May 29, 2012

Happy Tues. Nice day here after a mixed weekend. It rained Friday and was not that great Saturday, but Sunday and Monday both had sunny patches. We looked for spring birds and found quite a few.  At one spot off South Cushman near the landfill we saw an assortment of ducks and shorebirds, a magpie (not very common up here), an Alaska Airlines plane taking off toward the south, and four military jets flying low in formation for the Memorial Day celebration.

We watched Contact, the 1997 movie with Jodie Foster as Dr. Ellie Arroway, SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) scientist, who monitors the skies for messages. Then one day she detects an unmistakable message containing a series of prime numbers and a set of designs, a sure sign of intelligent communication. The plot unrolls from there, as the aliens send instructions to build a space vehicle. The suspense is what happens next. Pretty good film, suitable for family watching (PG-13). The best part of the film is the reaction of the government and the public to the news that Earth has been contacted by ETs. Pretty much what you would predict, but it is entertaining to watch. Dr. Arroway is unamused by the paranoia and silliness, however, and the film succeeds in putting across a serious view of the topic. Based on the novel by physicist Carl Sagan. Ebert gave it 3.5 stars out of four. With Matthew McConaughey and Tom Skerrit.

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