Friday, April 11, 2008
Brown Bear in Brown Bear, Humor, Stoney Time
Everyone who knows me, knows that Brown Bear loves to smoke the greens. It enhances pretty much every facet of my lifestyle. I like the taste, the smell, the ritual, and the benefits of smoking. Sure it's taken a toll on my brain cells but I combat that with reading, writing, exercise, Kumon, and putting it in the ladies on the regular basis.
You could imagine my surprise when I found out that Doug Benson (Comedy Central Presents, Curb Your Enthusiasm) was releasing a documentary about smoking cheeb everyday for 30 days. It's a spoof on Super Size Me and the idea is brilliant. For a second there I thought "well I've been smoking for 30 days straight", but then I talked to him and realized it was more complicated than that.
I like his stand up comedy, I like his SuperDeluxe stuff, and I love this trailer. He's a solid dude and a friend of Lets Get Tight. Also look for cameo appearances by Zach Galifianakis and Bob Odenkirk.
Here is the Trailer for Super High Me:
Posted by gjblass at 11:20 AM
Baby mammoth reveals ancient secrets
MOSCOW - Russian scientists say they have obtained the most detailed pictures so far of the insides of a prehistoric animal, with the help of a baby mammoth called Lyuba found immaculately preserved in the Russian Arctic.
The mammoth is named after the wife of the hunter who found her last year. The body was shipped back to Russia in February from Japan, where it was studied using computer tomography in a process similar to one doctors use to scan patients.
"We could see for the first time how internal organs are located inside a mammoth. It is pretty important from a scientific point of view," said Alexei Tikhonov, deputy director of the Russian Academy of Science's Zoological Institute, who has been leading the project.
"Her internal organs were well preserved — the heart was seen distinctly with all its ventricles and atria, as well as the liver and its veins," Tikhonov told Reuters.
"This is the best preserved specimen not only of the mammoth but of any prehistoric animal."
The mammoth species has been extinct since the Ice Age. Tests on Lyuba showed she was fed on milk and was three to four months old when she died 37,000 years ago in what is now the Yamalo-Nenetsk region in Russia's Arctic.
Scientists were excited by the find because, although her shaggy coat was gone, her skin was intact, protecting her internal organs from contamination by modern-day microbes.
Tikhonov said the computer tomography, which provided a sharp three-dimensional image of Lyuba's insides, revealed no injuries or fractures.
The scans showed her airways and digestive system were clogged with what scientists believe was silt, leading them to conclude that she must have drowned.
Tikhonov, who heads the Zoological Museum in Russia's second city of St Petersburg, said Lyuba's contribution to science could be far bigger than thought up to now.
"If we take samples of Lyuba's tissues by biopsy, without unfreezing her, there is a big chance we can obtain promising results in genetics and microbiology," he said by telephone from St Petersburg.
"I believe the genetic map (of the mammoth) will be decoded within a year or two. As for (Lyuba's) practical use, we will have discovered methods of decoding the genetic map of any extinct prehistoric animals," he said.
"There were species that died out during the human era. And while I do not think someone would attempt to reproduce the mammoth, it would still make sense to bring back to life gigantic birds from Madagascar or New Zealand, or the Steller's sea cow (an extinct mammal), and so on and so forth."
Lyuba's body is stored in a purpose-built container that maintains sub-zero temperatures to prevent the pre-historic tissue from decomposing. She will soon be flown to Salekhard, capital of the Yamalo-Netnetsk region.
"She will be exhibited in Salekhard starting this summer," Tikhonov said. "A special glass-case with constant sub-zero temperatures has already been prepared for her."
Posted by gjblass at 11:16 AM
Many new spaceports are planning to begin launching travellers into outer space within the next year or two. Costs for these flights are estimated to be in the $200,000 range, and in most cases the flight will last about 1 hour. So is there a spaceport near you? Lets find out!
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 11:14 AM
| || The blend is made from two rare coffee beans |
Would you drink it?
