Gufodotto would like you to read these:

Friday, May 11, 2007

28 (insert period of time) later

I loved 28 days later, by Danny Boyle. I was living in England at the time, so it made much more of an impression. Although, not quite as much as his funny sibling Shawn of the Dead. The idea of few survivors in a wasteland seems to work particularly well in England, I don't know why.

Oldest thing I can remember with this subject is The death of grass by John Christopher. Then, of course, 1984 by George Orwell, V 4 Vendetta by Alan Moore. There's more probably, but can't think of any right now. Something from Greg Ballard may be - although he's never been in my favorites' list. Oh yes, let's not forget the greyish Children of Men. Oh yes, The Day of the Triffids

Anyway I was disheartened when I discovered that the Americans were shooting 28 weeks later. It did seem like a foolish follow-up - Quite frankly, I though it was going to be crap.

But then, I read the NY Times review of the movie, surprisingly positive, and I understood (once more) that I seem to be unable to catch analogies - and here the focus of the movie is to show the relationship between the american occupation troops and the surviving UK population, being reintroduced in the de-populated cities. and what will happen if those undefended people turn out to be re-infected, once again, in a situation parallel to the one in Iraq where everybody could be a suicide bomber.

Clever uh?

May be I'll give the movie a shot. If it's only half as scary as the previous one, It'll be well worth it.

A final word: God I wish that someone made a movie out of the death of grass.

spiderman 3 really doesn't take off.

It's still stuck at 6.8 on the imdb. Well, at least it's not down to 5.3 as Ghost Rider is.. Still, it is definitely below what attained by the first two installments. Actualy, the second one went better than the first one - I would agree, with the exception that the bad guy did suck - but all spidey's bad guys suck, I think - Unless he fights someone else's enemies, like Victor Von Doom. Well, I am getting curious now, may be this weekend I will shell out those 12 euro to go ad watch it. After all, movies like this should be seen on a big screen.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Some stars really go with a bang, suggest this new research reported by the NY Times:

The cataclysm — a monster more than a hundred times as energetic as the typical supernova in which the more massive stars end their lives — might be an example of a completely new type of explosion, astronomers said. Such a blast — proposed but never seen — would explain how the earliest and most massive stars in the universe ended their lives and strewed new elements across space to fertilize future stars and planets.

“It is quite possibly the most massive star that has ever been seen to explode,” said Nathan Smith of the University of California, Berkeley, who estimated the star as “freakishly massive,” about 150 times the mass of the Sun.

And here comes the scary part:
The star bears an eerie resemblance to one in our own galaxy, Eta Carinae, which has been burbling and bubbling in the last few centuries as if getting ready for its own outburst. The observations suggest that the troubled and enigmatic star, thought to weigh in about 120 solar masses, could blow up sooner than theorists had thought. Mario Livio a theorist at the Space Telescope Science Institute who was not involved in the research, said the death of that star could be “the most spectacular star show in history.”

Well, let's hope it doesn't happen before we've got ourselves out of the cradle-Earth. Such an explosion may sterilize completely the planet. Ouch! Well, there's no reason to worry about something we can't avoid. Yet. One day, I foresee people prodding almost exploding stars like children prod sleeping dogs with sticks. Hopefully, the star will not chase us to destruction.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

if (prenatal_diagnose == down) then abort()

as described on the NY Times, almost 90% of unborn children diagnosed as having down syndrome are subsequently aborted by the parents. This seemingly puts at risk the remaining down, as their dwindling numbers will mean decreased visibility, therefore less money spent on support programs and such. May be, though, we'll have more money for those few children who are born with the condition? which one is the right choice, in your view?

