INSIDE OUT: A SAD, SORROWFUL JOY

American psychologist Paul Ekman pioneered the study of human emotions creating an atlas of thousands of emotions. These can be boiled down into seven: anger, contempt, fear, disgust, happiness, sadness and surprise.

For Disney Pixar’s latest film, Inside Out, we start with the basics.

A child, Riley, is born. In her head she experiences her first emotion and Joy (Amy Poehler) steps into the void. A bubbly, bouncy, excitable character who controls a console in Riley’s head dictating how she reacts to any given situation. She’s quickly joined by Anger (Lewis Black), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). Thus making up five of Ekman’s seven key emotions (surprise and contempt not making the cut being similar to anger and disgust I imagine, and for the film’s sake, seven are too many characters).

With this film, Pixar, in all their inventiveness, have laid out how the human mind works in a way that’s fully accessible to children and adults alike. For example, to begin with they introduce us to how memories are formed and how they’re attached to the emotions; glowing orbs that roll into Riley’s mind, each colour representing the overriding emotion linked to that memory. From a few scenes we quickly understand the concept of long and short-term memory and ‘core memories’ that form the building blocks of one’s personality, in this case Riley’s. These power the fundamental aspects of her personality: friendship, family, her love of hockey etc. We also understand how the five characters/emotions fight for supremacy when faced with certain situations and how they defer leadership to each other.

For example, for most of Riley’s life Joy has ruled the roost (and her emotions). Then the family move to San Francisco and Riley loses her friends and everything she has known and her personality changes irrevocably. Joy finds herself increasingly unable to control Riley’s mind and the other emotions. This was the building block – and brain child – of director Pete Docter, and the idea upon which he based the story.

As things go from bad to worse for Riley (at least in her head, moving to San Francisco can’t be that bad surely?), Joy and Sadness find themselves out of brain HQ and marooned in her long-term memory. So theirs becomes a journey movie, as they must get back in control of Riley’s mind and back to HQ. At least, that’s Joy’s plan. Sadness sort of tags along for the ride dragging her down.

The way Docter and Pixar personified these emotions in order to explain growing up, being a child and the loss of innocence, is remarkable and, at times, quite heartbreaking (the loss of Goofball Island brought a tear to my eye). Rarely has a film so succintly laid out the inner machinations of a person’s mind before. We get Imagination Land, the Train of Thought, Dream Production, even the corridor of Abstract Thought. It’s like Google decided to set up an office in someone’s mind and let loose (scarily, this may happen in the future).

And just to prove it’s not just Riley (and young girls) the filmmakers understand, at certain points they dive inside other character’s heads to hilarious effect. More jokes for the adults than the kids, but the balance between pleasing audiences old and young is never an easy thing, and here Docter and his team makes it look easy.

Like a mash up between Alice in Wonderland and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, this is is a movie which tackles big themes and complex issues in an almost effortless way. It will make you laugh and cry (definitely if you’re a parent) and, as long as you understand the importance of – and why we need – both, then the filmmakers will, no doubt, feel their work is done. Hurrah Pixar, add this to your classics.

LEGEND: HARDY GIVES US BOTH BARRELS

Ronnie and Reggie. They almost sound sweet don’t they? Like Bill and Ben the flower pot men. But they’re not. Far from it. Ronald and Reginald Kray were possibly the scariest two brothers you could hope to meet (or pray not to meet) in London in the ’50s and ’60s. Born identical twins in 1933, they worked their way up the organised crime ladder to become owners of nightclubs and casinos, rubbing shoulders with celebrities, politicans and high society types alike.

Quite a story you might say, it would make a good film. Well, it’s been done before. In 1990 Gary and Martin Kemp (of Spandau Ballet) had a crack at it and did ok, receiving mildly positive acclaim. Yet they never quite had the cajones or screen presence to really do these two guys justice.

Fast forward fifteen years and we get a much slicker production, bigger budget, better cast and, most importantly, a lead that is nothing but menace and screen presence, Tom Hardy. As an actor Hardy had had a few decent parts for a few years until Nicholas Winding Refn cast him as Charles Bronson in Bronson. A towering, menacing performance that not only put him on the map, but showed the world that right here is an actor with real swagger, real menace, and intensity in buckets.

And so the parts kept coming: an unhinged MMA fighter in Warrior, Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, Max Rockatansky in Mad Max: Fury Road… yet he still hadn’t really fully opened the taps. He still hadn’t showed us what he could do.

With Legend, now he has. Most actors would relish the opportunity to play a legendary gangster, but two? Well, now you’re just being too nice. Not that being too nice is something you could associate with the Krays, but if it was just ‘a hard man’ you were after you may as well call Vinnie Jones. What Hardy has done so masterfully with this film is provide depth and likeability to both Ronnie and Reggie.

You root for them (sort of). Now that’s a hard task, and a hard ask of an actor. You need endless charisma and screen presence, and you need to pull off a convincing double role (acting opposite yourself, or a stand-in or a broom or something, it must be confusing).

