Tag Archives: interview

Human Genetics Contributes To Zika-Induced Brain Damage – MedicalResearch.com (blog)

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 6:48 pm

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ping Wu

Ping Wu, MD, PhDJohn S. Dunn Distinguished Chair in Neurological Recovery Professor, Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX 77555-0620

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Zika viral infection poses a major global public health threat, evidenced by recent outbreaks in America with many cases of microcephaly in newborns and other neurological impairments. A critical knowledge gap in our understanding is the role of host determinants of Zika-mediated fetal malformation. For example, not all infants born to Zika-infected women develop microcephaly, and there is a wide range of Zika-induced brain damage. To begin to fill the gap, we infected brain stem cells that were derived from three human donors, and found that only two of them exhibited severer deficits in nerve cell production along with aberrant alterations in gene expression.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our study indicates that human genetic makeup may be a determinant for the severity of Zika-induced brain damage.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further studies are needed to identitywhat genes contribute to the human differences after Zika infection.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: It is known that not all Zika virus strains causemicrocephaly. Our study now shows that brain cells from different human individuals can respond to the same Zika virus strain differently.Understanding the molecular mechanisms of human and viral determinants in response to Zika injection will provide important insights into new strategies to minimize ZIKV-mediated fetal brain malformations.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Stem Cell Reports:

Differential Responses of Human Fetal Brain Neural Stem Cells to Zika Virus Infection

Erica L. McGrath10,Shannan L. Rossi10,Junling Gao10,Steven G. Widen,Auston C. Grant,Tiffany J. Dunn,Sasha R. Azar, Christopher M. Roundy,Ying Xiong,Deborah J. Prusak,Bradford D. Loucas,Thomas G. Wood,Yongjia Yu,Ildefonso Fernndez-Salas,Scott C. Weaver,Nikos Vasilakis ,Ping Wu10Co-first author Published Online: February 16, 2017

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Jerome Tuccille, Author of It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand and More, RIP – Reason (blog)

Posted: February 18, 2017 at 4:45 am

Dan Hayes, ReasonI’m saddened to announce the death of Jerome Tuccille, the best-selling biographer of Donald Trump (among others) and author of the single-best political memoir in existence, It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand. He was 80 years old.

Jerry’s son, J.D. Tuccille, is a columnist for Reason and we extend our deepest condolences to him and his family. The libertarian movement has lost one of its greats with his passing, a phenomenal writer and thinker whose intellectual curiosity was only outmatched by his energy and honesty.

Jerry’s professional home page is here and his Amazon page is here. An investment manager by day, he wrote more than 30 books over the course of his career, on topics ranging such as his quixotic run for governor of New York on the Libertarian Party ticket; biographies of Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Barry Diller, and Rupert Murdoch; and histories of the Gallo wine empire and black “buffalo soliders” who fought with distinction in the Spanish-American War even as they faced institutional racism in the Army. There were also novels such as Gallery of Fools (about inept art-heist criminals inspired by shady family members), analyses of “radical libertarianism” and futurism, investment-strategy books, and important contributions to the critical literature on Ernest Hemingway.

At Reason, we were lucky and honored to interview Jerry many times over the past decade. Here’s our interview with him about The Roughest Riders: The Untold Story of the Black Soldiers in the Spanish-American War, a book which showcases his talent for finding lost pockets of history that never should have been forgotten.

Jerry was also the first person to publish a biography on Donald Trump, doing so back in the mid-1980s as the future president was beginning to make his mark on the New York real estate scene. We talked with him in the fall of 2015, as the billionaire’s bid for the GOP nomination moved from comic sideshow to serious business. This interview is a reminder of one of the great things about Jerry: If you had a sharp insight, you can be pretty sure he had beaten you to it by a couple of decades.

Other interviews with him include a discussion of Gallo Be Thy Name, his history of the world’s greatest wine-making empire, and the reissue of 1972’s It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand.

Jerry wrote for Reason magazine over the years (read his archive) and here’s an excerpt of his bracingly caustic 1983 takedown of books by Alvin Toffler and Isaac Asimov. From “Spare Us These High-Tech Utopias!”:

Asimov seems totally oblivious to economic principles… He blames just about everything, including inflation, on overpopulation: too many people means too much demand and, hence, rising prices. He overlooks all the inflationary evils of big government, including the fact that we actually pay farmers not to produce food in this country. If too many people cause inflation and economic depression, why is Hong Kong, literally teeming with people, so prosperous while socialistic, underpopulated countries stagnate?

Asimov makes an eloquent case for getting government off the back of science. He believes in free, unregulated scientific research, unhampered by governmental restriction. His field he would decontrol, while imposing Draconian controls over just about everything else.

What arrogance! What a pity he didn’t extend his case for freedom to the whole arena of economic and social relationships. Alas, when reading Asimov, it pays to be discriminating. The man is witty, and he’s a charmer. The Roving Mind is chock-full of stimulating, well-stated ideas. It’s just that some of the ideas happen to be dangerous.

Farewell, Jerome Tuccille. You made the world a better and more interesting place and you left everyone you touched through your writings smarter and excited to change the world.

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Jerome Tuccille, Author of It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand and More, RIP – Reason (blog)

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GHOST To Record "Darker" New Album This Summer, Tease Completely New Lineup – Metal Injection.net

Posted: at 4:40 am

Ghost are spending 2017 getting to work. Now that they’ve won a Grammyand toured the world, they are ready to settle down and record a new album.

In a new interview withMetal Wani,frontman Tobias Forge under the guise of being A Nameless Ghoul (spoiler: 99.9% of Ghost interviews are with Tobias, who portrays Papa Emeritus on stage) and he was not shy explaining the band’s vision for the next record, hoping to go for a more darker sound:

“The ideas for the new record will be quote-unquote darker, because it’s thematically set in a different in a darker setting. Meliorawas supposed to reflect some sort of utopia/dystopia in the modern society, whereas this new one is gonna be a little bit more apocalyptic, a little bit more back to the medieval times, which, obviously, is associated with darkness. ”

He continued: “Obviously, in metal, in extreme metal, you have a myriad of records that are thematically in the Middle Ages, but the idea for this new album is to combine So where [other] records [covering similar lyrical themes are] drowned and surrounded and drenched in death, it’s gonna be a record about survival. So that constantly working with those polar, sort of, elements is also a difference, I guess, between If you find a black metal record that is about the Plague and the death, you will have only death everything is just black and everything just ends black. Whereas one of my driving forces writing a record like that is to write a record about the survival of that and the prosperity.”

“It’s gonna be a darker record. Is it gonna be all through and through heavier? I don’t know, obviously. But we do have melody and we do have songs that are not so heavy. From my point of view, from where I’m sitting, knowing a little bit of the material coming in, it’s gonna be both. It’s gonna have everything from heavy, crushing metal to big, ballady anthems.”

Forge added that he is still writing the band’s new album, and they are hoping to begin recording in August when all of Ghost’s touring commitments are over.

