Moon’ to Replace Street Lights

The streets of Chengdu in western China could soon be lit up by an artificial satellite moon in the night-time, rather than the more conventional streetlights, if an ambitious plan by a private aerospace company gets the go-ahead.

The thinking is to save a hefty sum in electricity costs, according to Wu Chunfeng, chairman of the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., who is behind the scheme.

Rather than using up energy here on Earth, the satellite would reflect the Sun’s rays from the other side of the planet back on to Chengdu. [ .. ]

The illumination on the ground would be about eight times what you would expect from the actual Moon, Chunfeng says.

Have they not read Li Po, Bo, or Bai‘s great poem, The Jewel Stairs’ Grievance, given here in the translation by Ezra Pound?

The jewelled steps are already quite white with dew,
It is so late that the dew soaks my gauze stockings,
And I let down the crystal curtain
And watch the moon through the clear autumn.

Were they not taken with the footnote?

Jewel stairs, therefore a palace. Grievance, therefore there is something to complain of. Gauze stockings, therefore a court lady, not a servant who complains. Clear autumn, therefore he has no excuse on account of weather. Also she has come early, for the dew has not merely whitened the stairs, but has soaked her stockings. The poem is especially prized because she utters no direct reproach.

Do they not watch the moon? Taste it?

**

Disgust:

Russian Startup Wants to Put Ads in Low-Earth Orbit to Ruin The Sky For Everybody

Advertising?

Must I really quote this stuff?

“We are ruled by brands and events,” project leader Vlad Sitnikov told Futurism.

“The Super Bowl, Coca Cola, Brexit, the Olympics, Mercedes, FIFA, Supreme and the Mexican wall. The economy is the blood system of society. Entertainment and advertising are at its heart.

“We will live in space, and humankind will start delivering its culture to space. The more professional and experienced pioneers will make it better for everyone.”

Faugh! For shame!

**

Have I not whispered to another under the stars those words of William Butler Yeats:

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

I am heart-hurt.

Rape the night sky, and what are lovers to wrap themselves in? poets to raise their cups to?

Rules of the Game(s)

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — a quick, deep (or high altitude) look into various ways to play ]
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I learned quite a bit on a topic of huge interest to me — playing games — in short order over the last couple of hours.

To wit, from Pine Gap, the Aussie espionage series on Netflix, which is how I take my naps — Pine Gap (Netflix) s 1 e 4:

There are three ways to play any game:

A: Plan your moves so far in advance your opponent can’t predict them,

B: Make your opponent watch what you’re doing with one hand while your other is busy with your real game plan., or

C: Play your cards very, very close to your chest..

Sometimes all you can do is wait.. until your opponent makes the next move.

Another game rule, this one from MTP Daily (MSNBC) 12/18/2018, which obviously obviated the nap:

Whatever comes of this, both sides have got to save face.

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And back to Pine Gap s1 e 5:

Good game ..
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A loss is always a bad game.

**

That covers quite a decent bit of ground: strategies in competitive games; games of negotiation, quasi-competitive, quasi-collaborative; games as play, pretend-competitive, non-competitive, playful — “For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes – not that you won or lost – but how you played the Game” — and game as victory or defeat, period.

**

Now, get this, with an associative geopol link below, from Pine Gap s1 e6:

We’re on the same side really, aren’t we? I mean, we all just want to be safe and happy, and our leaders want to be rich and powerful.

Sure, but there are differences, too. See, uh, Americans play Chess, right? Where the object of the game is to kill the other king. A fest attack, a total victory. But we play Go, where the object of the game is to gradually own the most territory, slowly acquire a .. a winning position, which is a completely different approach — to, uh, life, business — even relationships ..

Read that, which ties up many strands in the plot of Pine Gap, and also applies interestingly to events in the South China Sea: “to gradually own the most territory, slowly acquire a .. a winning position”.

It’s been a good afternoon for picking up game quotes.

**

And holy moly, there’s more:

It’s not about winning, Kath, it’s about maintaining dominance. [..]

We keep everybody in check. [..]

You played a good long game, Paul..

We both played a pretty good long game, mate. I’ll be watching to see how yours plays out.

And the coup de grace, quietly yet quite viciously delivered, wrt a divorce & who gets to keep the cat — with high irony:

Shake hands, well played. Moving on, that’s me. No thoughts of revenge whatsoever.

ICYMI, Geopol: South China Sea

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — this caught my eye, not an area i often think about, but important, important ]
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Commander Robert Brodie, U.S. Navy, Winning the Joint Fight

The most likely high-end fight in the near future would be the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) attempting to annex the South China Sea, coerce the nations in and around it into a dependent relationship, and push the boundary with the free world into the Pacific. This is in addition to the perpetual problem of North Korea invading South Korea. These scenarios present many opportunities for the Marine Corps to help the joint fight. It is time for the Corps to reestablish its expeditionary and amphibious assault capabilities. Expeditionary long-range artillery, antisurface and antiair teams could turn the tables on PRC antiaccess/area denial efforts by holding their man-made bases, ships, and aircraft at risk and imposing significant cost in a wartime scenario. The threat of an amphibious assault that would trap North Korean leaders and bring about regime collapse if the North invaded the South is as good a deterrent as any. While these skill sets have been traditional Marine Corps strong points, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the hope that prosperity would cure the PRC of communism, and the Global War on Terror have distracted the Corps from staying ahead of the requirements to fight and win high-end battles against forces that may locally outnumber us.

All is not lost. As a free people, the United States is better able to innovate, communicate, and fight jointly for the common good. In the case of the Marine Corps, everything it needs to threaten PRC land, sea, and air assets has been fielded and only needs to be organized, transported, supported, and integrated into the joint fight. The Marine Corps needs to take charge of the expeditionary fight, even if that means co-opting capabilities or units from other services and working with other countries. If it fails to take the lead, the Army’s Multi-Domain Task Force experiment[1] that envisions deployable long-range artillery, antiship, antiair, and space and cyber units as the building blocks of its capabilities will compete against the Marine Corps expeditionary role instead of complementing it.


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