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In Search of the Holy Grail of Senescence (Review)
Sometimes when reading scientific articles I loose the point. In the article I just read the point seems to be that human beings age.
The authors go to great lengths to demonstrate that people did not always think that humans aged. It was once thought that humans could be made to live forever. Outside of a passingly interesting history of what might be called ‘life span theories’ I think the only thing the article really accomplished for me was the explanation of a decent explanation of why a body might age. So, here it is—the entire upshot of this article:
Individuals in a species must make their way to and through the age of reproduction. Genes that enable this are selected for. Beyond the age of reproduction there is no natural selection (so nothing is ‘optimized’ during this period of life). Now, every system in a body must ‘maintain’ itself against the damage incurred through the basic processes of life. Systems that do this poorly before the reproductive period ends are selected out. However, systems that do this poorly only after reproduction stops are not selected against. That is why you age. Your body hired a repairman to give it oil changes and tune ups until you can no longer make another body, at which point its warranty expires.
[EDIT: I now understand the function of this article. It is followed by at least two articles that argue for the possibility that we will be able to eliminate the aging process through bioetechnological interventions. Their arguments are silly, and do not hold up against the arguments made in the paper above. That said, it only means that the 8 ball only says ”please ask again later.”]
The History Of Motion Pictures - Thomas Edison
The history of motion pictures
Scientist realised that the human eye can only perceive motion if there is a series of slightly altered images placed in a rapid motion. This realisation is what lead scientist to allow the complexity of motion pictures.
The first machine patented was in the United States of America which allowed a camera to show animated pictures of movies with a optical device famously known as the “wheel of life” or the “Zoopraxiscope”. This device was legalised in 1867 by William Lincoln. Zoopraxiscope was most commonly a strip which contained 12 images which produced the illusion of motion as the subject was moved rapidly. This was the device which helped create modern motions pictures which we know of today.
Thomas Edison’s Motion Pictures
Before 1888, Thomas Edison had a enthusiastic approach towards the interest of motion picture after witnessing one of Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies. This stimulated Edison to resolve to invent a camera which allowed to capture motion pictures. Through this Muybridge proposed an idea that Edison should combine the zoopraxiscope with his phonograph invention. This apparently intrigued Edison, however he still decided not to use the adaptation of the Zoopraxiscope in his invention due to him realising that the Zoopraxiscope was not a very practical or efficient way to obtain a recording of motion, as the figures in a Zoopraxiscope are continuously moving when viewed which lead the images to appear blurry. On October 17, 1888 Edison described his idea of documenting motion picture as a device that would “do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear”. With this Edison created a successful device called the Kinetoscope.
Edison’s first motion picture ever to be copyrighted was of his employee Fred Ott pretending to sneeze as he took a recording. During 1893 Edison began to create the production of motion pictures in his on constructed studio, Black Maria. This invention is what changed motion picture history for the better.
The very first sentence of this article I just started reading:
Perhaps no area of learning ancient Greek frustrates students and teachers quite so much as the Greek verbal system.
As a student, I can’t say I ever had that much trouble with the Greek verbal system. To be fair, both my education and my brain emphasize understanding grammatical concepts and systems over some of the other facets to learning a language (like, say, vocabulary, which I admittedly still suck at). And even in my limited teaching experience, I can’t say that the verbal system was the sticking point for very many of my students.
Unless that’s just code for “they translate middles as passives,” because they did that a lot… until they knew better and stopped.
Well. Let’s not rush to judgment here. Let’s actually read the whole article!
So, having now read the whole article, I have to admit that despite the supremely annoying first page, I do agree with most of what they’re saying. Allow me to summarize, because you totally didn’t actually read the whole article then come back here:
1. Students should be introduced to sound combinations/contractions earlier and more explicitly, and independently of verb forms (because they show up in other kinds of words, too). I agree with this, because having a deeper understanding of why a form is what it is can only ever be a good thing, plus understanding contraction rules instead of brute-force memorizing like eight thousand different verb forms is just so much easier. (However, it is also important to emphasize that the particular contractions that get taught as proper “Classical” Greek are specifically Attic. Other dialects developed differently!)
