No Berlin cinemas + 1 thought (on planetary complexity & whether CCC groks it)

After a hard downward section in the rollercoast ride of life, mainly due to the third CoVID wave in Germany, I am resurfacing now that normalcy is beginning to return in Berlin...

So perhaps this photo, following, has a second meaning: Flush all that strife and the dark thoughts of the last 6+ months away. All that incredulity & worry - & some anger - about the brainless deeds/words of the G.O.P. (yep, the party leadership as well as the big-baby-screamin' exiting Ex), how people I've known for a long time had turned increasingly petty, Berlin politics, the ugly growing power of streaming, the dissing/overpraising see-saw of "Justice League" movie directors...

(But do read the more optimistic P.S., too!)


 

(My apartment toilet incl. attempt to reduce plastic use.)

CCC won

I want to start this further attempt at scepticism of Catastrophic Climate Change, which is - 15 years after good ol' Al kick-started it with his "Truth" video - seriously becoming en vogue now in all but high finance and crochetry news, with a story that begins quite small.

You see, I like my toilet to smell good & help cleaning efforts, by using a soapy freshener "brick" (yellow & blue on the photo) that gets slightly smaller with each flush - you know that stuff, right? (No need to explain how it works.)

Since a few years the manufacturer of this particular brand offers "refill" bricks for an emptied plastic holder; at first in all supermarkets, now in about 1 in 6. (Hey, no one is talking about plastic straws any more, right?)

Problem is, if you use the refills, your plastic holder has a weakness at its first bend point, where you "hang" it on the rim: After a few months of moving that holder 1-2 times a week (cleaning etc.) it broke at that bend point; 'tis not really designed to last as long as the refills, I warrant... :-P

So I pushed on through and tied the rest of the holder to a string. Now the brick still does what it should for non-solid events; for solid ones you need to remember to first take it out and let it hang free on the side, then put it back after flushing! :-P:-p

Aside from this let's-act-as-if-we-care attitude of the manufacturers, I am however trying to make another point here, entirely: I realised that the way the brick holder moves when doing the non-solid flush is a good example of how complex the physical world can be!

Because, you see, a toilet flushing is a daily example of turbulent flow (of water, in this case). Physicists understood long ago that there's two types of liquid or gas flow we experience - laminar (e.g. when you turn on your tap in a basin, and get a straight smooth jet of water) and turbulent (what happens to the incoming water when you flush your run-of-the-mill toilet). The former is well-described, i.e. predictable by a small set of formulae.

Describing turbulent flow accurately, however, is a no-no, until this day. Of course, we now live in a world where quantum physics tells us that certain data about particles are also always unpredictable; even worse, that an observer, just by looking, influences outcomes. However - as, once again, only a recent set of MCU movies has taught us ;-) - the "quantum world" merely starts at the very tiniest levels at 1/10**23 cm, or smaller. (That last bit was not in the movies...)

But even in the macro world there are physical processes that are so chaotic, that they cannot be precisely described. Getting turbulent flow right would be one of the great challenges still ahead, one of the greatest - incl. quantum - physicists once said, long ago.

I can see that every day! The way the plastic brick holder jumps to the left and the right during a flush is never exactly the same! How many times, how long it will stay on each "side"...

And this is one of the main peeves I have with climate change models. They do concentrate on the surface temperatures of our planet only, but that's still a hell of a large field of study. Are the models really up to simulating all that well enough, to predict interlocking systems behaviour in several decades' time?

Look at the short film provided by the Wikipedia entry on "Atmospheric Boundary Level", which describes the chaotic part of the atmosphere that starts from ground level up. (It's an OGG file you can download; you may have to install VLC player to actually play it.) See all those air flow arrows, with different speeds and temperatures, derived from measurements made in that single month in L.A.?

Complex interactions like this abound on our planet, not only on the surface, but higher up (cloud formation is another deep subject of study) and lower down, esp. in the ocean. (I got onto the latter, by currently incidentally reading HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER for the first time...)

Accurate predictions for complex systems are hard! You can usually measure the accuracy of your predictive theory in percent - for physics experiments, this accuracy needs to be 95% or higher for a thesis to be confirmed as supported by reality. Do you think the CCC models' predictions will ever reach this accuracy (well ahead of time of course, since that's what's being sold to us - our pallid future)?

I'm saying that there's a lot of grey below the CCC black edge, that I get told all CCC believers must remain at. Only the remaining ("few") deniers apparently attempt to handle the grey - or of course just propose it's all complete bullshit, which I for one find foolish.

The world is a wonderfully huge place. Let's dial down our self-hate for all the bad things we've done to it, and get to understanding it better, in every nook. And then act, without panic. Rather than keep repeating one element's name like a prayer in every debate, and ignoring everything else that needs to be done in the eco-system - locally (!) and globally - at the same time. (Like the current droughty days city trees in Germany are experiencing.*)

P.S.: Naturally many good things have also happened in recent months - early inoculation invites, rediscovery of an acqaintance from far Southern times, from decades (!) ago, letting ("ZOOMed") RPG back into my life after a very long hiatus...

(* Of course I acknowledge that current climate behaviour is weird; but CCC is saying that it will become steadily worse for decades - and that I want to see for myself! In the meantime I'm watering some trees near my apt./work. / ** When you see these, please say "to the power of" out loud! :-))

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Berlin cinemas + 2 thoughts (Corona benefits & a run at rehabilitation)

I wrote this mostly end of last month, so I'm backdating it to then. Too much to do for a relatively recently-become sexagenarian. (And no, that does not mean more sex was had. :-))

DELPHI LUX

The newish Delphi Lux cinema in the centre of West Berlin
The newest Yorck cinema, with several contained ones. In a nice building near Zoo Station, with many mod cons & decorations! Very "it"... A little miracle in the "home cinema" and (at the time) burgeoning streaming tsunami, brushing one cinema after another off the German map. So glad to be in a city where cinemas' existence is fought for!

