Through the Wormhole – Are We All Bigots?

Morgan Freeman has a Science Channel series called Through the Wormhole. I highly recommend the series for those interested in learning about a broad range of topics from is the universe a simulation to is privacy dead.

One of my favorite episodes is about the nature of racism: Are We All Bigots? In this episode Freeman comes at this question from a number of angles, as he does the topic in every episode. Below is, what I think, is one of the most important segments.

If you like that clip then I highly recommend you watch the entire episode. You can buy it on YouTube for $1.99 (No affiliation with RunPee.)

Opinion
I have to accept that part of my brain is bigoted. It does things (and sometimes gets away with it) that I don’t like.

That may sound like an odd thing to say: my brain does things that I don’t like. What am I if not my brain and it’s decisions? I think its clear, especially if you watch the entire episode of Are We All Bigots, that our brain instinctively makes decisions without the consent of our brain’s rational consciousness. (Not that consciousness is always rational.)

What researchers have proven is that we are not always in control of our thoughts and actions. It’s not an excuse for bad behavior, but it’s a reality we have to deal with. For instance, when someone is addicted to gambling, or food, a drug, whatever, you can’t attribute that to poor character, or weakness.

Our brains evolved to cope with many situations we no longer face. In this modern age we can manipulate those situations in ways that were never possible while the circuitry in our brains was evolving to help us survive. When we eat carbohydrate-rich food — bread, rice, cake, sweets, etc. — our brain says, “OMG, this is great. More please.” That’s because during our evolution there was hardly a chance that we could overeat those things because of their scarcity. That part of our brain doesn’t understand that we now have unlimited access to calories, and don’t need to overeat at each opportunity. The only way to stop ourselves is to use our rational consciousness to intervene and put the breaks on. Again, the rational part of our brain isn’t always in control — much as we might wish it.

It’s the same for how our brain reacts to people who are different from us. Generally speaking, for our hunter-gatherer ancestors, people from outside their tribe wasn’t always a good thing. Like a dog barking at a stranger, we evolved to be wary of different than us. It’s only through life experience that we can retrain our brains. Essentially, we need take that part of our brain that makes snap judgments and pet it, and say, “Hey, it’s okay. These different people are okay. Don’t get worked up.” Over time, that part of our brain will relax. But, we must recognize that it’s always there, ready to wake up again and bark at the next different person that passes by.

I want to make racism go away; from myself and my country and all of humanity. I believe the only way this will be possible is to acknowledge that part of our brains evolved to be wary of different people — because it gave them an edge in survival.

When we see racism, in ourselves or others, we need to make an effort to retrain us/them. And just like training a dog, the best method is positive reinforcement. Because when you yell at someone for being bigoted it’s about as effective as yelling at a dog — pointless and counterproductive. (Even though it feels as good as eating chocolate cake dripping with melted fudge and covered in icing.)

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

First Man Opinion — Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

When I was in college, I worked at the United States Space Academy. It was an amazing experience. I grew up fascinated with space and science. I literally cried when my parents dragged me out of the Space and Rocket Center after our first, and only, visit. Years later, when I got to work there, it was rewarding to have the opportunity to help young children experience the joy and wonder I had when I was their age.

Obviously I’ve never flown in space, but I understand better than most the incredible technical hurdles it took getting to the moon. I’ve studied math, physics, and history, and the history of space exploration in depth. There is no doubt that the United States of America achieved something wholly remarkable when Neil and Buzz landed on the moon. But it is truly an epic achievement by all humanity. The USA would have never achieved all they did, in the time they did, if it wasn’t for the German engineers that came to America after WWII. Those engineers would have never come to the USA had the Allies not defeated Germany.  And the Allies couldn’t have defeated the Axis powers if not for the sacrifices of the British people early in the war, and more so the Russian people throughout, who sadly endured horrors that are hardly acknowledged today.

How could anyone land on the moon without radio communications — invented by an Italian? How could they navigate to the moon without calculus — invented by an Englishman and a German? (Note: Newton did it first; Leibniz did it better.) Without Modern Analytic Geometry — invented by the Frenchmen René Descartes and Pierre de Fermat — Newton and Leibniz wouldn’t have the tools to invent calculus in the first place.

