Monthly Archives: August 2013

My Problem With John Horgan’s Problem With Optogenetics

There’s been a fair flap lately about John Horgan’s argument that optogenetics and its potential have been overhyped by both scientists and some journalists (including myself, I think, from my inclusion in one paragraph listing “glowing coverage”). I like it that Horgan is pushing back a bit, because I think the field stands in danger of…

America is a Sick Country

It is surprising that it was not until 2006 that the first epidemiological study comparing England and the United States found a social health gradient in both. What was unanticipated was that America as a whole was sicker than England (10). Even those at the top of the U.S. social ladder, despite their access to…

The Agony of Editing Virginia Woolf’s Early Journals. Plus Welty on Woolf on Hemingway.


I’m having a rich time bouncing about Virginia Woolf: A Passionate Apprentice: The Early Journals, 1897-1909, edited by Mitchell Leaska. This one-volume collection, published in 1990, covers the journals and diaries Woolf kept between the ages of 15 and 27. They fill a blank space left by the better-known and endlessly fascinating five-volume The Diary of Virginia…

Elmore Leonard Is Gone

What a loss. What spirit and humor and ear and humanity and comedy and, at times, excruciating tension. That scene toward the end of Killshot where the gun is on the table and the two bad guys are talking and laughing and she starts to think Maybe I can just grab it and shoot ‘em. And it was always scarier because if you’d read a couple Leonard books you knew he was willing to kill off a good guy (or gal) right when you least expected; never saw it coming.

Good Lord. This will take some time to getting used to.

The Times does a nice job here.

Mr. Leonard’s narrative voice was crisp, clean and direct. He had no time to waste on adverbs, adjectives or tricky verb forms, and he had no patience for moody interior monologues or lyrical descriptive passages. His dialogue, too, was succinct, as in this passage from “Riding the Rap”:

“ ‘She isn’t home,’ Raylan said.

“Bobby nodded toward the red Toyota in the drive.

“ ‘Her car’s there.’

“ ‘She still isn’t home,’ Raylan said.

“ ‘Maybe she’s asleep or she’s taking a shower.”

“ ‘When I say she isn’t home,’ Raylan said, ‘it means she isn’t home.’ ”

It takes only three words — “Look at me” — for Chili Palmer, the Miami loan shark in “Get Shorty,” to strike terror into the hearts of the deadbeat clients he hounds for late payments. “You never tell the guy what could happen to him,” Chili explains. “Let him use his imagination, he’ll think of something worse.”

via Elmore Leonard, Who Refined the Crime Thriller, Dies at 87 –

Clip at the top from Out of Sight. Ima have to go on a Leonard jag now. Could get me through the winter.

Dogs and Zero Gravity, The Experiment

Behold the fruits of having a flying-obsessed 11-year-old who watches too many flight videos. This should really be at BoingBoing, but I found it first.* (I want a remake with Miles & Xeni.)

I love the deadpan expressions on the humans. Dog too, for that matter. Give it credit for just trying to deal.

*Maybe. I didn’t check; they may already have it.