Monday, June 27, 2016

A teleoperated android?

Consultation room…

Teleoperated android
Dr Max: The operation will be carried out using a laparoscopic robot.

Patient: A machine?

Dr Max: It’s more like a robot with our doctors operating it.

Patient: So who will do the operation? The robot or the doctor?

Dr Max: Think of it as a teleoperated android.
A doctor using more precise arms and seeing images magnified ten times. Will it work? We will know if the operation was successful if the white rabbit greets July.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reductio ad TOEIC score

In a meeting…

Chair: The level for passing should be set at TOEIC 600.

Member: One of my students only has a TOEIC score of 550 but he can summarise the plots of Hamlet and MacBeth. And he’s interesting to talk to. He should pass.

Chair: It’s simpler to stick to numbers.

Member (grumbling): Sounds an economic simplification. Language used to be taught through literature, then it was the communicative approach, now it’s reduced to achieving a TOEIC test score. Isn’t language ability a collection of skills more complex than that?

Howard Gardner:
Multiple Intelligences
A single measure to measure a range of behavioral skills? Haven’t we been there before? In the 1950s, IQ was reduced to an average of one’s maths and verbal abilities. Howard Gardner showed there are multiple intelligences. Perhaps there are multiple skills in language too?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Charging birds tree rent

Looking up into a tree…

Peter Finch: It’s a nest.

Petunia Lark: Inhabited?

Peter Finch: Yes. Look. Eager beaks.

Petunia Lark: Didn’t see it before. I should charge them rent. It’s my garden, after all. How long have they been there do you think?

Peter Finch: They take a week to make the nest, a couple of weeks to hatch the eggs, a couple of weeks to fly. Stay with the parents for a couple more weeks then they chase away the chicks to start their own lives.

Petunia Lark: Five weeks rent. Do they use the nest again? Can I keep it? Should I trash it?

Peter Finch: Very clean birds. They make a new nest for each brood. You can keep it as a memento of their visit.

Zosterops japonicas: gregarious, inquisitive, monogamous birds. Take care not to disturb them too much when nesting.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Running a coffee shop

Hasta la vista barrista
This is how…

Customer: Coffee of the day. Medium size. Hot.

Barrista: Always the same.

Customer: Well, you change the coffee every day, so I have to keep something constant.

Barrista: Today, the beans are from Yemen. Medium roast.

Customer: Ah. Terrorista barrista?

Barrista: It’s an exciting brew.
This is how my favorite coffee shop does coffee. Their daily coffee is a different bean, a different roast from a different country every day. It’s written up on a board. Next follows some banter. Then you get to leave.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Tokyo 2020 Documentary Prediction

Ichikawa's telephoto lenses...
Great moments in sport…

Oracle: Ali? The greatest!

Talib: And the greatest sports movie?

Oracle: Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad 1964 in my book.
...went inside the athletes' minds.

Talib: And will the Tokyo 2020 Olympic movie be as good?

Oracle: It’ll be different. Ichikawa’s film was a celebration of ritual, spectacle, Japan, with lots of short clips of human interest darting in and out. Documentaries are different now. I predict there’ll be post-modernist, democratized, technologized elements.
Postmodern: A non-linear, non-chronological narrative.
Democratized: Crowd-sourced footage, perhaps through a competition.
Technologized: Drones, robots and animation.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Brave White Rabbit

White Rabbit (singing): Roots, fruits, greens and beans!

Mr McGregor: How unusual. A song about food sung by food.

White Rabbit: Oh dear! Bang, bang goes the farmer's gun. Run, rabbit, run! Rabbits are brave.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

PowerPoint to Movie

Inconvenient Truth did a great job…

Beyond PowerPoint
Marigold: Do I need special editing software to make a simple film?

Teacher: You can use PowerPoint. It’ll do a lot. The slides act as a storyboard. You add text. You add pictures. Set the slide background color. You can add voice-over narration. Music. And movie clips.

Marigold: How do I play it as a movie though?

Teacher: Set transitions from the Slideshow menu. Choose Set up Show, choose “Kiosk”, then add slide duration like 2 or 3 seconds in the top right corner. Save as Movie.
Those are the basic steps. Start with a suspenseful story, interesting characters and appropriate pacing. Then edit, edit, edit.