I am internally fighting over this. Quite frankly, I don't think I have the balls to raise such a child. We discussed this over a couple of times with my GF and I'd rather abort. She would rather not - on the other side, she said she would not force me to be parent this way. So, my personale choice is quite clear. I'd rather have a healthy children, than a down one. However, I see the point in the agenda of the already born down's parents. Less down children will mean less visibility, therefore less money going toward research programs. Support program will continue to exist, yes, but research is a different thing. A drug needs a minimum investment to be made, and if the market is lower, the rice will be higher. same can be said for new techniques and such. therefore, a decrease of 90% in the newborn downs strongly puts to risk the improvement of thos who already are there, who will get no more new treatment as their numbers do not justify the expense any longer. I am surprised by the high percentage too. 350000 in the whole of US means almost one every thousand people is down. That's a lot more down I use to see. May be in Italy they are kept away from the view?

Anyway, lots of food for my mind. and yours.

Featured in the (bad) press

Uh Oh, The NY Times has a very nasty piece on the American branch of J&J and AM GEN who've apparently been paying (a lot) doctors to prescribe their anti-anemia treatments (EPO, a.k for its role in cycling doping).

Here's how the trick works.

Doctors buy from the company 9M US$ worth of drug. They prescribe it to the patients. Insurance or Medicare pays (let's say) 10M US$, to cover the drug's and all other costs. The company who sold the drug, though, send the doctors a rebates worth 2.7 M US$. Profit!!!

Frankly, I am disgusted of these practices, especially knowing that the company I work for (one of the two) prizes itself so much over his own credo. Now, I know this kind of practices are legal in the US, still this does not make them morally acceptable. Bleagh.

Do Penguins topple when Planes fly over?

I found this while looking for a penguin gif:

On November 2nd timothy of Slashdot asked if penguins topple when planes fly over? The British Antarctic Survey has organized a the first expedition to explore this theory and came back with news now.

The short answer: No, penguins don't fall over.

In November the BBC released a story covering a research project that took UK scientists to the South Atlantic. They wanted to discover if there is any truth in the tale that many aircraft pilots told the public.

Pilots often reported that when they were flying over a colony of penguins the birds were watching the planes, but instead of moving their bodies to follow the aircrafts they only moved their heads which lead them fall backwards over. This was said to happen to the entire colony of penguins and not just to some individuals.

If this was true, it could lead to a serious problem. Penguins only live in colonies around the antarctic and there aren't that many. If the aircrafts disturb their breeding pattern future of penguins is uncertain. The research project was acknowledged by fears that breeding patterns of the birds may be disturbed and interupted by aircraft activity such as jets and helicopters from aircraft carriers.

From the beginning of this research project there was no evidence that penguins actually fall over. All the scientists knew about were myths of aircraft pilots who supposedly watched entire colonies topple.

The researchers from the British Antarctic Survey went to South Georgia, an island belonging to the Falklands, in order to observe a colony of King Penguins. With help of the Navy and their ice patrol vessel HMS Endurance the scientists let helicopters fly over the colony of penguins and watched the birds.

The results were different from what pilots formerly reported. The birds did not fall backwards over or watched the helicopters. Instead the penguins went quiet and some moved away from the disturbing noise. Though, after the helicopters were gone the penguins moved back to their regular places. Please read the entire report.

Frankly, I can't believe they really went to check!!! LOL

more info here.

Paper time

I have finally started to write up last year' pice of research into a paper. The intro is done, mostly, and a quick draft of the data retrieval and preparation is in progress. Of course the lion's share, results and discussion, are still in my mind, in a yet unshapely form.

Want to know what I am going to talk about? In general, Cardio Vascular safety issues in Early Drug Discovery. More specifically, my in silico modelling of the Guinea Pig Right Atrium Assay.

Hopefully, when I'll submit it to J. Med. Chem., where I believe it belongs, and which has a nice Impact Factor, it will get accepted for publication. Finger crossed.

Can't Bloody Sleep.

No way of sleeping, after three o'clock tonight. must be the emotion of finally getting back my whole thesis corrected. Now I only have to incorporate the final changes, one or two tables/ graph and off I go, toward a luminous future.

First though, I have to use the company's facilities to shave and shower myself. see you later!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Filling up my sci-fi bag

I am buying these books. That is, I will if the server at stops hitching up.

