Saturday, July 30, 2011
This movie looks to be interesting, not just because Olivia Wilde is in it (that’s enough to get my attention), but also because the sci-fi concept is compelling: a society where time literally is money.
If the movie is as interesting as the concept, it’ll be a winner.
Timberlake and Wilde star in the upcoming Andrew Niccol sci-fi thriller, "In Time," playing mother and son. Which makes sense in the context: the film is set in a world in which the aging gene has been halted at the age of 25, where the rich buy and trade the world's new currency, time itself, so that they stay forever young -- while the poor die at the hands of their robbed clocks.
Wilde and Timberlake, low down on the socio-economic ladder, have to fight for every minute they can; Wilde's character, Rachel, gave birth to Timberlake's Will and was able to survive until he caught up to her in age, but her time, it seems, is finally running out. On the flip side, Will is gifted 100 years by an "old" man who no longer wants to live -- setting off wild accusations and a fight for survival.
The film hits theaters October 28th.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Like the old medical research joke goes, “Curing it in rats is great, but what about me?”
Since scientists have finally figured out that tinnitus is mainly in the brain, not the ears, research has taken a few leaps forward, and already they’re working on effective treatments and even some possible cures for the condition.
In a recent study, Kilgard induced tinnitus in rats by exposing them to loud sounds. Then he used tiny electrodes to stimulate the rats' vagus nerve, a pathway connecting the brain to other organs. Each jolt of micro-current triggered the release of a substance called acetylcholine, which signals the brain to pay attention.
In sync with the stimulation, he played a wide range of tones — all except the one matching the frequency of their tinnitus — and repeated this 300 times a day for three weeks. The tinnitus disappeared in these rats, while a control group still had the condition.
In effect, Kilgard says, the rats' brains were retuned, unlearning the tendency to overfocus on one tone by increasing the number of brain cells dedicated to other sound frequencies.
Kilgard's study, published earlier this year in Nature, set the stage for a human trial by Dirk De Ridder, M.D., a neurosurgeon who heads a tinnitus clinic in Antwerp, Belgium.
De Ridder is implanting electrodes in 10 middle-aged tinnitus patients, each of whom has already tried various experimental techniques, including medication. He says he works with one patient at a time, as each undergoes vagus nerve stimulation coupled with sound therapy for 2 1/2 hours a day for four weeks. This is very much a pilot study, where the researchers hope to figure out some basic parameters (how long to continue treatment, among other things) that will guide a larger study.
The eventual cure might require some tiny electrodes to be implanted in the neck, but take it from someone who’s been suffering from the condition – which steadily gets worse – since 2003, that would be a small price to pay. Well, except for the monetary price, of course, since no doubt insurance companies most likely will not decide to cover them.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
What is the Roadmap to a Cure? Simply, it's a chart that identifies what we know about tinnitus right now and what additional information we need so that we can make progress in developing a cure. The Roadmap is a sequence of steps along four paths- A, B, C & D- that begins with finding out what is responsible for producing tinnitus and ends with a successful tinnitus treatment. Path A leads us to identify where the problem is in the brain. Path B will determine the underlying mechanism that causes tinnitus. Path C will lead us to develop a general therapy for tinnitus and Path D leads us to customizing the therapy or therapies for individual tinnitus patients.
We have highlighted some recent ATA-funded studies and placed them on the various paths they fit on the Roadmap to showcase the broad scope of tinnitus research supported by ATA.
To learn more about ATA's Roadmap to a Cure, visit ATA.org/research/roadmap-cure.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Word is out that Star Trek: The Next Generation is being remastered for high-definition Blu-ray, set for release in 2012.
According to a new report, the long-awaited Star Trek: The Next Generation in HD project is starting to gear up at CBS with a possible "Best of" pack of four episodes on Blu-ray coming this year and more to follow in 2012. See below for more on TNG in HD.
Report: TNG in HD coming in 2012 w/ test in 2011
For years CBS has been talking about remastering Star Trek: The Next Generation in HD like they did for the original Star Trek series. In May our friends at Digital Bits reported that CBS was starting to gear up to give TNG in HD a shot. TrekMovie later confirmed that the talk inside CBS had increased on this project, but that there are technical challenges to this process. Now Digital Bits reports that sources at Comic Con are saying that the first effort for TNG in HD will be a test to come out in 2012:
Multiple sources I spoke with at Comic-Con have also confirmed our report from earlier this year that CBS is hard at work on Star Trek: The Next Generation – Remastered for Blu-ray release starting sometime in 2012. The latest word is that 4 test episodes are currently being worked on for release as a sampler/demo BD disc of the project, and that sampler disc will somehow be available to fans by the end of this year.
It is worth noting that 2012 is the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The remastered project for the Star Trek was released in 2006, just in time for the 40th anniversary.
TrekMovie will continue to monitor this very exciting project and provide updates when possible.
Monday, July 25, 2011
It’s a question that has vexed our entire civilization. But now the definitive, final answer has been revealed. Kinda.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
For the most part, we’re a vile, vicious, violent species, aren’t we?
Multiple shootings at a motorcycle rally in AZ, shootings at a car show in Seattle, shootings at a roller rink in TX. And the bombing and mass shooting in Oslo. If I believed in a god, I would pray that he'd hit the reset button and start over again, this time with the dolphins, because his experiment with the monkeys has been a BIG disappointment.
Even though we’ve made some incredible advances in tools and weapons, we’re still the same vicious predatory animals we’ve always been, since the first ape thought, “Hmm, I can hear me thinking. Isn’t that odd?”
Friday, July 22, 2011
Opening fire on a group of children... The person with a mindset that justifies an act of terrorism and cowardice like this has given up the right to be treated as human.
