IPNtv: The Unconquered

The Unconquered: riveting story of Poland in WW2 narrated by Sean Bean. www.unconquered-film.com

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The Brain on Trial

Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order.

ON THE STEAMY first day of August 1966, Charles Whitman took an elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower in Austin. The 25-year-old climbed the stairs to the observation deck, lugging with him a footlocker full of guns and ammunition. At the top, he killed a receptionist with the butt of his rifle. Two families of tourists came up the stairwell; he shot at them at point-blank range. Then he began to fire indiscriminately from the deck at people below. The first woman he shot was pregnant. As her boyfriend knelt to help her, Whitman shot him as well. He shot pedestrians in the street and an ambulance driver who came to rescue them.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/07/the-brain-on-trial/308520/

‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and Slavery

The article cited by journalist Radley Balko in the above tweet quotes the rarely sung third stanza of the anthem (see below), noting that the phrase “hireling and slave” refers to black slaves hired to fight on the side of the British during the War of 1812:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

https://www.snopes.com/2016/08/29/star-spangled-banner-and-slavery/

Fear and Anxiety Drive Conservative’s Political Attitudes

1. Conservatives tend to focus on the negative

In a 2012 study, liberal and conservative participants were shown collages of both negative and positive images on a computer screen while their eye movements were recorded. While liberals were quicker to look at pleasant images, like a happy child or a cute bunny rabbit, conservatives tended to behave oppositely. They’d first inspect threatening and disturbing pictures—things like car wrecks, spiders on faces, and open wounds crawling with maggots—and would also tend to dwell on them for longer. This is what psychologists call a “negativity bias”. If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. When attention is biased toward the negative, the result is an overly threat-conscious appraisal of one’s surroundings. Essentially, to many conservatives the world looks like a much scarier place. This would seem to explain why so many major conservative viewpoints tend to be rooted in irrational fears—like fear of the president, immigrants, Muslims, vaccinations, etc.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mind-in-the-machine/201612/fear-and-anxiety-drive-conservatives-political-attitudes

Tower

Had you ever heard of the tragic University of Texas shooting before? If so, what are your memories hearing about it? What was uniquely 1966 about this shocking event and what still resonates today? What strikes you about the unique way the story was told in the film? Continue reading

10 Great Animate Documentaries

Keith Maitland’s animated documentary TOWER [on Independent Lens Tuesday, February 14 at 10pm; check local listings] has left critics and awards-voting bodies alike flummoxed as to how best to categorize it. This is a visionary work, no doubt, that uses voice-actors and vintage audio to reconstruct what happened back in 1966 when a sniper shot dozens of people on the campus of University of Texas. The rotoscopic animation smoothes over the differences between the various source materials, creating a gripping—and ultimately moving—“you are there” effect. So was TOWER one of 2016’s best docs, or one of the best cartoons? Or was it something entirely new? Continue reading