In terms of story this film is based on a book by John Pearson, The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins. It was written and directed by Brian Helgeland (of L.A. Confidential fame) and focuses on Reggie and his relationship with his wife Frances (Emily Browning) and how he dealt with his increasingly volatile brother Ron.

We cover a fair amount of ground, from the start of the Krays’ rise in power to their involvement with the American mafia and British Lords and politicians. At times Helgeland veers slightly into black humour territory, particularly as Hardy gives us that wild-eyed psychotic stare that made Ron seem so menacing, channelling more than a good dollop of Bronson in the process. With Reggie he had a harder job, showing a sweet side as he wooed Frances, then turning quite frighteningly on a dime to show intense menace if something displeased him.

In both performances he utterly convinces, sucking you in, compelling you to watch what – as either Ronnie or Reggie – he’s going to do next. The rest of the cast (David Thewlis, Paul Bettany, briefly) do a fine job, but ultimately this is the Tom Hardy show and there’s barely a second of screen time in which he doesn’t dominate.

And as far as British gangster films go, this has to be up there with the greats such as The Long Good Friday, Get Carter and Layer Cake (underrated in my book). Even if you take the British bit out, this is still a gangster film worthy of that title alongside other classics from around the world. It may be a touch long and the story may lack a bit of punch (despite much punching going on) and momentum, but one cannot argue with the committed intensity of Hardy’s two performances. They’re a fair few months off but, Oscar anyone?

(Oh, and Hollywood, offer Tom more parts like this please.)

SPECTRE: MENDES DOES BOND’S GREATEST HITS

Poor old Sam Mendes. In some ways he’s a victim of his own success. Skyfall broke a billion at the box office so it was a tough act to follow. Particularly if that act was yourself.

But Dan and Sam formed a superb working relationship on Skyfall, so why wouldn’t they roll the dice again? And roll they did, upping the stakes by introducing the shadowy organisation SPECTRE, helmed by the Bond franchise’s favourite go-to bad guy, Blofeld (Christoph Waltz).

For SPECTRE we start in Mexico in an impressive Day of the Dead sequence which sees Bond bring his usual suave and swagger to proceedings. A solid opener.

So far so Live and Let Die.

From there – much like the whole of the Craig era so far – the story continues to explore the path of the previous films, particularly Skyfall, with Bond and the double O programme being seen as obsolete in a modern world where drones and data reign supreme. Leading the charge is the nefarious C (Andrew Scott); giving M (Ralph Fiennes) a foil of his own. Old school versus new school you might say.

And as the story unfolds echoes of Craig’s reign as Bond keep cropping up, almost like a final send-off. Is this his last film?

And as well as the Craig era references it seemed Mendes bowed to fan pressure and brought back a number of classic tropes. You could probably play a drinking game with the deluge of Bond references on show and end up hammered way before the second act.

Generally though, in terms of a Bond story, this does feel tonally like it’s closer to the original books, perhaps more so than Casino Royale (still the best Craig Bond). But the problem this film finds itself in, more than anything, is despite attempting to have a natural evolution from the past few stories, it feels cobbled together. Our hero races from one set piece and country to the next and it all feels forced. With loose threads and characters dropped at various points to keep the story moving along it seemed the writers had leapt on a runaway train and had no idea how to stop it.

Simple stories are often the hardest to tell and, in this case, it feels as if the filmmakers have overcomplicated things. And somehow, bafflingly, they’ve put themselves in a place where, despite trying to continue the story from past outings, they still have to world build and introduce new characters. And that always takes time.

So for me, SPECTRE the organisation and SPECTRE the film promised so much but delivered relatively little. Again, this is probably partially down to Sam Mendes impressing us all with his first go round, but for the most part this latest franchise entry just underwhelmed me.

Trying to pin down the reasons behind my feeling (or lack of it) I think was partly due to the story feeling clunky and numerous characters being short-changed. And when they did show up they barely made an impact (Monica Bellucci and Dave Bautista, the top suspects). Those that did get more scenes also didn’t really leap off the screen (Andrew Scott for example, just seemed unhappy to be there).

And some just didn’t seem to fit the film properly at all; specifically Lea Seydoux as Bond’s love interest. Now she’s French, so I wonder whether they were trying to replicate the Eva Green effect with Craig? That fizzled at the time. Here though, Seydoux does perfectly well, but just seems too young and cute to be the right fit. Whether it’s actually an age thing I don’t know (Craig is 47, Seydoux is 30), but I’m not entirely buying that. Chemistry is chemistry, and here it didn’t work.

Or maybe Mendes just had other fish to fry? In particular Christoph Waltz as Blofeld. Waltz, if you give him good lines, will make them sing and dance for you. Yet here, as the powerful and troubled head of SPECTRE, he didn’t seem that frightening. He also didn’t have many scenes which really came alive. He’s undoubtedly a terrific actor, but it seemed like he was either coasting or didn’t have much to work with.

