The Best Of The Dish Today
6 hours ago
"orbital sentinels were helping man understand the vagaries of nature..."
"America’s only path to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station will now be subject to an agreement with Russia to purchase space on their Soyuz (at a price of over 50 million dollars per seat with significant increases expected in the near future)"
"For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature."
Critics who don't like a particular superhero film -- any superhero film -- are apt to be simultaneously blasted in online comments threads as aesthetic turistas ill-equipped to judge the work's true depth and snooty killjoys who expect too much and need to lighten the hell up.Matt, you need to lighten the hell up. Just because you think you can waylay others from countering you just by mentioning what their likely arguments will be does not thereby render those argements invalid!
Ali (Christina Aguilera) is a small-town girl with a big voice who escapes hardship and an uncertain future to follow her dreams to Los Angeles. After stumbling upon The Burlesque Lounge, a majestic but ailing theater that is home to an inspired musical revue, Ali lands a job as a cocktail waitress from Tess (Cher), the club’s proprietor and headliner. Burlesque’s outrageous costumes and bold choreography enrapture the young ingenue, who vows to perform there one day.Such an original script definitely deserves my movie patronage!
Soon enough, Ali builds a friendship with a featured dancer (Julianne Hough), finds an enemy in a troubled, jealous performer (Kristen Bell), and garners the affection of a bartender and fellow musician (Cam Gigandet). With the help of a sharp-witted stage manager (Stanley Tucci) and gender-bending host (Alan Cumming), Ali makes her way from the bar to the stage. Her spectacular voice restores The Burlesque Lounge to its former glory, though not before a charismatic entrepreneur (Eric Dane) arrives with an enticing proposal.
For a while, it seemed as if glyphosate would avoid Melander’s iron rule. Monsanto scientists ran tests that showed no evidence of resistance. Glyphosate seemed to strike at such an essential part of plant biology that plants could not evolve a defense. But after glyphosate-resistant crops had a few years to grow, farmers began to notice horseweed and morning glory and other weeds encroaching once more into their fields. Farmers in Georgia had to cut down fields of cotton rather than harvest them because of infestations of Palmer amaranth.What I find interesting is how this seems just like worrying documentation of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. It seems every time I turn on the TV I see news of antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis, or staph, and how more and more diseases need stronger and stronger antibiotics...the old guard has failed.
What’s striking is how many different ways weeds have found to overcome the chemical. Scientists had thought that Roundup was invincible in part because the enzyme it attacks is pretty much the same in all plants. That uniformity suggests that plants can’t tolerate mutations to it; mutations must change its shape so that it doesn’t work and the plant dies. But it turns out that many populations of ryegrass and goosegrass have independently stumbled across one mutation that can change a single amino acid in the enzyme. The plant can still survive with this altered enzyme. And Roundup has a hard time attacking it thanks to its different shape.
My own favorite form of self-experimentation has to do with wine. It's pretty clear that we expect more expensive wines to taste better. (This expectation is visible in an fMRI machine.) But it's also clear that, at least for amateurs, this expectation is mostly false: when you give people bottles of wine without any price information, there is no correlation between the cost of the wine and its subjective ratings. A $8 bottle is just as enjoyable as an $80 one.Well, it must be horrible to subject oneself to the humiliation of buying wines and not knowing expensive from cheap. Probably similar to the humiliation one feels when misidentifying a Lamborghini Countach as a Lamborghini Diablo. Or mistaking the jet you are flying is as a Gulfstream III when in fact it is a Gulfstream V.
Every few months, I conduct a blind taste test. (In general, I think the most useful forms of self-tracking will be the tracking of our innate biases.) I trek to Costco and my local wine store and pick up several bottles at various price points. The wines are poured into cheap decanters. And then I taste the wines over the course of a lazy afternoon, being sure to eat lots of crackers in between. I smell, swirl, sip and swallow. (I like my wine too much to spit it out.) I'm no Robert Parker, but I take a few notes and render my judgement. What have I discovered? Mostly I've learned that my ratings are woefully inconsistent. The same $18 pinot that I loved last year might get low marks at a later date. A Tuscan blend that seemed so generic now seems like it would be a perfect foil for pasta with tomatoes.