Archive for December, 2010

Local Alzheimer’s research

Insights Give Hope for New Attack on Alzheimer’s” in The New York Times profiles “Decreased Clearance of CNS ?-Amyloid in Alzheimer’s Disease” just published in Science. Randy Bateman is on the faculty of my department, and David Holtzman, quoted in the Times article, is chair. Discover Magazine also gave some attention to Holtzman with “Top 100 Stories of 2010 #10: Early Diagnosis for Alzheimer’s.”

Bateman’s paper speaks to a central question of Alzheimer’s disease. Why does ?-amyloid accumulate? In medicine, we often are faced with the deficiency or overabundance of a substance within the body. Often such questions are posed by senior faculty to residents and students. The correct answer, always, is to state that the problem depends on the balance between absorption/production and elimination/consumption. Such a pat answer also gives valuable stalling time for thinking of more detailed answers. The paper looks at this question using a small study of human subject and a classic technique, pulse-chase analysis.

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Michael M. on December 17th 2010 in General

Vi Hart makes it bigger.

I posted yesterday about Vi Hart’s excellent web site. Today, NPR‘s Robert Krulwich posted I Hate Math! (Not After This, You Won’t) about it on his blog Krulwich Wonders. She is on her way to becoming a darling of a certain set.

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Michael M. on December 16th 2010 in General

Musical outings

H and I caught favorite Big Smith at Off Broadway. They put on a good show. Off Broadway is my favorite smaller venue, and it is a good fit for the band. They had played Sky Box earlier in the fall. It was a mismatch. The place is a hip hop and sports themed bar. Big Smith, a bluegrass and rock band, did not fit or draw a crowd.

We also went to the Punch Brothers show at the Old Rock House. All the members are virtuoso bluegrass pickers. This review from KDHX is very favorable. They are great musicians, but I did not enjoy it as much. I think it is because my tastes have shifted elsewhere.

The concert was my first time at the Old Rock House. The space going out from the stage is rather long and narrow, but it still a good space for a show. I hope to see more acts there in the future. In particular, Leon Redbone, someone I have not heard live, will play there January 25. I just bought tickets.

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Michael M. on December 16th 2010 in General, Live, Music

“Gimme Shelter” decontruction

This page found via Waxy Links has separate tracks that went into “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones. Each is a amazing, but the vocal track blows away the others.

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Michael M. on December 15th 2010 in General, Music, Recorded

Dogs Decoded

My sister pointed me to the PBSNOVA episode “Dogs Decoded.” I disliked the repeated idea that scientists considered the study of dogs trivial. They have been a subject of investigation for a long time, and they are a favorite model organism. Otherwise, the program is great.

Even better, it featured a familiar face. The program profiled Elinor Karlsson‘s research using genetics in dogs to research various diseases. We were in college together, but I had not known what she had done since. As it turns out, all kinds of great things.

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Michael M. on December 15th 2010 in General

Recreational music and mathematics

I came across Vi Hart’s web site. It is a treasure chest worth extensive exploration. She has a page of creations made with music boxes. Using a Möbius strip in a music box to make an infinitely looping piece of a tune alternating with its inversion is awesome. Mathematical doodling is another set of wonders.

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Michael M. on December 15th 2010 in General, Music, Recorded

Pixies documentary

Not too long ago on Facebook, a friend posted the link to the documentary loudQUIETloud on Hulu. It is about the reunion tour of the favorite Pixies. I went to the tour date at Mizzou in 2004 the month before I started this blog, and I mentioned it in this very early post. It was memorable. At the time, I had little idea of the story behind the tour. At least a couple of band members had fallen on hard times, and the tour involved a lot of tumult. I watched the documentary and really enjoyed it.

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Michael M. on December 15th 2010 in General, Live, Movies, Music

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