Epigenetics [ep-uh-juh-net-iks] is the study of changes in gene activity which are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence. More specifically, epigenetics is the study of gene expression, the way genes bring about their phenotypic effects (observable characteristics or traits). Gene expression is the process by which the heritable information in a gene, the sequence of DNA base pairs, is made into a functional gene product, such as protein or RNA. The basic idea is that DNA is ‘transcribed’ into RNA, which is then ‘translated’ into proteins (which make many of the structures and all the enzymes in a cell or organism). Several steps in the gene expression process may be modulated (tuned). This includes both the transcription and translation stages, and the final folded state of a protein. Gene regulation (mechanisms used by cells to increase or decrease the production of specific gene products) switches genes on and off, and so controls cell differentiation, and morphogenesis (the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape). Gene regulation may also serve as a basis for evolutionary change: control of the timing, location, and amount of gene expression can have a profound effect on the development of the organism. A well-known example is that of the honey bee. Larvae that are fed with a pollen and nectar diet develop into worker bees, while those fed royal jelly develop into queens, growing larger and with different morphology.
The expression of a gene may vary a lot in different tissues. This is called pleiotropism, a widespread phenomenon in genetics. In pleiotropism, a single gene affects a number of phenotypic traits in the same organism. These pleiotropic effects often seem to be unrelated to each other. The underlying mechanism is that the same gene is activated in several different tissues, producing apparently different effects. It follows that the phenomenon must be extremely common, since most genes will have effects in more than one tissue. Changes in gene activity may persist for the remainder of the cell’s life and may also last for many generations of cells, through cell divisions. However, there is no change in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism. Instead, non-hereditary factors cause the organism’s genes to behave (express themselves) differently. The best example of epigenetic changes in eukaryotes is the process of cell differentiation. During morphogenesis, generalized stem cells become the cell lines of the embryo which in turn become fully differentiated cells. In other words, a single fertilized egg cell – the zygote – divides and changes into all the many cell types: neurons, muscle cells, epithelium, blood vessels etc. As the embryo develops, some genes get switched on, while others are switched off or moderated (gene regulation). There are many molecules inside the cell nucleus which do the job of adjusting the genes’ output.
Sergei Eisenstein (1898 – 1948) was a pioneering Soviet Russian film director and film theorist, often considered to be the ‘Father of Montage.’
He is noted in particular for his silent films ‘Strike’ (1924), ‘Battleship Potemkin’ (1925), and ‘October’ (1927), as well as the historical epics ‘Alexander Nevsky’ (1938) and ‘Ivan the Terrible’ (1944).read more »
Feminist pornography is pornography produced by and with feminist women. It is a small but growing segment of the pornography industry. Since 2006, there has been a Feminist Porn Awards held annually in Toronto, sponsored by a local feminist sex toy shop, Good for Her. They have three guiding criteria: A woman had a hand in the production, writing, direction, etc. of the work; It depicts genuine female pleasure; and It expands the boundaries of sexual representation on film and challenges stereotypes that are often found in mainstream porn. According to feminist author Tristan Taormino, ‘Feminist porn both responds to dominant images with alternative ones and creates its own iconography.’ Some pornographic actresses such as Nina Hartley, Ovidie, Madison Young, and Sasha Grey are also self-described ‘sex-positive feminists,’ and state that they do not see themselves as victims of sexism. They defend their decision to perform in pornography as freely chosen, and argue that much of what they do on camera is an expression of their sexuality. It has also been pointed out that in pornography, women generally earn more than their male counterparts. Some porn performers such as Nina Hartley are active in the sex workers’ rights movement.
Feminist porn directors include Candida Royalle, Tristan Taormino, Madison Young, Shine Louise Houston, and Erika Lust. Some of these directors make pornography specifically for a female or genderqueer (a catch-all term for gender identities other than man and woma) audience, while others try for a broad appeal across genders and sexual orientations. Directed by Abiola Abrams in 2006, ‘Afrodite Superstar’ is renowned as the first adult film directed by and for women of color. Other black female directors in adult film, in addition to Shine Louise Houston, include Estelle Joseph – director of the award-winning ‘City of Flesh’ series and Diana Devoe. Swedish filmmaker Mia Engberg along with twelve different directors produced a collection of feminist pornographic short films titled ‘Dirty Diaries’ which was released in 2009. The financing for the most part came from the Swedish Film Institute.
