Archive for December, 2012

December 22, 2012

The d’Aulaires

Ingri (1904 – 1980) and Edgar (1898 – 1986) Parin d’Aulaire [doe-lair] were married writers and illustrators of children’s books in the 20th century.

Using their research and travel experiences as inspiration, the husband and wife team produced 27 picture books for children. They also wrote and illustrated introductory books of Greek and Norse mythology.

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December 21, 2012

The Last Picture Show

The Last Picture Show is a 1971 American drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from a semi-autobiographical 1966 novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry. Set in a small town in north Texas during the year November 1951 – October 1952, it is about the coming of age of Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) and his friend Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges). The cast includes Cybill Shepherd in her film debut, Ben Johnson, Eileen Brennan, Ellen Burstyn, Cloris Leachman, Clu Gulager, Randy Quaid in his film debut, and John Hillerman.

For aesthetic and technical reasons it was shot in black and white, which was unusual for its time. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and four nominations for acting: Ben Johnson and Jeff Bridges for Best Supporting Actor, and Ellen Burstyn and Cloris Leachman for Best Supporting Actress. It won two: Johnson and Leachman.

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December 21, 2012

Copyright Criminals

mlf

Copyright Criminals is a 2010 documentary film directed and produced by Benjamin Franzen examining the creative and the commercial value of sampling including the related debates over artistic expression, copyright law, and money. Copyright Criminals was funded by the Ford Foundation, University of Iowa, and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. It premiered in 2010 at the Toronto Film Festival. Sampling is when musicians make an audio montage taking a portion, or sample, of a sound recording and reusing, remixing or reworking it as a separate instrumental layer or loop into another song.

The documentary contains interviews with several sampling artist pioneers, including hip-hop groups. A longtime area of contention from a legal perspective, early sampling used portions of other artists’ recordings without permission. Once hip-hop, rap and other music incorporating sampling began generating a noticeably substantial income, the original artists began to take legal action, claiming copyright infringement and demanding high-sum royalties. Sampling artists fought back, claiming fair use (an exception in copyright law).

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December 21, 2012

Eclectic Method

Eclectic Method is the name of an audio-visual remix act, originally formed in London in 2001 by Geoff Gamlen, Ian Edgar, Johnny Wilson.

They quickly developed Eclectic Method’s audio-visual style into a live performance featuring video turntables (Pioneer DVJ-1000) – mixing the visuals and audio in real time. As a live act, they have traveled around the world playing hundreds of gigs in Asia, North America, South America, Europe and the Middle East.

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December 21, 2012

Brominated Vegetable Oil

Brominated [broh-muh-neyt-edvegetable oil (BVO) is vegetable oil that has had atoms of the element bromine bonded to it. Oil treated this way is used as an emulsifier in citrus-flavored soft drinks to help natural fat-soluble citrus flavors stay suspended in the drink and to produce a cloudy appearance. BVO has been used by the soft drink industry since 1931.

The addition of bromine increases the density of the oil, and the amount of bromine is carefully controlled to achieve a density that is the same as the water in the drink. As a result, the BVO remains suspended in the water instead of forming separate layers. Only small quantities, concentrations of 8 ppm, are needed to achieve this effect.

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December 20, 2012

Affective Computing

Affective computing is the study and development of systems and devices that can recognize, interpret, process, and simulate human affects.

It is an interdisciplinary field spanning computer sciences, psychology, and cognitive science, which originated at MIT with Rosalind Picard’s 1995 paper on affective computing. A motivation for the research is the ability to simulate empathy. The machine should interpret the emotional state of humans and adapt its behavior to them, giving an appropriate response for those emotions.

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December 19, 2012

Edgewood Arsenal

Project 112

The Edgewood Arsenal experiments (also known as Project 112) are said to be related to or part of CIA mind-control programs after World War II, such as MKULTRA. Journalist Linda Hunt, citing records from the U.S. National Archives, revealed that eight German scientists worked at Edgewood, under Project Paperclip (the US program recruiting Nazi scientists after the war).

The experiments were performed at the Edgewood Arsenal, northeast of Baltimore, Maryland, and involved hallucinogens such LSD, THC, and BZ, in addition to biological and chemical agents. Experiments on human subjects utilizing such agents goes back to at least World War I. In the mid-1970s, in the wake of many health claims made from exposure to such agents, including psychotropic drugs administered in later experiments, the U.S. Congress began investigations of misuse of such experiments, and inadequate informed consent given by the soldiers and civilians involved.

December 19, 2012

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response

Auditory-tactile synesthesia

The term ‘autonomous sensory meridian response’ (ASMR) is a neologism for a claimed biological phenomenon, characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation often felt in the head, scalp or peripheral regions of the body in response to various visual and auditory stimuli.

The phenomenon was first noted through internet culture such as blogs and online videos. Tom Stafford, a professor at the University of Sheffield, says ‘It might well be a real thing, but it’s inherently difficult to research.’

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December 19, 2012

Epigenetics of Autism

Pervasive developmental disorder

Epigenetics [ep-uh-juh-net-iks] refers to non-genetic, heritable characteristics: information other than that found in DNA that can be transmitted from parent to offspring, such as in the form of methylation of DNA (molecular markers attached at several points on a strand of DNA) or histone modification (histones are protein structures that tightly pack and unpack DNA, exposing and ‘expressing’ desired genes).

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) includes autism, Asperger disorder (high-functioning autism), childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified.

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December 19, 2012

Epigenetics

DNA methylation

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).

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December 19, 2012

Autism Friendly

Autism friendly means awareness of social engagement and environmental factors affecting people on the autism spectrum, with modifications to communication methods and physical space to better suit individual’s unique and special needs. Individuals on the autism spectrum take in information from their five senses as do neurotypical people, but they are not able to process it as quickly and can become overwhelmed by the amount of information that they are receiving and withdraw as a coping mechanism.

They may experience difficulty in public settings due to inhibited communication, social interaction or flexibility of thought development. Knowing about these differences and how to react effectively helps to create a more inclusive society. It also better suits the needs of the growing number of individuals with autism, Asperger syndrome (high functioning autism), or other disorders on the autism spectrum.

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December 19, 2012

Autism

Autism [aw-tiz-uhm] is a neurological disorder characterized by a profound withdrawal from contact with people, repetitive behavior, and fear of change in the environment. The emotional disorder affects the brain’s ability to receive and process information.

People who have autism find it difficult to act in a way that other people think is ‘normal,’ and they find it difficult to talk to other people, to look at other people, and often do not like being touched by other people. A person who has autism seems to be turned inwards. They may talk only to themselves, rock themselves backwards and forwards, and laugh at their own thoughts. They do not like any type of change and may find it very difficult to learn a new behavior like using a toilet or going to school.

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