Blabbermouth, who transcribed the interview, touched on a rumor that at the end of the band’s last tour, Forge fired all the other members of the band. Seeing as though they all perform under masks, and their identities are secret, most fans would likely not notice the change, even though there was some hoopla last year when the band added a female bassist.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the story, is Forge, under the guise of being A Nameless Ghoul, essentially confirmed there are changes, but noted that it shouldn’t impact the band’s sound, in the same way Queens of the Stone Age’s sound remains consistent despite lineup changes because of founding frontman Josh Homme.

“From a practical point of view, you’re interested in, on the one hand preserving the sound, or the elements that make up the sound, and you still wanna progress,” he said. “I think one of the secrets behind our preserving ability is the fact that we don’t necessarily have to have the same six people in the room to make that sound, which helps.

“It’s always a blessing and a curse when you have some of these classic bands over the course of rock and roll history, where in order for them to sound like that exact band, you need those four individuals, and if one is missing, it does not sound like that,” he continued. “And, fortunately, we don’t have that problem. Because performing GHOST and recording GHOST has never really been the same thing. So that we can preserve our sound; we don’t have to rely on if some people come and go, which is good.Queens of the Stone Age is the same thing. Everything goes through Josh’s [Homme] hands, and therefore it sounds likeQueens of the Stone Age, regardless of who he brings in and out of the band, which is, I guess, a similar situation.”

Here’s the full interview audio. I’m excited to hear what Ghost have up their sleeves.

Here are our interviews with Ghost throughout the years:

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GHOST To Record "Darker" New Album This Summer, Tease Completely New Lineup – Metal Injection.net

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Aussie archbishop warns that abortion can lead to eugenics – Crux: Covering all things Catholic

Posted: February 17, 2017 at 1:25 am

ROME Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge on Monday said that theres a link between abortion and child abuse, and a Church which has been strong in defense of the unborn has to be no less strong in defending the young and vulnerable whenever and wherever.

The same, he added, is true for the state.

Coleridge delivered his comments on a video that was shared on his dioceses website, Brisbane. Hes currently one of several bishops of the Catholic Church who are participating in the final hearings by theAustralian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church.

Last week during a pro-life rally, Coleridge was asked by a journalist to weigh in on Queenslands ongoing debate about decriminalizing abortion. Under the current code, both the woman seeking an abortion and the doctor providing the procedure can be criminally prosecuted, unless its performed to prevent serious danger to the womans physical or mental health.

During the interview, as he says in his post, the archbishop was asked about new technologies that can detect disabilities and also gender-based abortion.

I couldnt disagree with what he was saying, because eugenics is part of the complexity surrounding abortion, Coleridge said. The journalist mentioned the eugenics of Nazi Germany, and again I couldnt deny the historical fact.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, a pro-abortion rights Catholic, responded through Facebook, saying that shes a Catholic but also a woman, and she simply disagree[s] with the Churchs views on a womans right to choose.

Its also sad that we have reached a new low in this debate when women who have abortions are compared to Nazis, Trad wrote.

That, according to Coleridge, wasnt the point of what he had said, but instead the fact that the proposed legislation in Queensland can open the door to the kind of eugenics weve seen before and are seeing in other parts of the world now.

It has to do with law and policy, not the individual women who decide to have an abortion, he said.

Coleridge, or the Catholic Church for that matter, is far from being the first to raise the risks of genetics-based abortion.

For instance, in late January, Lord Kevin Shinkwin, a member of the United Kingdoms Parliament, gave a speech that has gone viral in many circles, in which he said: I can see from the trends in abortion on grounds of disability that the writing is on the wall for people like me.

Shinkwin, who is disabled, moved on to say that people with congenital disabilities are facing extinction.

If we were animals, perhaps we might qualify for protection as an endangered species, he said. But we are only human beings with disabilities, so we do not.

Coleridge also addressed Trads comment regarding the Churchs views on a womans right to choose, saying that this is slippery language, making him or the institution seem anti-woman, which is a common stereotype.

However, he argued, the Churchs position is genuinely pro-woman. Women are damaged by abortion, which is a short-term solution leading often to long-term trouble.

Then theres also the fact that many women choose to have an abortion because they either feel or are made to feel like they have no choice, and no other choices are presented to them.

To speak of a womans right to choose prompts other questions about rights: What of the rights of unborn children, or do they have no rights, no real human status? What of the rights of the spouse or partner of the woman considering an abortion? What of the rights of society to a guarantee of the right to life as the foundation on which all other rights are built? What of the rights of conscience?

In his interview, the archbishop also spoke about the contradiction of a government that strongly opposes domestic violence but favors a greater access to abortion, which according to Church teaching, as well as much scientific research in embryonics, means terminating a human life.

According to The Daily Telegraph, on Monday Trad went after Coleridge again, saying that she would have thought there was probably more importance in focusing on the outcomes of the findings of the Royal Commission into Child Abuse and the role the Catholic Church has played in that rather than the legislation before the Queensland Parliament, which prompted his response.

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The Coming Age of Space Colonization – The Atlantic

Posted: February 15, 2017 at 8:53 pm

A crescent earth rises above the lunar horizon. (NASA/Reuters)

Our new issue yes! subscribe! contains a two-page Q&A I conducted with Eric C. Anderson. He has had a variety of tech and entrepreneurial identities, but I was speaking to him in his role as chairman and co-founder of Space Adventures, which has made a business of sending customers into space.

The subject of our discussion was the future of space travel. Below is an extended-play version of the interview, with extra questions and themes.

James Fallows: Space exploration seems to have lost its hold on the public imagination, compared with a generation ago.

Eric Anderson: I think absolutely they are right to feel a little bit disappointed. On April 12, 1961, the first human being, Yuri Gagarin, goes to space. Then, July 29, 1969: We’re on the moon. If you and I were doing this interview on July 30, 1969 and you had asked me what space exploration would be like in the year 2013, I would’ve told you it would be far more advanced than it is now.

So I think the reality is that space was unnaturally accelerated by this Cold War conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union during the 1960s. Then, in the early part of the ’70s, that sort of slowed down. The latter half of the ’70s brought terrible economic trouble in the U.S., which really set the space program way back. In the ’80s, it was the reverse. The Soviets basically ran out of money and then the Soviet Union collapsed. Then in the ’90s we were sort of figuring out how to re-set ourselves in a post-Soviet world. It was in the mid-’90s that commercial revenues in space started to eclipse government revenuesthat was mainly for communication satellites and things like that.

So that part of the industry has gone pretty well. Every day we use GPS and DirecTV and get the weather , and that sort of stuff. But human flight has just been totally crimped. The number of people going to space, and the missions they were doing, went down. The Space Shuttle was so much over budget that it just was impossible for us to really do any real exploration. That’s a long-winded answer, but yes: There’s every reason for people to be disappointed with where we are now, particularly with regard to human space flight.

JF: Why should people be excited about what lies ahead?

EA: In the next generation or twosay the next 30 to 60 yearsthere will be an irreversible human migration to a permanent space colony. Some people will tell you that this new colony will be on the moon, or an asteroidin my opinion asteroids are a great place to go, but mostly for mining. I think the location is likely to be Mars. This Mars colony will start off with a few thousand people, and then it may grow over 100 years to a few million people, but it will be there permanently. That should be really exciting, to be alive during that stage of humanity’s history.