Discrimination against atheists (sometimes called atheophobia) includes the persecution and discrimination faced by atheists and those labeled as atheists in the past and in the current era. Differing definitions of atheism historically and culturally mean those discriminated against might not be considered truly atheist by modern Western standards. In constitutional democracies, legal discrimination against atheists is uncommon, but some atheists and atheist groups, particularly those in the United States, have protested laws, regulations and institutions they view as being discriminatory. In some Islamic countries, atheists face discrimination including lack of legal status or even a death sentence in the case of apostasy. Atheism in its modern sense did not exist before the end of the seventeenth century. However, as governmental authority rested on the notion of divine right, it was threatened by those who denied the existence of the local god. Philosophers such as Plato argued that atheism (as we understand it today) was a danger to society and should be punished as a crime. Those labeled as atheist, which included early Christians and Muslims, were as a result targeted for legal persecution.
During the Early modern period in the 16th century, the term ‘atheist’ was used as an insult and applied to a broad range of people, including those who held opposing theological beliefs, as well as suicides, immoral or self-indulgent people, and even opponents of the belief in witchcraft. Atheistic beliefs were seen as threatening to order and society by philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas. Lawyer and scholar Thomas More said that religious tolerance should be extended to all except those who did not believe in a deity or the immortality of the soul. John Locke, a founder of modern notions of religious liberty, argued that atheists (as well as Catholics and Muslims) should not be granted full citizenship rights. During the Spanish Inquisition, several of those accused of atheism or blasphemy, or both, were tortured or executed. These included a priest Giulio Cesare Vanini who was strangled and burned in 1619 and a Polish nobleman Kazimierz Łyszczyński who was executed in Warsaw, as well as Etienne Dolet, a Frenchman executed in 1546. Though heralded as atheist martyrs during the nineteenth century, recent scholars hold that the beliefs espoused by Dolet and Vanini are not atheistic in modern terms.
An isolation tank is a lightless, soundproof tank inside which subjects float in salt water at skin temperature. They were first used by John C. Lilly in 1954 to test the effects of sensory deprivation. Such tanks are now also used for meditation and relaxation and in alternative medicine.
The isolation tank was originally called the sensory deprivation tank. Other names for the isolation tank include flotation tank, John C. Lilly tank, REST tank, sensory attenuation tank, and think tank.read more »
Crypto-anarchism refers to the use of cryptographic software to evade prosecution and harassment while sending and receiving information over computer networks, thereby protecting privacy and political freedom. In a sense, the encrypted anonymous networks (the ‘cipherspace’) can be regarded as an independent lawless territory or as an autonomous zone. However, participants may in theory voluntarily create new laws using smart contracts (computer protocols that facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract, or that obviate the need for a contractual clause) or, if the user is pseudonymous, depend on online reputation. The ‘crypto’ in crypto-anarchism should not be confused with the use of the prefix ‘crypto-‘ to indicate an ideology or system with an intentionally concealed or obfuscated ‘true nature.’ For example, some would use the term ‘crypto-fascist’ to describe an individual or organization that holds fascist views and subscribes to fascist doctrine but conceals their agenda so long as these doctrines remain socially unacceptable. However, Timothy C. May’s ‘Cyphernomicon’ (one of the philosophy’s founding documents, posted in 1994) indicates that the term ‘crypto-anarchist’ was partially intended as a pun on this usage, even though he did not intend to conceal his beliefs or agenda.
One motive of crypto-anarchists is to defend against surveillance of computer networks communication. Crypto-anarchists try to protect against things like telecommunications data retention, the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, Room 641A (the room at AT&T used by the NSA) and FRA (a Swedish law that authorizes the state to warrantlessly wiretap all telephone and Internet traffic that crosses its borders), among other things. Crypto-anarchists consider the development and use of cryptography to be the main defense against such problems, as opposed to political action. A second concern is evasion of censorship, particularly Internet censorship, on the grounds of freedom of expression. The programs used by crypto-anarchists often make it possible to both publish and read information off the internet or other computer networks anonymously. Tor, I2P, Freenet and many similar networks allow for anonymous ‘hidden’ webpages only accessible by users of these programs. This helps whistle blowers and political opposition in oppressive nations get information out. Another reason is to build and participate in counter economics (short for counter-establishment economics), which refers to the study and/or practice of all peaceful human action which is forbidden by the State. Crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin and services like Silk Road (an encrypted, illicit online marketplace) makes it possible to trade goods and services with little interference of law.
