Thursday, March 15, 2018

What I'm Working On: Why you didn't do that thing you're sure you did | Duke Today

You mean, what you want to be true?

Not necessarily. You almost never have control over the process of filling up or reconstructing your memories. Unbeknownst to you, the process operates probabilistically. Given your past experiences and knowledge, your memory system gives you the most likely thing that could have happened to help you fill any gaps at the time of retrieval. Most of the time the final product coincides with what actually happened, so it is true. But sometimes it does not, in which case we talk about false memories. I think most of our memories are reconstructed in this way, and many of them are false, we just don’t notice.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Stephen Hawking, modern cosmology's brightest star, dies aged 76 | Science | The Guardian

Hawking was driven to Wagner, but not the bottle, when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963 at the age of 21. Doctors expected him to live for only two more years. But Hawking had a form of the disease that progressed more slowly than usual. He survived for more than half a century and long enough for his disability to define him. His popularity would surely have been diminished without it.

David Foster Wallace and the Horror of Neuroscience - The Millions

By the end of the story the strong impression is that Neal’s condition is but a particularly acute version of a basic human predicament. As he puts it, it’s “not as if this is an incredibly rare or obscure type of personality.” In the modern neuroscientific paradigm, Neal’s suspicion that “in reality I actually seemed to have no true inner self” is absolutely correct. There is really nothing outlandish about Neal’s fears; within Oblivion’s neuropessimism, they are simple truisms. We do experience time poorly; language is in many ways a weak tool. The same goes for his fear that he is “unable to love:” from a hard Darwinian viewpoint, we are all unable to love, really—or more accurately, what we think we are doing when we love is actually not loving at all as we understand that word. Neal recognizes this himself: “we are all basically just instruments or expressions of our evolutionary drives, which are themselves the expressions of forces that are infinitely larger and more important than we are.”

Monday, March 12, 2018

Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions | British Journal of Sports Medicine

Preventing the development of atherosclerosis is important but it is atherothrombosis that is the real killer
The inflammatory processes that contribute to cholesterol deposition within the artery wall and subsequent plaque formation (atherosclerosis), more closely resembles a ‘pimple’ (figure 1). Most cardiac events occur at sites with <70% coronary artery obstruction and these do not generate ischaemia on stress testing.4 When plaques rupture (analogous to a pimple bursting), coronary thrombosis and myocardial infarction can occur within minutes. The limitation of the current plumbing approach (‘unclogging a pipe’) to the management of coronary disease is revealed by a series of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) which prove that stenting significantly obstructive stable lesions fail to prevent myocardial infarction or to reduce mortality.

I would wager the decrease in sugar/refined carb consumption is the most significant factor in the results.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Broadway Danny Rose (1984) ****

Certainly one of if not THE best Allen feature. Hilarious, superbly cast, and features perhaps Ms. Farrow's finest performance, way against type. Allen's direction is imaginative and original and never better.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Wind River (2017) **

Well acted procedural involving reservation life vividly creates an uncompromising Wyoming wilderness. A bit over written in parts but overall well done.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Couch Trip (1988) ***

Sharply written, this satire/screwball comedy is very underrated, featuring an all star cast and top notch director as well as the lovely Donna Dixon.

Monday, February 26, 2018

I, Cringely We win, you lose: How shareholder value screwed the middle class - I, Cringely

The American Dream changed somehow in the 1970s when real wages for most of us began to stagnate when corrected for inflation and worker age. My best financial year ever was 2000 — 18 years ago — when was yours? This wasn’t a matter of productivity, either: workers were more productive every year, we just stopped being rewarded for it. There are many explanations of how this sad fact came to be and I am sure it’s a problem with several causes. But this column concerns one factor that generally isn’t touched-on by labor economists — Wall Street greed.

Early Man (2018) **

Ill conceived but superbly executed stop-motion animation. A far cry from Aardman's best.