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31 October 2012



30 October 2012

One Laptop Per Child asked 'can children learn how to read on their own?'
To answer this question, we have delivered fully loaded tablets to two villages in Ethiopia, one per child, with no instruction or instructional material whatsoever. The tablets come with a solar panel, because there is no electricity in these villages. They contain modestly curated games, books, cartoons, movies—just to see what the kids will play with and whether they can figure out how to use them. We then monitor each tablet remotely, in this case by swapping SIM cards weekly (through a process affectionately known as sneakernet). Within minutes of arrival, the tablets were unboxed and turned on by the kids themselves. After the first week, on average, 47 apps were used per day. After week two, the kids were playing games to race each other in saying the ABCs.

D+R (PA) are ok but have no trizzites. K+L (Long Island) have not been reachable thus far. R says they are 4 inches above sea level, normally. 

These are neat: Edible Vistas.

As seen on Laughing Squid.

29 October 2012


28 October 2012


Doesn't seem like six years ago.


'The decision not to start world war three was not taken in the Kremlin or the White House, but in the sweltering control room of a submarine. The launch of the B-59's nuclear torpedo required the consent of all three senior officers aboard. Arkhipov was alone in refusing permission. It is certain that Arkhipov's reputation was a key factor in the control room debate. The previous year the young officer had exposed himself to severe radiation in order to save a submarine with an overheating reactor. That radiation dose eventually contributed to his death in 1998. So when we raise our glasses on 27 October we can only toast his memory. Thank you, Vasya.'

27 October 2012

Can't we put THIS* together with THIS**?

*The laser technology might also be used to reduce the time it take for atomic waste to lose its radioactivity from thousands of years to a few seconds. That could remove the need to build underground stores to keep waste secure for centuries.

**Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant is struggling to find space to store tens of thousands of tons of highly contaminated water, it emerged today.

26 October 2012

It'll be too late, I suppose, which is hard to think about.

Stem Cell Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis, Other Myelin Disorders Expected Soon
ScienceDaily (Oct. 25, 2012) — When the era of regenerative medicine dawned more than three decades ago, the potential to replenish populations of cells destroyed by disease was seen by many as the next medical revolution. However, what followed turned out not to be a sprint to the clinic, but rather a long tedious slog carried out in labs across the globe required to master the complexity of stem cells and then pair their capabilities and attributes with specific diseases.
In a review article appearing October 25 in the journal Science, University of Rochester Medical Center scientists Steve Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., Maiken Nedergaard, Ph.D., and Martha Windrem, Ph.D., contend that researchers are now on the threshold of human application of stem cell therapies for a class of neurological diseases known as myelin disorders -- a long list of diseases that include conditions such as multiple sclerosis, white matter stroke, cerebral palsy, certain dementias, and rare but fatal childhood disorders called pediatric leukodystrophies.
"Stem cell biology has progressed in many ways over the last decade, and many potential opportunities for clinical translation have arisen," said Goldman. "In particular, for diseases of the central nervous system, which have proven difficult to treat because of the brain's great cellular complexity, we postulated that the simplest cell types might provide us the best opportunities for cell therapy."
The common factor in myelin disorders is a cell called the oligodendrocyte. These cells arise, or are created, by another cell found in the central nervous system called the glial progenitor cell. Both oligodendrocytes and their "sister cells" -- called astrocytes -- share this same parent and serve critical support functions in the central nervous systems.
Oligodendrocytes produce myelin, a fatty substance that insulates the fibrous connections between nerve cells that are responsible for transmitting signals throughout the body. When myelin-producing cells are lost or damaged in conditions such as multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, signals traveling between nerves are weakened or even lost. Astrocytes also play an essential role in the brain. Long overlooked and underappreciated, it is now understood that astrocytes are critical to the health and signaling function of oligodendrocytes as well as neurons.
Glial progenitor cells and their offspring represent a promising target for stem cell therapies, because -- unlike other cells in the central nervous system -- they are relatively homogeneous and more readily manipulated and transplanted. In the case of oligodendrocytes, multiple animal studies have shown that, once transplanted, these cells will disperse and begin to repair or "remyelinate" damaged areas.
"Glial cell dysfunction accounts for a broad spectrum of diseases, some of which -- like the white matter degeneration of aging -- are far more prevalent than we previously realized," said Goldman. "Yet glial progenitor cells are relatively easy to work with, especially since we don't have to worry about re-establishing precise point to point connections as we must with neurons. This gives us hope that we may begin to treat diseases of glia by direct transplantation of competent progenitor cells."
Scientists have reached this point, according to the authors, because of a number of key advances. Better imaging technologies -- namely advanced MRI scanners -- now provide greater insight and clarity into the specific damage caused in the central nervous system by myelin disorders. These technologies also enable scientists to precisely follow the results of their work.
Even more importantly, researchers have overcome numerous obstacles and made significant strides in their ability to manipulate and handle these cells. Goldman's lab in particular has been a pioneer in understanding the precise chemical signals necessary to coax stem cells into making glial progenitor cells, as well as those needed to "instruct" these cells to make oligodendrocytes or astrocytes. His lab has been able to produce these cells from a number of different sources -- including "reprogramming" skin cells, a technology that has the advantage of genetically matching transplanted cells to the donor. They have also developed techniques to sort these cells based on unique identifying markers, a critical step that ensures the purity of the cells used in transplantation, lowering the risk for tumor formation.
Nedergaard's lab has studied the integration of these cells into existing neural networks, and well as in imaging their structure and function in the adult nervous system. Together, the two labs have developed models of both human neural activity and disease based on animals transplanted with glial progenitor cells, which will enable human neural cells to be evaluated in the context of the live adult brain -- as opposed to a test tube. This work has already opened new avenues in both modeling and potentially treating human glial disease.
All of these advances, contend the authors, have accelerated research to the point where human studies for myelin disorders are close at hand. For instance, diseases such as multiple sclerosis, which benefit from a new generation of stabilizing anti-inflammatory drugs, may be an especially appealing target for progenitor-based cell therapies which could repair the now permanent and untreatable damage to the central nervous system that occurs in the disease. Similarly, the authors point to a number of the childhood diseases of white matter that now appear ripe for cell-based treatment.
"We have developed a tremendous amount of information about these cells and how to produce them," said Goldman. "We understand the different cell populations, their genetic profiles, and how they behave in culture and in a variety of animal models. We also have better understanding of the disease target environments than ever before, and have the radiographic technologies to follow how patients do after transplantation. Moving into clinical trials for myelin disorders is really just a question of resources at this point."

