348 – Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer

“attentiveness alone can rival the most powerful magnifying lens.”

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Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. “Gathering Moss” is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses.
In this series of linked personal essays, Robin Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses clearly and artfully, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us.

Drawing on her experiences as a scientist, a mother, and a Native American, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/87040.Gathering_Moss

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“the tiny pool of water held in a spoon-shaped leaf is the perfect resting place for a waterbear, as plump and gelatinous as a candy gummy bear. the moisture in a moss mat is as vital to the moss as it is to the waterbear. but, since mosses are non-vascular, their water content fluctuates with the amount of water in the environment. the moss leaves shrivel and contort as water evaporates, leaving them crisp and dry. the waterbears too, simply shrink when desiccated to as little as one-eight of their size forming barrel- shaped miniatures of themselves called tuns. metabolism is reduced to near zero and the tun can survive in this state for years. the tuns blow around in the dry winds like specks of dust, landing on new clumps of moss and dispersing farther than their short waterbear legs could ever carry them.”

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bog_body 

Timewatch – The Bog Bodies (2006) on youtube (low-quality)

4000 Year Old Cold Case – The Body in the Bog 

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345 – Pacific Rim (2013)

spacetime coordinates: 2020 – 2025 Alaska // Hong Kong // Manila // San Francisco // Pacific Ocean //  Tokyopacific_rim_coverPacific Rim is a 2013 American science fiction monster film directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Charlie HunnamIdris ElbaRinko KikuchiCharlie DayBurn GormanRobert KazinskyMax Martini, and Ron Perlman. The screenplay was written by Travis Beacham and del Toro from a story by Beacham.Pacific-Rim-Quad-PosterPacificRim_DOM_RGB_3200x1600.inddThe film is set in the future, when Earth is at war with the Kaiju,  colossal sea monsters which have emerged from an interdimensional portal on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. To combat the monsters, humanity unites to create the Jaegers,  gigantic humanoid mechas each controlled by at least two pilots, whose minds are joined by a mental link. Focusing on the war’s later days, the story follows Raleigh Becket, a washed-up Jaeger pilot called out of retirement and teamed with rookie pilot Mako Mori as part of a last-ditch effort to defeat the Kaiju.

Knifehead, the first Kaiju to appear in the film, is a tribute to the plodding kaiju of 1960s Japanese films, and is intended to look almost like a man in a rubber suit; its head was inspired by that of a goblin shark. Leatherback, the bouncer-like Kaiju which spews electro-magnetic charges, is a favorite of del Toro, who conceived it as a “brawler with this sort of beer belly”; the lumbering movements of gorillas were used as a reference.  The Kaiju Otachi homages the dragons of Chinese mythology. The director called it a “Swiss army knife of a Kaiju”; with almost 20 minutes of screen time, it was given numerous features so the audience would not tire of it. The creature moves like a Komodo dragon in water, sports multiple jaws and an acid-filled neck sack, and unfurls wings when necessary. It is also more intelligent than the other Kaiju, employing eagle-inspired strategies against the Jaegers.  Onibaba, the Kaiju that orphans Mako Mori, resembles a fusion of a Japanese temple and a crustacean. Slattern, the largest Kaiju, is distinguished by its extremely long neck and “half-horn, half-crown” head, which del Toro considered both demonic and majestic. 

Gipsy Danger, the American Jaeger, was based on the shape of New York City’s Art Deco buildings, such as the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, but infused with John Wayne‘s gunslinger gait and hip movements. Cherno Alpha, the Russian Jaeger, was based on the shape and paint patterns of a T-series Russian tank, combined with a giant containment silo to give the appearance of a walking nuclear power plant with a cooling tower on its head. Crimson Typhoon, the three-armed Chinese Jaeger, is piloted by triplets and resembles a “medieval little warrior”; its texture evokes Chinese lacquered wood with golden edges. Striker Eureka, the Australian Jaeger, is likened by del Toro to a Land Rover; the most elegant and masculine Jaeger, it has a jutting chest, a camouflage paint scheme recalling the Australian outback, and the bravado of its pilots.

