måndag 7 oktober 2013

Leni Riefenstahl was one tough cookie.

Casual Friday with Leni and friend

Amazing what an affiliation with the worlds most reviled regime can hurt your career. So yeah Leni was a film maker for The Third Reich,kinda hard to not mention. She did some propaganda films for the Nazis depicting Adolf Hitler as a really swell dude. Those films had a really small market after the war for some reason and pretty much ruined her career. But, as far less people know, she still led an incredibly inspiring life.

This is about positive things so let's not dwell on the Nazi issue for too long but it needs some mentioning even though her later part of life was far more interesting. She did Olympia. Widely regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time. She invented new techniques that are still in use today. She set the gold standard for how sports is filmed. As a sidenote i might mention that Joseph Goebbels had a finger in pretty much every film produced during that era except for Leni's. She had her own production company. Maybe that's why he hated her. Or maybe because she refused his invitations unlike most other women during that time in the German film industry. We might never know.

So the war ended and the demand for German propaganda films were slim to say the least, what's a girl to do ?

She did try to make films but that didn't pan out for obvious reasons.

In the 60ies she took an interest in photography and Africa. So why not go to Africa and photograph ? Brilliant! That's exactly what she did. She traveled to Sudan and photographed the Nuba tribes and later published 2 books about it which became bestsellers. 2 things to note, Leni was born 1902 so she was well into her 60ies during that time. Traveling thru the African wilderness in scorching heat. Now that's something.
She met her lifetime companion during that time who was 40 years her senior. She was 60,he was 20 and they were together until her death at 101! She frequented Sudan so many times she finally got a Sudanese passport. The first foreigner ever to get one.

At 70 you'd think it was time to slow down but that was not in her book. She took up scuba diving and under water photography,i mean why not ? Well it seems you can't get a scuba certificate at that age but that wasn't going to keep her from getting what she wanted. She's been kinda accustomed to that and that wasn't about to change any tome soon. So she got a fake id,shaving off 20 years in the process and got her certificate. She kept that up until she was a 100 years old and gained the distinction of being the world's oldest scuba diver.

At 70 that times comes when you start to plan for your future. So Leni started planning a movie that should premiere on her 100th birthday. Now that's planning ahead. She did finish it and it did premiere on her 100th birthday. Fortune favors the prepared mind. 

At 97 she hadn't seen her Nuban friends in Sudan for a long time and decided to go there. The only problem was that were a civil was in full swing but she was still young in mind and used to getting her way so she made the necessary arrangements,which were no picnic mind you, and went there anyway. During her stay, the war came closer and she was forces to flee by helicopter. The helicopter had a horrific crash but since she was still young and vital, the result was only minor. Some cracked ribs and a collapsed lung,nothing serious. Remember she was 97 and kept on scuba diving or 3 years.

At age 100 she attended the premiere of her film Impressionen unter Wasser with her trusted partner at her side,now 60. 

In 2003 she celebrated her 101th birthday and decided to become an honorable woman and married her partner since 40 years Horst Kettner. That was the final adventure and she died in her sleep less than a month later.

So there you have it,the story about Leni Riefenstahl,one of the most fascinating women ever.

1. Told Joseph Goebbels to go f*** himself and lived to tell about it.
2. Revolutionized filming and changed it forever. Made one of the best films ever.
3. Got 40 year younger boyfriend at age 60.
4. First foreigner ever to get a Sudanese passport.
5. Took up scuba diving at age 70 and 30 years later was still at it becoming the worlds oldest scuba diver.
6. Survived a helicopter crash at age 97.
7. Married her 40 years younger boyfriend at age 101.  

tisdag 23 juli 2013

Oh dear Lord.

Republican Senator Jim Inhofe on climate change:

“Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that “as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.” My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

Hard to argue with that.

söndag 14 juli 2013

The universe is smaller than you can ever imagine.

Einstein was a clever guy,no doubt about that. We've all been thought that in school if nowhere else. So what did he do exactly. The implications of his work is so mind boggling i can hardly describe it.

Take time and space dilation for example. If we were to travel at close to the speed of light,time to us, would pass more slowly compared to people observing us. If we traveled for a year close to the speed of sound away from the earth and back again, a lot more time would have passed on earth. How much depends on how close to the speed of sound we were travelling. In fact if you have a constant acceleration of 1G travelling the entire known universe in one lifetime is possible. However,when you returned to tell the world about your adventures, millions of years would have passed and the earth as we know it would no longer be. In fact i'm not sure it would exist at all. This is time dilation,a direct consequence on how the space-time works.

