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Journal of No. 118

October 12th, 2005

Fitness & Flakery @ 09:18 am

Current Mood: fit as I'll ever be
Tags: , ,

Now that Becca's getting up and off to work before me, I have filled my new-found post-coffee/pre-shower time with Dance Dance Revolution, a few desultory sit-ups and ten push-ups with my feet on a chair. I'm not losing any weight, but I'm gaining some muscle, which I consider a fair trade. Though I'm never going to be really muscular. Starting from soft and sedentary, I swear I put on five pounds of muscle after my first push-up. The next umpteen weeks of exercise net me another two pounds of muscle, and then my body decides it's got enough for anything I'm ever likely to do. Then when I (inevitably) stop exercizing, the evil muscle fairy makes it all disappear overnight. Actually, I believe she stows it in my belly.

And now a bonus film-review:

Though I was suspicious and had heard dim mutterings from the skeptical community, I wanted to like What the Bleep Do We Know?. I knew that the filmmakers were students of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment, but I was still hoping to be taken on an enjoyable tour of quantum mechanics, which really is strange enough to make any New Ager happy. As it turned out, though, I only made it 45 minutes in before I couldn't take it anymore. So this counts only as a review of the first 45 minutes(*).

I'm afraid that little of what was stated with wide eyes and knowing grins by the unnamed (at least in the first 45 minutes) experts is true. Occasionally, there was a nugget of something familiar as an aspect of quantum mechanics, but it was soon stretched and exaggerated out of recognition. Worse still, these exaggerations made them not just 'speculative', but false.
Going beyond science into pseudoscience, the film presents as fact the story that (for example) meditators were able to reduce the crime rate in Washington DC by 25%. In fact, the city experienced a surge in the murder rate during that experiment. Only by juggling the numbers did the 'researchers' conclude that they had reduced the crime rate by 25% from what it would have been if they hadn't been meditating. Another segment shows mysterious pictures of 'water' that are clearly snowflakes and are just as mysterious as snowflakes.
The true crime of this filme is that quantum mechanics is fascinating and it is bizarre and it does tell us something surprising about the ultimate nature of reality. This film does not present us with those science facts; it only offers science fictions.
To those interested in real quantum mechanics at a popular level, I recommend John Gribbin's book, In Search of Schrodinger's Cat.

(*) If there was a lesbian sex scene between Marlee Matlin and Elaine Hendrix somewhere in the remaining 64 minutes, don't tell me about it, but that would raise my rating to two stars.
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Date:October 12th, 2005 06:45 pm (UTC)

Oh, Tod, I HATED that movie! The only part I liked was a part I'm sure you missed later on, which was about how our body chemistry changes during emotional surges and affects our perceptions and thus our "reality." It shows how Marlee Matlin's character pushes herself into a horrendous depression through her own internal negative dialogue that develops despite the messages she's getting externally. Well, we can have a big round of DUH on that point, but it was entertainingly presented and many people forget that this is true (myself included).
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Date:October 14th, 2005 04:29 am (UTC)
The guy who did the water-crystalization photos spoke up here in Big Bear last weekend. I was curious but didn't feel like spending $35 a pop to check it out.

Journal of No. 118