2. The way students are introduced to verb endings should be altered, so that the basic categories from the beginning are the primary/secondary tenses; also -μι verbs should be taught from the beginning, rather than super late. For the first part, I guess I agree, but I’m not sure how much that functionally changes anything—not because it’s a useless distinction, but because I don’t know how many people aren’t already making it? But for the latter point, I agree wholeheartedly.
3. Most textbooks suck at teaching what a verb stem actually is. (I particularly enjoyed the smack-down of Athenaze in the footnotes.) I agree, and I guess it would be nice if the textbooks explained this better, but as-is I don’t think it’s anything a good bit of teacher explanation can’t fix.
4. There’s no reason to teach beginners all six principle parts—just the first three suffice. And, uh, yeah… I agree with this… does anybody throw all six principle parts at beginner students? I hope not…
So, in conclusion: I don’t really disagree with anything the article says, but I have to wonder why they felt the need to say some of it. Unless Greek teaching methods are really that much worse than I’d realized?
The History of Stop Motion
Stop motion is a form of animation which is used to manipulate objects to appear to move on its own. This is done through an object being moved in small increments between each individual photographed frame. Thereby creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames are played at a rapid and continuous sequence. Interestingly Stop motion has been used and was invented almost as long as traditional film making.
In the early evolution of Stop motion, animators use to first experiment with clay moulding the desired shape to be used in a sequence in order to convey and tell stories. This was first used in the short films Wallace and Gromit. In 1912 this was called ‘Modelling Extraordinary’
“Stop motion has changed drastically since the early 20th century. In fact, stop motion is rarely used anymore, only in children’s TV shows”.
The first instance of stop motion was credited to Albert E. Smith and J. Stuart Blackton for Vitagraph’s who created ‘The Humpty Dumpty Circus’ in 1897. Where the toys in the circus of acrobats and animals came to life. This was an extraordinary discovery in film history, which has now led to the possibility of 3D animation.
“With the development of Digital 3D animation, animating a 3D character in a film has become much easier and faster, which is favoured by the industry. 3D animation allows unreal characters to seem to be alive.
New York Times' Sunday Review means more than just its content.
This morning I woke up inspired to begin cultivating my creative notions. I read this opinion column about the generation we live in today. Insightful as it was, it also showed character and an applausable rhetorical style. What appealed to me was how it conjured a voice inside of me that told me I had to get up and get on with my artistic whims; this in which I repressed since choosing life’s practical demands over the emotional and expressive side in me.
Aside from reminding me of something I needed to do with myself, one particular part stuck out at me. This is the understanding I have about our social generation drawn from social media interactions and impressions of our city culture that I have unsuccessfully been able to express as a clear idea. Here, the columnist is able to tie the two together with such astute insight and concision.
“I was contacted recently by a young man who plans to start a Web site to promote the need for reading and reflection to people of his generation. Not just promote it, though, of course, but market it. When he asked me for advice, I suggested he begin by pointing out the superficiality of so much social media. Well, he said, I agree with that idea, that’s a big premise of what I’m trying to do, but I wouldn’t want to come across as negative, because that turns people off. If they think you’re criticizing them, they won’t want to buy what you’re selling.
That kind of thinking is precisely what I’m talking about, what lies behind the bland, inoffensive, smile-and-a-shoeshine personality — the stay-positive, other-directed, I’ll-be-whoever-you-want-me-to-be personality — that everybody has today. Yes, we’re vicious, anonymously, on the comment threads of public Web sites, but when we speak in our own names, on Facebook and so forth, we’re strenuously cheerful, conciliatory, well-groomed. (In fact, one of the reasons we’re so vicious, I’m convinced, is to relieve the psychic pressure of all that affability.) They say that people in Hollywood are always nice to everyone they meet, in that famously fake Hollywood way, because they’re never certain whom they might be dealing with — it could be somebody who’s more important than they realize, or at least, somebody who might become important down the road.”