JF: I have to askreally? This will really happen?

EA: I really do believe it will. First of all, the key to making it happen is to reduce the cost of transportation into space. My colleague Elon Musk is aiming to get the cost of a flight to Mars down to half a million dollars a person. I think that even if it costs maybe a few million dollars a person to launch to Mars, a colony could be feasible. To me the question is, does it happen in the next 30 years, or does it happen in the next 60 to 70 years? There’s no question it’s going to happen in this century, and that’s a pretty exciting thing.

JF: Apart from the cost of transport, what are the challenges in making that a reality? Are they cost and engineering challenges, or are they basic science problems?

EA: I think it’s all about the economics. There is no technological or engineering challenge.

One key to making all this happen is that we need to use the resources of space to help us colonize space. It would have been pretty tough for the settlers who went to California if they’d had to bring every supply they would ever need along with them from the East Coast.

That’s why Planetary Resources exists. The near-Earth asteroids, which are very, very close to the Earth, are filled with resources that would be useful for people wanting to go to Mars, or anywhere else in the solar system. They contain precious resources like water, rocket fuel, strategic metals. So first there needs to be a reduction in the cost of getting off the Earth’s surface, and then there needs to be the ability to “live off the land” by using the resources in space.

JF: Againreally? To the general public, asteroid mining just has a fantastic-slash-wacky connotation. How practical is this?

EA: When [co-founder] Peter Diamandis and I conceived of the company, we knew it would be a multi-decade effort. From history, we knew that frontiers are opened by access to resources. We would like to see a future where humans are expanding the sphere of influence of humanity into space.

To make asteroid mining viable, we need spacecraft that can launch and operate in space considerably less expensively than has traditionally been the case. If we are able to do that, then asteroid mining can be profitablevery much so. When you ask “Is it viable?,” I’ll be the first one to tell you how risky this proposition is, and how there is a significant possibility that we could fail in a particular mission or technology, or fall short of our goals.

But we have found ways to reduce the cost of space exploration already. For example, our prospecting mission to a set of targeted asteroids will use the Arkyd line of spacecraft. The first of that series, the Arkyd-100, would have cost $100 million, minimum, in the traditional aerospace way of business and operation. But with the engineering talent we have, and by using commercially available parts and allowing ourselves to take appropriate risks, we’ve been able to bring that cost down to $4 or $5 million dollars.

In 10 years or so, what we’d really like to do is get robotic exploration of space in line with Moore’s Law [the tech-world maxim that the price for computing power falls by half every 18 months]. Remember, asteroid mining doesn’t involve people. We want to transition space exploration from a linear technology into an exponential one, and create an industry that can flourish off of exponential technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Our first missions, for asteroid reconnaissance, will be launching in the next two to three years. For these missions, we’re going to launch small swarms of spacecraft. When I say small, I mean we’ll send three or four spacecraft, and each one of those spacecraft may weigh only 30 pounds. But they will have optical sensors that are better than any camera available today. They will send back imagery, they’ll map the gravity field, they’ll use telescopic remote sensing and spectroscopy to tell us exactly what materials are in the asteroid. It will be possible to know more about an ore body that’s 10 million miles away from us in space than it would be to know about an ore body 10 miles below the Earth’s surface.

We’re really not talking about if; we’re talking about when.

JF: Apart from the practicalities of asteroid mining, what is it going to mean in spiritual and philosophical ways for people to leave the Earth? I guess this is taking us back to the science fiction of the ’50s and ’60s, but what do you think?

EA: I’ve thought a lot about that. The interesting thing will be to see why the people who go to Mars, or to a colony on the moon, or to an asteroid, decide to go there. Will they go there because they’re escaping something? Will they go there because they’re curious? Will they go to make money?

Throughout history, most of the frontiers that we have had on the Earth have been opened up because people were seeking landnew hunting grounds, or fertile locations for cattleor mining for gold or precious metals. But occasionally they would go somewhere new because they were seeking religious freedom or some other kind of freedom.

So I don’t actually know why people will go. Will the Earth be so ravaged by war, or catastrophic climate change, or whatever else, that people will want to leave?

JF: In addition to the forces you mentioned, over the last half millennium or more, the search for new territory has been powerfully driven by national rivalries. The French, the English, the Spanish and others were seeking new territory in which to spread their influence. Do you imagine the national rivalries on Earth being soothed by space exploration? Or rather being aggravated by space exploration, the way the exploration of the New World was?

EA: I think it’s an excellent question, and I think it’s inevitable. The Outer Space Treaty, which was signed in 1967, basically says that no nation can claim a celestial body for its own sovereignty. And it also says that anything that is launched from a particular nation, that nation is responsible for, if it crashes into another nation or something like that. But I don’t see the Outer Space Treaty living another 100 years.

I think that history repeats itself, and all the same things that happened in our history over the last thousand years will happen in one form or another in the next thousand years. Nowadays things are accelerated, it won’t take as long for those cycles of history to happenbecause we have faster means of communication, faster democracies, faster governments. The consequences of action, of economic and political and social drivers, can be felt and reacted to faster than they have been in the past.

But those same things will happen. If the first colonists going to Mars are all American, what kind of system do you think they’re going to want to set up on Mars? And how are other countries going to feel about that? And at what point will the Americans just pull out of the Outer Space Treaty? Or maybe it’ll be the Chinesethe Chinese could get to Mars long before us. Who knows? But being there is 99 percent of it and I think that when the dam breaks and it’s possible to travel at a reasonable cost in space outside the Earth’s very-near vicinity, all sorts of things are going to change.

And one of the other tenets of the Outer Space Treaty is that space will not be weaponized. I hope that lasts for a long, long, long time, but I mean, who knows, it seems like a pipe dream to think that would last forever.

JF: About the environment: Are you thinking space could be not just an escape from a ravaged Earth but a way to save the Earth?

EA: There’s a huge environmental cost to mining on Earth. But there are lots of strategic materials and metals that we can get in space and that will be necessary for us if we want to create abundance and prosperity generations from now on Earth. We sort of had a freebie over the past couple hundred yearswe figured out that you can burn coal and fossil fuels and give all the economies of the world a big boost. But that’s about to end. Not only do we have to transition to a new form of energy, we also have to transition to a new form of resources. And the resources of the nearest asteroids make the resources on Earth pale by comparison. There are enough resources in the nearest asteroids to support human society and civilization for thousands of years.

I’m not suggesting that we’re going to start using resources from space next year. But over the next 20 years, resources in space will most likely be used to explore our solar system. And eventually we’ll start bringing them back to Earth. Wouldn’t it be great if one day, all of the heavy industries of the Earthmining and energy production and manufacturingwere done somewhere else, and the Earth could be used for living, keeping it as it should be, which is a bright-blue planet with lots of green?

JF: Here’s my last question. When I was a kid in the Baby Boom era, there was a genuine national excitement about space. Do you think that mood in the United States needs to be recreated for the populace as a whole? With an overall national excitement or sense of mission about space exploration, like in the 1960s? Or, on the contrary, is this something that should and can be left to people who see a business or scientific opportunity?