Now many critics (and fans) have raved about this film already. Strong opening weekend, Mendes, Craig and the gang back together again and all that… so maybe I’m being harsh but I’ll stick to my guns. Bond is the longest running franchise in cinematic history (excluding the Carry On films, wahey!) and its standards are high, so we expect more. And I’m not even a rabid fan.

I am, however, a huge fan of Casino Royale and Skyfall and some past Bonds (I grew up in the Pierce Brosnan era), but each new instalment should surpass the last, and this one just trod water. Which simply isn’t acceptable. Judi Dench’s M would never have stood for it.

HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 REVIEW

There’s an anecdote Elijah Wood tells about how Jack Nicholson walked out of The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King because he thought it had ended – and that there were too many endings. In some ways it feels like Mockingjay – Part 2 has taken a leaf out of LOTR’s playbook, either in terms of stretching something into two when it really should have remained as one, or by attempting to milk the ending of Part 2 for all it’s worth. Either way, I didn’t buy it.

That’s not to say the actors didn’t sell it. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss remains as watchable as ever (I’ve been a huge fan since Winter’s Bone days), it’s just, structurally, it didn’t grab me. Is this a case of sticking too slavishly to the books? (I can’t say as I haven’t read them.) Or is it a case – as is the way with a lot of Hollywood blockbusters – in that you have a great idea and characters, you set them up nicely then have no idea how to finish it in a satisfying way?

That’s the hard part. Endings.

Beginnings are easy, that’s like a honeymoon, an affair, or even a steamy fling. It’s all lusty and shiny and new and exciting. But once you’ve had a chance to live with these characters a bit and get to know them, do you then stick around? Do you care enough to want to stick around?

The other issue is, if you build up a big franchise with global appeal (as Hunger Games has done) you set yourself a huge benchmark. People expect big, dramatic, heartbreaking things. If you don’t give them that they feel short-changed. And it’s not overly critical to say Mockingjay – Part 2 does pinch on pennies in certain places when it comes to evoking our emotions.

Let’s take the general plot. Leader of the rebels President Coin (Julianne Moore) wants Katniss to hang back during the final battle with President Snow (Donald Sutherland) to wheel her out for a victory lap and as you’d expect, she doesn’t follow orders. Her team – complete with Finnick (Sam Claflin), Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) – infiltrate Snow’s district in a sort of drawn out surgical strike. To hold them back Snow gets the gamemakers to set traps, turning the Capitol into its own Hunger Games.

Now here’s where it gets interesting.

Turning the Capitol into a booby-trapped minefield sounds great on paper. Plenty of ways for the characters to interact with the cityscape, perhaps with Snow taunting them on monitors and screens and finding ever more inventive ways for the rebels to wish him dead. Instead, what we get is a rather lethargic series of set pieces (with the exception of a sequence underground) where Katniss and the gang evade the traps and sleep quite a lot (honestly, count the number of naps they take, it kills the film’s pace).

Perhaps it’s the difficult (and uneccessary) second album syndrome kicking in? Here’s an idea, take all the best bits of Mockingjay parts 1 and 2 and put them into a tight final story and it probably would have had a lot of emotional impact and been a roller-coaster of a finish to the franchise. But here it feels more a case of characters fading away than burning out.

And when Coin finally does seize power from Snow, even the most wooden-headed viewer can tell what’s going to happen to her. Then, coming full circle, there’s the end. Seriously, how many times do you need to end a film? It probably should have finished on an emotionally harrowing note (let’s face it, the franchise has gotten more serious and po-faced as it’s gone on) but instead director Francis Lawrence opts for lashings of cheese come the finish. Which really wasn’t needed. And, if anything, further served to put me off.

So as a result, for me, if I take the franchise as a whole, it started well enough but petered out as it went on, which is a shame to have to say. And whilst I’m not saying one man could have saved it, I think it suffered a lot from the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman – an actor who could do more with a wry smile and a nod than most of the rest of the cast put together.

There’s talk of the studio doing a prequel. I hope they don’t bother with the young cast and instead just focus of President Snow: The Early Years. His rise to power could be something. And who doesn’t love a bad guy with snowy white beard and a little chuckle? Perhaps he started life good and slowly became corrupted by the world around him? I’d watch that.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS REVIEW

Is it acceptable for a 33-year-old man to well up multiple times during this film? Probably not, but it happened. It was bound to happen. I mean, from the opening shot of the logo I was struggling to hold it together. Perhaps because I’ve now finished work and it’s been a long year, but it’s more than that, it’s Star Wars. And we’re all hoping beyond hope that J.J. Abrams will give us something good and help take away the pain of the last lot of films.

Happily, I’m pleased to report he does. The Force Awakens is set a few decades after the events of the original films and the First Order has risen as the new evil power led – in part – by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who looks to the memory of Darth Vader as his inspiration to do bad things. Incidentally, Driver is impressive as the new bad guy. Stepping into the shoes of cinema’s greatest villian is no easy task, but his evolution is a compelling one.

