# Meeeeeeega Church

I was recently made aware of the Redeemed Christian Church of God pavilion in Nigeria. It is the size of 87 football fields and designed to seat 1 million people!!!

# Scott Alexander on the Effective Altruism Movement

Scott Alexander has a wonderful piece on the Effective Altruism Movement based on his attendance at the 2017 EA conference. Though he starts the piece with a quote from Hunter S. Thompson it reads much more like David Foster Wallace (especially this and this).

The EA movement has a surprisingly strange set of research agendas that are best summed up in Scott’s comment about the salad he ate for lunch, “Born too late to eat meat guilt-free, born too early to get the technology that hacks directly into my brain and adds artificial positive valence to unpleasant experiences.”

I was also happy to see there was an organization responding to the arguments in this Journal of Practical Ethics article, “Consistent Vegetarianism and the Suffering of Wild Animals.”

WASR [Wild Animal Suffering Research] researches ways we can alleviate wild animal suffering, from euthanizing elderly elephants (probably not high-impact) to using more humane insecticides (recommended as an ‘interim solution’) to neutralizing predator species in order to relieve the suffering of prey (still has some thorny issues that need to be resolved).

# Cute Little Solution

I’m learning Ruby and one small exercise was meant to calculate the sum for simple sentences like this: “eight plus 5 plus five minus three plus 1 minus 4” and output an answer. Numbers can be either numeric or written out. Every set of numbers is separated by either “plus” or “minus.” I’m sure there are many ways to complete this problem. I came up with the cute little solution below.

```NUMBERS = {
"zero"  => 0,
"one"   => 1,
"two"   => 2,
"thrid" => 3,
"four"  => 4,
"five"  => 5,
"six"   => 6,
"seven" => 7,
"eight" => 8,
"nine"  => 9
}

OPERATIONS = ['plus', 'minus']

def is_int?(int)
int.to_i.to_s == int
end

def translate_number(number)
return number.to_i if is_int?(number)
NUMBERS[number]
end

def compute(operation, number)
case operation
when 'plus' then number
when 'minus' then -number
end
end

def computer(expression)
express_array = expression.split
total = translate_number(express_array.shift)
operation = nil
express_array.each do |element|
if OPERATIONS.include?(element)
operation = element
next
end
number = translate_number(element)
total += compute(operation, number)
end
total
end

p computer("two plus two minus one plus 8 plus five minus 3")
```

# Rape in Film

LA Weekly has an important piece this week on rape in film and TV titled, “Rape Choreography Makes Films Safer, But Still Takes a Toll on Cast and Crew.” It discusses the difficulties in filming rape scenes, abuses that have taken place in the past (especially during the 1970s), and the lack of dialogue about how much rape there should be in film and TV.

Here is one bit:

Working on Brian De Palma’s heart-wrenching war drama Casualties of War(1989), editor Bill Pankow and the postproduction crew edited one of the most emotionally charged rape scenes committed to film, in which Sean Penn’s character and three others assault a Vietnamese girl over the objections of Michael J. Fox’s character. As the editor, Pankow’s required to watch and rewatch footage, knowing it intimately, thereby getting a feel for which shots have the desired emotional appeal. After the film’s release, Pankow, in an interview that appeared in Gabriella Oldham’s First Cut: Conversations With Film Editors, revealed, “For the first few days, we couldn’t help crying just looking at the dailies.”

# John Roberts’ Ninth Grade Commencement Speech

John Roberts gave a commencement speech to his son’s ninth grade class at the all-boys Cardigan Mountain boarding school.

You’ve been at a school with just boys. Most of you will be going to a school with girls. I have no advice for you.