A gourmet coffee blended from animal droppings is being sold at a London department store for £50 per cup.
Jamaican Blue Mountain and the Kopi Luwak bean are used to create Caffe Raro which is thought to be the most expensive cup of coffee in the world.
Kopi Luwak beans are eaten, then passed, by the cat-like Asian palm civet, and sell for £324 a kilogram.
All profits from sales of the coffee at Peter Jones in Sloane Square in April will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Asian palm civets, which live in the foliage of plantations across south-east Asia, are said to pick the best and ripest coffee berries.
Enzymes in their digestive system break down the flesh of the fruit before the animals expel the bean.
The beans are then collected from the plantation floor by workers who wash away the dung and roast them.
David Cooper, who created the blend, said: "These rare coffees have been slowly hand roasted for around 12 minutes to ensure that we maximise the potential of each coffee.
"The final roast colour is quite dark to ensure that the espresso is perfect for a smooth latte or cappuccino."
Published: 2008/04/10 07:25:09 GMT
© BBC MMVIII
Jack loves his coffee
Morgan Freeman doesn't
Posted by gjblass at 11:08 AM
If non-Christians have heard of Bibleman at all, it's probably because for the first seven years he was played by Willie Aames. In the 1970s and 80s, Aames was the shaggy-haired co-star of Eight is Enough and Charles in Charge, and his only superpower was snorting three grams of coke a day. Eventually he cleaned up, was born again and took a new job as Bibleman. His episodes are now in perpetual reruns on TBN, and I sat down to watch one.
The show opens with the backstory of our hero, Miles Peterson, "a man who had it all: wealth, status, success. Still, something was missing." That's putting it mildly. I don't know about you, but when I feel that something is missing I usually mope around the house or browse YouTube for videos of cats falling off stuff. Miles, however, goes tearing out into a rainstorm and collapses into a sobbing heap. "Then, in his darkest hour," Miles finds something half buried in the mud: a Bible. Not just any Bible — a radioactive Bible. No, actually it is just any Bible. But apparently that's enough to turn him into Bibleman.
In this episode, Bibleman and his sidekicks, Cypher (the black guy) and Biblegirl (the girl) go up against a villain called Primordius Drool, a mincing green-skinned fop with a lisp and a fondness for show tunes. Subtlety is not Bibleman's strong suit. The same actor also plays a talk show host named Sammy Davey, who is a classic stereotype of a New York Jew, complete with nerdy glasses and a giant Jew-fro. Slouching and cringing, Sammy Davey needles and browbeats poor Bibleman in an accent so thick that he actually pronounces Bibleman as if it were a surname like Silverman or Lieberman.
The heart of the show is the fight sequences, typically involving a darkened warehouse (all the better to obscure the lackluster choreography) and Bibleman swatting away CGI fireballs with his lightsaber while announcing, "Isaiah 54:17 says 'no weapon forged against me will prosper!'" Every now and then, Bibleman shares a lesson with his sidekicks, as when he laments that people "allow their minds to cover up what God has placed on their hearts" — a near perfect pitch for the common evangelical notion that feelings are to be trusted above rational discernment, a belief that many non-evangelicals would be distressed to hear is being passed on to eight-year-olds.
Posted by gjblass at 10:45 AM
One could make a case for passing up the silver screen this weekend with The Masters, NHL playoffs, NBA playoffs and Red Sox/Yankees weekend series but I will provide the run down.
Chismillionaire's pick is the Australian surfer documentary Bra Boys narrated by Russel Crowe in limited release.
