Is This Film Review Algorithm Better than Ebert?

A new study stakes a film’s significance on how many times it’s cited in the work of other directors.

A new study out of Northwestern University suggests that an algorithm is as good or even better at identifying quality films than a movie critic. Using the film's "significance" as the key denominator, the group of scientists led by Professor Luís Amaral studied how many times a movie was referenced in another movie. Based on these results, the group was able to pick out the films with the most cultural impact, essentially placing the vote into the hands of fellow movie directors rather than critics.

Published in this week's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study explains how the team of scientists broke down 15,425 US films by various metrics: critical reviews, awards, public opinion, citations and box office sales before finding citations to be the best signifier of quality. By comparing the results of each approach to the particular movie's inclusion in or exclusion from the National Film Registry of the U.S. Library of Congress, the team was able to narrow down its approach.

This particular algorithm was most successful when measuring films that are 25 years old or more, with The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Psycho, Casablanca and Gone With the Wind coming out on top. They also found that some films like Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory weren't cited for a significant stretch of time before blowing up on the cultural spectrum. Amaral also says that initially underappreciated films such as these, while not currently in the National Film Registry, may very well be included in the future.

"Twenty-five years may seem like a long time to wait before we can begin quantifying film significance," concludes the study. "However, significance by definition may not be readily apparent. This is true of other forms of art, as well as any other field where influence spreads. There is a reason the Nobel Prize is no longer awarded for research done in the same year. A film’s significance should ultimately be judged on how its ideas influence filmmaking and culture in the longterm."

Amaral hopes to take his findings on significance and apply them to scientific papers, paintings and music next.

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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