I am inspired by his writing and respect the eloquence of which expresses my thoughts so well. I must too begin - with my goals set straight and my motivations in place. These moments are rare where I can come to a conclusion that, yes, today will be the day to emerge from my mold. Reading, drawing, writing of all sorts from novels to blogs to poems; this is the time to forget life’s other nuances and give myself the time to just do it.
A few months ago, I read an article about gray hair in a fashion magazine. I was so excited to read it (an article not about blonde hair???), although at first, I was a little concerned because the article began describing gray hair as dull, old and colorless. I’m in my mid 30s and gray hair has been making its presence known since high school. It seems to have picked up its pace in the last few years; so much so, that when I see my parents twice a year they always chuckle and comment incredulously on how much grayer my hair looks since the last time they saw me. But I don’t mind. My father and older brother also started going gray when they were in their teens, so it runs in our family. I think it looks distinguished. Even on women (sorry George Clooney, you’re not the only one who looks good with gray hair). It’s funny because my brother had been the only one of us to try dyeing it. He was keeping it quiet until he arrived at the house one day with an inch of dark brown Just For Men on his forehead, ears and neck. I’m happy to report he has since abandoned that idea.
Wait a second…now that I think about it, I did dye my hair once. I was living in Mexico for a summer, studying at the university and I went with a friend to a hair salon. They convinced me to try dyeing my hair and at the time my hair was cut very short (nearly buzzed with clippers), so I figured if I didn’t like it I’d be rid of it in 4 weeks anyway, so what was the big deal? I chose a beautiful swatch of dark brown that looked deep burgundy in sunlight. Well, when the woman was done dyeing it, it looked bright red inside and fuchsia outside!! I felt like everyone was looking up at my head in horror. I know I was. I went straight from the salon to the pharmacy to pick up a box of jet-black dye. I’ve never tried dyeing it since. In fact, I think about this experience when I get the usual comments about my hair: “have you heard of the Chinese walnut recipe that gets rid of gray hair?” or “but you’re so young, why would you want to go gray?” (that one has to be delivered with a hint of disgust on your face) or my favorite, “is that really your hair?!”
Anyway, back to the article, after much bashing of gray hair and talking about how ugly it looks and why anyone would want to go gray, the writer surprised me and decided to embrace her gray, going against all the beauty advice of the pros. She said she felt glamorous, sparkly, pearly white. The photos were of models who have also gone gray and look amazing, like the beautiful Kristen McMenamy who has gone completely gray and she’s only 47.
I was so proud of the magazine for publishing an article that was for once not about the single, white (and very blonde) female.
Photo credit: Whtpaper
For the last several months I’ve been reading a prominent fashion magazine, cover to cover. I’ve had subscriptions to this magazine several times in my life, for years at a time, and when I haven’t had a prescription, I’ve purchased it while waiting in line at the grocery store. However, I don’t think I ever really read it cover to cover. With this most recent subscription, though, I made a conscious decision to do just that.
It’s been quite the eye opener. Sure, everyone knows that fashion magazines are for the most part about status, money, who you know, what parties you are invited to, and a little style thrown into the mix. But I find that some of the articles have become blatantly elitist, and proudly so. Have they always been this way? Or is it that this time around I’m older and wiser (er…) so I’m reading them with a different mindset than I did when I was younger? I’m not sure.
Let me give you an example: I read an article written by a Colombian woman and her journey, physically, professionally and mentally, to New York City. I was so psyched when I saw it; and a bit surprised, quite frankly, because, being a Puerto Rican woman myself, it isn’t often that Latino women get a whole article to themselves in a prominent fashion magazine. As I read, though, it quickly became obvious that it wasn’t just any Colombian woman; it was someone who had grown up in upper class Colombia, with all the comforts that most Colombians don’t experience. I mean, her grandmother had a private plane, for crying out loud. Suddenly, she wasn’t representative of me (or most people). She was just another member of the upper class writing an article about how awesome their life is, while wearing their grandfather’s vintage Rolex and claiming to wear it because they’ve got good style. No, your style has nothing to do with it. Your grandfather had good style. Not to mention thousands of expendable dollars with which to buy a wristwatch.
