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Archive for the ‘SciFi’ tag

Apple is developing a TV show based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series

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Self Portrait in Sci Fi Museum Window
Self Portrait in Sci-Fi Museum Window

Andrew Liptak of The Verge writes that Apple has optioned a tv show based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series:

Isaac Asimov’s acclaimed science fiction Foundation trilogy might finally reach television. Deadline reports that Apple is putting an adaptation into development, adding to the company’s growing list of original content offerings as it seeks to compete with the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and Disney.

The show comes from David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Man of Steel) and Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles and the upcoming Snowpiercer TV show), who began work on the project last year with Skydance Television. The studio also worked on this year’s Altered Carbon. If the project moves forward, it’ll be a huge property for Apple: the novels are incredibly popular reads, and have served as a (forgive me) foundational basis for a number of other science fiction stories, such as Star Wars. Deadline notes that Apple is developing the project with an eye toward a straight-to-series order.

Asimov’s Foundation first appeared in Astounding Science Fiction as a series of short stories between 1942 and 1950. Although he lived reading and writing historical fiction, the research required for writing real historical fiction was impractical, he wrote in his biography, I, Asimov. Instead, he decided to make up his own: a “historical novel of the future, a science fiction story that read like a historical novel.” After reading Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, he realized that he could do something similar: tell the story of the rise and fall of a galactic civilization.

He took the idea to his editor at the magazine, John W. Campbell Jr, who liked the idea, and conceived of it as a “long, open-ended saga of the fall of the Galactic Empire, the Dark Ages that followed, and the eventual rise of a Second Galactic Empire.” Asimov eventually collected the resulting five short stories into Foundation, which told the story of a mathematician and psychologist who predicts the fall of the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire, and creates a repository of knowledge called the Encyclopedia Galactica, designed to stave off the coming dark ages.

(click here to continue reading Apple is developing a TV show based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series – The Verge.)

count me in as interested. It has been a long time since I’ve read that series, though I remember I did like it a lot. 

Originally, HBO was interested, I guess that didn’t work out.

Jeff Sneider of The Wrap reported in 2016:

HBO and Warner Bros. TV are teaming to produce a series based on Isaac Asimov‘s “Foundation” trilogy that will be written and produced by “Interstellar” writer Jonathan Nolan, multiple individuals familiar with the project have told TheWrap.

Nolan, who is already working with HBO on “Westworld,” has been quietly developing the project for the last several months. He recently tipped his hand to Indiewire, which asked him, ‘what’s the one piece of science fiction you truly love that people don’t know enough about?’

“Well, I fucking love the ‘Foundation’ novels by Isaac Asimov. They’re certainly not [unknown], but that’s a set of books I think everyone would benefit from reading. That’s a set of books where the influence they have is just fucking massive. They have many imitators and many have been inspired by them, but go back and read those, and there are some ideas in those that’ll set your fucking hair on fire,” Nolan told Indiewire.

 

(click here to continue reading ‘Interstellar’s’ Jonah Nolan Developing ‘Foundation’ Series for HBO, WBTV (Exclusive).)

Written by Seth Anderson

April 11th, 2018 at 9:29 am

Posted in Apple,Television

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The Architectural Future Is Terrible | The Awl

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Earlier today…

These concerns inspired the dream of the arcology, which gripped SF writers for decades. A self-sustaining city-state is the simplest way to deal with generation ships, post-apocalyptic societies, climate change and the future of overpopulation, after all. And Mussolini even kind of tried it, with the planned city EUR, so it must be a good idea.

Paolo Soleri gets credit for the term. Since 1970, the architect has been building Arcosanti, which is really more an “experimental town” (an “urban laboratory” in their words) than an arcology. If you’re ever driving from Flagstaff to Phoenix, then 1. definitely stab yourself for doing that and 2. check it out!

Magazines like Wired love to identify COMING-SOON arcologies that are under construction. Or “under construction.” These are all Very Shareable Photogenic Things that the Internet loves. How are all these projects doing? Turns out: not very well. LET’S LOOK TOGETHER.

Via:
The Architectural Future Is Terrible | The Awl
[automated]

Written by eggplant

January 16th, 2013 at 9:12 am

Posted in Links

Tagged with , , ,

Exegesis By Philip K Dick Will Receive 2-Volume Release

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Cool, I’ve always wanted to read these things, despite the fact that 90% will probably make no sense. Sort of like the first time I read Finnegan’s Wake…

UBIK

After a lifetime’s worth of literature that explored the future, the farthest regions of space and the afterlife, a posthumous work by Philip K. Dick will take readers to a different alien terrain: the inside of the author’s mind.

