Concussion protocol

6 minutes

Lasting marks

15 minutes

EXCLUSIVE

Spring chicken

10 minutes

Lake

5 minutes

Andy Clark: virtual immortality

13 minutes

Aeon for Friends

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The ballet of elite athleticism and dire violence that was the 2017 NFL season

At its best, American football is full of grace, strategy and thrills. Unfortunately, many of the components that have made the sport so popular – speed, power, contact – also make it extremely dangerous, especially when played at the highest level. Recent research has overwhelmingly shown that, over time, even routine football collisions contribute to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease. However, the most  dangerous hits are those that result in traumatic brain injuries. In 2017, the National Football League (NFL) recorded the highest number of such injuries since it started keeping track six years ago, even as it has attempted to make the game safer. A different kind of ‘highlight reel’, this short film from the US filmmaker and data visualisation artist Josh Begley features all 281 reported concussions from the 2017 NFL season. By manipulating the speed and direction of the footage, Begley grapples with both the sport’s allure and its brutality.

Director: Josh Begley

Producer: Laura Poitras

Website: Field of Vision

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How British police put 16 men in the dock for consensual sadomasochism

In the late 1980s in the UK, Roland Jaggard was part of a loose-knit group of men who engaged in, and occasionally videotaped, consensual sadomasochistic same-sex acts. While Jaggard acknowledged that aspects of his sex life were ‘not to everyone’s taste’, he never imagined that it would cost him his job, unleash a tabloid-fuelled public outcry, and land him and 15 other men in prison. The UK filmmaker Charlie Lyne’s vertical video Lasting Marks delves into the history and complicated legacy of the UK-wide police investigation, codenamed ‘Operation Spanner’, that cost more than £2.5 million and saw around 100 men questioned over their sex lives. In court, the prosecution argued that consent wasn’t a defence for causing bodily harm, creating a precedent that still holds in UK law today. Composed exclusively of photocopied documents, Jaggard’s voice and a sparse score, the film skilfully explores the evolving and uncertain boundaries between public and private life, what’s socially acceptable and what’s taboo, and how the state tries to police sexual behaviours.

Director: Charlie Lyne

Producers: Catherine Bray, Anthony Ing

Website: Field of Vision, Loop

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The 94-year-old Holocaust survivor who makes every Purim costume contest count

‘It’s important to have something that makes you laugh a little bit.’

At 94 years old, Anny Junek has a streak going: she’s the three-time winner of the Purim costume contest at her retirement home in Rehovot in Israel. As the Jewish holiday approaches again, she’s angling for a fourth win. How will she capture the prize? Don’t ask, it’s a surprise! As a young woman, Junek survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, but lost her parents to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. After the trials and tragedies of her early years, Junek’s perseverance and humour have carried her through a life that included raising a family in Mexico before retiring to Israel. Now her indomitable spirit and sense of what makes for a good show have her hatching a new plan for Purim in this charming film by the US-born, Israel-based director Tamir Elterman.

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Come ice-fishing in the deep Canadian winter with an all-Indigenous, all-female crew

‘Indigenous labour is never just work. It’s cultural practice, our Indigenous knowledge. It’s how we are in the world,’ says the Cree filmmaker Alexandra Lazarowich, discussing her inspiration for her latest short documentary, Lake. Produced as part of the Five Feminist Minutes initiative of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), this observational short by an all-female, all-Indigenous crew follows Métis women on an ice-fishing outing at Lesser Slave Lake in central Alberta. The sweep of the landscape, the crunch of ice and snow, and the whipping wind evoke the sublime vastness and frigid temperatures of the deep Canadian winter. Within this frozen world, the women are masters of their craft, punching a hole in the ice, dropping their nets through, and eventually pulling their catch to the surface. A richly crafted testament to Indigenous expertise drawing on the style of verité documentaries of the 1960s and ’70s, the film is also an understated acknowledgement of the challenges that Canada’s Aboriginal peoples face in accessing fishing rights – rights that have long been subject to government encroachment.

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Your body is scanned, destroyed, then reproduced. Do ‘you’ live on the copy?

For centuries, philosophers – and more recently, science-fiction writers – have been concocting riffs and variations on a particular thought experiment: if every bit of your body could be perfectly scanned and replicated, in what ways would the replica still be ‘you’? In this interview from the PBS series Closer to Truth, Andy Clark, a professor of philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, dissects a version of this experiment posed by the US philosopher Daniel Dennett, in which a body is scanned, destroyed, and replicated in a distant place. While science hasn’t yet brought us close to putting Dennett’s conundrum to the test, we can still grapple with the intriguing and perhaps troubling metaphysical questions it raises, questions that might become even more material as we careen further into the information age, including: would ‘you’ be dead, or would your sense of self perpetuate in the copy? And, if you were recreated several times, where exactly might you expect to find your embodied sense of self?

Video by Closer to Truth

Aeon for Friends

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The ballet of elite athleticism and dire violence that was the 2017 NFL season

At its best, American football is full of grace, strategy and thrills. Unfortunately, many of the components that have made the sport so popular – speed, power, contact – also make it extremely dangerous, especially when played at the highest level. Recent research has overwhelmingly shown that, over time, even routine football collisions contribute to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease. However, the most  dangerous hits are those that result in traumatic brain injuries. In 2017, the National Football League (NFL) recorded the highest number of such injuries since it started keeping track six years ago, even as it has attempted to make the game safer. A different kind of ‘highlight reel’, this short film from the US filmmaker and data visualisation artist Josh Begley features all 281 reported concussions from the 2017 NFL season. By manipulating the speed and direction of the footage, Begley grapples with both the sport’s allure and its brutality.

Director: Josh Begley

Producer: Laura Poitras

Website: Field of Vision

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Essay/
Human evolution
United by feelings

Universal emotions are the deep engine of human consciousness and the basis of our profound affinity with other animals

Stephen T Asma & Rami Gabriel

Essay/
History of science
No absolute time

Two centuries before Einstein, Hume recognised that universal time, independent of an observer’s viewpoint, doesn’t exist

Matias Slavov