By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor
Davis, CA, July 22, 2010
Researchers at California's UC Davis announced today the successful completion of a three-year, highly secretive project to map God's genetic code. Originally commissioned by filmmaker James Cameron, who supplied the research team with holy genetic material on which to perform the study, the results of the God Genome project are expected to profoundly influence human conceptions of divinity and origin.
Friday, March 02, 2007
There's more than one tool user on this planet. that much we knew. chimp abitually use sticky sticks to eat Termites... (edit: the list of users of toolw is apparently quite long and includes not only primates, but even birds such as owls, and crows)
But actively hunting??? With spears? Made from branches sharpened with their teeth? That is unheard of!!!
I am sorry for all the exclamation marks!!! here's a link to the pre-print of the paper, from Current Biology website. Enjoy!
Up! Darren Naish has something to say too. I usually listen to him...
Yesterday, I heard, then saw, two fighter planes flying low over our buildings. No, I didn't think Pfizer or GSK had launched a pre-emptive strike against J&J. But since I just caugh a glimpse of them, I coudln't identify them properly. So went looking for what kind of planes does the Belgian (or alternatively, the Dutch) Air force uses. I found the answer in this nice and accurate website, where lots of detailed info on which armed forces and government corps have planes and copters in service are freely available (albeit not easily found). Kudos!
Carl Zimmer points out an interesting review on Nature Reviews Cancer - abstract follows:
Darwinian medicine: a case for cancer
Epidemiological, genetic and molecular biological studies have collectively provided us with a rich source of data that underpins our current understanding of the aetiology and molecular pathogenesis of cancer. But this perspective focuses on proximate mechanisms, and does not provide an adequate explanation for the prevalence of tumours and cancer in animal species or what seems to be the striking vulnerability of Homo sapiens. The central precept of Darwinian medicine is that vulnerability to cancer, and other major diseases, arises at least in part as a consequence of the 'design' limitations, compromises and trade-offs that characterize evolutionary processes.
te last two sentences (about human vulnerability to cancer and Zimmer comments on genomic conflicts (Some important cancer genes appear to have rapidly evolved because they help sperm reproduce faster or allow fetuses to manipulate their mothers. It appears that these genes also make tumors more sucessful.) got me thinking...
So, we're more susceptible than normal to cancer because we've been evolving quicker than normal in the recent past? If so, when did this start? Since our environment has been kind of stable in the last thousands of year (ok, ice ages apart), is our evolution accelerating as a response to the increased demands of our social environment? So, is our evolution accelerating exponentially to follow the accumulation of knowledge (which certainly seems to be exponential)?
Uhm, lots of food for thought here.. have a nice evening...
gotta cook some pasta - otherwise my brain will run out of his preferred food :-)
Thursday, March 01, 2007
This show is incredibly good (ah! ah!). I've managed to watch the first two episodes only (download is kinda slow). However, I have to admit that I find it hard to follow. Either they used to speak quicker at that time, or the audio isn't that great. I guess it's the second. The alternative would be that I'm getting more used to the US accent, and less to the UK one. God not...
Anyway, I didn't have that much difficulties with the second episode. May be it was just matter of getting used to the actors' voices.
And I confirm my impression: Barbara Good (Felicity Kendall) is gorgeous! I've always liked her since when I first saw the show... The sheer power of her optimism it's just heart warming...
And, since I've named one of the authors in the previous post, I want to tell you what I am reading. Good Omens, or The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Neil gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
This was the first book I bought in english land, and had to wait one year or so before being able to read it. Now it's been five year since i last read it, so i don't remember much about it, other than the joke about the M25 (the London Ring) being a kind of satanic mandala / prayer wheel...
So, I've started reading again, since my latest purchases from play.com are lost somewhere between Jersey and Beerse.
God this book is funny. Thankfully, the class of Gaiman tempers down Pratchett's jokes so that they don't bore me after a while. When is a movie about this due?
Unfortunately, as wikipedia says: A film, directed by Terry Gilliam, was planned, but as of 2006 seems to have come to nothing. Funding was slow to appear and Gilliam moved on to other projects. The film has been removed from IMDB. Johnny Depp was originally cast as Anthony Crowley and Robin Williams as Aziraphale. According to an interview in May 2006 at the Guardian Hay Festival, Gilliam is apparently still hoping to go ahead with the film.
I've seen these two movies, the last two days. both were quite good.
Private Joe Bauers, the definition of "average American", is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes 500 years in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed-down that he's easily the most intelligent person alive.
I loved this one. The plot starts today, when intelligent people think twice before making a baby, whereas the mother of stoopids is always pregnant, as P.T. Barnum once put it. With technology to pamper humanity from natural selection, quickly stupids outbred the (not so uh?) smarts. resulting in a civilisation (?) where everybody drinks Gatorade (also plants) and speaks a pidgin english made-up from ghetto-jargon. The highest form of expression is a movie consisting exclusively of ninty minutes of fart scenes (ouch). Our unwilling hero, now the smartest person alive, is forced to take care of this unbearable situation...
Pity the movie did only concentrate on the United States of Uhmerica.
Possibly, other countries did escape this terrible fate?
An IRS auditor suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear: narration that begins to affect his entire life, from his work, to his love-interest, to his death.
This is a less accomplished movie, with some better acting but less fun. Will ferrel shows that he can be a little bit serious, and I loved Emma Thompson's character. Dustin hoffman's was instead a bit off, his talking not quite the ones I would expect from, you know, a literature scholar. In essence, the movie fall short of being truly Literary. the love story between the auditor and the bakery's girl is too simplified, as are many other of the plot's keystones. Pity, 'cause the initial idea was quite nice. I guess they should have called some better writer :-|
I can think of an english name for this kind of plot... (Neil Gaiman)
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
So, yesterday I almost forced my GF to watch this movie, which had been setting top of my list since last week. What can I say? very very nice movie, although I admit that I may have missed some nuances of the plot and dialogues. Sharp and hard on all accounts, it eaves you hoping until the end that things will turn for the better, but no, they just go down to hell... It's nice to get an american movie without the feel-good Hollywood ending, from time to time...
So, did it deserve the 4 oscars? I don't know - Martin Scorses was long due for one, sure... Best writing, probably yes. I liked the idea - the symmetric play remindimg me of a chess game, where every opponent has the same pieces and the same likelihood of victory (at least, thisi is what I believe in my ignorance). Bes Editing, most likely, although haven't had the time to check the other nominated for this. But as I said, it's sharp, with no unnecessary scenes. Best movie? It certainly is a good one. I voted it a 9 on the imdb - very good but not perfect - not one of those movies which win your heart. Well, not mine.
But I'd suggest anybody to watch it - that is, anybody who doesn't mind seeing some ten brain splattered on walls.
Oh yes, I also saw The Pursuit of Happyness this weekend - my girlfriend choice :-P
Nothing special. Will Smith as usual (plus one son). American dream as usual (crap-effort-success!). Happy Ending (but were's the wife? Did he take her back? did he marry a beautiful actress that the boy will hate for the rest of his life? Will the two fight for the inheritance of Will's fortune? - Pah...
The Osteodensity machine sucked, though... And the rubik cube scene too...
Mind you, an enjoyable movie, but will forget it within the month. time filler. My vote on IMDB: 6 - Avg User rating 7.4