Mr. Dick…spent years of his life wrestling with what he considered religious visions that he began experiencing in the 1970s. He recorded his reactions to and attempts at deciphering these spiritual visions in a work he called the “Exegesis,” reputed to be 8,000 pages – or longer.

Though few have read the work and fewer still have fully understood it, the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt plans to release “The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick” in two consolidated volumes edited by Jonathan Lethem and Pamela Jackson, a Philip K. Dick scholar, with the first to be released next year.

Mr. Lethem, the author of novels like “Chronic City” and “The Fortress of Solitude,” and who has written frequently on Mr. Dick, said Thursday in a telephone interview that he hesitated to describe ”Exegesis” as a work.

“The title he gave it, ‘Exegesis,’ alludes to the fact that what it really was, was a personal laboratory for philosophical inquiry,” Mr. Lethem said. “It’s not even a single manuscript, in a sense – it’s an amassing or a compilation of late-night all-night sessions of him taking on the universe, mano-a-mano, with the tools of the English language and his own paranoiac investigations.”


“Valis” (Philip K. Dick)

In 1974, after a number of novels that explored the notions of personal identity and what it means to be human, Mr. Dick had a series of experiences in which he believed he had information transmitted to his mind by a pink beam of light. He wrote about these and similar occurrences in autobiographical novels like “Valis,” but also contemplated their meanings in personal writings that were not published.

“It’s something that he talked about and created a kind of amazing aura around,” Mr. Lethem said, “so that people have an image of it as if it’s some kind of consummated effort. ‘I’m working on my exegesis.’ But what he really meant was, he was turning his brain inside-out on the page, on a nightly basis, over a period of years of his life.”

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which has also acquired the rights to 39 of Mr. Dick’s previously published works and will release them next year, plans to to release Volume 1 of “Exegesis,” which is about 350 pages, in the fall of 2011, and Volume 2, at the same length, a year later.

Mr. Lethem described the books as a chronicle of the period in which Mr. Dick “pulled himself together again, as a writer and a human being.”

“He’d been launched into outer space by the visions of the early 70s,” Mr. Lethem said, “and he was going to try to come back with the truth – and that, by definition is an impossible task.

He added: “It’s absolutely stultifying, it’s brilliant, it’s repetitive, it’s contradictory. It just might contain the secret of the universe.”

[Click to continue reading Philip K. Dick’s ‘Exegesis’ Will Receive Two-Volume Release – ArtsBeat Blog – NYTimes.com]

Wow, 39 published books? Jeez was PKD prolific.

Written by Seth Anderson

April 29th, 2010 at 11:10 am

Posted in Suggestions

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Reading Around on January 1st through January 3rd

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A few interesting links collected January 1st through January 3rd:

  • Daily Kos: State of the Nation – Remember the Naughts – Don’t forget the naughts, because this decade, no matter what anyone on the right might say, was conservatism on trial. You want less taxes? You got less taxes. You want less regulation? You got less regulation. Open markets? Wide open. An illusuion of security in place of rights? Hey, presto. Think we should privatize war by handing unlimited power given to military contractors so they can kick butt and take names? Kiddo, we passed out boots and pencils by the thousands. Everything, everything, that ever showed up on a drooled-over right wing wish list got implemented — with a side order of Freedom Fries.They will try to disown it, and God knows if I was responsible for this mess I’d be disowning it, too. But the truth is that the conservatives got everything they wanted in the decade just past, everything that they’ve claimed for forty years would make America “great again”. They didn’t fart around with any “red dog Republicans.”
  • Ptak Science Books: Mapping the Invasion of America, 1942 – The following maps appeared in a two-page spread, detailing ways in which the Axis powers could combine their efforts, focus on America, and take over the country. Maps such as these with arrows being drawn towards America were absolutely uncommon during this time.
  • d r i f t g l a s s: “…if Christ is Not Risen – Sometimes he had to pee, but did it fountain-like, leaning backwards out the bathroom door limbo-style it with one ear cocked for the brrrring…and never flushed or washed his furry little paws for fear the white noise of running water would drown out the sound of Opportunity Calling…which is also why he hadn’t done laundry for a month, and why his sink was piled with sticky, old dishes.