Rather than popular culture, the director drew inspiration from works of art such as The Colossus and George Bellows‘s boxing paintings.

The classic Japanese woodblock print  The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai was a common motif in the ocean battles; Del Toro recalled, “I would say ‘Give me a Hokusai wave’… we use the waves and weather in the movie very operatically.”  The director asked that Knoll not necessarily match the lighting from shot to shot: “It’s pretty unorthodox to do that, but I think the results are really beautiful and very artistically free and powerful, not something you would associate with a big sci-fi action movie.” Del Toro considers the film’s digital water its most exciting visual effect: “The water dynamics in this movie are technically beautiful, but also artistically incredibly expressive. We agreed on making the water become almost another character. We would time the water very precisely. I’d say ‘Get out of the wave [on this frame].'”

The_Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Rim_(film)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1663662/

Pacific_rim_poster

 

330 – Arrival (2016)

spacetime coordinates: 2010s  Montanaarrival_ver4

Arrival is a 2016 American science fiction drama film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, based on the 1998 short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. It stars Amy AdamsJeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, and follows linguist Louise Banks, who is enlisted by the U.S. Army to help translate communications from one of several extraterrestrial craft that have appeared across the world. She must find out why they have arrived on Earth before tensions lead into war.

The film received widespread critical acclaim, including praise for Adams’s performance, Villeneuve’s direction, and its exploration of communicating with extraterrestrial intelligence.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2543164/

317 – Sunshine (1999)

spacetime coordinates:  late 19th century > mid-20th century Hungarysunshine1999Sunshine is a 1999 historical drama film directed by István Szabó and written by Israel Horovitz and Szabó. It follows five generations of a Hungarian Jewish family, originally named Sonnenschein (German: “sunshine”), later changed to Sors (Hungarian: “fate”), during changes in Hungary, focusing mostly on the three generations from the late 19th century through the mid-20th century. The family story traverses the creation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire through to the period after the 1956 Revolution, while the characters are forced to surrender much of their identity and endure family conflict. The central male protagonist of all three generations is portrayed by Ralph Fiennes. The film’s stars include Rachel Weisz and John Neville, with the real-life daughter and mother team of Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris playing the same character across a six-decade storyline.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0145503/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunshine_(1999_film)

306 – Tracks (2013)

In 1977, Robyn Davidson travels from Alice Springs across 2,700 kilometers (1,700 miles) of Australian deserts to the Indian Ocean with her dog and four camels.  National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan documents her journey.34810_TRACKS_1sheet_FN2.inddTracks is a 2013 Australian drama film directed by John Curran and starring Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver. It is an adaptation of Robyn Davidson‘s memoir of the same name.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2167266/

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“And there are new kinds of nomads, not people who are at home everywhere, but who are at home nowhere. I was one of them ”

304 – Oblivion (2013)

spacetime coordinates: 2077 New York City

oblivion-814977lOblivion is a 2013 American post-apocalyptic science fiction film based on Joseph Kosinski‘s unpublished Radical Publishing graphic novel of the same name. The film was co-produced and directed by Kosinski.  It stars Tom CruiseMorgan FreemanAndrea Riseborough, and Olga Kurylenko.    According to Kosinski, Oblivion pays homage to science fiction films of the 1970s.oblivion_02-2Oblivion-2013

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1483013/

299 – Love (2011)

spacetime coordinates:  1864 battle of the American Civil War // 2039 – 2045  International Space Station (ISS) LOVE-theatrical-posterLove is a 2011 science fiction drama film produced and scored by the alternative rock band Angels & Airwaves. The film is the directorial debut of filmmaker William Eubank.  The film was screened in 460 theatres across the United States on August 10, 2011, in the Love Live event.

Love portrays the personal-psychological effects of isolation and loneliness when an astronaut becomes stranded in space and through this, emphasizes the importance of human connection and love. Additionally, it touches on the fragility of humanity’s existence(explored through a dying Earth-apocalyptic doomsday scenario) inspired by the cautions of Carl Sagan in Pale Blue Dot and considers the importance of memories and stories as humanity’s legacy.

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wiki       imdb