As Newton said, If I have seen farther, it is only because I stood on the shoulders of giants. The United States of America finished a long endurance race that began millennia ago when a group of hominids — Homo erectus — discovered that putting meat and vegetables in fire made them more palatable and, unknowingly, more nutritious. Without that discovery, the moon would be nothing more than a bright source of light for a week out of the month to a bunch of bipedal hominids who don’t know what a month is.

The night before Apollo 11 returned to Earth Neil Armstrong signed off by saying:

The responsibility for this flight lies first with history and with the giants of science who have preceded this effort; next with the American people, who have, through their will, indicated their desire; next with four administrations and their Congresses, for implementing that will; and then, with the agency and industry teams that built our spacecraft, the Saturn, the Columbia, the Eagle, and the little EMU, the spacesuit and backpack that was our small spacecraft out on the lunar surface. We would like to give special thanks to all those Americans who built the spacecraft; who did the construction, design, the tests, and put their hearts and all their abilities into those craft. To those people tonight, we give a special thank you, and to all the other people that are listening and watching tonight, God bless you. Good night from Apollo 11.

Apollo 11 Trivia Quiz

Where’s the American Flag in First Man?

Movie Review – First Man

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Apollo 11 Trivia Quiz

Apollo 11 Trivia

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Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Where’s the American Flag in First Man?

Much ado has been made about the omission of the moment when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted the American flag on the moon in the movie First Man. So what’s the deal?

Here’s what the director had to say about this decision:

“It surprised me because there are so many things that we weren’t able to focus on not only during the lunar EVA but in the entirety of Apollo 11. Just by the nature of the story we were telling, we just couldn’t go into every detail. So our through-line became, especially at this part of the movie where it’s the final emotional journey for Neil, what were the private, unknown moments of Neil on the moon? The flag was not a private, unknown moment for Neil. It’s a very famous moment and it wasn’t Neil alone. We included the famous descent down the ladder because that’s him alone, literally first feeling what it’s like to be on the moon. But other than that, we only wanted to focus on the unfamous stuff on the moon. So we don’t go into the phone call with Nixon, we don’t go into the scientific experiments, we don’t go into reentry.”

Regardless of how you feel about the exclusion of this scene, there are numerous people who (at least pretend) to care deeply about it. So much so, they told blatant lies that would be clear to anyone who’s even seen the movie trailer. It’s been said the American flag is deliberately never shown — this is false.

Here are three images (below) showing the American flag in a 2 1/2 minute First Man trailer. The movie is 2 hours and 21 minutes long, so they’re on pace to show the flag 169.2 times! (I’m sure it will be much less because, as they say: sample size matters.)

First Man Flag

First Man Flag

First Man Flag

First Man‘s Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle is known for stories of intense personal sacrifice in the struggle to achieve, like La La Land and Whiplash. The title First Man really sums up what this movie is about: an individual struggling against his fears, technology, physical limitations, and most of all, gravity.

Chazelle added:

“In First Man I show the American flag standing on the lunar surface, but the flag being physically planted into the surface is one of several moments of the Apollo 11 lunar EVA that I chose not to focus upon. To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is, “No.” My goal with this movie was to share with audiences the unseen, unknown aspects of America’s mission to the moon. Particularly Neil Armstrong’s personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours.”

Armstrong’s sons, Rick and Mark, wrote in a statement:

“This story is human and it is universal. Of course, it celebrates an America achievement. It also celebrates an achievement for all mankind, (emphasis added) as it says on the plaque Neil and Buzz left on the moon. It is a story about an ordinary man who makes profound sacrifices and suffers through intense loss in order to achieve the impossible,”

Conclusion
There are those who think that everyone who disagrees with their perspective on patriotism has some agenda, or is behind some conspiracy to corrupt, what they feel, is the only true expression of patriotism. But, sometimes these decisions are based on artistic expression, or as is more often the case, didn’t notice that there was anything patriotic there in the first place.

Read Next: Where’s the Flag? Opinion, by polyGeek

Movie Review – First Man

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

More Powerful Than You Could Possibly Imagine

Remember in A New Hope when Obi Wan said to Vader, “Strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”? As it turned out, Obi Wan didn’t become all powerful. He didn’t do much more than become the Jedi Whisperer. (Let go, Luke. Trust your feelings.)

Now that Luke has faded to the Force (after the events at the end of The Last Jedi) it appears he might be the all-powerful one. Or maybe he was the all powerful one. It’s all conjecture at this point, but here’s what we know think we know.