The first officially sanctioned documentary about Maroubra's notorious surf-gang, the Bra Boys. Showing their success in professional big wave surfing, exploring their reputation for hard partying and rough justice, touching on their running battle with authorities and showing their reliance on one another to fit into and survive in a society in which they are displaced. The film also focuses on the evolution of the Sydney beach side suburb of Maroubra and the historical stigma associated with Australia's rebellious surf community, and the way it has contributed to their social displacemen
Donna’s senior prom is supposed to be the best night of her life. After surviving a horrible tragedy, she has finally moved on and is enjoying her last year of high school. Surrounded by her best friends, she should be safe from the horrors of her past. But when the night turns deadly, there is only one person who could be responsible…a man she thought was gone forever. Now, Donna and her friends must find a way to escape the sadistic rampage of an obsessed killer, and survive a night “to die for.
SMART PEOPLE is the darkly comic story of Lawrence Wetherhold, a widowed, acerbic and self-absorbed literature professor played by Dennis Quaid, who has alienated his son and turned his daughter into an overachieving, friendless teen. He falls for Janet (Sarah Jessica Parker), one of his former students, while at the same time his ne’er-do-well brother (Academy Award®-nominee Thomas Haden Church) unexpectedly shows up at his door, triggering in him the need to change and reconnect with his family before he can make any steps forward in his life. Ellen Page (“Juno”) and Ashton Holmes (“A History of Violence”) also star
In STREET KINGS, a police thriller directed by David Ayer, Keanu Reeves plays Tom Ludlow, a veteran LAPD Vice Detective. Ludlow sets out on a quest to discover the killers of his former partner, Detective Terrance Washington (Terry Crews). Academy® Award winner Forest Whitaker plays Captain Wander, Ludlow’s supervisor, whose duties include keeping him within the confines of the law and out of the clutches of Internal Affairs Captain Biggs (Hugh Laurie). Ludlow teams up with a young Robbery Homicide Detective (Chris Evans) to track Washington’s killers through the diverse communities of Los Angeles. Their determination pays off when the two Detectives track down Washington’s murderers and confront them in an attempt to bring them to justice.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:42 AM
| Targeting Tumors: In order to grow, a tumor must build an extensive network of nourishing blood vessels. By targeting these vessels as they proliferate, a new nanoparticle loaded with cancer-killing drugs can home in on tumors while sparing healthy tissues. A metallic marker added to the nanoparticle makes it visible by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI.) In each of the MR images above, a rabbit tumor has been infiltrated by the nanoparticles (yellow). On the top, the nanoparticles carry a chemotherapeutic drug; the tumor's growth is dramatically stunted and its network of blood vessels is reduced. On the bottom, in a control experiment, the nanoparticles are drug free; the tumor is flourishing and extensively laced with blood vessels. |
Credit: Courtesy of the Washington University School of Medicine
A new nanoparticle formulated to deliver a drug directly to the growing blood vessels that feed tumors may help circumvent the crippling side effects associated with chemotherapy. The technology, developed by researchers at Washington University in Saint Louis, is the latest innovation in the burgeoning field of targeted drug delivery for cancer treatment.
Several nanoparticle-based drugs are already approved to fight cancer, and many more are currently moving through human clinical trials. But these so-called "first generation" strategies tend to rely on passive or naturally occurring mechanisms to find their way to tumors. Recent efforts have focused on designing sophisticated, multifunctional nanodelivery systems that can be adapted for use with multiple drugs and multiple targets.
The Washington University group focused on a fungal drug called fumagillin, which stops angiogenesis--the formation of new blood vessels, a critical factor in tumor development--by blocking the proliferation of endothelial cells that line blood vessel walls. Fumagillin is a powerful chemotherapeutic agent, but the dose needed to successfully suppress tumors causes intolerable neurotoxic side effects. This is a pervasive problem in chemotherapy: drugs strong enough to kill tumors are also strong enough to damage healthy tissue, often rendering the treatment as dangerous as the disease.
To target fumagillin directly at the blood vessels that feed a growing tumor, researchers adopted a nanoparticle platform they had previously developed for imaging growing blood vessels. The nanoparticles, about 250 nanometers in diameter, have inert liquid centers and an oily surface laced with two kinds of molecules--one for targeting and another for imaging. The targeting molecule is designed to latch onto a protein found in high concentrations on the endothelial cells that line walls of new blood vessels, while the imaging molecule is a metallic substance that shows up on an MRI. To adapt the system for cancer treatment, they added fumagillin to the nanoparticles' oily coatings.
