Thursday, December 31, 2009

Avatar Makeup

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dandelions and Orchids

From "The Science of Success":
This vulnerability hypothesis, as we can call it, has already changed our conception of many psychic and behavioral problems. It casts them as products not of nature or nurture but of complex "gene-environment interactions." Your genes don't doom you to these disorders. But if you have "bad" versions of certain genes and life treats you ill, you're more prone to them.


The Swedes, Ellis and Boyce noted in an essay titled "Biological Sensitivity to Context," have long spoken of "dandelion" children. These dandelion children—equivalent to our "normal" or "healthy" children, with "resilient" genes—do pretty well almost anywhere, whether raised in the equivalent of a sidewalk crack or a well-tended garden. Ellis and Boyce offer that there are also "orchid" children, who will wilt if ignored or maltreated but bloom spectacularly with greenhouse care.

At first glance, this idea, which I'll call the orchid hypothesis, may seem a simple amendment to the vulnerability hypothesis. It merely adds that environment and experience can steer a person up instead of down. Yet it's actually a completely new way to think about genetics and human behavior. Risk becomes possibility; vulnerability becomes plasticity and responsiveness. It's one of those simple ideas with big, spreading implications. Gene variants generally considered misfortunes (poor Jim, he got the "bad" gene) can instead now be understood as highly leveraged evolutionary bets, with both high risks and high potential rewards: gambles that help create a diversified-portfolio approach to survival, with selection favoring parents who happen to invest in both dandelions and orchids.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Antibody for Cancer?


From the paper's abstract:
[T]he present study indicates that mAb F77 defines a unique prostate cancer marker and shows promising potential for diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, especially for androgen-independent metastatic prostate cancer.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NORAD Tracks Santa

Follow Santa's progress here.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oll Raigth

If you've ever wondered what American English sounds like to foreigners:

It's gibberish, completely. It's also fantastic.

(Seen at MamaPop first)

Brittany Murphy Dies at Age 32

From the Washington Post article:

Brittany Murphy's family told Los Angeles officials the actress was ill with flu-like symptoms in the days before her death at age 32.

The 32-year-old star of films such as "Clueless" and "8 Mile" died Sunday morning after collapsing at her Hollywood Hills home. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter says they will conduct an autopsy Monday to try to determine what killed the actress. Winter says the reported illness could be a contributing factor to her death, but that it will be weeks before a final determination is made.

It's always extra strange when someone so near my own age dies. I enjoyed Murphy's characters in several films. What a shame.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Geologists Heart Beer

From my own experience, I can completely concur: Geologists really DO love beer. Engineers don't say no much, either.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Always Interrupting Man's Work

From The Onion:
According to recently excavated clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform script, thousands of Sumerians—the first humans to establish systems of writing, agriculture, and government—were working on their sophisticated irrigation systems when the Father of All Creation reached down from the ether and blew the divine spirit of life into their thriving civilization.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Change Blindness

This phenomenon is quite interesting for several reasons, including the roll it plays in magic tricks, and con games.

"Because there are some problems you can't fix with a reparo charm..."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Top 10 quirky science tricks for Christmas parties

Pride & Prejudice and Zombies

From Variety:
Given Natalie Portman's elegant demeanor, a turn in a period Jane Austen adaptation was inevitable. Portman will star in and produce "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," a film that is based on the bestselling book written by Seth Grahame-Smith and Austen. Lionsgate will finance and distribute. Quirk Books published the tome.
Described as an expanded version of the Austen classic, the book tells the timeless story of a woman's quest for love and independence amid the outbreak of a deadly virus that turns the undead into vicious killers. Portman will play feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet, who is distracted from her quest to eradicate the zombie menace by the arrival of the arrogant Mr. Darcy.
"Natalie and I are longtime passionate fans of Jane Austen's books and this a fresh, fun and thought-provoking way to approach her work," Savitch said. "The idea of zombies running rampant in 19th Century England may sound odd, but it lends a modern sense of urgency to a well known love story."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Star Trek: The Next Generation Redub

What does an episode of ST:TNG look like re-dubbed according to the actor's lip movement?

Like this:

Seriously, this brought me to tears.


Ever wonder where all that generic commercial footage comes from, now you know:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Iron Man Improvised

I liked Iron Man well enough-- it didn't touch Dark Knight, but it was a good action flick. Surprisingly, that fun, yet ideologically incoherent film was unscripted!

As an aside, I couldn't read this interview without hearing the Dude's voice in my head. White Russian, anyone?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Local Talent

From Sabrnig's comment, here is a local band, The Nightshade Family:

Also, there is a local alternative news page to boot.

The Maxx Is Coming to DVD


(From Topless Robot)

Surprised Kitten

Surprised kitten is surprised!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beatboxing Flautist

So, this guy beatboxes while he plays the flute. While he plays the flute.

Among others out there: Sesame Street Theme and Inspector Gadget Theme (with some "Axel F" (also known as the Beverly Hills Cop Theme) thrown in).