But, to backtrack a moment, we begin the film with Finn (John Boyega), a stormtrooper with a crisis of confidence who teams up with resistance fighter Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to escape Ren’s clutches. Finn quickly meets resourceful scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) and they – in turn – meet Han Solo (Harrison Ford, as if you need telling) and Chewie and things kick on from there. And this feels good, natural, a nice blend of newcomers and classic characters we know and love. We’re in a safe place. Ok, now we can relax and enjoy it all.

The plot largely revolves around the First Order and the Resistance both hunting for Luke Skywalker who has gone into hiding, Yoda style. At the same time the First Order have built an upgrade to the Death Star, which the Resistance must destroy or face being wiped out by themselves; so what we have is a partial retread of the original first film with touches of the other two originals, for the most part.

Abrams, being a lifelong fan, has gone for the look and feel of the original as much as he can too, with practical effects making a welcome return. And The Force Awakens also manages to balance the light, adventurous tone we originally loved with the pathos and torture of the dark side well, which is no easy thing. Recently I criticised SPECTRE for feeling like Bond’s greatest hits, yet here Abrams does a similar thing. Although there’s a difference between a loving nod and a lazy reference, and I think Abrams succeeded where Sam Mendes mostly failed.

Perhaps what it all boils down to is character and emotional connection (a tricky thing with Bond as he reinvents himself every few years, and is a bit of a cold fish). With Star Wars the audience is full to bursting with nostalgic love before the film has even begun, so it’s more a case of the filmmakers just not dropping the ball.

Give us what we love, but give us new stuff too. Which they do. (You’ll grin like a kid at Christmas – and it almost is Christmas, so everyone’s a winner!)

So whilst this film starts with newcomer Finn, it’s more other newcomer Rey’s tale really. And she gets thrown into the action from the off, but definitely not as arm candy for the male characters, she kicks ass better than most – something it’s clear Abrams is keen to show (and on strong female characters he has past form) so it’s refreshing to see her front and centre of this story.

In some ways she reminded me a lot of Keira Knightley in Pirates of the Caribbean, in terms of both how she looks physically and how her character reacts to situations, fighting her corner and forging her own destiny.

Although, even with Pirates Knightley’s character often found herself having to be rescued by the guys (but this was almost a decade ago, so she sort of paved the way a bit for characters like Rey). And with Rey she is rarely at the mercy of a male character, unless it’s Ren – even then there’s stuff she does which will surprise you, without giving too much away.

But just so it’s not all Daisy Ridley, others should get a mention too. John Boyega, for example, is much funnier than I expected him to be. Having only seen him as the strong and silent type in Attack the Block he’s done pretty much a 180 to play talkative Finn, balancing comedy with the film’s more dramatic moments. And it’s so reassuring to have Han Solo knocking around the place, too. He gives the film a gravitas and legitimacy playing the elder statesman role, but still with a growl and a cocky line or two to remind you who you’re watching.

As far as the rest of the cast go, the movie flies along at such a pace that many other characters (originals and newbies) get scant screen time, but you get the sense their stories will be expanded during the next two films and there’s a lot more to come. So that’s OK then.

All in all, it has to be a big thumbs up and a hurrah for Abrams. He’s made a Star Wars film that people will come back to time and again, one that fits in well with the franchise and tees things up nicely for the next two. He’s also (arguably) repeated his trick of rescuing another franchise (after Star Trek) and restored faith in these stories for many round the world. And all in time for Christmas.

Thanks J.J. We owe you one. May the force be with you.

JOY: LAWRENCE ADDS STRINGS TO HER BOW

Let’s say, in some other reality, Jennifer Lawrence hadn’t met David O. Russell and her career had (thus far) just been built upon an impressively gritty debut (Winter’s Bone) and a teen action franchise (Hunger Games), would we hold her in such high regard?

I rather doubt it. And this really isn’t a dig, but it’s fair to say her collaboration with writer-director David O. Russell over three films now (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and now Joy) have hugely elevated her career – in terms of dramatic credentials – and evolved her talent as one of Hollywood’s top actresses.

One thing it’s worth noting is that she’s always been able to hold the screen well and could carry a film right from the start of her career but, each time she works with O. Russell, he pushes her further. She evolves and matures.

Now it’s arguable that Silver Linings Playbook may be a more satisfying film for audiences, but in Joy she perhaps gives a more complete and complex performance. Oscar material some say it may be, but first and foremost we as the audience must connect with her character and journey. Which we do, of course.

When we meet Joy she’s a young girl with hopes and dreams who likes to make things. Flash forward and she’s a young mother looking after a demented father (Robert de Niro) who’s been booted out of his latest relationship and a cabaret singer ex-husband (Edgar Ramirez) who both end up living in her basement. Oh, and a mother (Virginia Madsen) who spends her time in bed endlessly watching soaps and no one appears to be doing much to hold the family together, except Joy. And so she’s lost her lust and vitality for life, scraping a living trying to make ends meet.

