Friday, October 30, 2015

Crimson Peak (2015) **

It wears its many inspirations on its sleeve, has impeccable production design, costumes, technical prowess (the ghosts are especially well done) but everything is a bit too hyper-realized, obscuring the humanity. That and the violence is far too realistically rendered and detailed for the overall tone. Imagine the "cheek repair" scene in Pan's Labyrinth done 10 times.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Undernews: How the Manhattan Project all killed in St Louis as well -

By the mid 1940s, Mallinckrodt Chemical Works had run out of space to store the radioactive waste left behind, so in 1946 they began to ship the leftovers to a relatively underpopulated area north of St Louis, next to a creek by the name of Coldwater. It was here that approximately 250,000 barrels of radioactive material were dumped in shallow pits and exposed to the elements.
According to a 1990 article in the New York Times, the toxic waste was dumped secretly with the approval of the federal government.

<irony>Conspiracy theory! To believe this you would have to believe that this has remained a secret for 69 years, involving dozens of people across government and industry! We all know that cannot happen!</irony>

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fat: The New Health Paradigm - Credit Suisse

This report is based on more than 400 medical research papers and books written by academics and industry experts, as well as two in-house surveys of doctors, nutritionists and consumers. Eating cholesterol, for instance, has basically no impact on the level of cholesterol in the blood or on potential heart diseases, and the link between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular risk has not been proved. "But we found that 40 percent of nutritionists and 70 percent of general practitioners surveyed believe that eating cholesterol-rich foods has damaging cardiovascular effects. This is not true, according to the extensive research that has become available in recent years," said Giles Keating, Vice Chairman of Investment Strategy & Research and Deputy Global Chief Investment Officer for Private Banking & Wealth Management. A high intake of vegetable oils (containing omega-6 polyunsaturated fats) has not been proved to be as beneficial as earlier thought, and trans-fats have been shown to have negative effects on our health. In short, saturated fats and monounsaturated fats are not behind the high rates of obesity and metabolic syndrome in the US. The two leading culprits are the higher intakes of vegetable oils and the increase in carbohydrate consumption.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Strangers in Your Brain - The New Yorker

If transposons were tampering with the DNA of every future neuron, then they were endowing each one with a slightly different genome. Even neurons that budded from the same mother would behave differently. This phenomenon, which is known as genetic mosaicism, doesn’t happen much in other tissues. The cilia that guard our lungs are genetically identical to the blood cells that circulate in our arteries, even though one looks like a sea anemone and the other looks like a cough drop. The two appear different only because they express various genes differently, in developmentally predetermined ways. Although neurons are similarly programmed, the Salk study suggested that transposons were giving them the ability to ad-lib. Several years after the initial discovery, members of Gage’s lab sequenced hundreds of individual neurons from human cadavers and found this to be true. Cells in the same brain are, indeed, genetically distinct from one another.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The tantalizing links between gut microbes and the brain : Nature News & Comment

In humans, the data are more limited. Researchers have drawn links between gastrointestinal pathology and psychiatric neurological conditions such as anxiety, depression, autism, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative disorders — but they are just links.

“In general, the problem of causality in microbiome studies is substantial,” says Rob Knight, a microbiologist at the University of California, San Diego. “It's very difficult to tell if microbial differences you see associated with diseases are causes or consequences.” There are many outstanding questions. Clues about the mechanisms by which gut bacteria might interact with the brain are starting to emerge, but no one knows how important these processes are in human development and health.

I would tend to think that the links would almost HAVE to be causal because the gut microbiome develops independently of us. Our genetic makeup has nothing to do with those organisms as far as I understand it. Wouldn't that imply that it is the microbiome influencing the body/brain?

St. Louis Landfill Fire Near Radioactive Waste | Al Jazeera America

A fire smoldering underneath a landfill north of St. Louis since 2010 could reach radioactive waste from the Manhattan Project in as little as three months, according to a report released by Missouri’s attorney general.

Much of the uranium used to make the first nuclear weapons was processed in downtown St. Louis, and the waste was moved around the region for decades. In 1973 a private company that bought some of the waste from the U.S. government illegally dumped it at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri, a northern suburb of St. Louis.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Stellan Skarsgård: 'I've never gone to a shrink. Maybe I should' - Telegraph

He is not optimistic that Sweden will continue to punch above its weight culturally. "I'm happy to be in that little corner of the world that so much talent comes out of. And of course it’s the pay-off from having had very good education for everybody… And now, of course, this will change because for eight years we had one of David Cameron's best friends as the prime minister [Fredrik Reinfeldt], dismantling what was so successful. As with England as well, culture will be reduced to children from a wealthy background. And then you're f----- as a nation. Good luck, Sweden."

Friday, October 09, 2015

Heavenly Creatures (1994) **

Tries to show the inner workings of the adolescent mind as it conflates fantasy with reality in the course of an intense friendship and how it can spiral out of control. Admirable attempt, doesn't quite succeed.