When injected into the bloodstream, the nanoparticles remain intact, protecting healthy tissues from absorbing their toxic payload. But when they reach the blood vessels feeding a tumor, their targeting molecules lock onto the surfaces of proliferating endothelial cells. Once attached, the particles' lipid coats fuse with the cells' lipid membranes and deliver the drug and the imaging molecule. "It basically becomes a vehicle to dump off a truckload of cargo," says Joseph DeSimone, professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was not involved in the work."It's sort of like a Trojan horse."
As they describe in a recent paper inThe FASEB Journal, the researchers used MRI to image the tumors in rabbits both before treatment and three hours after. They then dissected the tumors to confirm their size. Rabbits given the fully loaded nanoparticles--containing the targeting molecule, the imaging molecule, and the drug--fared the best. After treatment, their tumors were drastically smaller than those of rabbits given nanoparticles either without the targeting molecule or without fumagillin.
"I think it's a very significant finding," says Jolanta Kukowska-Latallo, research assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan and member of the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences, who was not involved in the work.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:39 AM
| Big Leap: Stuart Parkin of IBM, pictured here, is well known for his advances in the magnetic read head technology that are used in hard disk drives. Now he’s developing a new type of magnetic memory, called racetrack memory, that could be faster, more compact, and more rugged than hard disks. |
Researchers at IBM have demonstrated the feasibility of an entirely new class of data storage, called racetrack memory, which promises to combine the data storage of a magnetic hard disk with the ruggedness and speed of Flash memory, at relatively low cost. In addition, racetrack memory wouldn't degrade over time as Flash does. While still in the early days of research, these benefits could make racetrack memory an attractive replacement for both hard disks and Flash memory, leading to ever smaller computers and extremely inexpensive memory for iPods and other portable devices that now rely on Flash.
In this week's issue of Science, the team, led by Stuart Parkin, a physicist at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, CA, described a way to read and write multiple bits of data to magnetic nanowires, an important step toward making a prototype. Previous work by the group illustrated that the fundamental concept of racetrack memory was feasible, but the researchers hadn't yet demonstrated the manipulation of multiple bits. "It's a milestone in developing a prototype," says Parkin.
Racetrack memory consists of an array of billions of nanowires on silicon; each nanowire is able to hold hundreds of bits of data. Because the nanowires are so small, racetrack memory has the potential to be many times more dense than Flash. Unlike Flash memory, in which bits are stored as electrical charges in a transistor, racetrack memory stores data as a series of distinct magnetic fields along the wire. Flash memory degrades over time as charges leak and memory cells wear out, but racetrack memory, which uses magnetic fields, doesn't have this problem. And compared to the hard disks used in laptops and PCs, which store data on a bulky, spinning platter, racetrack memory has no moving parts and can be built in silicon, making it more robust.
Data is encoded onto racetrack memory by changing the magnetic properties along the wire, creating a series of magnetic barriers--called domain walls--and gaps between. Just as electrical charge represents a bit in a Flash memory cell, the gaps between two domain walls represent bits in racetrack memory. To read and write data from the nanowire, the domain walls move along the tracks, single file, past where stationary read and write heads are positioned.
