A slow-video screensaver of a zen-train-run

The little time left available after taxiing daughters around, improvising plumber and handyman, and other menial tasks, I experimented a bit.

One little idea I found is a slow OS X screensaver. It consists of a piece of software that get installed as a screensaver. The piece de resistance is a 3-hour-long video, though, which you should configure the screensaver with, of a front view from a train departing Bergen station (Norway) and traveling for that long. A monotonous, long, beautiful video of all the landscape, tunnels included (each with a name and length), and many trees and water and sounds.

A perfect screensaver, except it drains your battery for days, possibly also in the future, after you deactivate it. Marvelous.

Meanwhile, enjoy the virtual travel. I found out by the way there are numerous (long) videos with a front view of a train run. Completely, utterly boring, wharolian masterpieces.

I wonder–what about changing videos with other kinds of slow word-less films? People sleeping, swimming, dancing, eating, painting? Sex? Some may not be appropriate on a corporate computer.

[Featured image by Matt Haughey, taken shamefully form his site 15 minutes on the morning.]

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The many views of a humble map

In December 2015 I read a stunning novel, Viviane, by the first-time writer Julia Deck. It was originally published by the most prestigious publisher of France, Éditions de Minuit. Viviane is the story of a madwoman, or not, in any case, a woman who is recently divorced, with one little daughter.

You said no, I’m the one who’s leaving. Keep everything, I’m taking the child, you won’t need alimony. You moved out on October 15, found a babysitter, extended your maternal leave for health reasons, and on Monday, November 15–yesterday–you killed your psychoanalist.

This a dark story of a thin mind line, oscillating on the verge of the abyss. It’s perhaps a noir, complete with a police detective. Viviane walks around Paris shadowing her husband, and while reading a took note of the places–some familiar– she visits. Then I found batchgeo.com, a nice website where with the input of the list of actual places and I got an embeddable Google map of the itinerary, which by the way, I’d like to replicate as soon as I’m there (which is not so soon). I published everything on this blog, together with the map “Viviane shadowing her husband”.

Mapping a Novel

The visited places are:

Place, City, Country
rue des Ecoles, Paris, France
rue Linné, Paris, France
rue des Arenes, Paris, France
rue Monge, Paris, France
rue de Navarre, Paris, France
place Saint Medard, Paris, France
rue des Carmes, Paris, France
rue Pot de Fer, Paris, France
rue du Roi de Sicile, Paris, France
pont Saint Michel, Paris, France
Conciergerie, Paris, France

Now, I got an email from batchgeo.com, saying that I have gone over the views limit for that map, and they will probably shut it down. But they haven’t yet. In fact they have been very kind with my naive mapping effort. Now, the surprising fact is, I goit over one thousand (yes, 1,000) views in three years. Ain’t that amazing? This is no deepfake nor any viral meme, but a map of places that inspired me. It’s still there, for some time.

Wonders of the Internetz.

View Viviane in a full screen map

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An adventure in cinema

I love cinema, and I am so happy for the opportunity to teach a class of Italian Cinema and Culture this semester. The class is ending now, and the last picture we watched and commented was Antonioni’s L’avventura.

I had watched this movie recently, courtesy of my friend John Olmo, the Chemistry professor and movie expert, but this time I loved the movie even more. It’s definitely one of my most-loved films ever. (I’ve got to produce a list of my most-liked films soon, I promise).

My students loved it too, and we all felt compelled to talk about it after the 140+ minutes (which we had to split in two parts) it lasts. What a wonderful thing a movie can do, having people think and talk and write about it.

I found the movie a lot more sensual than the last time I watched it. And I enjoyed so much the limbo state of the protagonists, who don’t know what they do and why they do it. It was 1960, and I think that ambiguity has stayed with humankind, at least the western part of it. The character Claudia always says she pursues clarity, she’s sort of obsessed by it, and still she won’t find it, and she will in the end accept that frail doubt of her existence, in the memorable last scene of the movie.

My students immediately said they would GIF out the last scene. So I couldn’t resist. I started on a spree and produced the following, all from the trailer (this lazy me).

Splendid Monica Vitti with her character Claudia, a feminine seeker of truth and clarity who, like all the others, is bound to living in anxiety and doubt.

The male protagonist Sandro, played by Gabriele Ferzetti, hides himself after doing something which not even he himself can understand (and neither can we, the ecstatic watchers). Plus, he had lost his fiancée a couple of days earlier.

Lea Massari impersonates Anna, the woman who disappears while on a boat trip on a barren isle within the Aeolian archipelago, just off Sicily. She vanishes but she’s still a protagonist (hello, Hitchcock!)


And this is one of the upscale women who neither knows what she wants, nor is interested in discovering who she is. She just acts, like all the rest. “Acts” like doing stuff, and also like actress-acting. Her character is Patrizia, played by Esmeralda Ruspoli.

The thing I learned after some Web explorations, though, came quite unexpected. I didn’t know the movie, at the Cannes Festival premiere, was booed and laughed at by the public. So much so that Monica Vitti said she felt awful after spending so much energy in the movie. She and all the crew believed in the movie and the world collapsed on them at that screening. What’s interesting is that the day after they received a letter, signed by international journalists and film directors stating that they found it to be the most beautiful film ever presented at the Festival. Also interesting is the public success the film found as soon it was released in theaters. Here is a Monica Vitti interview from those times.

My students liked it and appreciated its tempo lungo, its longish development in which not much actually happens and the mystery is never resolved. Perhaps, like many mysteries of contemporary life and world.

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Women in blue

Beautiful portraits of women by Lisa Brice I got from The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2018/may/19/lady-in-blue-the-nudes-of-lisa-brice-in-pictures).

I got very attracted by them because, in the newspaper’s words,

“Whether her figures are undressing or enjoying a cigarette, “they are not presenting themselves for the pleasure of the viewer – their own pleasure is paramount”.

I mean, the pleasure of the viewer is not sought when the artists paints her nudes, and a  sense of pleasure is achieved nonetheless (of course) for the viewers. To me, this is in a way, a definition of not porno.

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delicious Zeitgeist 10/22/2018

[I tag “delicious” on diigo all the items from my web skating that deserve to be shared here. They get auto-posted on draft. I edit the drafts and join a few of them at a time. Voilá.]

This time we have a couple of good websites, each a trove of resources for building on and with the Web.

Last, an article that seems so much like a promotional package disguised as an edtech article.

Vorder Bruegge’s redesigned college algebra course

In one strike, this article covers: McGraw-Hill Education; ALEKS; iPads; Apple Pencils; Promethean ActivBoards; Promethean ActivWall; and Pearson’s MyLab. #wow

tags:technology student outcomes CEDI18 edtech delicious

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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