The Express reported that leaks for the upcoming Episode IX (December 20, 2019) indicate that Luke has the power to force choke a Star Destroyer. The question is, does this happen in the past, and we see it as a flashback (The only thing JJ Abrams loves more than lens flare is flashbacks)? Or does it happen in the timeline of Episode IX now that Luke is truly with the Force?

What is it with the Star Wars universe and sand?

There is evidence that this is a flashback  based on the book Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Legends of Luke Skywalker, which is part of the official Star Wars canon. One of the stories takes place shortly after the end of Return of the Jedi on Jakku — Rey’s old stomping grounds. A crew member aboard a Star Destroyer recalls seeing a hologram of Luke reach out. Shortly afterward, the ship crashed into Jakku. It’s implied the abandoned Star Destroyer we saw in The Force Awakens, the one that Rey frequently scavenged, was brought down by Luke nearly three decades earlier.

What’s clear: Disney and Abrams need to unite the fractured fanbase that’s disappointed with how impotent Luke has been portrayed thus far. Right now we’re left sifting through the sands, like an archaeologist looking for clues from the bones of long dead animals, trying to figure out where the story is going, and where it came from.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

MoviePass Auto Re-enrollment for Select Users

MoviePass has had a rough go of it lately. No surprise when your business model is too good to be true. However, their latest move is stirring up controversy among their users  — or former users in some cases —  who have been auto re-enrolled in a new program.

According to Business Insider, former MoviePass holders recently discovered they had been re-enrolled in the service, which is expected to roll out a new plan Wednesday. Now users can see any three movies (within their new draconian limits of what is “available”) for $9.95 per month.

 

MoviePass users have until Thursday, October 4th to opt-out of the plan they were re-enrolled in.

Bottom Line: if you’re using MoviePass, be sure to keep an eye on your account and make sure you’re getting what you expect. Some users who tried to cancel their account ended up being auto re-enrolled, and charged for it.

Opinion:
I don’t envy anyone working for MoviePass customer support this week. I’m sure those employees are going to have some sort of contest to see who gets the worst abuse from a disgruntled user. I can empathize with them, because I’ve had to deal with my own share of unhappy users after adding Peecoins to RunPee. All of that aside, what MoviePass is doing shouldn’t be legal, and it’s a travesty that the politicians (both Dems and Reps) are too gutless to pass any sort of legislation to keep companies from doing this sort of thing.

For the vast majority of users, I don’t think there’s anything worth getting worked up about. They’ll either say, Yeah, this new deal is worth it, and stick with the auto-enrollment, or they’ll spend a few minutes and go back into the MoviePass app and opt out, again. But a small percentage of users won’t notice. The emails may get filtered out; they won’t notice the charges on their banking account; whatever — and they’ll end up paying for a service they thought they had dropped, month after month. And if they don’t know that they’re enrolled, they won’t be using the benefits. This is where I think MoviePass is doing nothing short of stealing.

What do you think?

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Alert Peetimes

One common request from users over the years is to help them avoid graphic scenes in movies that might disturb them. For years we have tried to do the best we can to create Peetimes during scenes we found to be over the top, or disturbing, compared to the rest of the movie. Now we have made it quasi-official by marking these Peetimes as Alert Peetimes.

This solution comes with a few caveats.  First, this is obviously very subjective. What may be disturbing to one person isn’t even noticed by another. However, I think there is a lot of common ground. We focus on scenes that have sexual violence, animal cruelty, or torture. (Hopefully there’s never a scene that involves all three!)

Also, this is contextual. If you’re watching a gangster movie with lots of torture scenes, then what’s the point of making Alert Peetimes for those?That’s what the movie is about. But, if there happened to be a scene involving animal cruelty in a gangster movie, then we’d try to alert you to that.

Second, we can’t have Alert Peetimes that might cover every conceivable thing someone out there might be sensitive to. For instance, if you were recently in a terrible car crash, it might be traumatic to watch a movie and then unexpectedly see a car crash. My suggestion for anyone with an issue like that would be to talk to someone who has already seen the movie, and ask them if one of their trigger scenes is in it.

Third, we make it very clear in the RunPee app that we won’t be held responsible for catching every scene that might trigger someone. We’ll do our best and invite our fans to provide feedback, good and bad, on how we are doing with the Alert Peetimes — but we’re not interested in hearing criticism that blames us for not protecting them from a trigger scene. Again, we’re doing our best with it, but this isn’t our core purpose when getting Peetimes for a movie.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

The Predator final trailer

I was underwhelmed after I saw the first few trailers for the latest installment in the Predator universe — however, this latest trailer shows the tone of the movie to be more humorous, with good fun action, than the previous trailers did.

