Category Archives: Movies

Rise of the Planet

I saw “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” yesterday and thought it was really good. Both the acting and the story are engaging, I think it’s worth seeing. The movie is a prequel to the existing movies in which the apes are running the show and the humans are gone.

Humans are the smartest of the great apes. In the this new movie the other apes get smart through a botched experiment and ┬áthen proceed to initiate the “rise of the planet of the apes.”

It’s a good story but the possible futures for either group of smart apes is likely similar. Once the apes are dominant and the humans are out of the picture, life on earth continues on in normal fashion.

But what if certain other creatures disappeared?

What would the earth look like in 50 years if either insects or humans disappeared from the earth?

If the insects vanished, life on earth would probably be over for most of the other creatures too or radically diminished within 50 years.

In fifty years, if the humans (and the other great apes too) vanished, the world would likely be thriving and look more robust.

Poison is in the dose. There’s nothing inherently wrong with people but there’re just too many of us for the earth to handle now and hopefully we’ll sort it out soon.

Why I Buy the Small-Sized Popcorn Sometimes

For thousands of generations people told and listened to stories for entertainment and to share information. Movies are just modern storytelling, and like a lot of people, I really like going to the movies.

Here’s the thing though, not everyone will like the same movie. I noticed that when I went to a movie with someone who wasn’t enjoying the movie as much as I was it took some of the enjoyment of the movie away from me. When I wanted to see a movie I might like a lot more than my friends, I’d go by myself so I wouldn’t be influenced by their dissatisfaction.It turns out that it wasn’t my imagination.

Brain researchers have discovered that we have mirror neurons in our brains whose job is empathizing with other people. Mirror neurons get their name because they become active in your brain when you’re observing someone else experiencing something. It’s almost as if you’re experiencing what they are.┬áCan’t you remember seeing someone get (just) a paper cut and it making you feel queasy for a moment?

All of us are soft wired to experience someone else’s plight as if we were in their situation; we call it empathy. One of our primary drives is to belong. And these mirror neurons light up, bonding us to others through empathy. We can feel another’s fear, anger, frustration, etc. Solidarity through compassion.

Okay. Back to the movies. Sometimes, that’s why I buy the small-sized popcorn sometimes.

Get Out Of The Water Now

It’s the middle of the Summer and I’m in the ocean a lot. Each Summer arrives accompanied by memories from the movie Jaws. I can remember waiting in a long line at the theater to see the movie only to have the story scare the bejeezus out me when it come to sharks. Thanks Spielberg.

I can’t surf without being in the ocean. But I can avoid watching videos and programs featuring sharks. I’ve never seen a shark in the wild. And I comfort myself with the idea that sharks, whenever possible, will prefer prey much smaller than themselves. Attacking something large and unknown, like a surfer, ups the shark’s chance of injury. If a creature is injured its chances of survival are low in the wild. That’s the story I tell myself at least.

Still, sometimes even an atheist makes the sign of the cross before paddling out.