EA: If you look at polls, about half the population says that if it were at a price they could afford, and it were safe, they would go to space themselves. They would love to see the Earth from space. I don’t know what that means in terms of gauging support. But clearly the more people are interested in and supportive of space exploration, the faster the industry will grow.

I think spending a half a percent of GDP on space, on space exploration, would be a very wise investment, whether that investment comes from the government itself or from just private industry. There are few things that inspire human engineering, human ingenuity, and the human spirit more than space exploration. Kids love space, and they love dinosaurs, and they love all those fantastical things that can happen when you push the boundaries. It’s the same reason that, when my little one crawls out of her crib at night, she peeks around the corner to see what’s there. This is curiosity.

We have enough perspective on ourselves and the universe to know that we just inhabit this tiny little corner of the universe. Humans are curious; so to say that we’re not interested in space would put us [at odds with] the very core of our being as humans, in a world where we’ve defined a limit that we can never go beyond.

We obviously have huge problems on Earth, and nobody’s saying that we should try to go develop space in lieu of solving our problems on Earth. But the fact of the matter is that we should always be doing things that inspire our youth and ourselves, and try to bring out the best parts of human nature.

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The Coming Age of Space Colonization – The Atlantic

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Peer-to-Peer Bitcoin Trading Surges in Venezuela – Reason (blog)

Posted: February 14, 2017 at 11:54 pm

On February 2, Venezuela’s leading bitcoin exchange, SurBitcoin, was forced to suspend operations when its bank account was revoked. According to Rodrigo Souza, who runs SurBitcoin’s trading platform, the bank closed the account in anticipation of a nationwide crackdown on bitcoin use in Venezuela after the police raided a warehouse with 11,000 mining computers. SurBitcoin is in talks with other banks, and hopefully it will be operating again soon.

At its core, Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer system that allows users to exchange digital currency without permission from the government or any third party. That’s why it’s the ultimate libertarian technology. Bitcoin exchanges, like SurBitcoin, however, are subject to government control because they buy and sell bitcoins on behalf of their users and rely on a company bank account to collect and pay out money.

As Souza stressed in an interview last year, exchanges like SurBitcoin aren’t actually necessary. They make buying and selling bitcoins more convenient, but users can always revert to peer-to-peer trading. As Souza put it, “how can [the government] stop software running on the internet?”

As he predicted, SurBitcoin’s closure has led to a surge in peer-to-peer trading. LocalBitcoins, a site where users connect to buy and sell bitcoins, makes its trade volume public through an API. (See the chart below.) Last week, 464 bitcoins were exchanged in Venezuela on LocalBitcoins, the equivalent of nearly $470,000 dollars based on today’s price. That’s close to a 50 percent increase in volume since SurBitcoin stopped operating. (LocalBitcoins’ previous trading volume peak was 377 bitcoins the week of October 15, 2016, but, at the time, bitcoin was worth almost 40 percent less than it is today.)

SurBitcoin’s average weekly trade volume was about 330 bitcoins when it shutdown. So about two-thirds of SurBitcoin’s activity has move to LocalBitcoins. (A similar phenomenon is happening in China.)

Why is bitcoin in Venezuela seemingly inexorable? For more, read “The Secret, Dangerous World of Venezuelan Bitcoin Mining.” Or listen to this week’s episode of EconTalk with Russ Roberts, where I discussed bitcoin in Venezuela and the impact cryptocurrency is having throughout Latin America.

As I told Roberts, I first learned about bitcoin when listening to 2011 EconTalk interview he did with Gavin Andresen, a pioneer in the field. I remember thinking, “this can’t possible work.” Six years later, in part through my reporting on Venezuela, I’m convinced bitcoin will change the world.

Listen to the interview below. (Bonus link: Nick Gillespie interviewed Russ Roberts in 2014 about his book on Adam Smith.)

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Peer-to-Peer Bitcoin Trading Surges in Venezuela – Reason (blog)

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Ithaca organization encourages people to participate in National Random Acts of Kindness Week – The Ithaca Voice

Posted: at 11:40 am


The following is a republished press release from the Child Development Council and NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements directly to The Voice, email [emailprotected]

ITHACA, N.Y. — In honor of its 50th Year Anniversary, the Child Development Council (1967-2017), which serves Cortland and Tompkins Counties, will unveil a series of celebratory programs and events designed to entertain, engage, educate, and appreciate the children, families, and communities it serves. One such program launches next week and will run throughout 2017. That program is Random (and International) Acts of Kindness Year, which piggybacks on the theme of National Random Acts of Kindness Week, that occurs annually in February.

The Councils new campaign will be an ongoing collaboration with Mamas Comfort Camp and its Founder Yael Saar.

Child Development Council CEO, Sue Dale-Hall, states, Our children have no political parties, no ability to vote, and yet they are often in the middle of political rancor and unease. Now, more than ever, its important that we support children by promoting and demonstrating kindness at every level in our lives (at work, at home, in childcare and in the communities we all live in and serve.

Thats why the Child Development Council Board of Directors and staff, along with Mamas Comfort Camp, encourages friends, neighbors, providers, and caregivers to support both random and intentional acts of kindness throughout their workplaces, neighborhoods, and communities throughout the year, particularly how we treat one another and of course, children.

What YOU Can Do: Promote Kindness & Interview Children

The Council encourages workplaces, child care providers, caregivers, neighbors and community members to promote and support random (and intentional) acts of kindness this month and throughout the year. This would involve kindness to one another as adults and to, of course, the children we may interact with each day.

The Council also asks that you capture the VOICES of children. Please record children responding (with permission from caregivers and families naturally!) to the following questions:

1. What does kindness mean to you?

2. How can adults make the world a kinder place?

Videos from smartphones or other devices can be uploaded to the Facebook Random and Intentional Acts of Kindness Page: located here: fb.me/kindnessforkids

The Council has a Pinterest Page with resources on kindness and early childhood education here: https://www.pinterest.com/childdev2017/

The National Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website is located here: https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/

RAK Week, which will be observed Feb. 12-18, 2017, is an annual opportunity to unite through kindness. Formally recognized in 1995, this seven-day celebration demonstrates that kindness is contagious. It all starts with one act one smile, one coffee for a stranger, one favor for a friend. Its an opportunity for participants to leave the world better than they found it and inspire others to do the same. Since inception, RAK estimates that millions of celebrities, businesses, schools, and partners have participated in these weeklong celebrations.

Demonstrating kindness is linked to decreasing stress, improving mood, health, and over wellbeing in children and adults.

About the Child Development Council

The mission of the Child Development Council is to promote the healthy development of children and families at home, in child care, and in the community, by:

In promoting the healthy development of children and families, the various program activities of the agency are aimed at enhancing the quality of care that children receive and the environments in which they grow up, whether in home, child care, school, or neighborhood settings.

The Child Development Council is a proud member of both the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce and the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce.

About Mamas Comfort Camp

Mamas Comfort camp is an online peer support network using social media to strengthen mothers in the real world. We believe that Mamas don’t need more advice, we need more support!