On paper you might say this has quirky Wes Anderson written all over it. But David O. Russell tends to do things his own way and it’s almost always substance over style and character drives everything. And Joy is a character, that’s evident. She evolves in clear and distinct ways. From the moment she invents her Miracle Mop she’s focused and more driven. There’s an edge to her and she becomes more hardened and glassy-eyed each time she faces a new challenge, whether it’s from those closest to her putting her down in well-meaning but ultimately rather tactless ways, or those she meets in business who try and get one over on her and more often than not, emphatically fail.

And Lawrence gives her a wonderful texture and believability.

She’s always been good at delivering lines with gravitas for one so young, but she does make it look rather effortless at times, completely drawing us into her performance. The rest of the cast ain’t half bad too. If only De Niro stuck to these kinds of films from now we’d all be happier. For every Joy he does a Dirty Grandpa or some other type of drivel not worth his talent. But hey, he’s Robert de Niro, he can do what he likes.

Another David O. Russell alumni present is Bradley Cooper; more front and centre in Silver Linings Playbook here he has a smaller part, but makes an impact sharing a few rather touching scenes with Lawrence as the man who gives Joy her first big break on the QVC channel.

What’s notable about this film (in that it’s absent) is the complete lack of a romantic subplot or character with whom she ‘has to have’ steamy moments to keep the audience interested. As the film starts with the fact she’s divorced we get a flashback to their time together, but purely for character development as the story doesn’t linger there long. And rightly so, that’s not what’s being told and it would be distracting. Kudos to O. Russell for staying the course.

So what we have, at the end of it all, is quite an inspiring tale to keep pushing tenaciously for your dreams and to believe in yourself – held together masterfully by Jennifer Lawrence, who probably gets better every time I see her in a film (always a good sign).

Incidentally, not a bad way to see in gloomy January I’d say.

Those amazing underground temples

The temple is mysterious and sacred. Has always been hailed as the closest place to God. At home and abroad, there are countless temples of all kinds, magnificent and magnificent, witnessing the changes of history.

Batu Caves Malaysia

Batu Caves is a Hindu sacred place of worship. Located 11 km north of Kuala Lumpur, it is a limestone cave cluster, nestled in the midst of a jungle hillside. It is accessible from the foothills of 272 steep steps and there are also cable cars that reach the entrance.

The Batu Caves were discovered more than 100 years ago. There are 255 hectares of limestone and there are no more than 20 caves. Black holes and light holes are the most famous. The black hole is chilly and dripping, and its trails are steep and winding. It is more than 2 kilometers long and inhabits more than 150 species of bats, white snakes and pythons.

Dammanul Temple, Italy

Damanhur in Italy is an ecovillage hidden for 15 years. In the depths of Mountain Vidracco there is an underground temple. The total space of the temple is about 6,000 cubic meters and its vertical height is 70 meters. It is the largest underground temple in the world. Call it a must. Mirror Hall has the world’s largest glass turret, which is made up of 2600 pieces of glass connected together. Several falcons spread their wings around the sun.

In 1978, construction of underground temples began. Each architectural element and detail in the temple of Dammanul comes with some hints and allegiances, but also with some special features. Like the Pyramids and the Gothic Cathedral, it is like a three-dimensional book full of knowledge. The entire temple is equivalent to an 11-storey building with seven halls, namely the Blue Temple, the Water Hall, the Ball Hall, the Hall of Mirrors, the Golden Hall, the Tu Hall, and the maze. The construction of the entire underground temple took about 16 years.

Sipaquila Salt Cathedral Colombia

The city of Sibakira is located 49 km from Bogota, the capital of Colombia. There is a famous underground salt church in Si Pakira, famous for its rare underground structure. The Salt Church was built in the 1950s and is based on a salt mine 180 meters deep underground. The sculptures in the church are made of marble and salt ore.

The main entrance of the Salt Church is built on a hill. Unlike the general church, it has a complex and complicated decoration. It looks far from the front, and only after it is found is there a cave. Due to the special nature of underground salt mines, a “Miner Experience Tour” project was established within the church. Visitors wore the miner’s light and held the shovel. They needed to hold each other to reach the depths of the salt mine through narrow passages.

Mogao Grottoes China

The Mogao Grottoes were built during the Sixteen Kingdom Period. During the Sui and Tang Dynasties, with the prosperity of the Silk Road, the Mogao Grottoes flourished and there were more than a thousand caves in Wu Zetian. The Mogao Grottoes were built on the cliffs of the eastern foothills of Mingsha Mountain, 25 kilometers southeast of Dunhuang City. The total length of the north and south is 1680 meters. There are 735 existing caves built over the ages. They are distributed on cliffs that are 15 to 30 meters high, and range from 1 to 4 floors.

There are more than 500 caves in the Dunhuang Caves. There are 492 paintings and colorful sculptures. According to the cave architecture and function, they are divided into central pillar caves (branches), hall caves (central Buddhist altars), covered caves, and large statues. Caves, Nirvana caves, Buddhist temples, burial chambers, caves, caves, caves and other forms, as well as some stupas. The rich and colorful mural paintings, various Buddhist sutras, mountains and rivers scenery, pavilions and pavilions are the artistic representations of the folk customs and historical changes from the 16th to the Qing Dynasty for over 1500 years. They are majestic and magnificent.