25 October 2012



22 October 2012

I figured out how to use several materials on a mesh the other day. I have a remade cave with two materials but I am not happy with the texture and need to remake it. And probably the cave, too, as it's a bit big. I did nothing on it today since I had a doctor appointment with my ordinary doctor. He is giving me a referral to a medical marijuana clinic (I had requested it as I am not wanting the neuro's painkillers). He pretty much regards me as a hopeless case, in a compassionate way. I had brought a physician's orders form and we filled it out. It's a "do not resuscitate" thing. He is dubious of the neuro's efforts since it just adds up to a lot of effort and expense for no practical good. Getting into and out of the office was a huge effort, which is why I've done nothing else today. I did turn my heat on for the first time as the high was in the 40s and I've been really cold lately.

20 October 2012


Cel Edman's videos look like they have a lot of good tips.

Also, his Celzium is a mesh creation tool that works within SL.

19 October 2012




My blog is ten years old.

17 October 2012


50 years ago

The Pirate Bay has moved to the cloud. I include TPB in 'us' - all those attempting to ruin the internet are 'them.' There are ways government/businesses use the net that make things easier on them, including ways they use it that are dangerous for ordinary people. They WANT to make it so it's ALL their way. Right now some things are good for them, some are good for us, some are good for both. Some things are bad for them, some bad for us. They want to regulate things so that nothing is bad for them and lots and lots of things are bad for us. Thanks for thumbing your nose at them, TPB.

16 October 2012


I was trying to figure out how to rig mesh clothing but instead figured out how to make tiny avatars of mesh. Well, one day I'll get clothing-rigging :-D

15 October 2012


Hey, I'm just learning, cut me some slack.

14 October 2012


10 October 2012


I was sent to St Peter Hospital medical rehab and they had no clue why I was there and couldn't ring the neuro as his office is closed this week due to a move. So it was a pointless ordeal. They will ring me when they get clarification and we will set up another appointment. My friend Con made it possible, which was great of her, but I feel badly that it was for naught. I don't have endless favours I can ask for.
Person: It's a grey area.
Me: It isn't a grey area it's just a fuck-up.

No wonder I was unsure exactly what was supposed to be going on, since apparently no one else knew either. I'm angry at being so feeble. What is the frigging purpose of this? Bah. *goes to phlop*

06 October 2012

  by Vivian Oblivion
, a photo by Vivian Oblivion on Flickr.

Love Amongst the Ruins

05 October 2012

Wracking my brain trying to get a rigged mesh to be correctly textured, and now SL isn't letting me upload again. Like it did a couple of weeks ago it just crashes if I try to upload anything. All I have to do is select Upload: Image and CRASH. Sometimes Model isn't even in the menu. Sometimes it is. Upload: Model CRASH :( A viewer update fixed it last time (not me, them) so maybe the old bad bug got included in the last update. Or who knows. Makes it harder for me to figure this out, anyway.

01 October 2012


I have a lot to learn, and my knowledge is always spotty as I am self-taught with limited energy, but I am proud that I figured out how to rig a mesh. That's my (imperfect but I'm learning) spacesuit mesh replacing the SL avatar, and my (too many polygons) cave entrance. I'm using Sculptris + MeshLab + Blender. All three are free and very useful.

I got my neuro's report yesterday (my mail comes infrequently so it was probably sitting in the box). His diagnoses are traumatic spinal cord injury and neuromyelitis optica. I was negative for the NMO antigen and my optic nerves are troopers, but neither of those things break the NMO diagnosis. I was negative for ANA, which antibody signals autoimmune disease, which I've never felt I had, actually. My rheumatoid factor was 4, which I think signifies nothing; the intarwebz sez under 14 is normalish (I think negative is best, but under 14 is 'eh'). Protein electrophoresis was normal.

Looking at his letterhead I realised his initials are KFC, so now if I go to Glitch I can shout my neuro's initials to make the chooks shriek and fly away.

I have a Safeway order arriving today. Tiff comes Wednesday. Frank is Thursday. His recent tack is helping quite a bit.

My iPod's wifi-ness has gone berserk again. This time what I did before hasn't fixed it.



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