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The biopic has really overstayed its welcome. We’ve come a long way since the halcyon days of Patton, but in recent years, the genre has become synonymous with “larger than life” mythologizing, with the same or similar beats being hit over and over again. Even last year, one need not look further than last year’s […]
It is hard to quantify the impact of ‘role-model’ celebrities on the acceptance and uptake of genetic testing and bio-literacy, but it is surely significant. Angelina Jolie is an Oscar-winning actress, Brad Pitt’s other half, mother, humanitarian, and now a “DNA celebrity”. She propelled the topic of familial breast cancer, female prophylactic surgery, and DNA testing to the fore.
We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending October 12, 2014–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.
(Debuted at #2 in Hardcover Fiction) Lila by Marilynne Robinson: “Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church—the only available shelter from the rain—and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the life that preceded her newfound security.” (October 2014)
Universal has wrapped up the casting process for the Steve Jobs movie.
According to Deadline, Michael Fassbender will play the titular role. Prior to his hiring, the movie studio tried to convince Christian Bale to take on the part.
Other actors who have also signed on for this project include Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, and Jeff Daniels as John Sculley. Danny Boyle will serve as the director. Aaron Sorkin has been tasked with adapting Walter Isaacson’s biography for the script.
Watching the field of genomics evolve over the past 20 years, it is intriguing to notice the word ‘genome’ cozying up to the word ‘million’. Genomics is moving beyond 1k, 10k and 100k genome projects. A new courtship is blossoming.
Now both Craig Venter and Francis Collins, leads of the private and public versions of the Human Genome Project, are working on their million-omes.
The company 23andMe might be the first ‘million-ome-aire’. By 2014, the company founded by Ann Wojcicki processed upwards of 800,000 customer samples. Pundit Eric Topol suggests in his article “Who Owns Your DNA” that without the skirmish with the FDA, 23andMe would already have millions.
Venter’s path will be through his non-profit Human Longevity, Inc (HLI), launched in San Diego, California in 2014 with $70 million in investor funding. To support the company’s tagline — “It’s not just a long life we’re striving for, but one which is worth living” — Venter aims to sequence a million genomes by 2020.
At a price tag of $1000 dollars per genome, one million genomes could cost a billion US dollars. The original human genome project cost $3 billion only 13 years ago, but produced 1 trillion US dollars in economic impact.
The Collins’ ‘million-ome’ will pull together new and existing genomes, with an initial budget of $215 million dollars. This includes genomes from the MVP, which has already enrolled 300,000 veterans and sequenced 200,000. The focus will initially be on cancer but subjects will be healthy and ill, men and women, old and young; it is the foundation of a Precision Medicine Initiative.
In addition to these projects we will have millions anyway. ARC Investment Analysis suggested we could see 4 to 34 billion human genomes by 2024 at historical rates of sequencing – if current trends in dropping costs and demand continue.
How could we have more genomes than humans living on earth? Cancer genomics is in ‘gold rush’ phase. Steve Jobs was famously one of the first 20 people to have his genome sequenced. He paid $100k but did so to also have the genome of the cancer that killed him sequenced. He left a personal genomics legacy to the world, but his investment in DNA sequencing also serves as a reminder that a genome is not the same as a cure. Hopes are high, though, especially for cancer diagnostics. The International Cancer Genomics Consortium is already backed with a billion dollar budget and the field continues to explode.
Further, an adult human body consists of 37 trillion genomes all working together (plus the 100 trillion genomes of the microbial cells in our microbiome). There is mounting evidence we are all genomic mosaics, meaning we all have more than one genome (e.g. from pre-cancerous cells, transplants, and mothers who carry the genomes of past live-born babies).
It is good to cultivate a healthy skepticism and not be drawn into the hype. Critics exist, as always. At the other end of the continuum, Ken Weiss of The Mermaid’s Tale blog, a geneticist himself, has outlined reasons to put valuable research dollars elsewhere than a million genomes project or precision medicine, but given than they will happen, he also contemplates what should be done with resulting data.
Eric Topol said in response to the rise of ‘million-ome’ projects, that there are now many 100k projects and he “might rather have 100,000 people with ‘pan-oromic definition’ than 1 million with just native DNA”. By high definition he means all the mapping (sensors, anatomy, environmental quantified, gut microbiome, etc.) that belongs to his vision of a “Google medical map”.
There are huge differences between “projections,” “announcements,” and “hard (published) data.” Big projects can fall by the way-side. 23andMe hit a barrier with the FDA decision. The BGI is still tooling up. Obama hasn’t yet secured a budget. Venter is giving himself time. Everyone is starting to think about genomes inside the systems in which they exist in (cells, organs, organisms, ecosystems).
