Supply Your Own Light ⓘ
“The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfilment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
Stanley Kubrick 1.04B GSRs
Natural and Artificial Intelligence in Neurosurgery: A Systematic Review ⓘ
Machine learning (ML) is a domain of artificial intelligence that allows computer algorithms to learn from experience without being explicitly programmed.
To summarize neurosurgical applications of ML where it has been compared to clinical expertise, here referred to as “natural intelligence.”
A systematic search was performed in the PubMed and Embase databases as of August 2016 to review all studies comparing the performance of various ML approaches with that of clinical experts in neurosurgical literature.
Twenty-three studies were identified that used ML algorithms for diagnosis, presurgical planning, or outcome prediction in neurosurgical patients. Compared to clinical experts, ML models demonstrated a median absolute improvement in accuracy and area under the receiver operating curve of 13% (interquartile range 4-21%) and 0.14 (interquartile range 0.07-0.21), respectively. In 29 (58%) of the 50 outcome measures for which a P-value was provided or calculated, ML models outperformed clinical experts.
We conclude that ML models have the potential to augment the decision-making capacity of clinicians in neurosurgical applications; however, significant hurdles remain associated with creating, validating, and deploying ML models in the clinical setting. Shifting from the preconceptions of a human-vs-machine to a human-and machine paradigm could be essential to overcome these hurdles.
Oxford University Press 1.02M GSRs
What is Science? ⓘ
ALMOST in the beginning was curiosity. Curiosity, the overwhelming desire to know, is not characteristic of dead matter. Nor does it seem to be characteristic of some forms of living organism, which, for that very reason, we can scarcely bring ourselves to consider alive.
A tree does not display curiosity about its environment in any way we can recognize; nor does a sponge or an oyster. The wind, the rain, the ocean currents bring them what is needful, and from it they take what they can. If the chance of events is such as to bring them fire, poison, predators, or parasites, they die as stoically and as undemonstratively as they lived.
Early in the scheme of life, however, independent motion was developed by some organisms. It meant a tremendous advance in their control of the environment. A moving organism no longer had to wait in stolid rigidity for food to come its way, but went out after it.
Thus, adventure entered the world - and curiosity. The individual that hesitated in the competitive hunt for food, that was overly conservative in its investigation, starved. Early on, curiosity concerning the environment was enforced as the price of survival.
The one-celled paramecium, moving about in a searching way, cannot have conscious volitions and desires in the sense that we do, but it has a drive, even if only a 'simple' physical-chemical one, which causes it to behave as if it were investigating its surroundings for food or safety, or both. And this 'act of curiosity' is what we most easily recognize as being inseparable from the kind of life that is most akin to ours
As organisms grew more intricate, their sense organs multiplied and became both more complex and more delicate. More messages of greater variety were received from and about the external environment. At the same time, there developed (whether as cause or effect we cannot tell), an increasing complexity of the nervous system, the living instrument that interprets and stores the data collected by the sense organs.
Isaac Asimov 4.17B GSRs
Incorporating Monsters ⓘ
Music as Context, Character and Construction in Kubrick’s The Shining
The films of Stanley Kubrick, particularly since 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), have been characterised by their innovative approaches to the use of music. Even by Kubrick’s standards, however, The Shining (1980) exemplifies a level of both sophisticated interaction of music and moving image, and general reliance on music for contextual, characterisation and narrative purposes, rarely equalled in his output. The film’s almost exclusive use of pre-existent music not only sets it apart from many other contemporaneous and subsequent works in the horror genre but also raises important questions surrounding Kubrick’s conceptual and constructive film aesthetic, and his crucial collaboration with music editor Gordon Stainforth, hitherto rarely acknowledged in the published literature.
It will examine ways in which the music is employed to project climates of primarily psychological (rather than physical) horror and to embody the omnipresent but unseen malevolence of the alien ‘Other’, whether through propelling the narrative in visually static scenes or underpinning passages of vivid action and subverting dialogue in precisely matched scenes of varying length.
Jeremy Barham 3.34M GSRs
‘Dear Mr. Kubrick’: Audience Responses to 2001:
A Space Odyssey in the Late 1960s ⓘ
Stanley Kubrick’s highly unconventional Science Fiction epic 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was one of the biggest hits of the late 1960s in the US. This success has traditionally been explained with reference to the film’s particular appeal to youth. This paper examines a wide range of letters sent to Kubrick by cinemagoers in the late 1960s, and identifies four types of audience responses to 2001: rejection, dialogue, celebration and appropriation. The paper concludes that the largely positive letters, together with additional research on the film’s box office performance, strongly suggest that 2001 was a success with very diverse audience segments, and that an optimistic belief in the possibility of fundamental personal and social transformation may have been at the root of this success.
Peter Krämer, University of East Anglia, UK 132K GSRs
Stanley Kubrick: A Retrospective ⓘ
This special issue of Cinergie on the American director Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) was inspired by a three day conference, Stanley Kubrick: A Retrospective, held at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK in May 2016. The conference, convened by I.Q. Hunter and James Fenwick, brought together some of the leading Kubrick scholars to reflect on the methodological approaches taken towards Kubrick since the opening in 2007 of the Stanley Kubrick Archive at the University of Arts London.