We are thousands of mothers, (almost 2000 are from the Ithaca area) connecting via a free private Facebook group, where support is available 24/7/365. Together we normalize the challenges and celebrate the joys of the roller-coaster ride called motherhood, all in a safe space free from judgment, protected from unsolicited advice, and steeped with respect and kindness. In Ithaca we enjoy a vibrant and responsive network of local moms helping each other out. We hold free support meetings, fun gatherings, and classes.

Free and open to moms of kids of ANY age: from moms of newborns to grandmothers and every stage in between. You can ask to join the group at: https://www.facebook.com/mamas.comfort.camp/

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

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Ithaca organization encourages people to participate in National Random Acts of Kindness Week – The Ithaca Voice

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What Happens When A Bass Head Interviews Armin Van Buuren About Trance [Exclusive] – Your EDM

Posted: at 11:33 am

What happens when a bass head interviews Armin van Buuren about trance? Actually, something pretty magical.

As a bass head, Im used to interviewing bass artists and producers in similar veins of music, and as such, the topics can sometimes become quite repetitive; realistically, the bass music world is pretty small. But when you put me in a room with someone like Armin van Buuren, whos been in the music industry for 20 years, founder of Armada and A State Of Trance, one of the biggest DJs in the world, Im going to have a lot to ask.

My interview with Armin came two days after I saw hisArmin Only set at the Forum in Inglewood, certainly one of the largest productions Ive ever seen for a solo DJ performance. Beyond the five-hour set time, the entire night was marked by incredible theater production and acrobatic performances from dancers on stage, as well as appearances from a variety of guest vocalists, many of whom were featured on Armins latest album,Embrace.

Though I arrived nearly two hours after the show had started, it was still well in full swing, with the massive swell of chords behind Adagio For Strings playing as we were finding our seats. Live trumpeterEric Vloeimans was on stage holding a note, while a ballerina danced behind him, telling an intense love tale and from there, the night continued to inspire.

I met up with Armin at the office of his theater and production designer in Venice on Monday, and we spoke about many things, as candidly as possible. With him, I didnt want our interview to be some regurgitated questions from a notepad on my phone; it ended up being a 30 minute conversation in which I learned a lot.

Check it out below.

Armin: *laughing* Yeah no of course. Im all for freedom of speech and freedom of opinion.

Armin: Well it depends on what kind of show you want to see from me. I mean if you come to A State of Trance (ASOT), obviously its pure about trance, its more about the melody, more about the classical Armin sound I guess. Armin Only for me is Id say like Christmas Dinner with Armin Van Buuren. Who doesnt want to have a Christmas Dinner?

If you look at my history, Ive never been just about trance. Even though a lot of people call me just a trance DJ, and if you want to put a label on my forehead, please put trance on there. But Ive never looked at just one genre or style, I like to mix it up, I like to be creative with the term. Some trance fans hate me for it, but I like to be a little more eclectic. Not so much for my fans per-say but also to keep it exciting for myself. Im a big dance music lover, I love a lot of bass stuff. Im a massive drum n bass fan, I love techno, you know? I think at the end of the day well all die techno DJs. *laughing* I mean, my studio partner Benno [de Goeij] always says we start with trance and we end up making white noise because were old. *laughing* Its probably very true. You know, what I try to do with Armin Only is try to go to the next level you know? With the production, the show, I think that there is a lot of undiscovered territory between the world of theater and the world of dance music.

Armin: Yeah well its, you know, I think there is a next level in dance music to be taken. Obviously its about the music, and the music is the most important thing, but I think you can enhance. We can learn a lot from the world of theater and live performance. I dont want to say that all of a sudden dance music has to be played live by live instruments, but you can really enhance a performance by having good choreographed singers, dancers, visuals, lasers and everything else coming together. So to me its a great creative set up. Financially, it was the worst decision ever, too. *laughing* But creatively its inspiring to work with people that dont come from dance music at all. For example, the trumpet player, Eric Vloeimans, if you Google him youll see that hes one of the worlds most renowned trumpet players.

Armin: Yeah! Hes extremely talented. He comes from a world of a lot of jazz musicians, he plays with classical acts. He never does anything with dance music, at all. If you google him youll see that he has a massive name to hold up. He played with a lot of great jazz musicians. It shows you also that Im a massive fan of jazz music and I want to try and incorporate the sound of the trumpet into my sound. Which is sort of, uncharted territory. Its kind of exciting to go out of your way a little bit. Not to say Oh look how cool I am, Im trying new things. Its more for keeping it exciting for myself, because it is very You know, no matter what musical genre youre in, its very tempting to just stay within your own safe path and a lot of these DJs do that.

Thats not criticizing them, thats fine. If thats your way, thats great, but for me I cant do the same thing over and over again. So for me, trance has never been this [puts hands close together] or this [spreads hands far apart], it has always been very varied. Theres very different tastes in trance music, just like there is a lot of different tastes in bass music you know? You might like the one artist in bass music, you might not like the other types of bass music, so yeah its just trying to give people a little more. Its definitely very different from a normal DJ set, like I played at Create at the after party, thats just me with a bunch of music and two decks. Great, love that, and I will always keep doing that, I love the old school way of DJing, but with Armin Only Im trying to move forward.

Technologically, you know we designed this whole time code system, which is the back end of this. Its still freestyle DJ sets, so the show you saw, of course, the individual tracks were choreographed and they were planned, but when I play those tracks its still random. So the set I played in Oakland was different than the set I played at the Forum. Im not playing exactly the same set. So that makes it exciting for me, it makes it exciting for the crew, like if someone gives me a stick with a track five minutes before the show I want to be able to play it. I think thats the essence of DJing. So its exciting to try and find a mix between pre-programmed stuff, like obviously the intro is pre-programmed, but still theres live elements to it, theres the classical ballet, theres the trumpet and theres the live snare roll. I find it exciting to try and see where the the two worlds can meet.

Armin: Yeah not for this show but I use them a lot.

Armin: Well I actually toured for two and a half years with the Myobracelets, it was a great experience because you can control the lights with that, and its fun to point at people out in the crowd. Now I use the drum computer, the Pioneer, to add drums to my set which is exciting, and we have the time code system.

Armin: Uhm I really like the collaboration between me and Vini Vici, I never thought that the psytrance world was so specific and its almost like a religious way of producing like I only heard about that in the world of hardstyle, I mean those guys that are real hardstyle producers, they can probably talk to you about kick production for about four days non-stop. Its all about the kick, hardstyle is about the kick. Its not even the low end, its about the mids and the way it has to be distorted and the way it has to be just right and in the psytrance world its even more

So one of the most exciting things is that even though Im forty years old now and in the industry for twenty years Im still learning every day. You know working with Eric Vloeimans, jazz trumpet player, or working with Kensington, a rock band, they come from a completely different world. You know I was in the studio in Miami with Kensington, you know, mixing Heading Up High and we went from mixing dance stems to drums, and how to crossfade that. It took a year to mix that track, just to get all the parts so that everybody was satisfied; so the band, the management, my management, you know the producer that I work with. Its incredibly satisfying to sort of constantly also as a producer reinvent yourself and I think that is the most fun that I have had in my career since last year. You know being in LA, working with a lot of different artists and working with a lot of different people is just inspiring, I find it very very inspiring.