Here’s why I’m the most excited about this movie: it’s written and directed by Shane Black. If that name sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because he’s as big a name in the action genre business as there is. Check out his writing credits: Lethal Weapon I, II, and III; The Last Boy Scout; The Long Kiss Goodnight, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; Iron Man 3; Nice Guys, etc. He’s also the writer/director for the upcoming Doc Savage, starring Dwayne  (The Rock) Johnson.

If you’ve seen any of those movies you know that this guy writes action as well as anyone, but his dialog is what sets his movies apart.

And oh yeah, he was part of the cast of the original Predator movie as Hawkins — he died early.

So strap in, this movie is going to be a fun ride.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

RunPee FAQ – get more Peecoins

Find out how to get more Peecoins in-app, or via Paypal.

Once you verify your email address, you can purchase Peecoins, or watch ads to get Peecoins for free.

First, tap on your email address/Peecoins remaining message at the top of the Movie List Screen.

FAQ: Movie Info Screen-Peecoins remaining
FAQ: Movie Info Screen-Peecoins remaining

That will take you to a screen with all the options you need to get more Peecoins (below).

A Few Important Notes

If you want to purchase Peecoins, you can buy them either in-app or via Paypal in bundles of 10 for $1 — up to $4 worth at a time. Apple/Google keeps 30% of all in-app purchases, so we make 7 cents for each Peecoin you buy. On the other hand, you can visit http://runpee.com/peecoins/ to purchase Peecoins via Paypal. Paypal keeps a much smaller percentage, so we make a few more cents per Peecoin. (Every cent helps, and thank you!)

If you choose to view ads to earn Peecoins, please realize that each ad you view earns you ONE Peecoin — no more, no less. We realize this might be  confusing, as seen below:

FAQ: TapJoy currency
FAQ: TapJoy currency

TapJoy has their own currency. If I were to use their currency, RunPee fans would have to watch around 7 videos just to earn enough to have 1 Peecoin. I think that’s a bit much, so I just make it 1 ad for 1 Peecoin. Fair for everyone.

You might want to know that we earn, on average, less than 1 cent for each ad. In the future we may have to make it so you have to watch 2-3 ads to earn a Peecoin, so that we’ll have the income to keep RunPee up to date with new movies every week.

If you have questions you can comment below, or email us: support@RunPee.com.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie Review – Mile 22

Mile 22 fails on every level that an action movie can fail, and then makes up some new ways to fail.

But wait, there’s good news: the Russian government is the bad guys again. Yeah! (More on that later.)

This entire movie feels like the first 30 minutes of a much better movie. Meaning: they could have edited this movie down to 30 minutes, and then had an hour or more to finish the story in a more satisfying manner. Instead they end with a blatant to be continued feeling.

The Good
The fight scenes with Iko Uwais (The Raid I/II, SW: The Force Awakens) are the highlight of the action scenes, and are generally well filmed. Besides that, many of the fight scenes feel staged and out of place. Like times when you can’t help ask: why are they fighting hand to hand now; don’t they all have guns?

The Bad
Where to start? The dialog, especially by Mark Wahlberg’s character (James Silva), is at best hard to keep up, and oftentimes incomprehensible.

There are so many strange decisions made by the characters on both sides. I know that it’s hard to make a movie that doesn’t have a few questionable scenes, but there’s almost nothing but that in this movie. And of course there’s the one Lord of the Rings-sized sure do wish we had a helicopter handy plot hole.

I lost count how many times the screen displayed the biometrics of the characters during tense moments, as if to say: hey look, these characters are really cool because their heart rate doesn’t go up, even though people are shooting at them.

Wahlberg’s character is clearly the protagonist, but he’s fairly unlikable. He’s gruff, and monologues without end.

I’ll be astonished if there’s a sequel to this movie, even though the ending begs for one. The movie has only a 38% user approval rating and a 23% by critics. Both are super low. I can’t imagine anyone recommending this movie to a friend.

My suggestion would be to wait and see if maybe they do go ahead with a sequel, and if so, then you can watch this on DVD and then see how the story continues.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.