Regardless of trajectory, it is a foregone conclusion that, counting all sources, the number of sequenced genomes will pass one million in 2015, if it hasn’t already.
Google is imagining the day when researchers compute over millions of genomes and is building the infrastructure to support it; Google Genomics has launched offering $25/year pricing to hold your genome in the Cloud.
Why stop at millions? Jong Bhak is calling for billions. He is suggesting that “the genomics era hasn’t even started.” Bhak, a leader of the Korean Personal Genomes Project, a project to sequence the genomes of all 50 million Koreans, has outlined a vision for a Billion Genome Project.
The first to talk of ‘a genome for everyone’ was perhaps George Church, technologist and founder of the Personal Genome Project. He wrote 2005 a paper entitled “The Personal Genome Project.” In it he recalled talking with Wally Gilbert that “Six billion base pairs for six billion people had a nice ring to it”—back in 1976, soon after Gilbert invented DNA sequencing, for which he won a Nobel Prize.
The fact that more voices in global science are debating the pros and cons of ‘millions and billions of genomes’ is evidence that 2015 marks a shift towards a Practical Genomics Revolution. It is becoming practical to think big(ger).
Apple may not have been a fan of Walter Isaacson‘s tome on Steve Jobs, but the company has nothing but nice things to say about a new book on the company’s founder.
High level executives at Apple have come out to support Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender.
“After a long period of reflection following Steve’s death, we felt a sense of responsibility to say more about the Steve we knew,” Apple spokesman Steve Dowling, told The New York Times. “We decided to participate in Brent and Rick’s book because of Brent’s long relationship with Steve, which gave him a unique perspective on Steve’s life. The book captures Steve better than anything else we’ve seen, and we are happy we decided to participate.”
Academy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin was tasked with adapting Walter Isaacson’s biography for the script. Entertainment Weekly reports that this film adaptation will hit theaters on October 9th. (via ComingSoon.net)
Journalist Alan Friedman has inked a deal to write a biography profiling the former prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi. Friedman (pictured, via) devoted more than 15 months to researching his subject; he acquired more than 100 hours of interview records.
Rizzoli will publish the Italian version in October 2015. Hachette Book Group USA will release the American edition in Fall 2015.
Here’s more from the press release: “Written with Berlusconi’s full cooperation, Berlusconi will offer an unvarnished look at the billionaire media mogul’s astonishing life…In the tradition of the Frost/Nixon interviews and with the same unfettered access of Walter Isaacson in his biography of Steve Jobs, Alan Friedman chronicles Silvio Berlusconi’s incredible rise to power from cruise ship crooner to real estate tycoon, from founding the first commercial television network in history to turning AC Milan into a world-class soccer club, and then
ultimately becoming the longest-serving Italian Prime Minister in history.”
Please forgive me while I stand on my soap box for a bit today.
I never wear shoes like this but maybe I should :0)
It's that time of year again. Your kids have either already started back to school or they will be there shortly. Does your child's school still have an art program? More and more schools across the nation are eliminating arts and music programs. If they replace them with anything at all it is sometimes with pseudo art instruction performed by an unqualified classroom teacher.
That statement is not meant to disparage classroom teachers, it is just that they are not trained arts specialists. The major justification for ending arts programs is almost always budget. School districts are constantly complaining that they don't have a enough money for basic programs, so first on the chopping block is usually what administrators and parents see as the most extraneous and unnecessary programs- art and music.
Here are some of the common myths and justifications for deeming art as unnecessary and thereby eliminating it.
Every child is not a talented artist Every child is not going to be an artist Training children in the arts has no application to real world (job) success Art is meant to help children "express themselves"
Here is what arts education really gives to your kids:
The number one most valuable thing that art education provides to your child:
It teaches them to THINK critically and innovate. It teaches them to TAKE RISKS and to see the BIG PICTURE.
Making art is not just about making pretty things or providing some slapdash approach to "self expression" devoid of rules and structure. There are rules in art- Elements and Principals of Design- which provides a framework for making good art and once understood, provides a vehicle for creating good art while breaking those rules and learning to innovate.
Art history provides a cultural framework and point of reference for history and innovation throughout time. Children without skill in creating art are still given an understanding of the cultural heritage of art, get exposed to great thinkers and artistic creators (ex. Picasso, Matisse) who broke from the mold of realistic art making to devise a new way of SEEING and creating.
Art is not always about the end product. The value of art education is more in the processes of creating art and learning about it than in the outcome of making a pretty picture.