When will we have a fashion magazine about everyday people? It seems like every time I look up a magazine editor’s background they’re the daughter of such-and-such movie star or the granddaughter of a model or politician or…well, you get the picture. Maybe the first step to having a magazine representative of everyday people is to have it written by everyday people.Photo credit: jezebel.com
I need to be doing homework
I literally need to be writing an assignment right now - a stupid fucking article review
but i can’t
im sitting here, i’ve read the article (all 12 pages of it) four times and
I. Don’t. Understand. It.
Like, I get it. I know what it’s telling me, I understand the information, but I don’t understand why they took 12 fucking pages and 5 fucking charts to tell me information that could have been given to me in 1 page and so I’m getting extremely confused and frustrated and I know, I know what my professor is asking me, but I can’t write it because I honestly don’t understand where the information I need is
Is this all of University? Because this is fucking bullshit. I love learning, I love my classes, but this assignment isn’t teaching me anything and I don’t understand why this is a requirement.
I am just so done. I don’t want to go to university anymore if this is what it’s like. It’s completely demoralizing.
Article Review: Krumhansl. Rhythm and pitch in music cognition.
Krumhansl, C. L. (2000). Rhythm and pitch in music cognition. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 159-179.
This rather long article was designed to be a summary of the significant psychological literature on music perception until 2000. In the article, Krumhansl divides music into two phenomena: rhythm and pitch, emphasizing to the idea that they work both dependent and independently on music perception. Some general ideas that were supported in the surveyed articles were that music exists on multiple levels using the basic psychophysical principles of encoding relative values of frequency and duration. Also simple ratios of rhythm durations such as 1:2 and 1:3, and frequency (note intervals) ratios such as 1:2, 2:3, and 3:4, are prominent in learning and remembering music. Generally, those with formal education do better in most music tasks, although a basic understanding of musical form is inherent and culturally influenced. There is very little mention of any type of brain scan (PET, MRI, fMRI), which is no surprise considering it’s publication date. These psychological findings are supportive of the theories presented in musicology and music theory publications raising the question of, “whether music is structured the way it is because of psychological constraints or whether the psychological representations is a result of internalizing regularities in the music in one’s experience (173).”
I thought the most interesting section in this article was the time devoted to tuning systems (temperament) (165-166). In my experience of performing music, tuning is extremely important (you are either in tune or out of tune), but temperament is thought to be an absolute given (the only temperament is on the piano), totally ignoring the fact that pitches are altered (mostly unconsciously or with vibrato) within contexts (166). I also find it interesting that music is filled with math that “sort of” works. The simple ratios are there, but are more like ranges that must be altered to get everything to fit (and even when it “fits” it is still messy).
Article Review: Ball. Schoenberg, serialism and cognition: Whose fault if no one listens?
Ball, P. (2011). Schoenberg, serialism and cognition: Whose fault if no one listens? Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 36, 24-41.
In this survey/opinion article Ball attempts to explain why atonal music is often considered “unpleasant” to classical music fans using psychological principles. Ball gives 3 reasons why this could be so under the more general guise of expectation and undercutting. The first of these is pitch hierarchy; with atonalism, the establishment of a tonal center is abolished and therefore so is the tonal hierarchical system. Secondly, Ball credits lack of melody as causing a lack of grouping (using the Gestalt grouping principles) and thirdly, he states octave equivalence (each pitch class is the same – all Cs are the same in any octave, and this can cause extreme leaps between notes) as the source of a lack of predictable melodic trajectory. Each of these reasons contribute to the listener’s inability to “grab onto” any parts of the music, leaving the listener adrift in a collection of sounds that do not “communicate meaning.”