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Posts from — May 2008

More Sarah Brightman Video

I’m still listening t0 Sarah Brightman with an occasional counter-balance from Tracy Chapman. I found a couple of videos of Sarah Brightman on the Martha Stewart show from the early part of this year when she was promoting Symphony. I think they’re hilarious because Sarah is being her very professional gracious public self and Martha is being her dominatrix self. Have a look:

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May 23, 2008   No Comments

In a Sarah Brightman Mood

I’ve noticed people seem to love or hate Sarah Brightman. I really love her work. I think she’s best with a light classical show tune. When she sings out in her mid range, it’s quite spectacular. Some of her albums seem a little over-produced and I do wish that I could sing along when I listen to her in the car but my voice will never reach that high. That’s the intro.

Since I’ve been in this mood lately while listening to her new album, Symphony, I found a video where you can see her without the elaborate theatrical make-up that is something of a trademark for her. It’s very unusual to see someone like Sarah Brightman without her make-up. Have a look:

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She seems to be a very very smart and extremely hard working person. Even if you are not a fan of her music, you have to concede that. I don’t know how she has the energy to maintain her grueling tour schedule. It’s amazing. I have noticed that she’s starting to receive writing credits for some of the music. That’s good because that’s the kind of money that keeps on coming year after year.

Of course you can never know a celebrity by watching their work but you can’t help imagining what they’re like. I imagine Sarah Brightman to be a smart woman who knows her market and, in private, a very fun loving and caring friend. I’ll never know if I’m right and that’s what’s great about entertainers. You can imagine them to be whatever you want. I think I can be sure of one thing: Coffee is Sarah Brightman’s best friend.

The new album, Symphony, is superb. Do Sarah a favor and actually go to a store and buy it. It’s like a gift to charity. I think she probably helps to support an army of people.

May 22, 2008   No Comments

Nanotubes and Asbestos

Asbestos does not cause cancer by its inherent chemical nature. It causes cancer because of its shape. The tiny needles of mineral initiate an inflammatory reaction that tears you up from the inside out.

Once upon a time, I was at a nanotech symposium and I raised my hand and asked if nanotubes might not act like asbestos if inhaled. I got a thousand faces staring at me as if my clothes had just vaporized. Well, guess what? From the BBC:

Carbon nanotubes, the poster child of the burgeoning nanotechnology industry, could trigger diseases similar to those caused by asbestos, a study suggests.

Specific lengths of the tiny fibres were found to cause “asbestos-like” inflammation and lesions in mice.

Check out the full article. As always, industry is dancing and yammering sweet nothings like a drunken gold fish in a bowl of solidifying Jello.

May 20, 2008   No Comments

The Walrus Knows

Walrus

There’s a very interesting article in the Science section of today’s New York Times on the Walrus. They are magnificent creatures. I’ve always been fascinated by them.

NATALIE ANGIER the author of the New York Times article received this advice before her first Walrus meet-up:

Just as we were entering the walrus house at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif., however, Dr. Schusterman tossed out a bit of advice. “The first thing the walruses will do when they come over is start pushing at you, pressing their heads right into your stomach,” he said. “Don’t let them get away with that. No matter how hard they push, you have to stand your ground.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Yeah, 2000 lbs is rushing towards me and I’ll just push it back. No problem.

With all the sighs and gloomy warnings for the future of the Polar Bear, I have to admit that I feel more kinship with the Walrus. I fear for their future. They are unique in all the world. From the New York Times article:

Evidence suggests that the bonds between walruses are exceptionally strong: the animals share food, come to one another’s aid when under attack and nurse one another’s young, a particularly noteworthy behavior given the cost in energy of synthesizing a pinniped’s calorically rich, fatty milk.

The look of the Walrus is charming, laughable and, still, it doesn’t quite invite an embrace. Yet, they are much more embraceable than any bear.

Walruses want so much to be with other walruses that if there are no other walruses around, they will make do with the next available large object.

How positively snuggly is that? It gets better. Walruses sing:

Walruses sing with their fleshy and muscular lips, tongues, muzzles and noses. They sing by striking their flippers against their chests to hit their pharyngeal pouches, balloon-like extensions of the trachea that are unique to Odobenus and that also serve as flotation devices.

What else? They play their own instrumental accompaniment.

The breadth of the walruses’ creativity exceeded all expectations, not only during training sessions but also during downtime. Dr. Reichmuth said one walrus figured out how to use a rubber toy in the pool as an instrument by pressing it against a window and blasting air through it until it sounded like a bugle. Soon two other walruses in the pool had learned to do the same thing.

They’re brilliant fantastic animals and more snuggly than 99.99% of the humans and bears on the planet.

May 20, 2008   No Comments

Turkish Food – YUM!

A good friend of mine just started a blog about turkish food. This blog is worth watching as it develops. I’ve tasted her cooking and, as they say, it’s to die for, so, take a look now and then to see what goodies develop on About Turkish Food.

May 15, 2008   No Comments

Schmooze Dog – Jaws of Steel

mauled can of dog food

Take one case of dog food in a box and shrink-wrapped in plastic. Place case on floor of garage. Add one always ravenous 14 year old Schmooze Dog, Cairn Terrier with jaws of steel and this is what you get.

May 10, 2008   No Comments

Platypus Genome (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

To me, the decoding of the Platypus Genome coming out in Nature this week is uber cool. It’s one of those slap yourself why didn’t I think of this moments. From the NY Times review of the research:

In their investigation of the platypus genetic blueprint, the scientists found that its genome contains about 18,500 genes, similar to other vertebrates and about two-thirds the size of the human genome. The platypus shares 82 percent of its genes with the human, mouse, dog, opossum and chicken. Some repeated elements in the genome, the scientists noted, hold hints as to the chronology of changes in the platypus.

In other words, the genome is everything you would expect from an evolutionary perspective. This work is also reviewed on the BBC and you can see a great video on the Nature web site.

May 7, 2008   No Comments