The keynote speakers at the conference, Jan Harlan (Kubrick’s executive producer and brother-in-law), Robert Kolker, Nathan Abrams, and Peter Krämer, each discussed the various directions of study in the now vibrant field of Kubrick Studies. Harlan and Kolker took their audience on an aesthetic tour of Kubrick’s films, locating his work firmly within the modernist tradition. Abrams, an expert in Jewish Studies as well as Kubrick, decoded the Jewish influences on Kubrick as a New York intellectual with a Central European background. Krämer meanwhile focused on the production and industrial contexts of Kubrick’s career, explored a number of his unmade and abandoned projects, and situated his career as a director-producer working within and against the restrictions of the American film industry. These keynote addresses exemplified the major trends in Kubrick Studies. While Abrams and Krämer represented the turn to ‘New Film History’ methodologies that has been facilitated by access to the Kubrick Archive, Kolker and Harlan showed that there is still much to be understood about the aesthetic composition of Kubrick’s films through close textual analysis. Other papers at the conference revealed the continuing rewards of textual interpretation, whether through the more ‘traditional’ perspectives of Adaptation Studies, film philosophy, and cognitive film studies, or through new approaches such as fandom (Rod Munday’s paper “Kubrick and Fan Scholarship” drew on his role as the key instigator of online Kubrick fan forums in the 1990s and 2000s) and curation studies (Dru Jeffries’ paper explored issues of exhibition practice in the official travelling Stanley Kubrick Exhibition). Ian Roscow’s paper, “The Overlooked Scrapbook”, took a more conspiracy-minded approach and explored the textual coincidences in the scrapbook that Alex Walker created as a prop for The Shining, reflecting the passion nowadays among both fans and scholars for decoding supposed secret messages in Kubrick’s films. Some of these papers are included in this issue, along with specially commissioned ones that aim to give a varied and representative perspective of international scholarship in the field. A parallel ‘Dossier’ in a special issue of Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television collects papers, including ones by Abrams and Krämer’s, that showcase the in depth empirical research inspired by the Archive (Fenwick et al. 2017). Taken together, the conference and journal issues attest to Kolker’s claim in The Extraordinary Image that while Kubrick made only thirteen films, they contain “huge ideas” and seem inexhaustibly rich in meaning and significance.
It is not surprising that those thirteen films continue to attract this level of enthusiastic scholarship. Kubrick’s position within film history is unique. As far back as 1972 Peter Wollen cited him as an auteur and indeed few directors achieved that status so completely. By the time A Clockwork Orange was released in 1971 he had built a power base unrivalled by his peers in the New Hollywood, which allowed him an unprecedented level of independence and creative control. Thereafter Kubrick’s name would always be above the title of his films as a statement of personal ownership. Yet despite his status Kubrick was always controversial and none of his films received immediate universal acclaim. Some, like Barry Lyndon and Eyes Wide Shut, took years to arrive at any kind of reappraisal. Nevertheless Kubrick remains a touchstone of artistic integrity for directors, such as Christopher Nolan, who stretch the medium to its limit and aim to make films exactly as they want. His battles with powerful producers and studios in the 1950s and 1960s saw him strive towards ever greater autonomy, which he half-jokingly referred to as “complete total annihilating artistic control” (Krämer 2015: 50). In part, his power and independence were secured because he never lost sight of the commercial appeal and potential of his films, some of which, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange, and Full Metal Jacket (1987), were considerable box office hits.
Kubrick’s career began as a staff photographer at Look, one of America’s premier photojournalist magazines. He was self-taught after being gifted a camera by his father for his eleventh birthday. His talent was evident in the pieces he contributed to Look, which included ‘Prizefighter’, a photo-essay documenting a day in the life of boxer Walter Cartier, later the subject of Kubrick’s first short documentary, Day of the Fight (1951). Co-written with Robert Rein, Day of the Fight was funded privately by Kubrick and his father, and released by RKO, which financed and distributed his subsequent short, Flying Padre (1952). In 1953 the Seafarers’ International Union commissioned Kubrick to make the documentary short The Seafarers, written by Will Chasan. But Kubrick had eyes towards bigger things and in 1953 the twenty-five year old Kubrick shot his first feature-length film, Fear and Desire (1953), with financial aid from his uncle. An amateurish piece on which Kubrick performed many of the crew roles himself, it was released by the art house distributor Joseph Burstyn after the major studios turned it down. Kubrick later disowned Fear and Desire as juvenilia, but, like his next, also privately funded feature, Killer’s Kiss (1955), it demonstrated his precocious talents as a director and a producer who could realise ambitious projects on extremely low-budgets. Recognising his potential, United Artists agreed to finance and release The Killing (1956), the film that would gain him critical and industry attention. It was the first production by the Harris-Kubrick Pictures Corporation, a partnership formed between Kubrick and producer James B. Harris that lasted into the preproduction of the apocalyptic black comedy, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Harris’s main roles were to find funding – The Killing was partially financed by Harris and his father – and to buy rights for literary properties, though he was also Kubrick’s creative partner and was closely involved in the development of the screenplay for Lolita (1962). The Killing was also the beginning of Kubrick’s recourse to adaptation, and from 1956 onwards all his films were adaptations of one kind or another.
SHURA 827K GSRs