Hewn Rock Church Ethiopia

The Ethiopian rock church is unique in the world. The most famous is Lalibela, which is more than 300 kilometers north of Addis Ababa. The Lalibela Rock Church was built during the reign of King Lalibela in the late 12th century AD. It is called the “miracle of Africa.” It is an extraordinary product of the prosperous development of Christian civilization in Ethiopia in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The 11 rock churches in Lalibela are roughly divided into 3 groups, each connected by a tunnel and a corridor. Each church covers tens to hundreds of square meters, equivalent to the height of three or four-story buildings. As the church was completely chiseled in the rock of the mountain, the construction was extremely difficult. Perhaps the most striking of the churches in Lalibela is the Church of Jesus Christ. It is 33 meters long, 23 meters wide and 11 meters high. The carved cornices are supported by 34 square columns. This is the only church in Ethiopia with five naves.

 

In Future companies will rely on robots to direct employees

The software engineer at Bridgewater Associates, LP, the world’s largest hedge fund, is developing a secret artificial intelligence project that will automate the company’s management, which is entirely dominated by robots. Ray Dalio, the company’s founder, called the project “The Book of the Future.”

But the company’s founders took the initiative to implement this futuristic idea. The new technology developed by the company will incorporate Dalyo’s non-traditional management methods into software systems. Allegedly, the system will send “GPS-style instructions” to employees, plan a clear schedule for employees to perform precisely like a machine, and arrange even fine-tuning when to call a customer. The system is currently under research and development. The exact details of its business are still being discussed within the company. Some details of the project are still a secret. An employee familiar with the project described it as “replicating Dalio’s brain with a computer.”

Dario’s leadership style is very different. In meetings in the company to record, the company encourages employees to criticize each other, people often discuss their own weaknesses. In his blog, Dalio wrote: “Criticism is popular and encouraging in the company, so there is no reason to talk behind the scenes.” And the performance of employees is also measured by a pile of data, and all this is up to Under the control of Rio. After automating the management model, even if Dario wouldn’t be employed by the company, the bridge fund he founded will continue to operate in accordance with his management model.

Bridgewater, which manages assets of up to $160 billion, is the largest of all hedge fund companies. According to LCH Investments, a company that invests client funds in hedge funds, Bridgewater’s profits are double the total profits of all competitors. According to the financial magazine “Institutional Investor”, Mr. Dario’s personal income alone reached US$1.4 billion last year. The “Future Book” software automation management, officially called “principal operating system” (abbreviated as Prios), will make the company’s management as systematic as the company’s investment process. The system’s input data comes from the personality test results of Bridgewater employees. In these tests, the managers passed a written test to determine their “hierarchy”, which was based on an unconventional score of the conceptual skills developed by Canadian psychoanalyst Elliott Jaques.

The test questions included “What is the biggest problem Bridgewater currently faces?” Those who can find long-term trends will score higher. Mr. Dalio had the highest test score and the company made this information public. Similarly, Bridgewater’s software determines that Mr. Dalio is the company’s most “trusted” employee in matters such as investment and leadership, which means that his opinion is even more important.

The ultimate goal is that the automated management system PriOS will be able to predict the outcome of the meeting before the meeting is completed and guide people to take certain actions throughout the day. The role of the company’s employees will no longer be to make individual decisions, but to design the system to make decisions, and to intervene when the system is abnormal. Within five years, Mr. Dalio’s goal is to make nearly three-quarters of management decisions up to Prios. Ultimately, office work will completely disappear and machines will replace humans.

Scientists have confirmed that we must carry out genetic modification in the future!

Human beings are not in the process of evolution all the time. Although the process is very slow, this process has never stopped. Compared to human beings before 2000 years, human beings have undergone tremendous changes both in appearance and in mind. In the coming years, this change will continue.

Harvard University scientist Juan Anriyquiz pointed out that in the future when human beings live on another planet, they need to genetically modify human organs so that humans can live longer on other planets. The genetic transformation will make humans stronger, move faster and resist diseases more effectively. But every time man-made enhancement acts, it will potentially turn humanity into a “superhuman.” AsapScience, a popular science media company in Canada, recently released a new video, in which a number of scientists simulated the depiction of human beings after a thousand years in the video. In the video, the human body in the future will be a semi-human machine. Under the influence of global warming, humans will have deeper skin color and taller heads, and they will have red eyes and supernatural abilities under the influence of genetic mutations.

The human appearance after the next 1000 years will be very different. Affected by climate change, artificial intelligence and gene mutation, the human body has undergone great changes since the millennium. For example, mutations in the human genome in the future will cause the eyes to become red and their skin darkens. The video declares: “In the future, nanobots, also known as micro-robots, will be implanted in our bodies and will turn us into superhumans. By then, we will break through our limitations of physiological functions and transform them from inside to outside into a hybrid of biological machines. However, as we continue to evolve and become smarter, stronger, and better looking, this genetic similarity, or lack of human diversity, will make new diseases possible in the future. Causes the entire population to become extinct.”

