Saturday, May 18, 2024

Bending Reality

I write of love and death. What other subjects are there?
— Arthur Schnitzler,, born  in 1862

 Toadally awesome! Psychedelic toxins from toads could treat depression and anxiety New Scientist 

Most Dementia Patients ‘Return’ Before Death And It’s Unclear Why ScienceAlert 

PLEASE STOP EMAILING US HARRIET. The internet is still good, people are still good.

Study discovers cellular activity that hints recycling is in our DNA

Scientists Confirm Exercise Slows Down The Perception of Time Science Alert

Bending Reality: Einstein Meets Quantum Mechanics in Antarctic Ice SciTech Daily

 ‘To the train lady with dark brown hair … ’: extraordinary stories of four couples who found love via small ads

Do you remember our post about the artist who illustrates Missed Connections found on Craigslist? This article on The Guardian is a fascinating foray into the subject… 

It would be nice to know the very first time someone did it: liked the look of someone, missed a chance to get their details, and so searched for them instead through printed words. Though he may not have been the first, Samuel Reeves did it in 1709. Writing in the British periodical the Tatler, Reeves sought the attention of a woman he had helped out of a boat. He “desire[d] to know where he may wait on her to disclose a matter of concern”, he said, and provided an address where he could be reached […] Two centuries ago, the person you met eyes with at the theatre probably read the same high society journal that you did. Today, what are the chances that the girl on the train platform also uses Craigslist, and will check it at exactly the right time: not before, but after you’ve posted?

Read the full article here.

The Patagones or Patagonian giants were a race of giant humans rumoured to be living in Patagonia and described in early European accounts. They were said to have exceeded at least double normal human height, with some accounts giving heights of 13 to 15 feet (4 to 4.5 m) or more. Tales of these people would maintain a hold upon European conceptions of the region for nearly 300 years.

Read up about it on Wikipedia.

The Girl with the Needle — Scandi-noir fairytale lavishes on the gloom Magnus von Horn’s film in competition at Cannes offers sweet promises and bitter consequences

Dark forces are tirelessly at work in Magnus von Horn’s Cannes competition film The Girl with the Needle, a Scandi-noir fairytale based on real events that occurred in 1910s Copenhagen. If the title evokes both Vermeer and Stieg Larsson, that isn’t entirely misleading: gorgeous use of natural light and the inkiest depths of human depravity are both on display.
We first find poor but plucky seamstress Karoline (Vic Carmen Sonne) washing herself at a dirty basin shortly before being evicted from her shabby lodgings. Her husband is missing in action against Germany in the first world war while she scrapes a meagre living on a factory floor. Everything is captured in a gorgeously shot black and white that can feel at odds with the milieu — poverty and misery uncomfortably aestheticised.
Hope first arrives in the top-hatted form of factory owner Jørgen (Joachim Fjelstrup), a dapper Willy Wonka of textiles who rewards the working women with celebratory toasts and showers attention on the love-starved Karoline. In a sly script co-written by von Horn and Line Langebek, acts of kindness are drip-fed, dispensed like rarely tasted bonbons to lift the spirits. But the Cinderella story is cut short. Midnight strikes early as Karoline’s battle-scarred husband returns from the front and Jørgen’s finely tailored frock coat is revealed to conceal a lack of backbone. Overall, the male characters here are, to a man, weak, complacent or worse.
Better, surely, to rely on the sisterhood and the supportive shoulder offered to the unhappily pregnant Karoline in a bathhouse by older single mother Dagmar (Trine Dyrholm), who presents the chance of employment in her confectionery shop. But again, the sweet sniff of a better life will be followed by a bitter aftertaste, the gloom encroaching with ever greater ferocity this time. Dirty wash basins and evictions will become a relatively fond memory.
At times the film could do with a lighter touch. For example, when Karoline is suddenly seen knitting, you don’t have to be Chekhov to know that the needle will soon be used for a purpose more sinister than handicraft. Meanwhile, the glowering soundtrack announces every new act of wickedness with heavy underlining. But with fine acting all round, this is a grimly compelling piece of Danish gothic whose seams are largely kept hidden under the cover of darkness.

Cannes Film Festival continues to May 25, festival-cannes.