Armin: No there have been DJs that have had similar high numbers. I wanna stress that Ive never done it as a competition.

Armin: Its more like every week I find inspiration from these new tracks that I find online and you know it used to be vinyl. When I started the show it was all vinyl. Now its online and Soundcloud and all that. I told myself Im not doing A State of Trance just for the sake of high numbers. Every week theres a track that inspires me. And now, actually finally enough, I went back with the radio show to do its original formula. I missed doing that.

A State of Trance radio was actually fired from the radio station it was on at Episode 186 because they moved into a different direction with the radio station, and thats when I started doing Ableton mixes which is back in 2003 when Ableton was still in 2.0 or 3.0. So I was one of the first to do that and I really loved it. I thought it was great because I was able to do the radio show in different languages, but I missed the connection with the music because basically what I was doing was: I was skipping through the tracks and I was only listening to the beginning and end of every track to mix them. I missed listening to the entire track, mixing them live, sort of have that live radio feel and now everybody does podcasts in Ableton. Which is fine, nothing wrong with that again, not criticizing but I dont think thats making radio, at least in my mind.

You know making radio is actually doing everything in one take to me, you know live mixing and those sorts of things. So I built my own radio studio, and I opened it last week in Amsterdam, custom built radio studio for A State of Trance which also includes visuals. So from this week on, every week, youll be able to watch ASOT on Facebook, Youtube and a bunch of other channels for free. I think thats the next level in radio, in visual radio and also I want to go more in detail with the specific tracks Im playing. So whether its an album special or just a new release with a big artist, Ill try to get that artist in the studio or have them Skype in and tell us something about the track so you know its next level for a radio show.

Armin: Very difficult. Its an unbelievably big undertaking. First of all, we rehearsed for three weeks in Holland in a very very big hall, because we built the entire stage just for rehearsing. So every individual track was rehearsed and thats what I learned from [my theater director]Jos Thie. He actually lives here, its very rare that you see him but hes a very famous TV director and knows nothing about dance music. He comes from the world of theater production. He did massive theater productions. And to get him involved, and again hes not a dance music fanatic, he doesnt know anything about dance music, but to have him look at my world and have him be like Okay so you want a singer right? You want a singer to perform? and I said Yeah.

And weve all seen those DJ sets where theres a vocalist that just awkwardly walks in, theres a mic thats plugged into the DJM-900 and then the singer starts singing, its like uhhhhh You know you dont really want that. I think what you should do with a live vocalist and this is what Jostold me, if you want to do a live performance or anything it almost needs to be better than the vocal coming from the record. I mean why would you do it live otherwise? It has to enhance your experience listening to the song, right? Otherwise you can just play the original track because it sounds better. Its already recorded so why the hell would you do it live? But I really learned that people do appreciate vocalists singing the song live and trying to interact with the crowd and its so much fun to do with that.

Armin: Well that was a big part of it. We really thought long and hard about how we were going to do the stage design because I was in the Forum with the Intense show and we had a completely different stage, but the idea behind the stage obviously is that the crowd embraces me. Because thats the catwalk so.

Armin: You know, this is also about learning from Jos. Shows like these are more about the individual moments rather than the entire set. So if Im in a club or at a festival, Ill play a set, a coherent set, so a set that tells a story. Ill build up BPM wise, key wise, Ill try to have some surprises obviously but theres some form of flow to your set which is what I try to do as a DJ. But with the Armin Only show I still try to keep that flow but its more like, if you play a crowd that big and you play for that long, its really hard to keep the attention from the crowd. Their attention span becomes really short.

Armin: Thank you and well I guess mission accomplished! It was always my dream of discovering this sort of uncharted territory like I said and I think Im not saying this show is perfect but I think that this is a way that dance music could be headed. Trying to keep it more exciting for the crowd than just playing the tracks. You know, really enhancing those particular moments for example with the intro or with Adagio, I mean that was a drone that goes on for 2 minutes and 10 seconds and theres a drone just laying there in D sharp that just goes and then theres a trumpet player going over that and I talked long and hard with Jos and with Sander about that and I was like Am I really gonna do this? Am I really gonna have a trumpet player in a dance music show for 2 minutes and 10 seconds and a ballet?

But everyone gets the story, thats the funny thing.

We kinda wrote it on the spot when we were rehearsing because that wasnt a thing. I just wrote a drone and I put a break in the track and I put the drone there and then Eric started playing this beautiful trumpet and when he did that the first time we were all like Wow this is a magical moment, and then we had this little story that we he starts playing Adagio he turns his back to the dancer and the dancer sees that he doesnt want her anymore and its kind of this love story and everybody gets it! People were like That was really moving, and its a very simply story but because its so small and so little the effect when the beat drops back its like BOOM! You know? Its because its so simple you know? So going from really small moments and really trying to find that emotion, I guess thats what we really all want from music right? And a normal DJ set doesnt really give me the opportunity you know? Like if youre playing at Ultra or EDC or any big festival its not really possible to just have a trumpet player playing on a drone for 2 minutes. *laughing*

Armin: Yeah! So this show gives me more creative freedom in that sense.

Armin: And what was happening I mean its really strange, I mean the track is called Adagio for Strings and we did it with a trumpet, its not called Adagio for Trumpet. *laughing*

Armin: When I started writing for this show, obviously its based on my last artist album Embrace and yeah, you think about How am I going to do a 4-5 hour show around this album? How am I going to keep that interesting? So I just started to write a lot of music, new music for this show and try to come up with different ideas. Half of the ideas didnt even make the show. Its a big Actually I dont even have an idea what the hell Im doing with this show. *laughing* But its just, Im just trying to do what I do in the studio. When Im in the studio Im just trying to make something that I want to listen to. Because you know what, when Im making music theres no people there. Its just maybe some guys Im working with but theres no crowd there. So you never know if what you think or hope would work actually works in reality. Thats also the reason why and why Im coming back to radio, why Im so happy I have my radio show because actually I think it gives me an advantage over the rest. If you do a radio show, you get to test your music, not only for your own ears but also thanks to social media people actually talk back. I find that magical.

Armin: So I get to use I get to use your ears! Like if you were a trance fan youd listen to the show, I get to use your ears. And no matter what you mean like we all have a right to say this song is shit or this song is great, but you know it happened a million times that I got a song song and I was so excited about it and Id go on air and say this is the new song by such and such, its so great, its my tune of the week and then the week after it doesnt even get 2% of all the votes, and the other way around as well. Sometimes I get a track, I listen to it and its by some big artist thats hot right then and Ill listen and be like Im not really digging this and I play it and the listeners go Oh my god this is so great! So when you read those comments you kind of start to understand that track better. Im not perfect, sometimes I really have to see those comments online and sort of interact with my fans.