According to Cadell Rust, a researcher at the Global Brain Institute, humans will evolve into a completely new population in 2050. This evolution is the result of new technologies, behaviors and natural choices. Rust said that in less than 40 years, our life expectancy will increase dramatically, we will delay the child’s time and daily tasks will be accomplished with artificial intelligence. This is a tremendous change that can be changed with monkeys and become similar to humans. Global Institute of Brain Research researcher Cadel Rust said that humans will evolve into a new population in 2050. Raster said: “When you are 80 or 100 years old, your life will be very different from your grandparents. “He thinks that most of the time we will live in virtual reality. Some evolutionists believe that human life in 2050 could reach 120 years. Raster believes that human sexual maturity will be postponed. Life history discusses this phenomenon.

As the brain’s capacity increases, the body needs more energy and time to store enough energy, and thus less reproductive behavior. Scientists predict that human life will be significantly extended in 2050, robots will be engaged in some unskilled work, women will have a greater age of childbirth, and people have more time to engage in cultural activities. Rast said that the future of humankind is not “short-lived and early death” but “longevity and late death.” Some studies have pointed out that by 2050, a 35-year-old ordinary male white-collar worker will have red eyes, a smaller penis, and a larger brain.

I believe that the new world created by mankind will be more advanced and equal than the current civilization, and the products will be more abundant. In my opinion, the new world will be completely different from the current world because the current world is derived from the medieval world. The biological clock will not run forever. Future humans can use advanced technology to suspend the biological clock for a period of time. The pace of human life will slow down. Although it will end in life, it will not always live in a fast-paced fashion, and will not die prematurely.

 

Who will live longer: meat eaters or vegetarians?

Genes and the environment affect the length of human life. In the study of identical twins, scientists predict that the impact from genes may not exceed 30%, which means that the vast majority of human life is dominated by the environment. Of the many environmental impact factors, almost no one has been deeply studied and discussed like diet. For example, the calorie intake limit is one of the areas being studied.

Compared to “how to eat”, “what to eat” is also a hot topic of research. Meat consumption is often placed under a microscope for research. In one study, which tracked nearly 100,000 Americans for up to five years, it was found that during the study, meat eaters were more likely to die for various reasons than vegetarians. This was manifested in men. More significant. A number of comprehensive analyses combined with several other studies have also shown that low-meat diets are closely related to human longevity, and that the longer they persist in a meat-free diet, the more they can benefit from it. However, not all research results agree. Some results indicate that the length of life has little or no relation to meat eaters and non-meat eaters.

A major study found that vegetarians had significantly lower mortality than meat eaters. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine, rekindles the debate over the increasingly popular vegetarian diet when medical advice conflicts with the health impact of vegetarian diets on supporters. However, care must be taken when interpreting the results because the risk of death is not only related to diet, but other more complex social and environmental factors can also affect the outcome. For example, vegetarians tend to be younger than the general population, so the mortality rate is much lower. Similarly, the social background of vegetarians may be more affluent, which will also affect mortality.

So, can we confidently say that we can extend our lifespan without eating meat? The answer is simple: not yet.

People have a longer life than most other organisms, whether they are researching or investigating, whether they are animal experiments, or analyzing existing health data, or recruiting volunteers to observe for a period of time. The conclusions are all certain measures and longevity. The relationship between them does not mean that the cause and effect, such as vegetarians are more prone to longevity, it may be because vegetarians exercise more, smoking and drinking less. Therefore, if you want to live longer and you want to get sick younger, you have to control as many environmental factors as you can, including diet, and try to eat as little meat as possible.

Nutrition research also relies on volunteers to accurately and truthfully record their food intake. But this cannot be taken for granted. Studies have shown that people tend to underreport calorie intake and overstate health food consumption. Without actually controlling people’s diet and measuring how long they lived, it is difficult to have absolute confidence in the results of the survey. The study also found that foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes that are eaten regularly by vegetarians can help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, help control body mass (BMI) and waist circumference, and promote Brain health.

Scientists in Britain and the United States have compared the microorganisms in the intestines of meat eaters and vegetarians and found significant differences. When the microorganisms contained in the intestines of meateaters interact with digestive fluids, the chemicals produced are believed to cause cancer. This also explains why colon cancer is common in meat-dominated regions such as North America and Western Europe, but it is rare in India where vegetable-based foods are dominant.

In other words: relevance does not equal causation. It seems that vegetarianism and longevity are related, but different variables can explain this link. For example, vegetarians may exercise more than those who eat meat, smoking less and drinking less. From the available evidence, a meatless diet may help this, and as you get older, not eating meat can certainly increase your chances of avoiding the disease. However, there is also evidence that it is also possible to avoid common risks that affect longevity, such as smoking, in a collaborative and cooperative manner.

Why are scientists so obsessed with studying zombies?

