Random thoughts about random subjects… From science to literature and between manga and watercolours, passing by data science and rugby; including film, physics and fiction, programming, pictures and puns.
A couple of days ago a number of people I know as well as me received an email from LinkedIn congratulating us. Why? Well apparently we had “one of the most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012!” (Their exclamation mark by the way). Others received them with a 1% figure (lucky ones! – my exclamation mark this time).
It surely sounds great and it may make you feel special, right? I mean, top 5%…
Wait, the email also had a button you could click in order to obtain further information: “LinkedIn reached a new milestone: 200 million members”. So, 5% of 200 million is 10 million… In other words, LinkedIn sent the same email to a 9,999,999 other people.
I suppose LinkedIn relies in the idea that members that receive the email will be jumping up and down and not caring about the numbers that much and immediately start face booking, twitting, G+ing and any other -ing they do, and indeed LinkedIn was helpful enough allow people to do so at least via email.
In general the number is still a bit vague, I am not sure if they mean 200 million members that are active, or including those that opened an account and never logged in again, or even those that have more than one account (I know a couple of people that ended up creating new ones by mistake when replying to people inviting them to join using a different email address…). I wish they provided more information about their methods… but still, it may be a very good marketing campaign: LinkedIn members make use of some affective heuristic that helps them decide to share the very good news of being more professionally interesting than previously imagined and decide to become “premium users” to see who has viewed their profile for example.
Or am I just being to cynical about the whole thing? Did you receive one of those emails? What do you think?
A couple of weeks ago I finally had the opportunity to visit the Imperial War Museum in London. Having been to the Manchester branch (if that is a term you could use for a Museum) I had certain expectations, and although not all of turned out to be correct, I was pleasantly surprised.
The entrance of the Museum in Lambeth has a very different feeling to the one that the modern building in Trafford Park confers to the visiting experience, which is enhanced by the machines shown in the Large Exhibits Gallery. I was very interested in a couple of of the one and two-person submarines they have in there (see picture below).
It is indeed a big place. I had enough time to go around the ground floor and the basement, where they have an exhibition that replicates a home around the time of the Second World War. That alone deserves a visit (together with the cafe)!!
The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) was the venue, the band “Noah and the Whale”, the album-film “The First Days of Spring”, the result a bit mixed…
When I first heard “5 Years Time” I could not help but feel a smile to take shape in my face and I almost felt compelled to sing along the addictive “sun, sun, sun” choir. So when I heard that the ICA was going to hold a gig with the band and that they were also going to screen the film that was supposed to be released together with their new album I decided to get a couple of tickets.
The venue was, as usual Thursday evening, packed with people and the fact that there was also a play in the theatre added to the general feeling of an art evening. Eventually, people started to make their way to Cinema 1, where the film was shown. The film producer Olivier Kaempfer introduced the film by mentioning that they would start by showing what can only be described as a home made extended video of an unplugged impromptu gig at someone’s house. It obviously had its value, but I would have rather seen that playing in the bar as a background rather than the introduction to the film
By the time the actual film started you had already heard the main songs of the album and thus there was no actual surprise as to what the music brought to the narrative of the film. Now, for those of you who would have imagined that Dalí’s painting would have been some form of inspiration for the images in the film would be very disappointed. Instead we are presented with a low-budget 45-minute piece that tries to be an exploration of broken hearts, break-ups and loss. Although for someone as young as Fink, it seems to me to be early days to suffer that much for someone. That is not to say that his pain is not a valid emotion, but given some of the clichéd lyrics, you would know what I mean.
In my opinion the best scene of the shot film is the one where a seemingly serious and earnest elderly gentleman breaks into dance at the rhythm of an orchestral arrangement entitled “Love of an Orchestra”.
During the question and answer session, Fink mentioned that the idea of making the film along with the album was to provide the latter with a framework in which the audience has no choice but to listen to the entire compilation of songs, and what better way to keep the audience captive than in a dark cinema. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with being able to pick and choose the songs that you prefer in an album. This is a process that has happened even before the age of iTunes and the iPod. Just think of all those mixed tapes that people used to make for one another; some of them even with the same excuse of a broken heart.
Tonight the band has a gig in the same venue as part of the screening of the film. I hope that the live performance brings the best out their music; the film did not make it for me.
Last Sunday I had all the best intentions to go and finally see Martin Ritt’s “The spy that came from the cold”. We did try to make the appropriate bookings online. However, for one reason or other the BFI‘s website was not working properly. Being a nice sunny day (I know, it seems impossible to think about such a thing in London, but it indeed was nice and sunny) we thought that would make sense to go directly to the Southbank, grab a drink by the river and buy the tickets in the old fashion way.
The powers that be made sure that we were not to see Richard Burton playing the other side of the 007 coin. Determined to watch a film after all the effort of coming placed in getting to the Southbank, we decided to get tickets for the preview of Kathryn Bigelow’s latest film “The Hurt Locker”. The film follows a US bomb squad of the “Bravo Company” whose task is to disarm or control the detonation of “improvised explosive devices” (IED).
The film opens with a quote from Chris Hedges that equates the war experience with the effects of a very powerful drug. The semi-documentary style in which the film is shot gives it a definite air of authenticity and the acting is very convincing. I found very interesting the way in which the whole action takes places inside the squad itself and there is very little or no reference to politicians or even higher ranks within the military. The screenplay was written by Mark Boal who based it on his experiences with a real bomb squad.
The film is not a comment about the Iraq war itself, but a portrayal of the incongruences and horrors of war, any war, and contrasts those experiences with tedium of the typical American life-style by juxtaposing the violence of the battlefield, with the absurd consumerism in a supermarket with aisles piled up with cereal boxes.