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his week: 2012 Not a Myth?, Shuck & Swallow Charity Event, Lady Gaga’s male alter ego, Avatar Vs. Piranha 3D, Race Differences in Intelligence, and more…
I am going on vacation returning Oct. 18. We are going to Ethiopia! I plan to sweet talk my way into seeing the Ark of the Covenant. I’m bringing a used cell phone (with the adapter and instruction booklet) as a gift for the Keeper of the Ark (pictured).
2012 Not a Myth? Astronomers are predicting that a massive solar storm is to strike our planet in 2012 with a force of 100 million hydrogen bombs.
NASA is warning a massive solar storm has the potential to wipe out the entire planet’s power grid. NASA’s been watching out for this storm since 2006 and reports claim the storms could hit in 2012.
Similar storms back in 1859 and 1921 caused worldwide chaos, wiping out telegraph wires on a massive scale. The 2012 storm has the potential to be even more disruptive.
The general consensus among general astronomers (and solar astronomers) is that this coming Solar maximum (2012 but possibly later into 2013) will be the most violent in 100 years.
No one really knows what effect the 2012–2013 Solar Max will have on today’s digital-reliant society.
Dr. Richard Fisher, director of NASA’s Heliophysics division, said the super storm would hit like“a bolt of lightning,” causing catastrophic consequences for the world’s health, emergency services and national security unless precautions are taken.
NASA said that a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a similar storm occurred today, it could cause“1 to 2 trillion dollars in damages to society’s high-tech infrastructure and require four to 10 years for complete recovery.”
The reason for the concern comes as the sun enters a phase known as Solar Cycle 24. I would say that if indeed Solar Cycle 24 hits in December 2012, the Mayan Prediction would be proven accurate and correct.
Shuck & Swallow Charity Event. It was Restaurant Week in Las Vegas with proceeds going to Three Square Food Bank. FIRST Food & Bar, inside The Shoppes at The Palazzo, held the second annual Shuck & Swallow event on Tuesday, August 31. Among the participants were chefs from B&B Ristorante, Carnevino, Dos Caminos, Mon Ami Gabi, and RM Seafood.
Vegas’ top chefs did battle to see who can shuck and swallow the most oysters within 10 minutes. The winning 2-man team had to beat last year’s winner, Chef Rob Ryan, who ate 94 oysters in 10 minutes!
UNLV film professor Rob Goald and I met at FIRST Food & bar for the 3 p.m. pre-party. The competition began at 4. The winner ate 117 oysters in 10 minutes! The after-party featured $2 drink specials with proceeds benefiting Three Square as well as fabulous passed-around appetizers. It was a wild competition with elegant appetizers that highlighted FIRST Food & Bar’s distinctive menu and inviting atmosphere.
FIRST Food & Bar is at The Palazzo, 3327 Las Vegas Blvd. South #2812. Located on the 2nd floor at the Shoppes @ the Palazzo. [Menu (PDF)]
Avatar Vs. Piranha 3D. We all know James Cameron has a huge ego, no matter how much humble pie PR he did for Avatar. I’m surprised he didn’t confess to be an abused child! Well, Cameron was interviewed for VanityFair.com about Avatar’s re-release by Mike Ryan. Here is the answer that has caused—when producers attack:
Question: Was there any sense of nostalgia when the Piranha movie came out last weekend?
Answer:“Zero. You’ve got to remember: I worked on Piranha 2 for a few days and got fired off of it; I don’t put it on my official filmography. So there’s no sort of fond connection for me whatsoever. In fact, I would go even farther and say that... I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus, but that is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3-D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3-D horror films from the 70s and 80s, like Friday the 13th 3-D.
“When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3-D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip. And that’s not what’s happening now with 3-D. It is a renaissance—right now the biggest and the best films are being made in 3-D. Martin Scorsese is making a film in 3-D. Disney’s biggest film of the year—Tron: Legacy—is coming out in 3-D. So it’s a whole new ballgame.”
That answer had PIRANHA 3D producer Mark Canton go medieval in a 15 paragraph response. Here is a small part of his justified rant to Cameron:
“As a producer in the entertainment industry, Jim Cameron’s comments on VanityFair.com are very disappointing to me and the team that made Piranha 3D. Mr. Cameron, who singles himself out to be a visionary of movie-making, seems to have a small vision regarding any motion pictures that are not his own. It is amazing that in the movie-making process—which is certainly a team sport—that Cameron consistently celebrates himself out as though he is a team of one. His comments are ridiculous, self-serving and insulting to those of us who are not caught up in serving his ego and his rhetoric.