I believe that many of my friends, like me, have different preferences for vampires and zombie-themed movies and television dramas. Have we ever wondered whether there are vampires and zombies in the world? Where are they? What is a zombie? A zombie is a person who, after death, regained its standing and walked away to bite the living.

The end of the real world zombies may end quickly, and the situation is not like the classic movie “The Walking Dead” as in the classic movie cable television (AMC). This is the conclusion drawn by students from the University of Leicester, UK. They mainly use an epidemiological model to simulate the spread of infectious diseases among the population. The team’s assumption is that each zombie finds one victim each day, and 90% of the time it is possible to transmit the zombie virus to each other, and these “living people’s lives” can last for 20 days. The researchers entered the above parameters into the model and found that in less than 100 days, humans had only a few hundred survivors.

Zombie Mathematics

A professor of mathematics from the University of Ottawa, Robert J. Smith, said that a formula can be used to calculate the zombie propagation rate, which is (bN)(S/N)Z = bSZ. Researchers try to use mathematical tools to create a zombie diffusion model. Smith It is believed that the diffusion modeling of zombies is somewhat similar to biological viruses, in which N represents the total population, Z represents the number of zombies, and b represents the possibility of being infected by zombies. The result suggests that zombies, if present, may govern the whole world and only humans Strangling zombies may escape.

Mat Mogk, the founder of the Zombie Research Institute, believes that zombies have their inherent biological characteristics. They cannot fly and they will not survive forever. They will achieve the purpose of spreading and spreading through normal biting people. There are some videos about zombies spreading. Describes the episodes of the spread of zombies, such as “Stunned 28 Days”, “Musical Park” and the works mentioned at the beginning of the article. Ian McKay, a virologist at the Infectious Diseases Research Center in Australia, believes that the spread of zombies is similar to the host computer of a virus that infects computers. Its spread is very fast and very efficient. It is obviously an extreme virus transmission incident. Smith believes that when studying the zombies diffusion formula, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the dead people infected with zombies can be revived as zombies and continue to attack humans.

Such a diffusion model can refer to the AIDS, malaria, and West Nile virus outbreak patterns. Most virus models have only one nonlinear element, but there are two zombie virus models, which makes the mathematical model of zombies spread more sensitive. Tara Smith, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa in the United States, believes that mathematical modeling becomes more interesting after incorporating zombies diffusion theory. It can make children interested in mathematics. In the public health field, it can predict the impact through mathematical simulations. As the process of urbanization continues to increase, humans need to face the challenges of new viruses and at the same time reflect the public’s concerns about the pandemic.

Zombie brain

Like humans, the brain is also their most important organ for zombies. Without brain zombies, they lose their ability to move. Two neuroscientists from California’s University of San Diego and Carnegie Mellon University are curious about the operation of the zombie brain. This paper is called “Does Zombies Dream About Immortal Sheep?” The analysis pointed out that slow walking zombies may cause problems in the part of the cerebellum, because the cerebellum is responsible for handling the coordinated part of the movement. Even if some zombies are flying fast, they are also missing. Working memory capabilities.

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Yījù kāng nǎi’ěr dàxué yánjiū zhǐchū, rúguǒ nǐ rén zài měiguó, yù dào jiāngshī yìqíng bàofā, zuì hǎo de bìnàn dìdiǎn shì luò jī shānmài, jiànlì jíbìng móxíng yánjiū bìngdú dí chuánbò lùjìng, tòuguò yǎo shāng cáinéng chuánbò bìngdú dí huà, rénkǒu jiào shǎo dì dìqū huì chuánbò dé bǐjiào màn, xūyào hǎojǐ gè yuè de shíjiān cáinéng chuán jìn shānqū, ér zuì yánzhòng de jiùshì rénkǒu mìjí de dà chéngshì la ~suǒyǐ wúlùn nǐ zhù nǎlǐ, yào bìnàn dehuà huòxǔ dū xiān wǎng shānqū táo jiù duìle!

Jiāngshī bìngdú suīrán bùshì zuì kěnéng chūxiàn de mòrì chǎngjǐng, dànshì yǒubèiwúhuàn zǒng shì hǎo de. Quán shèhuì rúguǒ xiǎng zài jiāngshī bàofā shí jíshí yǒuxiào dì dòngyuán gōnggòng wèishēng yìngjí fǎnyìng, xiànzài jiù bìxū tóurù gèng duō de yánjiū hé zījīn.

According to Cornell University studies, if you are in the United States and encounter an outbreak of zombies, the best place to refuge is in the Rocky Mountains. Establish a disease model to study the transmission route of the virus and spread the virus through bites. The area will spread slowly. It will take several months to reach the mountains. The most serious one is the densely populated big city. So wherever you live, if you want to take refuge, you may have to go to the mountains to escape!

Although the zombie virus is not the most likely doomsday scenario, it is always good to be prepared. If the whole society wants to mobilize public health emergency response timely and effectively in the event of a zombie outbreak, it must now devote more research and funds.