Most other disciplines only work on finding right or wrong answers. There is no room for thinking out of the box or for creating a new paradigm. Children who are only being educated in these limiting disciplines will grow to only seek the correct (predetermined) answer, never being able to consider another option and will accept as irrefutable that which is spoon fed to him as fact.
We need to keep raising generations of Picasso's, Da Vinci's, Van Gogh's, Louise Nevelsons and even more Andy Warhol's, whose art was not just pictures of Campbell Soup cans, but a shrewd commentary on our massed produced society as a whole, a concept seen through an artists ability to view "the big picture."
Louise Nevelson- Royal Tide IV-Assemblage
The world needs both kinds of thinkers, both right brain and left. Here is a perfect example:
Steve Wozniak, a left brain tech head computer guy who, left on his own would probably have had his own small company or gone to work for IBM or Microsoft or Oracle or any other computer giant out there at the time.
Steve Jobs, a hippy dippy, right brain college drop out with an understanding of business,training in art and a devoted sense and love for beauty and good design.
It is the combination of these two very different types of talents that brought us all of the elegant and beautiful Apple computer products which many of us enjoy and other companies try to emulate.
The marriage of these two divergent genius brains resulted in something of a lightening strike which created (in my opinion) one of the greatest tech companies ever.
Steve Jobs (standing) and Steve Wozniak (at keyboard)
Is your kid going to be the next Steve Jobs or Picasso or Frida Kahlo? Maybe not. If given the benefit of a meaningful art education, what they can be is a well rounded human being who can think outside of the box, challenge the status quo, consider various answers to the same problem, create something from nothing, use the tools at hand in new ways and make cross cultural and historical connections.
Oh, and they may come home with a nice painting sometimes, too.
As you can see by the photo embedded above, bookstore employees photographed Walter Isacsson‘s book in various locations around the store in a playful memorial to the late Apple CEO. What do you think?
Here’s more from the Tumblr blog: “You know that feeling you get sometimes, like you’re being watched? You keep looking over your shoulder, and even though no one’s there, you just can’t shake it. We booksellers have been feeling that way a lot lately, and we think we know why. (We certainly mean no disrespect with this – it’s been wonderful to have this long-awaited book in our store. We see it as a tribute to a very striking book cover, one that we can’t stop seeing everywhere we go.)” (Via Reddit)
It seems like only yesterday that Margaret Wise Brown's bunny fell asleep saying nighty night to the moon.
Now all sorts of things are glowing in his house -- iPads, WiFi, Nooks -- and the last thing Bunny wants to do is tell them goodnight.
In fact, no one in his family wants to wish their devices goodnight -- well, except Granny. She hasn't warmed up to electronics (at least not that she realizes).
It looks like Granny will just have say all of their goodnights for them -- and give those glowy things the sendoff she thinks they deserve.
In this hysterical parody of Brown's Goodnight Moon, David Milgram (aka "Ann Droyd") shows an old-fashioned gal getting her digital family to bed by hurling all of its distractions out the window.
The result is a bedtime gem for the digital age that underscores how hard it is to tear kids and parents away from gadgets -- made all the more funny juxtaposed with Brown's sweet 1947 poem.
Coming out just weeks after the passing of Apple Founder Steve Jobs, Goodnight iPad feels like a tribute and reminds us how much the iPad and all the devices Jobs created changed how we live -- and go to bed.
In Brown's classic, the bunny wishes goodnight to everything around his room. Then as the sky slowly deepens and he says goodnight to the moon, his eyes slip shut and he drifts off to sleep.
But in Milgram's spoof, the bunny and most of his family are too fixated on their electronic devices to realize it's bedtime.
The sky is already dark. The kids are in pajamas and everyone's clicking away in the family room.
Biographer Walter Isaacson is planning on writing a book on Ada Lovelace, the 19th century scientist who was the daughter of poet Lord Byron. According to Fortune, Isaacson had not yet told his editor Alice Mayhew of Simon & Schuster, about his new idea.
Why is the author of books on icons such as Benjamin Franklin, Henry Kissinger, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs picking such an obscure subject? Fortunehas more details: “At an appearance Wednesday night in San Francisco, he said he felt he had earned the right to pick someone less iconic, and pluck her out of obscurity. ‘I want to give Ada Lovelace her moment in the sun,’ he said.”
According to Wikipedia, Lovelace was a writer who was credited with creating the first algorithm and is sometimes referred to as the World’s First Computer Programmer.
Preamble: This entry was inspired by Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres at the great Two Writing Teachers blog, where they issue an annual slice-of-life writing challenge. Essentially, to write every day through the month of March. I did not participate formally, but I like the concept — especially for anyone who attempts the near-impossible, i.e., to teach writing. Bless you all.