That politics or religion can be used as an excuse for this act should make us seriously reconsider both politics and religion.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The big recent breakthrough is the discovery that tinnitus is centered not in the ears but in the brain itself. And figuring this out is a big step toward a treatment that works, or maybe even a cure.
Tinnitus is neurons “talking to themselves”
Tinnitus is generated by neuron activity in the brain, researchers say.
Tinnitus, that phantom ringing in the ears that affects millions of people, is generated not by the ear, but by neurons firing in the brain, according to a North American research team.
“Tinnitus is not generated by processes in the ear, but by changes in the brain when hearing loss occurs,” said one of the researchers, professor emeritus Larry Roberts from the Department of psychology, neuroscience, and behaviour at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada.
Neurons, he said, are meant to talk to each other. When the ear stops talking to them, usually because of hearing loss, they start talking to themselves and this in turn generates the ringing. “The sound is generated by neuron activity.”
Roberts said the conclusion is the result of collaborative work in the past decade, but said many people are not aware it’s the neurons, or changes in the brain, producing tinnitus. Now the question is: how is the noise generated in the brain? “What are the neurons doing, and where are they doing it?” he said. “Our work will assist.”
Might lead to a treatment
Understanding how it happens might lead to finding a treatment. The findings also help scientists understand why tinnitus is such a difficult problem to treat, he added.
About 10 to 12% of all people have some form of tinnitus and about 1 to 2% of the population suffers from severe tinnitus.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
We can fly from here... back in the old days, we'd fly via starship like starship troopers... but we're a lot older now, so rather than starships it's old propeller-shaft airliners...
So opens the vibe of the new album by Yes, Fly From Here, their first in 10 years. They were already long in the tooth on their last couple of studio discs, the awesome The Ladder and Magnification, and time certainly hasn't stopped marching on.
But make no mistake, the oldsters can still play.
While "Fly From Here," the opening 25-minute suite, is based on a piece of music they were working on more than 30 years ago, it's fitting that the former Yes imagery of the Starship Trooper is replaced here by old, broken-down propeller aircraft, a picture of age, decay and obsolescence, as if the Yes men were embracing their advancing age, unafraid of the march of time because, hey, that's how it works. Time and age happens to all of us. Every day we discover things we can't do as well as we used to. The pretty girls don't smile at us as much as they did. Summer fades, winter comes on.
But these old, obsolete aircraft can still fly, given a little care and maybe a few replacement parts here and there.
One replacement part is new vocalist Benoit David, sitting in for the departed Jon Anderson, dropped (perhaps unceremoniously) from the group in 2008 after health problems. And to David's credit, he doesn't try to mimic Anderson, even though as the frontman of a Yes tribute band he's made a career out of sounding like Anderson. But David brings his own style to the equation, and actually evokes a lot more of Trevor Horn's brief stint as Yes singer on 1980's Drama.
And that's probably not an accident, since Trevor Horn is producing here as he did on 90125 and Big Generator. Geoff Downes takes over on keyboards just as he did on Drama. So the evocation is complete.
And Chris Squire blatantly ripping off a bass riff played by Horn on Drama's "Run Through The Light" brought a big smile to my face.
I can't quite say this disc is better than 1999's The Ladder, but this is a fine album, four stars out of five, and it's a worthy addition to the Yes catalogue, certainly better than the studio stuff on Keys To Ascension, and much better than the unfortunate Open Your Eyes, which is a Yes disc better left forgotten.
And it stands up pretty damn well with Yes' classic past, and that in itself is a great accomplishment.
Yes, Jon is missed, but Benoit David more than holds his own and adds just a bit of welcome freshness. The music is new and isn't just an imitation of anything that came in the past. And - as I've noticed - bits and pieces are actually sticking in my head after the disc is done spinning.
There's talk that if the album succeeds they'll dish out another one. Here's hoping it doesn't take another 10 years.
Thursday, July 07, 2011
The media feeds into our intellectual laziness because that's what makes money. So we get reality shows, paranoia, sensational crime trials, fantasies about lizard people in disguise and all-powerful conspiracies pulling all the strings... All feeding into an all or nothing, black or white mentality, with no in-between.
Political debate on TV consists of, "Is too!" vs "Is not!" and it never goes deeper than that. We pronounce the death of any political campaign that can't successfully boil its "message" down to a bumper sticker.
Presenting the balancing view means we have to get someone on the air who says, "The sun is NOT hot!" to "balance" out the view that it is.
We pay vast sums of money for art that's nothing more than disaster porn, to see how much CGI can we use to show huge robots blowing up cities, rather than telling a story.
"We" are always good, pure, wholly innocent. "They" are always the foulest, most evil, most sinister beings ever created. No in between.
We've lost the ability to see human beings, and now we can only see caricatures. A clear view of reality is boring, only the fantastical, the overwrought, holds any interest for us.
Either we've gotten lazy, or maybe we're just all tired, worn out, fatigued by the constant barrage of the loudest noises we can make.
Maybe, in the final analysis, being a sentient species isn’t all the great of an idea. Maybe the whole concept is self-defeating, an evolutionary dead-end, destined only to burn itself out in an orgy of violent irrelevancy. We can’t take the strain of our own self-awareness. Maybe the day we decided to come down out of the trees was our first, biggest, most fatal mistake.
Sunday, July 03, 2011
Do yourself a favor: Rent the 1957 film "A Face In The Crowd" and let yourself be creeped out by Andy Griffith. Yes, that Andy Griffith. And marvel at how eerily prescient it is of the modern confluence of TV and radio demagogues with politics and corporate interests.
Watch it and see who it reminds you of. Keith Olbermann was sure. That’s why he dubbed a certain (now former) Fox News personality with a moniker inspired by this film.