October 30th, 2007

(no subject)

Saturday October 27, 2007. The Rivendell Society's topic was Ursula K. Le Guin's "Earthsea" series, and "Tales From Earthsea" aka "Gedo Senki" -- an animated Japanese movie based on those books (from Studio Ghibli.)

[Internet Movie Data Base entry here: http://imdb.com/title/tt0495596/ And I now see Cheech Marin did one character's voice in the English-language version.]

The meeting place was the Hamline-Midway branch of the St. Paul Library. I'd been there before, but not since moving here.

How I got there: Walked to the 38th St Station of the Hiawatha Line. (There's only one light rail line so far.) It's far enough to justify taking the bus -- but thanks to 38th Street being partly torn up, the nearest usable bus stop is far enough toward the station that taking a bus for the remainder doesn't seem worth it.

Took the Hiawatha Line one stop south, to 46th St Station. Realized the Walgreens near that station was now the easiest/fastest for me to get to.

I saw people in Halloween costumes.

Took the #84 bus.

Someone had the movie and had brought it. The English sound track and English subtitles were both turned on. (They weren't quite the same.)

Anything translated from one medium or genre to another is likely to undergo strange changes. In the opera "Manon Lescaut," the heroine and her lover die of thirst in the Louisiana desert; I'm fairly sure this wasn't in the novel. (For those not familiar with US geography: this is equivalent to being crushed under a falling banana tree is northern Sweden, or buried in snow in Jakarta.) I'm told the protagonist of Eric Ambler's The Light of Day is a minor character in "Topkapi," the movie based on that novel. (The Internet Movie Data Base says his name was changed from Arthur Abdul Simpson to Arthur Simon Simpson; I suspect this is a check entry: a deliberate error, intended to snare copyright violators.)

"Tales From Earthsea" bears some resemblance to Le Guin's series. Ged/Sparrowhawk is slightly darker-skinned than the other characters, for example. But it's not exactly a faithful translation.

And it's not completely realistic. Pastureland should not look like a carefully-maintained lawn. I suspect anyone familiar with sailing ships would have noted another set of mistakes.

(no subject)

From bna.com's newsletter:

If elected president, Barack Obama plans to prioritize barring broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast from prioritizing Internet content. Affixing his signature to federal Net neutrality rules would be high on the list during his first year in the Oval Office, the junior senator from Illinois said during an interactive forum Monday afternoon with the popular contender put on by MTV and MySpace at Coe College in Iowa.

My weekly technology law column focuses on the recent battle over the International Music Score Library Project, the largest public domain music score library on the Internet that was recently taken down due to demands from an Austrian publisher. The column argues that this case is enormously important from a public domain perspective and that there are even broader implications for online businesses, which could face the jursidictional challenge of being asked to comply with hundreds of foreign laws. Toronto Star version at
Public Release: 30-Oct-2007
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Drug commonly used to treat bipolar disorder dramatically increases lifespan in worms
Nematode worms treated with lithium show a 46 percent increase in lifespan.

Public Release: 30-Oct-2007
Treadmill training helps Down syndrome babies walk months earlier
Starting Down syndrome infants on treadmill training for just minutes a day can help them walk up to four or five months earlier than with only traditional physical therapy, a new study from the University of Michigan says.

Public Release: 30-Oct-2007
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
How did chemical constituents essential to life arise on primitive Earth?
Chemists at the University of Georgia have now proposed the first detailed, feasible mechanism to explain how adenine, one of the four building blocks of DNA, might be built up from the combination of five cyanide molecules. The investigation is based on extensive quantum chemical computations over several years.

Public Release: 30-Oct-2007
Unveiling Islam
"Secular Muslims who embrace various aspects of their heritage are often overlooked -- both as social and as intellectual actors in modern Islamic societies," said Professor Richard C. Martin, one of the key speakers at a symposium on contemporary Islam held Oct. 26 at De Rode Hoed in Amsterdam.

Public Release: 30-Oct-2007
Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Sound training rewires dyslexic children's brains for reading
Brain imaging adds further support to the idea that at least some children with dyslexia have trouble processing sound, rather than a visual problem. The study also shows that computer-based sound training exercises can not only improve reading but literally rewire the brain. The findings may help clinicians detect and remediate dyslexia even before children begin learning to read.
Haan Foundation

(no subject)

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 30-Oct-2007
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Elevated nitric oxide in blood is key to high altitude function for Tibetans
How can some people live at high altitudes and thrive while others struggle to obtain enough oxygen to function? The answer for Tibetans who live at altitudes around 14,000 feet is increased nitric oxide levels. High levels of NO circulate in various forms in the blood and produce the physiological mechanisms that cause the increased blood flow that maintains oxygen delivery despite hypoxia -- low levels of oxygen in the ambient air and the bloodstream.
National Science Foundation

"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance."
Public Release: 30-Oct-2007
Nature Reviews Neuroscience
Rosemary chicken protects your brain from free radicals
A collaborative group from the Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham Institute) in La Jolla, Calif., and in Japan, report that the herb rosemary contains an ingredient that fights off free radical damage in the brain. The active ingredient in rosemary, known as carnosic acid, can protect the brain from stroke and neurodegeneration that is due to injurious chemical free radicals.

Public Release: 29-Oct-2007
Sex Roles: A Journal of Research
Over one-third of former American football players had sexual relations with men, study says
A study of former high-school American football players has found that more than one-third said they had had sexual relations with other men.

Public Release: 28-Oct-2007
Geological Society of America 2007 Annual Meeting
Researchers find origin of 'breathable' atmosphere half a billion years ago
Ohio State University geologists and their colleagues have uncovered evidence of when Earth may have first supported an oxygen-rich atmosphere similar to the one we breathe today. The study suggests that upheavals in the earth's crust initiated a kind of reverse-greenhouse effect 500 million years ago that cooled the world's oceans, spawned giant plankton blooms and sent a burst of oxygen into the atmosphere.