The Time Ships - Stephen Baxter

Exultant - Stephen Baxter

The Swarm - Frank Schatzing

Enjoy your evening!

Alfa 156 SportWagon

Here's my car, in all its splendor in its own wikipedia page. It's the 1.9 Diesel 85 KW (115BHP) 2002 facelift model.

nice website for mobile phone users <-> I just downloaded a series of ringtones, screensavers, and Java apps and games. I thought I'd share.

Monday, May 07, 2007


I am sleepy. I think I'll lie down.

I've just seen Desperate Housewives season 3, ep 21 - too sentimental for my tastes, with Susan getting lost in the woods and Linette falling (almost) for the handsome cook. The worst part is, the ending of the episode was even worst. Yuk!

Rotten Tomatoes

I found their top 100 movie list. It looks like the people there have a special eye for the past, as I don't know most of them, if not just by name...

They also have a top sport movie list, although this is far too heavily american-centred, with so many movies about baseball and the US version of rugby, called football even if they almost never use the feet to drive the ball (?). And, quite frankly, I'd have taken down talladega nights (which I loved) to insert a few other, like "There's Only One Jimmy Grimble" or even better "Cup Fever".

And, as you can expect, I don't really agree on their "Comix Worst to Best" List either.

Let's see if they have any sci-fi flick list, too...

More Spiderman 3 reviews

Uh, it seems like my post on spiderman 3 and the kinda lukewarm review it got from the NY Times generated quite a number of hits.

So, here I am to cater to the interest opf my readers. I've gone out looking for more info.

On the IMDB, spidey gets a decent 7.1. That's the people's vote, but keep in mind that this is people who bothers to vote for a movie after seeing it, so it's likely to be composed of a higher than usual percentage of fanboys, both pros and cons. Hopefully, they cancel out.

If you look at RottenTomatoes, instead, critics average on a somewhat lower score: 61%. Tomatoers do score it more or less like IMDBers, at 66%. Are they harsher? uhm,. judging by the average age of the top 100 movies in the two databases, I'd say they're older, less Matrix-generation and more Casablanca: may be less fanboyish, or just more classic oriented. I do tend to agree on them, meaning that a movie can only be called a classic when a audience born 25 years later than the movie itself still likes it.

Back to spiderman, I guess I'll have to see it, but for the moment only CAMs are available for download. may be in a couple of weeks some decent DVD rip will hit the pirate bay. Until then, I'll wait.

here's the trailer anyway. (update for a better trailer)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bellezza in bicicletta

Quando, a primavera, per le strade
passa il "Giro" gridan tutti ai corridor:
Dai, dai, dai, dai, dai, dai!
Dai, dai, dai, dai, dai, dai!
Ma se una maschietta in bicicletta
passerà vedrai che ognuno, là per là
la testa girerà e allegro canterà

Ma dove vai bellezza in bicicletta,
così di fretta pedalando con ardor?
Le gambe snelle tornite e belle
m'hanno già messo la passione dentro al cuor!

Ma dove vai con i capelli al vento
col cuor contento e col sorriso incantator?
Se tu lo vuoi o prima o poi
arriveremo sul traguardo dell'amor!

Se incontriamo una salita
io ti sospingerò
e stringendoti alla vita,
d'amor ti parlerò.

Ma dove vai bellezza in bicicletta,
non aver fretta resta un poco sul mio cuor
lascia la bici dammi i tuoi baci
è tanto bello far l'amor!

Ma dove vai bellezza in bicicletta,
così di fretta pedalando con ardor?
Le gambe snelle tornite e belle
m'hanno già messo la passione dentro al cuor!

Ma dove vai con i capelli al vento
col cuor contento e col sorriso incantator?
Se tu lo vuoi o prima o poi
arriveremo sul traguardo dell'amor!

Se incontriamo una salita
io ti sospingerò
e stringendoti alla vita,
d'amor ti parlerò.

Ma dove vai bellezza in bicicletta,
non aver fretta resta un poco sul mio cuor
lascia la bici dammi i tuoi baci
è tanto bello far l'amor!

mp3 here