    And so, as he sat in his stink, panic closing slowly over him as a tiny voice whispered to him that The Call wasn’t coming — that he was finally facing a long-overdue oblivion which would have engulfed him 20 years before in a Better Universe — Jokeline decided to take matters into his own hands, and do the one thing GUARANTEED according to the ancient and sacred rules of his lodge to earn him the approbation of the douchebag gatekeepers standing between him and the warm, healing light of the teevee cameras.

    Punching some imaginary hippies for nonexistent crimes.

Written by swanksalot

January 3rd, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Reading Around on December 29th

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Some additional reading December 29th from 17:09 to 23:39:


“The Philip K. Dick Collection” (Philip K. Dick)

  • Gregg Rickman- The Nature of Dick’s Fantasies – –None of Dick’s 1974 letters to the FBI appear in any of the FBI’s files on him (in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Washington). He received a polite brush-off response to his first letter, of March 20; it is likely that the FBI ignored his later letters entirely.–There is, moreover, good reason to doubt that many of these letters were ever sent. According to his wife at the time, Tessa Dick, “Phil told me he’d only sent the first three or four letters, and he stopped mailing them, because the FBI had lost interest (or perhaps never had any interest) in the case…” (letter to author, 6/6/91). Asked why, if this were so, so many letters existed not in originals but in carbons, she replied that Dick’s procedure was to “write a letter, address and stamp an envelope, go out in the back alley, and drop the letter in the trash bin.” Dick’s reasoning was that “The authorities will receive the letter if, and only if, they are spying on him”
  • Total Dick-Head: Merry Christmas To Me! – As a scholar I think these letters are a bit dangerous (as is any piece of evidence however small and seemingly innocuous in the Case of Philip K Dick); as they are the ‘Selected Letters’ I wonder who selected them (that’s probably in an introduction I skipped), what was left out, and why. I have lots of questions, like why does Phil refer to Tessa in one letter as Leslie? Who exactly is ‘Kathy’? And why in the world did PKD write that letter to the FBI about Disch’s Camp Concentration?
  • Transcript: Climbing Mount Criterion – Roger Ebert’s Journal – I’m extremely lazy in my film reviews, but Matthew Dessem is not. His blog is in-depth reviews of every Criterion Collection film released. Roger Ebert interviewed him: Here is the complete transcript of my Q&A with Matthew Dessum, in which he goes into much greater detail about his adventure that I had room for in the paper. The photo is by Yasmin Damshenas
  • Is aviation security mostly for show? – CNN.com – “Security theater” refers to security measures that make people feel more secure without doing anything to actually improve their security. An example: the photo ID checks that have sprung up in office buildings. No one has ever explained why verifying that someone has a photo ID provides any actual security, but it looks like security to have a uniformed guard-for-hire looking at ID cards. Airport-security examples include the National Guard troops stationed at U.S. airports in the months after 9/11 — their guns had no bullets. The U.S. color-coded system of threat levels, the pervasive harassment of photographers, and the metal detectors that are increasingly common in hotels and office buildings since the Mumbai terrorist attacks, are additional examples.

Written by swanksalot

December 30th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Reading Around on October 14th through October 15th

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A few interesting links collected October 14th through October 15th:

  • Today’s Weather: Dreary – Chicagoist – Another dark, damp, dank, dreary day for Chicago. Off and on rain showers coupled with highs in the mid 40s will give us an unseasonable chill for mid-October. If there’s any glimmer of hope, it’s that by Monday we could crack 70 degrees once more. Still, those warmer summer days are a distant memory far too soon. We dig the autumn, but were hoping for a gentler transition
  • Slightly Beyond the Shore

  • My First Look At Radio Free Albemuth – The Movie

    About a month ago I had the opportunity to drive down to LA to see a screening of Radio Free Albemuth with director John Alan Simon. Pretty cool, I know. John wanted me to take a look at the current cut of the film before any further changes are ‘locked out’ and they begin the painstaking work of mixing and cleaning up the sound, correcting the color-timing, tweaking the special effects, and putting on the final polish.

    I really enjoyed the movie and think most Dick-heads are also going to like this film 1) it’s an independent release, so it’s free of dodgy chairs, high-speed chases, fight scenes, gun battles or Keanu, Tom, Nick, Arnold, or any other Scientologist; 2) and best of all, it’s very true to the book. While writer/director John Alan Simon was forced to cut some of the material from the novel, I think he did so in a very effective and sensitive way.