That is, at least in theory, how it would work. But before the current research, no one had shown that multiple domain walls--essentially, data--could move along a nanowire without being destroyed. In order to move the domain wall down the nanowire, Parkin uses principles from spintronics, which takes advantage of the quantum mechanical property of electrons, called spin. He injects a small electrical current into the nanowire. As a result, the electrons in the current become "polarized," so that their spins are uniformly oriented, and when they contact a domain wall, they transfer the orientation of their spin to the atoms in the wall. This hand-off changes the magnetic moment of the atoms in the domain wall, shifting it forward on the racetrack, and likewise shifts all the domain walls on the racetrack forward, explains Parkin.
| Keeping Track: Vertically oriented nanowires (top left, middle) illustrate how electric current is used to slide tiny magnetic patterns around the nanowire “racetrack” where a device can read and write data. A device reads data from the stored pattern (top right) by measuring the magnetoresistance of the patterns. Writing data (the two images below the read head) can be done by applying an electrical current to a second nanowire at a right angle to the data-storing wire. It is possible to fabricate the nanowires in a vertical array (middle right) and horizontally (bottom two images). |
"This is the first time that someone has demonstrated that you can move two or three of these domain walls without upsetting them or causing them to interfere," Parkin says. Parkin notes that it could take four years before he has a racetrack memory prototype, and three more years to commercialize it.
The appeal of racetrack memory, says Igor Zutic, professor of physics at the State University of New York at Buffalo, is that it can "unify the best properties of inexpensive, high-density storage of magnetic hard drives with high-speed operation of random-access memory in a single device, while avoiding their main shortfalls, such as speed and cost, respectively."
The next step, Parkin says, is to implement a device to read the bits of data. He suspects that this will be fairly straightforward, because he could use pre-existing technology. In 2004, Parkin developed the small magnetic device that reads data from magnetic disk drives, and these devices, called magnetic tunnel junctions, would be sensitive enough to read the tiny magnetic fields produced by the domain walls in the nanowires.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:35 AM
| Nano fix: An electron-microscope image shows the matrix of cylindrical nanofibers that self-assemble from engineered biological molecules in a solution. |
Credit: Journal of Neuroscience
An engineered material that can be injected into damaged spinal cords could help prevent scars and encourage damaged nerve fibers to grow. The liquid material, developed by Northwestern University materials science professor Samuel Stupp, contains molecules that self-assemble into nanofibers, which act as a scaffold on which nerve fibers grow.
Stupp and his colleagues described in a recent paper in the Journal of Neuroscience that treatment with the material restores function to the hind legs of paralyzed mice. Previously, researchers have restored function in the paralyzed hind legs of mice, but those experiments involved surgically implanting various types of material, while the new substance can simply be injected into the animals. The nanofibers break down into nutrients in three to eight weeks, says Stupp.
Right now, there is no cure for the thousands of people who have injuries to the spinal cord, the bundle of long nerve fibers that connect the brain to the limbs and organs of the body. When it is damaged, nerve stem cells form a scar at the point of the injury, which blocks nerve fibers and keeps them from growing, says John Kessler, professor of stem cell biology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, who collaborated on the work with Stupp. Nerves can no longer carry signals to and from the brain, causing patients to lose sensation, digestion, and movement. "It is like cutting a telephone cable," Kessler says. "We're thinking of regrowing the nerve fibers and rewiring the cut."
Other researchers have tried to regenerate nerve fibers using various approaches. They have used natural materials such as collagen as well as synthetic biodegradable polymers to make scaffolds that support nerves, helping them to grow. Implanting these materials at the injury requires surgery.
The new material is different because the researchers can inject it as a liquid directly into the spinal cord. Negatively charged molecules in the liquid start clumping together when they come in contact with positively charged particles such as calcium and sodium ions in the body. The molecules self-assemble into hollow, cylindrical nanofibers, which form a scaffold that can trap cells. On the surface of the nanofibers are biological molecules that inhibit scars and encourage nerve fibers to grow. "The idea of using self-assembling nanofibers that can be directly injected into the spinal cord is appealing," says Harvard Medical School professor Yang Teng, who does neural stem cell research for spinal cord injuries.
Rest of the article here
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:32 AM
Chismillionaire's choice is Trinity Brewhouse- many a night of Providence Bruins games and Friar basketball followed by their fabulous burgers and Pale Ale.
Brew Pub Round-Up
Around Since: 1993
Beers Brewed In-House: About twenty, including Hefeweizen, Russian Imperial Stout and Tommy's Red Ale. Seven are always on tap.