And that's not all,not only does time pass more slowly, space itself shrinks when travelling close to c (speed of light constant). Things get closer the faster you travel. How close ?

Now imagine travelling at the speed of light. We can't. But light can and in fact it does! To light, the entire universe becomes a single point. A singularity. Just like the universe was before the Big Bang. Now wait a minute, you said it takes light 4 years to travel from the nearest galaxy to us in your last post,didn't you ?

Yes for us that is true but we observe the light,we are not the light. Due to time dilation, to light,it got here in an instant. And it can get anywhere in an instant. To light,the universe is a single point. Not only that, time would appear to stop,which is just as well because it would imply time passes by infinitely fast, which means the end of the universe will already have happened! To light the beginning and the end of the universe and everything in between happened at the same time. Now. And it all exists at the same time. Now.

Haven't we heard this before ? Ah yes,our old friend,the multiverse theory.

Now tell me again,i'm boring and unimaginative. That if you don't believe in the things we can't observe,and all the things i have described in the last two posts are a direct consequence of what we can observe, you're somehow a bit dull. Huh ?

The universe is larger than you can ever imagine

The nearest star, Proxima Centauri , is 4,29 lightyears away. A decent daytrip by car is 300 km. A lightsecond 300 000 km..... Three hundred thousand kilometers.

There are 3600 seconds on an hour and 24 hours a day and 365 (or so) days a year. So yeah,it's quite a bit away. And that's the nearest star. Just one out of many. How many,you ask,well we don't know.
But imagine this, Proxima Centauri is really really close to Earth on a galaxy scale. Stars clump up in galaxies. Ours is called The Milky Way.

It is roughly 100 000 lightyears across. Probably a bit more but let's not dilly dally. It's 25 000 times larger than the distance to our nearest star. 25 000 times. If that's not large even on a mind blowing scale,i don't know what is. Of course our galaxy is just one among several. The nearest one,the Andromeda Galaxy,is 2.5 million lightyears away.

Now if your mind isn't blown already,imagine this: there are galaxy clusters. They are structures of hundreds of galaxies bound by gravity. Not only that,there's plenty of them too. To avoid a complete headexplosion, let's not go into superclusters, which are clusters of galaxy clusters,mkay ?

In fact i talked to a radioastronomer the other day and i asked if there's anything pointing to the Universe having a limit at all. He answered: As far as we can tell,it's spherical, which apparently is radioastronomer speech for: from what we can observe it's endless. So if you could imagine a supercluster without your head exploding,it's probably quite a bit bigger than that. Of course there are more than one supercluster but still. It's way larger than that. From what we can observe it seems to be endless.

Now we don't know that for sure but that what it looks like. If that is the case and if it has an endless amount of mass (which we don't know either but that's what it looks like) by sheer mathematical coincidence there is going to be a planet that is exactly like this one. Exactly, down to the position of every single atom. And others, almost exactly like this one. In fact,mathematically every single possible combination of earths and every possible permutation of what could have happened since the beginning of time must exist. Simultaneously.

Now where have we heard this before ? Well the multiverse theory that seemed so improbable and a figment of a heavy pot-smokers mind. Hmmm it might just be that way after all.

Another interesting concept is,if i were to go to such a planet and meet the other me,that is exactly the same composition of molecules as me, he would not be me,right ? So what is me ? Do i exist of something more than what is observable ? If i'm not "just" the cluster of molecules clumped up together that is my body,then what am i ? Wow i might just have gotten religious after all! Who would have imagined ?

I don't believe in anything......

i can't observe. Don't believe in God (the old statereligion), don't believe in the State (the new statereligion), don't believe there's any inherent morals,don't believe there's an inherent meaning to live and i believe when i die the same thing will happens as happened before i was born,nothing. A pretty accurate description of me would be atheist,anarchist,nihilist and existentialist. Now i don't really claim to know all the details of the above philosophies however when i read the description i agree on most things. This for some reason makes a lot of people think i'm careless,amoral,boring and downright mean. I'm of the opinion that there are no absolute set of rules and that means it's up to you to make moral decisions,to fill your life with meaning,etc. Not just do it because. To me,that's more meaningful,moral,call it what you want, than the opposite.

