News Briefs 14-11-2016

A new paradigm....

Thanks Sicco.

Quote of the Day:

Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.

Mark Twain

Movie Review: Arrival

Amy Adams makes alien contact in Arrival

This may be one of the shortest movie reviews you'll ever read. Because to appreciate Arrival, a new movie in the 'first alien contact' sci-fi sub-genre, I think you're better off going in absolutely blind. Don't read reviews, don't watch the trailer, and don't read the short story it is based on. Just go.

Given the recommendation above, this 'review' will expand outwards from the most simple of statements, so if you haven't seen the movie I recommend reading as little as possible from the following. How far you read on should depend on how much encouragement or detail you need before going to see a movie. Obviously, the further you go down, the more spoilers are involved - so be warned.

So to start:

1. Go see it. Stop reading this now, and go see it.

2. Need more introductory detail about the movie? Arrival is directed by Denis Villeneuve - the guy behind the excellent Sicario and Prisoners - and is based on the acclaimed short story by Ted Chiang, Story of Your Life. It stars award-winners Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker. Here's the synopsis, and trailer (there is also a separate international trailer). Note again though, I recommend not watching the trailers:

When multiple mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team is put together to investigate, including language expert Louise Banks (Amy Adams), mathematician Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), and US Army Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker). Humankind teeters on the verge of global war as everyone scrambles for answers – and to find them, Banks, Donnelly and Weber will take a chance that could threaten their lives, and quite possibly humanity.

3. Need a feel for the movie? If you liked Contact, you will ... Read More »

News Briefs 11-11-2016

“Tiger got to hunt, Bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder, "Why, why, why?"

Quote of the Day:

“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.”

K. Vonnegut

Beware the Slenderman - HBO Documentary on a Modern Monster Myth

The Slenderman

We've been covering the modern monster mythos of 'Slenderman' here on the Grail since back in 2011, when Cat Vincent contributed an article about 'Slendy' to Darklore Volume 6. From small memes, however, big things grow - and in May this year it was announced that Slenderman would get his own movie.

And now, to add to that, HBO will be airing the documentary Beware the Slenderman in January. Here's the trailer, which focuses on the (real-life) attempted murder (by stabbing) in 2014 of a 12-year-old girl by two friends who claimed to be doing it on behalf of Slenderman:

For more background reading on the Slenderman phenomenon, be sure to check out Cat Vincent's articles "The Slenderman" (PDF), "Killing Slenderman", and "Slenderman: Five Years".

News Briefs 10-11-2016

Not much news about today, apologies. Everyone seems to be transfixed by some election thing that apparently happened yesterday...

Quote of the Day:

You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

Marcus Aurelius

News Briefs 09-11-2016

Okay, so...President Biff?

Quote of the Day:

Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. It is not the task of propaganda to discover intellectual truths.

Joseph Goebbels

The Deeper You Go - A Documentary on the Mystery of Consciousness

"The Deeper You Go" is a half-hour documentary, available freely online, that looks into the mystery of consciousness:

Is consciousness a byproduct of the brain or is the brain a vehicle for consciousness? Preeminent minds debate the nature of consciousness in this 30 minute documentary. Featuring: Eben Alexander, Susan Blackmore, David Chalmers, Deepak Chopra, Patricia Churchland, Stanislas Dehaene, Daniel Dennett, Stuart Hameroff, Dean Radin, John Searle and Rupert Sheldrake.

The documentary was self-funded, so if you enjoy it please consider dropping some coin in the creators' PayPal account. For more information about the documentary, visit the official website.

News Briefs 08-11-2016

Wait, what?

Thanks Rick and Norman.

Quote of the Day:

The best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter.

Winston Churchill

A Baby Was Buried Upon a Swan's Wing in Denmark 6000 Years Ago

Baby Buried on a Swan's Wing

Sometimes, when poring through history texts, it's easy to start seeing people of ancient times as 'objects' or 'concepts' to be studied from our informed vantage point in the future (relative to them). But sometimes archaeology uncovers evidence that helps us to realise that people back then were very much human.

For instance: In Vedbæk, Denmark, 6000 years ago, a young woman was laid to rest beside a baby, with the dead infant placed upon a swan's wing.

Grave 8, the most famous of the burials, contains a young woman, who may have died at childbirth, and a premature baby. The symbolism of the baby on the swan wing has been much debated with suggestions including purity and the ability of a water bird to transcend water, land and air. Certainly both bodies were cared for in death (the disorderly state of the mother's ribs suggest that she may have been resting on an organic 'pillow'), which suggests a belief that the spirit remained with the body.

And while the drawing on the right is not meant to be historically accurate (it's taken from the comic Mezolithic, by Ben Haggarty), I think most if not of all of us can appreciate the humanity present in the scene.

(via Irish Archaeology)