“Jim, are you kidding or what? First of all, let’s start by you accepting the fact that you were the original director of PIRANHA 2 and you were fired. Shame on you for thinking that genre movies and the real maestros like Roger Corman and his collaborators are any less auteur or impactful in the history of cinema than you. Martin Scorsese made Boxcar Bertha at the beginning of his career. And Francis Ford Coppola made Dimentia 13 back in 1963. And those are just a few examples of the talented and successful filmmakers whose roots are in genre films. Who are you to impugn any genre film or its creators?”
“What it comes down to, Jim, is—that like most things in life—size doesn’t really matter. Not everyone has the advantage of having endless amounts of money to play in their sandbox and to take ten years using other people’s money to make and market a film…like you do. Why can’t you just count your blessings? Why do you have to drop Marty Scorsese’s or Tim Burton’s names, both gentlemen who I have personally worked with, and who have enjoyed great joy and success with movies of all genres and sizes well before the advent of modern 3D? Then as now, they were like kids in a candy store recognizing, far beyond your imagination, the possibilities of storytelling and originality.
“For the record, before you just totally dismiss PIRANHA 3D and all, in your opinion, worthless genre movies that actually undoubtedly gave you the ability to start your career, you should know that PIRANHA 3D had an 82% “fresh” (positive) ratting on Rotten Tomatoes on opening day—a web site that all the studios, filmmakers and the public use as a barometer of what makes a quality film.”
[I have been with Rottentomatoes.com since they began and have over 800 reviews posted on RT!]
“Let’s just keep this in mind Jim…you did not invent 3D. You were fortunate that others inspired you to take it further. The simple truth is that I had nothing but good things to say about AVATAR and my own experience since I actually saw it and didn’t damn someone else’s talent publicly in order to disassociate myself from my origins in the business from which we are all very fortunate. To be honest, I found the 3D in AVATAR to be inconsistent and while ground breaking in many respects, sometimes I thought it overwhelmed the storytelling. Technology aside, I wish AVATAR had been more original in its storytelling.”
Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis by Richard Lynn. It’s all about geography! A very knowledgeable reviewer summed up the book on Amazon.com: “The book’s central finding: the world average IQ is no more than 90, and declines from north to south. An IQ of 90 is equivalent to the mental age of a White 14-year-old. (Standardized IQ tests are normed to 100, the mental age of the average white 16-year-old.) Lynn also draws attention to the fact that a north-south IQ continuum has evolved, apparently through selection for survival in cold winters.
“These findings in Lynn’s latest book have profound geopolitical significance. They imply it may simply not be possible to transmit Western-style democratic and economic systems to the populations of Latin America and Moslem North Africa and the Middle East, let alone sub-Saharan Africa. They mean that the world’s long-term problems will stem from its populations’ capabilities—much deeper and more intractable than any “Clash of Civilizations”—style competition between different political concepts.
Lynn’s book reviews more than 500 published IQ studies worldwide from the beginning of the twentieth century up to the present, devoting a chapter to each of the ten “genetic clusters,” or population groups.
Lynn regards these genetic clusters as “races.” He concludes that the East Asians-Chinese, Japanese and Koreans have the highest mean IQ at 105. Europeans follow with an IQ of 100. Some ways below these are the Inuit or Eskimos (IQ 91), South East Asians (IQ 87), Native American Indians (IQ 87), Pacific Islanders (IQ 85), South Asians and North Africans (IQ 84). Well below these come the sub-Saharan Africans (IQ 67) followed by the Australian Aborigines (IQ 62).
The lowest scoring are the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert together with the Pygmies of the Congo rain forests (IQ 54).
Lynn’s last three chapters are concerned with the book’s subtitle—An Evolutionary Analysis. They discuss how race differences in intelligence have evolved.
Lynn argues that as early humans migrated out of Africa they encountered the cognitively demanding problem of having to survive cold winters where there were no plant foods and they had to hunt, sometimes big game. They also had to solve the problem of keeping warm. This required greater intelligence than was needed in tropical and semi-tropical equatorial Africa where plant foods are plentiful throughout the year.
Lynn shows that race differences in brain size and intelligence are both closely associated with low winter temperatures in the regions they inhabit. He gives a figure of 1,282 cc for the average brain size of sub-Saharan Africans, as compared with 1,367 cc for Europeans and 1,416 cc for East Asians.
Lady Gaga’s male alter ego Jo Calderone is a Depression era mechanic.