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Monthly Archives: June 2007

favorite movie review of the week


I’m already a fan of the NYT film critics A O Scott and Manohla Dargis, but after reading the opening of his review of http://cowmanauction.com/wp-json/wp/v2/pages/20 One to Another, I’m developing a new appreciation for Matt Seitz. It’s funny, pithy and tells you exactly what you’re in for.

The notion that French cinema consists mainly of pretentious soft-core pornography is an ignorant cliché, but “One to Another” does little to disprove it. This drama from the directors Jean-Marc Barr and Pascal Arnold aims to be a disturbing account of young love, friendship and murder. But it plays like a remake of Larry Clark’s muckraking thriller about youths, “Bully,” as directed by Diane Chambers, the intellectual barmaid on “Cheers.”

life outside the earphone bubble


er6i-snip.jpgWhile my iPod is probably my favourite gadget, it was the repurposing of musician’s in-ear monitors as consumer-level accessories that made it life-changing. Not only is the sound quality fantastic, but because they fit snugly into the ear canal, they also act as ear-plugs. This makes them invaluable at my gym (which plays awful, awful music), certain noisy coffee shops where I might be trying to read, and on the bus, especially the busses to and from UBC when school’s in session. They are my insulation against inane cell-phone users and muttering crazy people and drunken frat boys loudly boasting of their sexual conquests. All of whom seem to delight in sitting directly behind me. And so I block them out with my Etymotic ER-6is and Westone UM1s. I have no regrets.

However, these are not necessarily robust items, and every 6-to-8 months, they break and I send them back to the manufacturer, who always quickly and politely replaces them, as long as the warranty lasts. (Seriously: Etymotic and Westone both have excellent customer service.) Like right now, for instance. And for a week or two, I am exposed to the sounds of day-to-day life. It’s interesting how much it affects my thoughts. No longer living in my earphone bubble, I spend a lot more time thinking about the people around me: who they are, what they’re doing, and what all our places in the world are. And it makes me more able to engage in random conversation — I don’t have to snap my mind from a pre-verbal state to give directions to a tourist or joke with a cute barista.

But mostly, I’m reminded what of an introvert I am, and how my perfect world might not actually have a whole lot of other people in it.

this blog has been rated R


Apparently, among my offenses: ‘fuck’, ‘shit’, ‘godfuck’, ‘bomb’, ‘murder’, ‘sex’, ‘sexy’, ‘zombies’, and many, many uses of the word ‘fucking’ — though I wish to emphasize, http://debashishbanerji.com/category/creativewriting/page/3/ only as an adjective, never a verb.

I wonder if all the swearing is really artistically necessary. Couldn’t I communicate the same things using family-friendly substitutes? I guess it’s true: obscenity http://stephanepereira.com/wp-content/plugins/ubh/up.php is the last resort of the inarticulate motherfucker. I mean, “melon farmer“.

Incidentally, I found this link via the really rather awesome Sergio Leone and the Inflield Fly Rule, which you should check out if you like film criticism much smarter than mine. I know I do.

damn those control groups, damn them all


This made me laugh out loud when I saw it on Bad Science. It’s the abstract of a peer-reviewed paper (Bengston and Moga, 2007) from The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, which appears to be about as respectable as a journal in that field gets (though I could be wrong on this, I’m just going by hits on Google).

ABSTRACT
Classical experimental design presupposes that subjects, randomly separated into experimental and control groups, are independent and distinct. … In four previously reported experiments on anomalous healing using “healing with intent” on mice injected with lethal doses of mammary adenocarcinoma (source, The Jackson Laboratories, Bar Harbor, ME; code, H2712; host strain, C3H/HeJ), a high percentage of both experimental and control mice exhibited an anomalous healing pattern, most often passing through stages of tumor ulceration to full life-span cure. … In order to explain tumor regression of control animals, I posit the formation of “resonant bonds,” which can link spatially separate groups. Healing given to the experimental animals can result in an unintended treatment to the control animals, producing anomalous healing akin to placebo effects.

To sum up: the authors poisoned a bunch of mice and waved crystals over one group and didn’t over another. But similar number of mice in both groups got better. The researchers conclude that the the “resonance” of the crystal power is magically healing the mice in the control, and in fact, that the whole scientific principle of using controls in medicine is wrong. Because there’s couldn’t possibly be anything amiss in healing mice by waving crystals over them.

The abstract concludes: “[r]esearchers are invited to reanalyze past data in light of resonance theory.” Gosh, thanks. Think I’ll pass.

Also, how do these experiments get ethics approval? I need to spend weeks filling out forms and justifying my work before I can let a few people to click buttons on a computer screen. These guys are killing 200+ mice for this paper.

cloudwatching



cloudwatching, originally uploaded by Mister Wind-Up Bird.