Maakies is a syndicated weekly comic strip by Tony Millionaire. It began publication in 1994 in the ‘New York Press.’ It currently runs in many American alternative newsweeklies including ‘The Stranger,’ ‘LA Weekly,’ and ‘Only.’ It also appears in several international venues including the Italian comics magazine ‘Linus’ and the Swedish comics magazine ‘Rocky.’
The strip focuses on the darkly comic misadventures of Uncle Gabby (a drunken Irish sock monkey) and Drinky Crow (an alcoholic crow), two antiheroes with a propensity for drunkenness, violence, suicide, and venereal disease. According to Millionaire, ”Maakies’ is me spilling my guts… Writing and drawing about all the things that make me want to jump in the river, laughing at the horror of being alive.’ Maakies strips typically take place in an early 19th century nautical setting. There is rarely any continuity between strips.
Liquorice [lik-uh-rish] or licorice is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra (a legume) from which a somewhat sweet flavor can be extracted. It is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia, and is not related to anise, star anise, or fennel, which are the sources of similar-tasting compounds. The word ‘liquorice’ is derived from the Greek ‘glukurrhiza’ (‘sweet root’). The flavor of liquorice comes mainly from a sweet-tasting compound called anethole, an aromatic, unsaturated ether compound also found in anise, fennel, and several other herbs. Much of the sweetness in liquorice comes from glycyrrhizin, a compound 30 to 50 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). Liquorice flavor is found in a wide variety of candies. In the UK and US these are usually sweet, but most of the taste is reinforced by aniseed oil, and the actual content of liquorice is very low. In continental Europe however, strong, salty liquorice candies are popular.
Interlingua [in-ter-ling-gwuh] is a planned language using words that are found in most West-European languages. It was made by IALA – a group of people (the most known was Alexander Gode) that worked on it for more than 20 years, and they finished and published the first dictionary in 1951. Interlingua was created on the base of languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. ‘Inter’ means ‘between’ or ‘to each other'; ‘lingua’ means ‘language.’ The goal of the language was to enable people of different countries to talk to each other easily. Because Interlingua was made by people to be easy, it is easier than natural languages to learn. Many thousands of people know Interlingua, and Interlingua speakers say that millions can understand it (read texts in it and listen to someone talk in it) without having to learn it first.
The expansive movements of science, technology, trade, diplomacy, and the arts, combined with the historical dominance of the Greek and Latin languages have resulted in a large common vocabulary among European languages. With Interlingua an objective procedure is used to extract and standardize the most widespread word or words for a concept found in a set of control languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, with German and Russian as secondary references. Words from any language are eligible for inclusion, so long as their internationality is shown by their presence in these control languages. Hence, Interlingua includes such diverse word forms as Japanese ‘geisha’ and ‘samurai,’ Arabic ‘califa,’ Aboriginal ‘kanguru,’ and Finnish ‘sauna.’
The principle of linguistic relativity holds that the structure of a language affects the ways in which its speakers are able to conceptualize their world, i.e. their world view. Popularly known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism, the principle is often defined as having two versions: Strong (language determines thought and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories) and Weak (linguistic categories and usage influence thought and certain kinds of non-linguistic behavior).
The term ‘Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis’ is a misnomer as the men never co-authored anything and never stated their ideas in terms of a hypothesis. The notion of ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ versions of Whorf’s principal of linguistic relativity is a misunderstanding of Whorf promulgated by Stuart Chase, whom Whorf considered ‘utterly incompetent by training and background to handle such a subject.’
Good Copy Bad Copy is a documentary about copyright and culture in the context of Internet, peer-to-peer file sharing and other technological advances, directed by Andreas Johnsen, Ralf Christensen, and Henrik Moltke. It features interviews with many people with various perspectives on copyright, including copyright lawyers, producers, artists, and filesharing service providers. A central point of the documentary is that ‘creativity itself is on the line’ and that a balance needs to be struck, or that there is a conflict, between protecting the right of those who own intellectual property and the rights of future generations to create. Artists interviewed include Girl Talk and DJ Danger Mouse, popular musicians of the mashup scene who cut and remix sounds from other songs into their own. The interviews with these artists reveal an emerging understanding of digital works and the obstacle to their authoring copyright presents.