Most Popular: India Pale Ale
Brew Master's Favorite: "In the spring and summer, it's definitely our Belgian White Ale," says brew master Sean Larkin. "It is a nice crisp, unfiltered beer with moderate alcohol and is spiced with orange peel and coriander."
186 Fountain St., Providence, 453-2337, trinitybrewhouse.com
Coddington Brewing Company
Around Since: 1995
Beers Brewed In-House: More than thirty, including Irish Stout and Blueberry Blonde. Six or seven on tap at any given time.
Most Popular: Oktoberfest (available in the fall)
Brew Master's Favorite: ESB Extra Special Bitter. "This pale ale is brewed exclusively with English malts and hops," says brewer Marshall Righter. "The hop bitterness is masked by the sweet, malty flavors."
210 Coddington Hwy., Middletown, 847-6690, coddbrew.com
Union Station Brewery
Around Since: 1993
Beers Brewed In-House: Twenty-plus, including Pumpkin Ale and Northern Light Lager. Six or seven are always on tap.
Most Popular: Providence Pale
Brew Master's Favorite: Half Day IPA. It took about a month for brew master Aaron Crosett to perfect the recipe for this new beer. He cites the high alcohol content (almost seven percent), sharp, hoppy bite and citrusy finish as reasons why it's his drink of choice.
36 Exchange Terrace, Providence, 274-2739
Beer Tasting Cheat Sheet
Want to go from beer novice to nerd? Put down that Mich Ultra and follow these five tasting tips from Coddington brewer Marshall Righter:
1. Take a look at the visual aspects of the beer, noting color and clarity, carbonation and head retention.
2. Smell the beer and notice its aromas -- are they fruity, spicy, sweet?
3. Take a medium-sized sip (not too small, warns Righter, which will make the beer taste more bitter than it actually is), letting your entire palate explore the flavors.
4. Try to identify the beer's characteristics, consulting the "beer flavor wheel" for help if necessary.
5. Once you identify your ideal brew, use the info you've gathered to seek out similar beers.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 9:54 AM
Shelbyburgers anyone? Shelby Corner Cafe opens in Las Vegas
Category: Miscellaneous, Ford
We suppose that taking delivery of a new Shelby Mustang could make anyone a little hungry. Lucky, then, that the Shelby Corner Café has just opened at Shelby Automobiles' headquarters at the Las Vegas Speedway. As you'd expect from a Shelby-branded restaurant, there is no shortage of racing memorabilia, with photos, car parts, and televisions with select Shelby video footage covering the walls.
Originally opened as a place for Shelby employees to eat lunch, the Shelby Corner Café is now open to the general public and is being touted as the perfect location for breakfast or lunch -- Americana style -- after a tour of the Shelby factory or museum. Other features include a coffee bar, free Wi-Fi, and of course, Shelby's famous chili. Amy Boylan, President of Shelby Automobiles, says that lunch at the Café may even become an official part of the factory delivery program. All in all, to us it looks like a great place for a hamburger if you happen to be in the area.
Source: Shelby Automobiles
Posted by gjblass at 9:42 AM
Of the three Kings of the Blues, Freddie will always be my favorite. He and Albert may have never reached the level of fame enjoyed by B.B., but to my ears (and eyes) Freddie played with a soul and intensity that can't be matched. B.B. King is the showman, but Freddie had the feeling.
For your Friday, a couple videos of Freddie in his prime in the early 70's, not long before his early death in '76.
Witness the power, the soul, the intensity, and the feeling that is Freddie King. No pick (just his fingers), no pretense, and no bullshit. Music as it should be.
(also features the great Boston native David Maxwell on piano)
Ain't No Sunshine:
Have You Ever Loved a Woman:
As a bonus, here's the Allman Brothers doing a fantastic take on Freddie's "Woman Across the River":
Posted by gjblass at 9:29 AM
Posted by gjblass at 9:23 AM