  • Mad About Mad Men – The Atlantic(November 2009) – The cognoscenti, though, have largely ignored this quiet virtue while extolling what are really the show’s considerable flaws. Ah, the media juggernaut. If Mad Men were half as good as the hype would have it, the show would be one of the best ever produced for American television. It’s both.

Written by swanksalot

October 15th, 2009 at 8:00 am

Reading Around on September 30th

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Some additional reading September 30th from 10:40 to 12:32:

  • Roger Ebert’s Journal: My Life and Times Archives – Roger Ebert is becoming more and more endearing to me1. A 21st CE man of the people… “One of my favoring pastimes, especially when I should be doing something else, is moseying around the blogs of my readers”

    I’ve never left a comment there, by the way, and probably wouldn’t – I tend to write responses to other’s posts in this space instead.

    MN King Corn.jpg

  • Total Dick-Head: The Church of Latter Day Dicks – “Why then, is the only going science-fiction author cult of personality devoted to — of all people — L Ron Hubbard?! If Scientology were pretty much exactly the same but centered around Philip K Dick, my god — I’d want in, for his secret scriptures! The lectures on cosmogony! The resonant gnostic insights that made PKD’s work so mythic!”
  • http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4509&print=1 – Specifically, the Global Cities Index ranks cities’ metro areas according to 24 metrics across five dimensions. The first is business activity: including the value of its capital markets, the number of Fortune Global 500 firms headquartered there, and the volume of the goods that pass through the city. The second dimension measures human capital, or how well the city acts as a magnet for diverse groups of people and talent. This includes the size of a city’s immigrant population, the number of international schools, and the percentage of residents with university degrees. The third dimension is information exchange—how well news and information is dispersed about and to the rest of the world. The number of international news bureaus, the amount of international news in the leading local papers, and the number of broadband subscribers round out that dimension.
  • skinless weiners.jpg
Footnotes:
  1. if that’s the right word to use []

Written by swanksalot

September 30th, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Artists Should Get Paid

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I know I’ve linked to this Harlan Ellison rant before, but repetition is strength. Right?

And, finally, to artists of all genres – Harlan Ellison is a loud, irascible and vehement voice for respect and payment. He is the rare combination of a well-developed artistic mind combined with exquisite business smarts and an innate sense of unwavering justice. Ellison dares, in one of his rants, to speak out against a major film studio who wanted to re-release material involving him on DVD. When asked to be paid for his participation, the young assistant seemed shocked. A highly unfortunate reaction on her part – as she then became the target for a giant Harlan Ellison emotional whipping. Did she expect her gas station attendant to give her free gasoline? Her doctor to perform surgery for free…and did SHE, in fact work for free?

Artists are sick to death of trying to pay their bills off of jobs that “offer great exposure.” Harlan Ellison laments the fact that professional writers are constantly being undercut by amateurs these days… and he’s right. It might behoove all of us to listen to Harlan’s rants in DREAMS WITH SHARP TEETH and re-inspire ourselves as a nation to “get what we pay for” and maybe bump up our standards a little.

[From SUNfiltered : Fresh culture daily. » Blog Archive » Harlan Ellison: Who is He and Why Should We Care?]

Anyway Mr. Ellison’s amusing rant re: the Warners Brothers release of a DVD of Babylon 5

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

Pay the artists!

Bonus:

Why is Harlan Ellison’s name on the end credits of THE TERMINATOR? Find out the truth in this video.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwyyJ3D3g1E

Written by swanksalot

May 19th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Arts,humor

Tagged with , , , ,

Reading Around on March 20th through March 22nd

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A few interesting links collected March 20th through March 22nd:

  • Spring Cleaning Hits Chicago | Today’s Photos: Today’s best Chicago photos, handpicked by our editors. in Chicago – Cleaning Cloud Gate photo by swanksalot
  • Chicago Tribune Twitterizes masthead | Geek Gestalt – CNET NewsHe added that, “If you’re a reporter or an editor, Twitter is a great way to get in touch with your audience in real time, and if you do it right, if you follow the right people in your sphere of knowledge, you will get a lot out of it.” And, in an experiment to show the many Twitter users among the paper’s audience that the Tribune gets the microblogging service, and to make it easy to get in touch with the top editors and executives, the publication decided to publish, for one day only, the Twitter-friendly masthead. “We were talking at dinner,” Adee said, “and maybe we had too many glasses of wine…but we were just all talking, and we were like, ‘Hey, let’s do it.’ Tomorrow, it’s back to normal, but you never know when it will spring up again.”
  • [1960 Playboy Magazine advertising image via]