It was my fourth hotel in little more than a week, I’d attended a literacy conference in Dublin, OH, flown into Philadelphia, and now worked my way north in a rented Kia through New Jersey on my own, personal traveling dog-and-pony show.
I was both pony and dog, whinny and woof.
It’s true there is no place like home, but hotel life has its comforts, episodes of ease and quiet. I’d adapted to the routine, moving like a shark through the murky waters, seeking out a good meal and an elliptical machine, maybe some free weights and a local highlight.
By 9:00 on this particular night, I’d exercised, eaten, washed and folded and repacked a load of laundry, and now read in the hotel lounge, warmed by an electric fireplace. I learned not to spend too much time in the room, supine, half-awake, fat and clickered. A thought came: the hot tub to melt these tired bones, perhaps slide more easily into sleepfulness.
Two men were already soaking in the water. Men like me. Away from home on some job. The younger man said he lived in California, looked about 40. The other was about a decade older — a solid, square-jawed guy bristled with gray, from St. Louis, MO. A sizable man, formerly sturdy, even forbidding, now with a vast distended belly.
St. Louis, I knew, was a baseball town, and in the previous October the Cardinals won the World Series in heart-stopping fashion, so we talked baseball, those cardiac Cards. Sports talk, old glue amongst men, binding us, opening our mouths, a language we shared. I brought up the Steve Jobs biography, said how much I enjoyed reading it, and he said that he was in the middle of it, too.
After ten minutes I rose, ready to leave, but before I could towel off, he climbed out like a great pale bear and produced three cold beers from his personal cooler. He was a bring-your-own-cooler kind of guy, a seasoned traveler, used to making himself at home in anonymous, sterile places.
So he offered me one, here, arm extended, beer tipped a little toward me. Ever have Yuengling? I could hardly refuse. Sat on the ledge this time, submerged in hot water up to my knees. More talk of work and technology and other things. Topics that left me smiling, nodding, a little bored, nearly done. I asked if he had children. Yes, he told me, a boy, 25, and a daughter, 17.
You must be doing the college thing, I said.
No, no, he answered. My daughter has severe cerebral palsy, she was born very small, very early. No, she won’t be going to college.
In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “Elevator Pitch,” host Alan Meckler meets with Storyville co-founder Paul Vidich. Storyville is a mobile app for short stories that connects readers and authors. A former music executive, Vidich helped Steve Jobs bring music singles to iTunes. He hopes Storyville will do for the short story what iTunes did for the single.
Sony Pictures Entertainment will adapt Walter Isaacson‘s bestselling biography of Steve Jobs, with The Social Network screenwriter Aaron Sorkin writing on the script.
Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascalhad this statement: “Jobs’ story is unique: he was one of the most revolutionary and influential men not just of our time but of all time. There is no writer working in Hollywood today who is more capable of capturing such an extraordinary life for the screen than Aaron Sorkin; in his hands, we’re confident that the film will be everything that Jobs himself was: captivating, entertaining, and polarizing.”
Mark Gordon, Scott Rudin and Guymon Casady will produce the upcoming biopic. Deadline Hollywood has the release.
The twice-married (to each other), domestic-partnered producers and self-described “Pix-Mos”, Anderson (Monsters Inc., Cars, Toy Story 3) and Rae (Up, The Incredibles) started dating in 2001 during the production of Monsters Inc. and when they eloped in 2004, infuriated their family and friends, including Steve Jobs. “I remember Steve Jobs was mad,” Anderson recounted. “He said, ‘I can’t believe you didn’t invite Laurene and I to come down to City Hall to be with you guys.’”
“I was willing to leave the company at that point,” said Rae, expecting professional consequences to their new romance. “But [Pixar was] completely great. They were nothing but supportive, and have been the whole time.” The two maintain the sanity in their relationship by never working on the same film and maintaining strong boundaries. “It’s hard enough making one of these giant movies, and you put your heart and souls into them,” Anderson explained. “If we carried too much of that at home, we would just turn into animated characters ourselves.”
When asked if there will ever be (or has been) a gay character in a Pixar film, Anderson replied, “Our goal is to create great art, and if we’re telling true stories with great characters, people will project and identify with a lot of our films. A lot of people feel like a lot of our characters are gay, and have projected their stories onto it. If we’re doing our job right, that’s what should happen.”
Tech site Pando Daily has been providing amazing coverage of the Department of Justice antitrust invesigation and subsequent class action lawsuits over wage-fixing amongst Silicon Valley tech companies and animation studios.