Wow, Corona!

Again, as for the similar titled thought some months ago in this blog, I am aware of the terrible plight this pandemic means for many many people, especially those struck down into a hard death or half-life after heavier symptoms (which, luckily, many folk who get it, don't develop!).

But at this time of global (mental) depression, some positive things I've noticed:

* The pandemic has apparently forever changed the airline industry. There will be fewer flights in future, not to mention fewer companies. People will probably no longer have to be packed into seats like sardines - sonething I'm looking forward to! (Source: ECONOMIST)

* Kids in Germany, having more spare time due to school outages, have ended up running around and generally moving more than before the lockdown phase (in Germany that was mainly in April + x)! Yeah, despite more video learning/gaming... (Source: SPIEGEL) So, perhaps kids need slightly less hectic schooling in future?

* The service industry in Germany has finally gotten going in a major way. After years of lagging behind other Western countries. Which means many more small jobs. Sounds good to the layman (= me)...

* By not looking like it will be over before November (or even begin of next year), CoVID in the US has shown what a hollow "manager" the Great Orange Pretender really is, and has been. And what ends he is prepared to go to, to prevent what will likely happen in that month. (I.a. the looming loss of his "diplomatic" immunity before the law.) Unfortunately it has also demonstrated to the world, on what run-down traditionalist stilts the US political system is built. A reform of Congress & a more representatively set-up Senate badly need to follow in 2021, in my opinion, and the presidency hollowed out to prevent future idiocies by media-magnetic incumbents, it seems to me (& perhaps many Europeans?)...

* On a personal note, for the first time I took part in a meetup of an s.f. society on another continent. Usually I can't be at these regular meetups, but now I just ZOOMed in! :-D

It's taken 7 years

There was a time when I was scared to write out the name in this blog. But now a U.S. federal court has begun rehabilitating Ed Snowden, one of the true heroes of the last decade, way ahead of any Wonderful super variants or MAGA "men"! What a comeuppance! And despite the antics of previous & current presidents (before this year!) to demonize him - instead of the abusive officials who Big-Brothered full steam ahead into an inhuman future!

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Berlin cinemas + 1 thought (this month on Twitter growing up) + 1 remembrance

The lockdown continues, though loosened in Germany. I still miss going to cinemas a lot, so this blog series tides me over a little. I hope you, too!

ASTOR
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The most luxurious public cinema in Berlin, the Astor on Ku'damm
This independent cinema is i.a. run by at least one great fan of the glitz of old cinemas - it's probably the most luxurious of Berlin cinemas, next to perhaps one other. It has a long glass-walled foyer with ticket booth, champagne or wine refreshment at small tables, then an interfacing section for tickets to be checked, after which you arrive in a 2nd larger foyer with a proper bar incl. offers of drinks and snacks, and a place to leave your coat etc.. The cinema itself is a wonder of retro design with a large, curtained screen. The seats are perhaps the most luxurious you'll ever experience in a cinema, leather, each with its own arm rests, and a small "night table" every two seats, incl. a light, where you can deposit drinks/snacks. There's even a way to order replenishments during the movie (although few people do that) - the bar is open all through the movie. In addition, the management offers old movies once a month, shown on old reel projectors - as advertised in the photo in the right glass case (the poster with Elisabeth Taylor on it). Heaven!

Twitter, somewhat better
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First off: I do partake of this social medium - much more rarely than in the first few years after my registration, because I came to hate its becoming mostly a platform for facile public ridiculing and denigration. Which is of course exactly how the Great Orange Pretender in the U.S. has been using it. Mostly.

But a few days ago, Twitter actually grew a bit more of a spine, and replaced a threatening tweet by that GOP guy by a message box usually reserverd for "lesser" subscribers when they advocate physical hate. Not much earlier, it also added fact-checking links below 2 of his tweets on his most newly "discovered" conspiracy: Mailed-in votes.

Twitter et al benefit from a special law making them - as opposed to, say, newspapers - legally inculpable for things their tweeters etc. post. Of course Mr. GOP & his cronies immediately now threaten to revoke this law - which he has profited mightily from for many years!

I wonder what made Twitter cross this Rubicon? (And whether they'll stay on the fair side for long.) Perhaps it was the impassioned open letter they received earlier, of the widower of the campaign aide of ex-Congress-Rep. Joe Scarborough, who died after fainting & falling badly in one of Scarborough's remote offices years ago?

For the benefit of his don't-believe-what-you-can't-see fandom, the tweeter in the O. Office of course a.s.a.p. removed all tweets that had been post-processed by Twitter. (I checked an hour ago.)

R.I.P., Rolf Hochhuth
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This famous German playwright died near mid-May, at age 89. He was well-known for his impassioned assertions on certain ignored or purposely hidden historical facts, which he occasionally made the subject of one or other stage production.

The most well-known of these is probably The Deputy, on the role of Catholic Pope Pius XII on hushing up - and not condemning outright! - what was happening in Nazi concentration camps. In which some Catholic priests were also interned, and later industrially murdered. So Hochhuth was a working minder & reminder of things people tend to forget.

But his range of possible targets was wide. The play that brought him to my attention initially, was Turing - and all the stuff it disclosed (at least to little-informed me!) about how the European part of the World War was to an amazing degree won by the great technical efforts made in Bletchley Park in England, led on the code-breaking side by Alan Turing, the father of modern computer science, who i.a. on the side predicted the feasibilty of the virtualisation surge the i.t. world is experiencing for the last decade or so!

I greatly admired the angry old man for that play, and because of that got round to reading a few of his others.

[Go in peace, rest in courage...]

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