  • The Venereal Disease Channel Imaginatizes Greatastically « Whatever – “Apparently one of the motivating factors to change the name from “scifi” to a phase-changing-vowel-filled homonym was to have a name that was trademarkable and extensible, and it seems no one else in the world actually uses the word “syfy” for anything. Well, except Poland, where the word is used to identify crusty, scabby sexually transmitted diseases, and no, this is not a joke. No one there is going to use the word to associate with their product, any more than someone here might try to market, say, Chlamydia™ brand adhesive bandages.

    Note to SciFi Channel: when your new brand identity means “venereal disease” in any language, it’s the sort of thing that — excuse the term — gets around.”

Written by swanksalot

March 22nd, 2009 at 11:00 am

Sometimes a Great Notion

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ooh, I’d like to hear this entire track, as discussed previously. Fun version of a familiar song…

In the next act, Anders wanders through the ruins and finds a broken guitar neck, which brings back memories of “All Along the Watchtower.” The score sneaks in with ambient strains of harmonium, tabla and electric sitar, recalling my “Watchtower” arrangement. This is the same sonic texture that underscored the Chief’s walk along the ruins, leading up to his memories of being in a marketplace on Earth.

However, the musical idea is taken a step farther here, as Anders remembers specific lyrics and recites them to himself. At this moment, the signature acoustic guitar riff that opens my arrangement of “Watchtower” enters, and you will also hear the distain vocal refrain of a new Brendan “Bt4” McCreary vocal performance.

Even though you’ll only catch a couple lines in the show, we actually recorded a complete performance of “All Along the Watchtower” for this episode, complete with all three verses, set in this trippy, ambient style. Perhaps it’ll end up on a soundtrack album one day? 🙂

[Click to read more [spoiler alert!] Bear’s Battlestar Blog » Blog Archive » BG4: “Sometimes a Great Notion”]

Wonder why the episode is titled after the Ken Kesey novel? Been years since I read it, but I recall it being a Cain/Abel tale, set in the Pacific north woods. Am I wrong?


“Sometimes a Great Notion (Penguin Classics)” (Ken Kesey)

Hmm, maybe not. From the Wikipedia entry:

The story centers on the Stamper family, a hard-headed logging clan in the fictional town of Wakonda, Oregon. The union loggers in the town of Wakonda go on strike in demand of the same pay for shorter hours, in response to the decreasing need for labor due to the introduction of the chainsaw. However, the Stamper family, which owns its own non-union family company, decides not only to keep working but also to supply the regional mill with all the lumber the town would have supplied had it not been on strike. This decision, and the surrounding details of the decision, are deeply explored in this multilayered historical background and relationship study — especially in its examination of the following characters: Henry Stamper, the old and half-crazed patriarch whose motto “Never Give A Inch!” has defined the nature of the family and its dynamic with the town; Hank, the oldest son of Henry whose strong will and personality make him a leader but his subtle insecurities and desires threaten the stability of his family; Leland, the younger son of Henry and half brother of Hank, whose constant weaknesses and the nature of his intellect led him away from the family to the East Coast, but whose eccentric behavior and want for revenge against Hank lead him back to Oregon; and Viv, whose love for her husband Hank fades quickly when she realizes he no longer wanted or needed her. The family house itself manifests the physical stubbornness of the Stamper family; as the nearby river widens slowly, all the other houses on the river have either been consumed by the waters or moved away from the current, except the Stamper house, which stands on a precious peninsula struggling to maintain every inch of land with the help of an arsenal of boards, sand bags, cables, and other miscellaneous items brandished by Henry Stamper in his fight against the encroaching river.

and from Bear McCreary:

“Sometimes I live in the country, sometimes I live in the town. Sometimes I get a great notion, to jump in the river and drown.” From Ken Kesey’s novel “Sometimes a Great Notion”


addendum, the above link, a blog post by the musical director of BSG, is fascinating. I’ll admit I don’t pay close enough attention to orchestral scores, but obviously the music and themes are extremely important to building mood. I almost want to see this episode again after reading such nuanced description of the process and intent of scoring BSG.

