Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Neuroscience’s Newest ‘Genius’ Discovered -- Science of Us

You have fewer synapses in your brain now than a 2-year-old. That may sound like an insult, but it’s a scientific fact. We’re all born with heads full of lonely, isolated neurons. But as our baby brains are inundated with sensory information over the first two years of life, those neurons rapidly form connections, or synapses. A toddlers’ brain teems with more than 100 trillion of them. By the time that toddler becomes an adult, though, the brain will have pared back roughly half of them — synapses that are used frequently become stronger, while those that aren’t wither away.

This process of overproduction followed by winnowing allows the brain to shape itself to its environment. As neuroscientist David Eagleman writes, “You become who you are not because of what grows in your brain, but because of what’s removed.”

Monday, September 21, 2015

Hedge fund manager buys drug company, raises price of pill from $13.50 to $750 / Boing Boing

In August Shkreli bought a drug called Daraprim. It's been around for 62 years and is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a life-threatening parasitic infection. "Turing immediately raised the price to $750 a tablet from $13.50, bringing the annual cost of treatment for some patients to hundreds of thousands of dollars," reports the New York Times...Watch Bloomberg's interview with Shkreli about his decision to raise the price. He admits it costs less than $1 a pill to manufacture Daraprim, yet insists at $750 a pill, "Daraprim is still underpriced relative to its peers."

Don't worry. The "market" will sort that all out. No need for any big government socialistic communistic death panels making our health care decisions for us. "Consumers" just need to shop around more.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) ****

Thoroughly entertaining WWII action epic from David Lean featuring standout performances, photography and script. A little heavy-handed with the score at times, otherwise nearly flawless.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) ***

Not up to the heights of other films from Aardman Animations but quite enjoyable with superb stop-motion work. No dialogue, just one sight gag after another. A disappointingly heavier reliance on potty humor unfortunately.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book review: ‘Notes on the Death of Culture’ by Mario Vargas Llosa

Eliot too saw culture decaying around him and foresaw a time in which there would be no culture. This time, Vargas Llosa argues, is ours. Eliot has since been under attack for what his critics often describe as his elitist attitudes – as well as much else – and Vargas Llosa will probably also be tarred with the same brush for his pains.

There you go again. Every couple of years we get another round of "the death of culture" books/essays about how stupid we've all become because of the internet or comic books or movies or pop music or anything not in The Canon. It's the rantings of elites out of touch with current trends and pissed about it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Brotherhood (1968) **

If you can accept Kirk as an Italian (let alone a Sicilian) this tough Mafia tale has a lot to offer. Years before Tony Soprano this flick had the guts to show the devotion to family and brutality that goes with being in The Mob. Very similar to The Godfather and suffers by comparison since it is not nearly as well directed.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Survivor (2015) **

Pierce does a fine job as the villain in this comically absurd non-stop spy chaser.