Armin: Yeah. Every week still, to this day. Every week theres a track that I go I mean, its the most boring answer you can give to an answer but I say always the tracks on my radio show. Other DJs inspire me man, I mean now especially, now that Im forty, I get so inspired by twenty one and twenty two year olds. Last year in Miami every single DJ was inspiring me. I went to Martin Garrix, I went to Oliver Heldens, I went Armand Van Helden, and all these DJs have such different approaches and I find it so exciting and so refreshing. I think that at the moment you have no reason to be negative about dance music, even though some of it is commercial. I think even though we have this bit of dance music on the radio and its commercial, there also is this massive underground that is flourishing and its so great. I mean twenty years ago it was completely unthinkable to have a festival with multiple genres and now its like you can listen to bass or drum n bass or whatever you want. Its a festival for you and I think that its phenomenal! I mean theres not a lot of dance music thats out there that I dont like.

Armin: Exactly! Thats my point, especially within the trance scene right now there seems to be a group of people that are very negative and they claim they can say what is trance and what is not and its basically if its not what they like then its not trance. Im like excuse me, are you the one that decides that? Also, trance is so broad, it used to be this and now you have the Arty stuff, the Above and Beyond stuff, which is fantastic. Then you have the Dash Berlin sort of EDM-pop kind of thing which is also phenomenal I think. Then you have Simon Patterson and Bryan Kearney, the more like tech-y psytrance kind of stuff, then you have the uplifting stuff that they call Orchestrance with the massive breakdowns and all the emo stuff, which is also fantastic. I want ASOT to be the home for all these sub-genres. Im not trying to exclude somebody or say this is not trance and this is not trance. If you think that Im not trance, fine, then Im not for you. Great, youre the customer so youre always right. But for me, everything I play is trance or dance music or whatever so I dont really want to I never look at Beatport at just in the trance genre, I also look at techno. Sometimes theres an amazing Remember that rack Oxia Domino or something which is also on Compact? Which is another techno label. Its almost a classic trance record when it was labelled techno. Thats what I mean though, music gets exciting if you cross that border and try to get out of your safety zone and open up a little bit.

Armin: Oh wow thats very cool! Yeah Gareth has always been very much on the forefront. I know Roxanne and Gareth well, and Ive always been a massive supporter of Gareth, hes done a lot of good for the scene. To be honest, I think of Saving Light, I even played it at the Forum, I didnt expect it to be number one but I think its great for trance. But you know I find sometimes, Beatport is not necessarily representative for whats happening on the dance floor. Maybe Im silly, but sometimes I feel theres no charts out there that are representing the dance floor adequately. I look at the Beatport top 100 and if I play any of the top 30 tracks my crowd would leave. Not to say its good or bad music but you know, I feel that the top 20 or 30 is not one hundred percent representative. It does mean something of course.

Armin: Yeah, 1001tracklists is important, I find that more representative of whats going on on the dance floor than I do with Beatport. But then again, having said that I love Beatport for its interface, for the fact that I can get WAV files there. I hope it will never die, because Beatport is amazing and it saved my life so many times. *laughing* You know, really I think its an amazing website and I think what those guys are doing is phenomenal. I just wish that we had a chart that was more representative of whats actually happening on dance floors.

Armin: Yeah but I mean it does say something. I know DJ Mag gets so much shit, and to a certain extent I can agree with the comments, but having said that I think what is good about any award show, charts, DJ Mag, whatever; what is good about it is the fact that we talk about it. That debate is needed in the scene very much, because even though you may not agree with the results of DJ Mag, I think that if you see a DJ that comes into the DJ Mag top 10 that you dont know, he must do something right. Yes, there is a lot of cheating going on, but you cannot cheat your way into the top 10, theres no way. There must be some truth to it. Maybe the numbers are not correct but it does say something. I do think its good for dance music because it does point a lot of attention to new talent that is coming up and it does really say something about the scene, whether the charts correct or not.

Armin: Yeah for me its a whole revival of the 92, 93 sound, and hes a phenomenal producer and amazing guy.

Armin: But yeah, it feels like that whole sound is coming back again, its just amazing. I think everything that is happening is amazing in that sense.

Armin: You know what, heres a bold statement. I dont really think that you can speak of dance music anymore. Because if you look at the top 40 right now, almost every track is produced in a dance music way. So, my statement is that electronic music has spread like an oil stain through all genres of music almost.

Most music is produced in a dance music way or a sequence. Most kicks even in rock records now are processed. You know, I find it very difficult to state. Im very interested in this, I like to read a lot of biographies, and if you look at for example lets take the Beatles. They started to involve Moog synthesizers on Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and this was a very important moment in time. Why? Because at that point in 1964 the synthesizer was regarded as a devil-ish instrument. You know it wasnt an instrument because it was electronic and it wasnt real, it was not a real instrument so the fact that the Beatles had the guts to incorporate a Moog synthesizer on Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was at that point in time a very essential point.

Heres where Im going: fast forward to this time and what theyre basically doing is theyre trying to involve unconventional instruments into their sound. This has always been essential for any music development, so my answer to your question is what does the future for dance music hold? I think its mixing and merging. I mean bass or trap music comes from, you know I hear elements, clear elements from jungle and two step. You know the two step sound from the late 90s, early 2000s in the UK. Speed garage, you remember that sound? So all these production elements, all these new sounds that are coming, theres these wiz kids that make the most amazing plug-ins that make the most amazing sound. Ableton is made for the birth of dance music.

So what you see is that technology has always had a massive, MASSIVE, influence on the development of sound.

Take Skrillex for example, without Ableton there would be no Skrillex, or the sound would be very different at least. Ableton has just opened so many doors for so many producers which is phenomenal, I think. So, my point is that I think in the future dance music will be mixing and merging and the development of new techniques has a massive role in that. So if you look in the KVR audio, the website, you see all these new plug-ins that are coming and they will have an effect on the sound of the future. And what I find exciting about trance music is if you look at I dont know many about other genres or styles but what I find exciting about trance music is that you can really see these eras in trance.

For example, in 2007 minimal became really big, and you saw that the trance producers were trying to incorporate the minimal sound into their tracks. Right now, whats really a trend in dance music is that a lot of DJs are trying to involve the impact of a psytrance produced track into trance. So a lot of the psytrance tracks, a lot of the trance producers look at psytrance because psytrance is so minimalistically produced compared to uplifting trance that the impact is a lot bigger because the kicks are not that long, you know sometimes in a trance track the bassline and kick are really fighting especially in a big room and then theres 3 notes of bassline so what you hear in a big room is this one big noise but in psytrance all the bass noises are a lot shorter, its like really short, so you can really hear right now in trance and a lot of trance uplifting producers try to copy that impact that a psytrance track has and I think thats amazing. Theres a development happening right here and right now. So thats just an example of what I think will happen in the future, theres just going to be a lot of mixing and merging.

Armin: Well Im super excited for the big show that Im doing on the 12th and 13th of May, Im finally doing the Amsterdam Arena which is a stadium and Im super excited about that. I hope people will appreciate the new radio show formula that Ive got going on and I hope you guys will let me know and tune in every weekend, and even if you dont have time to tune in live you can always go to Facebook or YouTube and watch the episode. Ive got a lot of new stuff coming up and Im excited and I hope to see you guys somewhere. Also, thank you for all the support weve had. Guys like you are becoming more and more important, its great. You guys are really influencing the scene which is very good I think.