Written by Seth Anderson

January 17th, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Posted in Suggestions

Tagged with ,

Another Coming Out Party?

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I wonder how Ronald Moore feels about California’s Proposition 8 aka Prop Hate?

From one of our most reliable sources ever:

The new Battlestar Galactica webisodes “The Face of the Enemy” start going on line next month. Two recurring male characters are revealed to be gay.

One hears the first webisode was shown at some sort of Producers Guild event or something. Full-on making out was apparently part of the fun!

Who are the recurring males? Gaeta, whose very name has “gay” in it, never seemed too interested in the girls – but perhaps that’s too obvious?

My money’s on Tigh and Tyrol. Remember how sore Tigh got when he found out the chief was secretly boning Boomer?

[From GALACTICA SITREP: Another Coming Out Party?]

Written by Seth Anderson

November 17th, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Arts

Tagged with , ,

The Body as Bacterial Landlord

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Robert Lee Hotz has written an extremely fascinating look at our bacterial over-lords. If I wasn’t so busy, I’d love to create a treatment of this concept for a possible sci-fi thriller. Or something. Too interesting not to research further.

When scientists discovered that bacteria, not stress, caused most stomach ulcers, the insight overturned a century of medical dogma, transformed clinical practice and garnered a 2005 Nobel Prize for the two researchers who made the connection so many others had missed. After people adopted antibiotics to treat gastric distress, though, microbiologist Martin Blaser and his colleagues at New York University began to document an odd medical trend.

Ulcers did drop dramatically, as expected. So did the incidence of stomach cancer. As the bacteria, called Helicobacter pylori, virtually disappeared among children, however, cases of asthma tripled. So did rates of hay fever and allergies, such as eczema. Among adults, gastric reflux disease became more common, as did some forms of esophageal cancer, researchers noted.

To Dr. Blaser’s way of thinking, antibiotics and other sanitation measures are eliminating the harm these bacteria cause at the expense of the protection they provide us.

The human body teems with so many microbes that they outnumber our own cells ten to one. Vast schools of bacteria are in us and around us, like fish nuzzling a coral reef. “They are not simply along for the ride,” says Stanford University microbiologist David Relman. “They are interacting with us.”

Yet almost all of them are still unknown to science, since most cannot be grown and studied in the laboratory. In ways mysterious to medicine, this microbial menagerie of fellow travelers in and on us is controlling our health, affecting obesity, cancer and heart disease, among others.

[From The Body as Bacterial Landlord – WSJ.com]

Our constant interference with the body through use of anti-biotics has real consequences:

…As many as 500 species of bacteria may inhabit our guts, like H.pylori. Maybe 500 or so other species make themselves at home in our mouth, where each tooth has its own unique bacterial colony, Dr. Relman recently determined. No one knows how many species we contain in all. This past August, researchers at Kings College London identified yet another new species of oral bacteria between the tongue and cheek.

Until recently, half of humanity harbored these H. pylori stomach bacteria, according to a 2002 study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Indeed, we appear to have evolved together. Among those born in the U.S. during the 1990s, however, only 5% or so still carry these microbes, largely due to the indiscriminate use of antibiotics.

After analyzing health records of 7,412 people collected by the National Center for Health Statistics, Dr. Blaser and NYU epidemiologist Yu Chen reported this summer in the Journal of Infectious Diseases that children between three and 13 years old who tested positive for H. pylori bacteria were 59% less likely to have asthma. They also were 40% to 60% less likely to have hay fever or rashes.

Bacteria has evolved for billions of years, and is now an essential part of the human body

Last week, University of Chicago immunologist Alexander Chervonsky and his collaborators at Yale University reported that doses of the right stomach bacteria can stop the development of Type 1 diabetes in lab mice.

“By changing who is living in our guts, we can prevent Type 1 diabetes,” Dr. Chervonsky says.

Other bacteria are just as crucial to our well-being, feeding us the calories from food we can’t digest on our own, bolstering our immune systems, tending our skin and dosing us with vitamins, such as B-6 and B-12, which we are unable to synthesize unaided.

