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Showing posts from November, 2016

Movie Review: Dr. Strange (2016)

Enter the Sorcerer Supreme in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), adding magic to its already rich tapestry of power. Dr. Strange tells the origin story of Stephen Strange, MD, a brilliant surgeon who becomes the foremost magic-wielder on Earth. Per my dad’s advice, we watched the film in 3D. Worth it!

While it’s routine for superhero movies to dish up glorious visual spectacles, the heart of any movie is the character(s). In Dr. Strange, the protagonist, played by the excellent Benedict Cumberbatch, begins as an extraordinarily talented man with the arrogance to match. It’s established early on that his wild success can also be attributed to avoiding high-risk procedures to expand his impact in the medical field. When an accident damages his hands, he exhausts all clinical possibilities until he finally goes to Nepal to find alternative healing.

The Ancient One, played by a sublime Tilda Swinton, is instrumental in Dr. Strange’s transformation. Her strength and wisdom are establish…

The Baby MEG Study, Part II

One year ago, Junior participated in a baby MEG study. The study required him to sleep on a little bed, with the top of his head ensconced in a little hollow within the neuroimaging machine. At 13 months, he was a reliable twice-a-day napper, so we scheduled the study for his morning nap. However, being in a new environment with lots of unfamiliar, very businesslike people distracted him from his routine. The study coordinator and I spent an hour trying to soothe him, and eventually he fell asleep. Five minutes later, the research team requested that I scooch his head just a little bit more into the hollow. That woke him up, ended the study, and we walked out of there with enough money to fund many new baby outfits. So...worth it!

Note: MEG stands for magnetoencephalography. Here is further reading, if you wish, ducklings.

On Monday we went back. The study was different this time, since Junior can now follow instructions. First, they attached some sensors:

Next, they scanned his head…

A People’s History of the United States (2003 ebook)

Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is a monumental work that pays tribute to the spirit of the ordinary person, celebrating our successes and exposing the brutal excesses of the powerful minority that plays everyone else against each other. Using the two pillars of history, evidence and interpretation, Zinn boldly presents a narrative that skewers the idea of “the people.” Zinn shows a United States that began and expanded because of a group of elites that monopolized private property and profit and crushed all opposition. The result is a global superpower supported by a system of staggering inequality where concessions to common folk are given only grudgingly, when enough furious spasms by the vast majority threaten to overturn the status quo. The events described in this book are frequently infuriating, especially since it’s so easy to draw direct connections between past exploitation and present conflicts. A People’s History of the United States is a must-read f…