‘Good Copy Bad Copy’ documents the conflict between current copyright law and recent technological advances that enable the sampling of music, as well as the distribution of copyrighted material via peer-to-peer file sharing search engines such as The Pirate Bay. MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) CEO Dan Glickman is interviewed in connection with a raid by the Swedish police against The Pirate Bay in 2006. Glickman concedes that piracy will never be stopped, but states that they will try to make it as difficult and tedious as possible. Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij from The Pirate Bay are also interviewed, with Neij stating that The Pirate Bay is illegal according to US law, but not Swedish law. In Nigeria, the documentary interviews individuals working within the Nigerian film industry, or Nollywood. In Brazil the Tecno brega industry and its unique approach to copyright and sampling is documented, featuring interviews with Ronaldo Lemos, Professor of Law FGV Brazil. Lemos explains that CDs or recorded music is treated merely as an advertisement for parties and concerts that generate revenue.
The Principality of Sealand is an unrecognized micronation, located on HM Fort Roughs, a former World War II Maunsell Sea Fort in the North Sea 10 km (six miles) off the coast of Suffolk, England. Since 1967, the facility has been occupied by the former British Major Paddy Roy Bates; his associates and family claim that it is an independent sovereign state. While it has been described as the world’s smallest nation, or a micronation, Sealand is not currently officially recognized by any established sovereign state. Although Roy Bates claims it is de facto recognized by Germany as they have sent a diplomat to the micronation, and by the UK after an English court ruled it did not have jurisdiction over Sealand, neither action constitutes de jure recognition as far as the respective countries are concerned.
In 1943, during World War II, HM Fort Roughs was constructed by the United Kingdom as one of the Maunsell Forts, primarily for defence against German mine-laying aircraft that might be targeting the estuaries that were part of vital shipping lanes; it comprised a floating pontoon base with a superstructure of two hollow towers joined by a deck upon which other structures could be added. The fort was towed to a position above the Rough Sands sandbar, where its base was deliberately flooded to allow it to sink to its final resting place on the sandbar. The location chosen was approximately six miles from the coast of Suffolk, outside the then three-mile territorial water claim of the United Kingdom and therefore in international waters. The facility (called Roughs Tower or HM Fort Roughs) was occupied by 150–300 Royal Navy personnel throughout World War II; not until well after the war, in 1956, were the last full-time personnel taken off HM Fort Roughs.
Simulated reality is the proposition that reality could be simulated—perhaps by computer simulation—to a degree indistinguishable from ‘true’ reality. It could contain conscious minds which may or may not be fully aware that they are living inside a simulation. This is quite different from the current, technologically achievable concept of virtual reality. Virtual reality is easily distinguished from the experience of actuality; participants are never in doubt about the nature of what they experience. Simulated reality, by contrast, would be hard or impossible to separate from ‘true’ reality.
Dietrich Varez (b. 1939) is an iconoclastic printmaker-painter. His work is among the most widely-recognized of any artist in Hawaii. A long-time resident of the Big Island, he is known primarily for scenes of Hawaiian mythology and of traditional Hawaiian life and stylized designs from nature. The studio where Varez works and lives is in a rural forested area near the small town of Volcano, Hawaii a few miles from the entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. He built the house himself after many years of living in tents or cabins on the land or in the Park. For most of his life there, he and his family have lived a self-sufficient pioneering life. They capture rainwater for their needs, and had no electricity for thirty years. The road to his home has been described as ‘barely passable.’ Varez and his wife rarely leave their homestead, virtually never travelling off-island.
Dr. K. Anders Ericsson is a Swedish psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University who is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading theoretical and experimental researchers on expertise. He is the co-editor of ‘The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance,’ a volume released in 2006. Dr. Ericsson’s research with Herbert Simon on verbal reports of thinking is summarized in a book ‘Protocol Analysis: Verbal Reports as Data,’ which was revised in 1993. With Bill Chase he developed the Theory of Skilled Memory based on detailed analyses of acquired exceptional memory performance. Currently he studies the cognitive structure of expert performance in domains such as music, chess and sports, and how expert performers acquire their superior performance by extended deliberate practice.