And there is work being done attempting to categorize the bacteria, and figure out what exactly each contributes to our body:

For the first time, researchers are attempting to identify and analyze the types of bacteria that live within us, in an effort that makes the Human Genome Project look like child’s play. Instead of sequencing the genes of one microbe at a time, researchers in a five-year, $125 million NIH effort called the Human Microbiome Project are analyzing entire communities of mixed bacteria at once, in a technique called metagenomics.

To start, researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md., are sequencing the genomes of 200 microbe species isolated from 250 healthy volunteers. They are sampling bacteria from the skin, gut, vagina, mouth and nose, then attempting to identify them by cataloging variations in a single gene sequence that all bacteria share.

If I was in school right now, this might be a very tempting field to enter.
[Digg-enabled access to full article via this link]

Written by swanksalot

October 3rd, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Posted in health

Tagged with , , ,

Cylon-centric special feature

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“Battlestar Galactica – Season One” (Sci-Fi Channel, The)

News from the Battlestar Galactica front.

Months before its final 10 episodes begin airing in January, we now know for certain that “Battlestar Galactica” will live on — in the form of a two-hour special on the Sci Fi Channel to air in 2009 after the series concludes.

The unnamed feature will be directed by the show’s co-star, Edward James Olmos, and written by “Battlestar” writer and former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” brain Jane Espenson.

The stand-alone will document the Cylons’ attempts — those of two agents in particular — to grapple with human survivors, both those aboard ships and those left alive on planets, shortly after the Cylons’ destruction of human home worlds.

So it’s a flashback, but not all the way back.

Three confirmed cast members are Michael Trucco (Sam Anders), Aaron Douglas (Galen Tyrol), and Dean Stockwell (Cavil, Cylon model No. 1) — all Cylons. Shooting will begin promptly in Vancouver, Canada, and Sci Fi promises women regulars are being cast as well, with more names coming soon.

[From ‘Battlestar Galactica’: Edward James Olmos will direct Cylon-centric special feature | Show Tracker | Los Angeles Times]

Deadwood Fan #1
[Deadwood Fan #1]

At least one television drama I enjoy watching is still on the air, for a moment longer.1

Footnotes:
  1. Deadwood, The Wire, Arrested Development all got the unkind ax. BSG is on its last season, but the creators are trying to stretch that season out a bit. []

Written by Seth Anderson

August 7th, 2008 at 8:42 am

Posted in Suggestions

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Netflixed: Logan’s Run

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“Logan’s Run” (Michael Anderson, Ronald Saland)

For some reason, watched this film earlier today for the first time.

Life in the year 2274 is a carnival of pleasures — until you hit age 30. An all-powerful state kills those who reach their third decade, and cop Logan 5 (Michael York) is in charge of capturing “runners” who try to escape their fate. It’s a nice gig until he reaches the “golden age.” Logan’s Run offers an inventive vision of a dark paradise.

[From Netflix: Logan’s Run]

Moderately amusing, 1970s cocaine and free-love film. Not sure how Logan’s Run won any Oscars, must have been an off-year for special effects.

Farrah Fawcett-Majors is an absolutely horrible actress, at least in this film. I mean, embarrassingly bad. Yikes. Nobody’s performance is really good, but she is cringeworthy.

The censors at MGM cut out most of the orgy scene, and the Hallucimill sequence, subsequently Kirk Kerkorian threw out the footage.

As I sat through some of the more eye-rolling sequences, I thought Logan’s Run would be a good candidate for a modern update. The premise was sort of interesting, but the execution was weak. Current social mores wouldn’t have a problem with the free-love aspect, nudity, nor the drug use, if handled with precision and humor. Apparently, I don’t have to write a treatment, as the remake is already in the works. [IMDb entry]


In a future where the masses are systematically put to death upon reaching a certain age, those who attempt to cheat death are dubbed “runners” and pursued by formidable operatives known as Sandmen. Logan is a Sandman who is fast approaching that fateful age, and when he decides to run the stage is set for the ultimate chase. Former commercial filmmaker Joseph Kosinski makes his feature directorial debut with a low-tech sci-fi thriller written by Tim Sexton, and inspired more by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson’s 1967 novel than the 1976 feature starring Michael York and Jenny Agutter.


“Logan’s Run (Logan)” (William F. Nolan, George Clayton Johnson)

A YouTube preview (several minutes long)

Contains deleted and alternate footage. The primary audience for this long preview were theater owners.

Written by Seth Anderson

June 8th, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Posted in Film

Tagged with , ,