For some reason people tend to think that if there are no absolute set of rules,be it from God,morals (whatever that is),the state that we would quickly descend into insanity and chaos. I don't steal candy from kids because God tells me not to or because it's inherently wrong. I'm not completely sure why i don't but i have decided for myself i don't do that. The kid gets sad and i get sad because i'm not a psychopath,maybe that's reason enough. Maybe it's just more "profitable" for me not to do it. But i do it (or rather don't do it) because of me,i have considered it and deemed it something i don't do.

The other day i said,the future and the past doesn't exist. The now is the only thing that exists. I don't see how you can object to that (actually i can,more on that later). That just because of that simple fact you would not care about anything anymore and just piss your life away. I see it as an inescapable fact and it's up to you to do the best of it.

Another thing that rubs me the wrong way is because i only believe in what can be observed people think i'm boring and unimaginative. Well if you knew the amazing things we can actually observe i don't think you would think that anymore. My world is filled to the brim with just mind-boggling things. In fact my favorite pasttime is having my mind blown on a regular basis. Physics is awesome. Einstein was one clever dude for example. The implications of his work are staggering and so far removed from boring it's not even funny (hmmmm,that don't sound right). The next two posts will be about amazing things we can observe. As a quick setup for them let's just go briefly thru the multiverse theory.

In fact there are several and at first glance one might suspect the ones who came up with them to be heavy cannabis smokers. In each instance where a choice can be made the universe splits into another universe so both choice exists at the same time in parallel universes. So everything that could have happened has happened in some universe. Yeah right.

Another theory is that time as such does not exist.

What is time anyways,think and read some about that i can guarantee you to have your mind blown. Unless you're boring and unimaginative,of course.

The past,the present and the future and all possible permutations of possibilities in between,exists at the same time,in parallel. Yeah right. Or....

lördag 1 juni 2013

Happy Funny

So it's just an ordinary Friday evening like any other. Sitting in front of the computer listening to some old German 80ies pop, like you do, crying, like you do, to the realization that the simply marvelous woman from that video does no longer exist. Claudia Brücken is still alive however she isn't the same person she was then.
She doesn't look like that anymore, she's had her heart broken a few times, been let down,lied to, been thru some ups and downs, realized she's mortal, i could go on.

This was quite a rude awakening. I didn't really want to live in a world where she didn't exist anymore,way to dull. So i figured i must find her. But where ? Berlin seems like a good start. Maybe she has a niece or something. But that felt a bit overwhelming. Berlin is quite big,i could go forever without finding her. Maybe she's not even in Berlin,then what ? I kind of accepted my fate and convinced myself she is out there and one day i'll run into her.

The one day a few weeks later it struck me like a ton of bricks. She IS out there and not only that,she works in my grocery store! The alabaster skinned, white haired young woman who works there,one day turned her head to something and i observed her in profile. It was then it dawned on me, she looks exactly like Claudia did in her early 20ies. She looks so amazingly clean all the time i bet she don't even shower,she simply doesn't get dirty. That's how i imagine it anyway.

Now you might think this is the, same old same old, dirty midlife crisis pigs preferring young women because of their looks and their youth. I'd say you're half-right. Looks doesn't enter in to it besides many woman nowadays looks way better at 40 than they do at 20. For example Heidi Klum, Gwyneth Paltrow and Anne Heche, there's no comparison.

To paraphrase Usher: she reminds me of a man that i once knew.

I once saw here briefly outside a bar, she didn't notice me. She was running to the next place with a bunch of friends and just then it struck me what a wonderful age 20 something is. She looked so happy. At that time you haven't settled, anything is possible, you're going to move soon anyways so why not move to New York or Tibet ? You haven't been deceived yet so you trust people. You haven't had your heart broken so you're going to love him like you've never been hurt before,love him like you're indestructible. Death seems like an impossibility,you're immortal and everything you do,you do for the first time. Things are still fresh and really exciting.

Now i'm not thinking she wants anything to do with an old farting, hairy, broke-ass bum like me,that's not the point. The point is,she IS out there,there's still hope. The world is a slightly better place now that 'ive discovered her. Slightly more fun.

Her name is even Funny. I call her Happy Funny.