All images viaAlive Coverage, Marc van de Aa

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What Happens When A Bass Head Interviews Armin Van Buuren About Trance [Exclusive] – Your EDM

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Boulder International Film Festival diving into virtual reality with 2017 slate – Boulder Daily Camera

Posted: February 11, 2017 at 8:29 am

Opening night red carpet gala

When: 8 p.m. March 2

Where: Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St.

Cost: $50, free for passholders

Pre-party: 5:30-7:30 p.m.at Hotel Boulderado and Rembrandt Yard

Screening: “Their Finest” (2016, United Kingdom, 116 minutes), a rousing romantic comedy following a female screenwriter during World War II, starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Clatlin and Bill Nighy.

Closing night

When: 7:30 p.m. March 5

Where: Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St.

Cost: $30, free for passholders

Screening: “Chasing Coral” (2017, Boulder 93 minutes), fresh from winning an audience award at Sundance, BIFF’s closing night film follows a team of divers, photographers and scientists on an ocean adventure to discover why coral reefs are vanishing around the world. Directed by Boulder’s Jeff Orlowski; produced by Longmont’s Larissa Rhodes

More information at biff1.com

A truck delivering the Boulder International Film Festival’s programs may have severed the power to the festival’s office on Friday, but co-founder and director Kathy Beeck’s excitement in sharing the 2017 lineup and details for the March festival far outweighed her tinge of concern.

New this year, BIFF will expand its boundaries beyond the real world with its Virtual Reality Pavilion.

“It is going to be pretty cool,” Beeck said. “We’ll have eight virtual reality films screening at Galvanize, and we’ll have a whole variety of different headsets from very high tech to cardboard ones.”

Boulder technical school and co-working space Galvanize, 1023 Walnut St., will be one venue the festival will utilize for its programming. Over the long weekend, films will be screened at various spots in Boulder and Longmont.

The Virtual Reality Pavilion will be free and open to the public March 3 and 4, and will have Google’s Nicholas Whitaker on hand to moderate a few of the talks, Beeck said.

“Swing by, put on a headset and learn about the future of storytelling,” Beeck said.

BIFF will screen 58 films, three of which are Sundance Film Festival award-winning films and four are nominated for Academy Awards. And 23 of these films were directed by females, Beeck said. The popular shorts programs, which Beeck said are always the first to sell out, expanded to include four different programs this year.

“We are so excited about this year’s program,” said BIFF executive director Robin Beeck, Kathy’s sister, in a news release. “This is a stellar lineup with award-winning films from the world’s greatest directors and from fresh, new filmmakers just hitting the scene. We’re thrilled to be able to present a feast of the best films today.”

Robin and Kathy Beeck, the two sisters who run and founded the Boulder International Film Festival. (Courtesy photo)

Kathy Beeck said there will be eight Colorado films screened and she realized during the interview that all eight of those local filmmakers are from Boulder.

“That just tells us something about how much is happening in film in Boulder,” Kathy Beeck said. “We are so proud of the major filmmakers in this town.”

Among Boulder highlights is the closing night film “Chasing Coral,” a documentary produced by a local company that just won the Audience Award for best U.S. documentary at Sundance.

Boulder filmmaker Jeff Orlowski and Longmont producer Larissa Rhodes, the team behind “Chasing Coral,” also produced “Chasing Ice,” the 2012 Emmy award-winning documentary on climate change.

“Chasing Coral” explores the danger the world’s coral reefs face amid global warming. A local team of filmmakers (with many University of Colorado graduates, Rhodes said in an interview last month) from Boulder’s Exposure Labs created the documentary.

Kathy Beeck said festival-goers can also see “Chasing Coral, the Virtual Reality Experience” premiere at Galvanize.

Other highlights:

“Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back,” (4:30 p.m. March 3) produced by Boulderite Maura Axelrod, about contemporary pop artist Maurizio Cattelan, which Kathy Beeck said is “a fabulous movie, really well done.”

“Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World” (7 p.m. March 3), is a film about the role of Native Americans and indigenous influence in popular music history. “It goes back into history in the film, and it’s so stunning to realize that Jimi Hendrix and Robbie Robertson (The Band) have Native American heritage,” Beeck said. “Tony Bennett is in the film talking about his early influences.”

Cinechef 2017 (5-7 p.m. March 3) at Rembrandt Yard Art Gallery and Event Center, 1301 Spruce St., is in its third year as a part of BIFF and will feature eight of the best chefs in town, Kathy Beeck said. “It’s a foodie event that highlights the spectacular food scene in Boulder while we highlight Boulder filmmakers,” she said. “I’m loving this event.”

The festival runs March 2 through 5 and tickets are on sale at biff1.com.

Christy Fantz: 303-473-1107, fantz@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/fantzypants

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Boulder International Film Festival diving into virtual reality with 2017 slate – Boulder Daily Camera

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Moisturizers Reduce Severity of Eczema – MedicalResearch.com (blog)

Posted: at 7:47 am

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Esther van Zuuren

Esther van Zuuren MD on behalf of the authors Department of Dermatology Leiden University Medical Center Leiden, Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In view of the high prevalence of eczema and the exponential increase in number of clinical trials over recent years, the NIHR designated this clinical topic, emollients and moisturisers for eczema, as a high priority. Widely prescribed as the basis of eczema management the treatment strategy is often supported by a mixed array of reviews and guidelines. Evidence for the effectiveness of emollients and moisturisers is also of variable quality.

Eczema is a chronic skin disorder, the main symptoms being dry skin and intense itching with a significant impact on quality of life. As dry skin is an important feature, moisturisers are a cornerstone of eczema treatment, but there was uncertainty about their efficacy and whether one moisturiser is preferable to another. The main finding of our review is that indeed moisturisers are effective.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: Moisturisers appeared to have a beneficial effect on eczema severity. They are safe and reduce flares and prolong the time to flare. Furthermore, they decrease the need for topical corticosteroids and increase the efficacy of active treatment. Therefore, it makes clinical sense to encourage adherence to moisturiser therapy. This is especially important as moisturiser therapy is time consuming and often required throughout life, as eczema is a chronic condition. There is no evidence to support a one size fits all approach, as we did not find reliable evidence that one moisturiser is better than another. Therefore, clinical decisions about choices of moisturiser should be based on the available evidence, and should also take into account the experiences and preferences of the individual.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Since moisturisers can contain many different ingredients, more research is needed about their effects, and also about their safety, including their allergenic potential. We were not able to conclude that the use of moisturisers alone is sufficient to treat (very) mild eczema, which therefore needs future research. In addition, more research is needed to determine what adequate use of moisturisers and active treatment actually entails. Both under-treatment and over-treatment with moisturisers or topical corticosteroids should be avoided. This is especially important for children, since the prevalence of eczema in this group is much higher than in adults. Another area for further research is how to improve and ensure adherence by means of proper and timely information and education, and increasing self-management skills.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Response: We hope that the conclusions of this review will be included in clinical guidelines and that they will guide clinicians, policymakers and third party payers in their decision-making. All to the benefit of people with eczema.

None of the authors had anything to disclose and there were no competing interest

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


van Zuuren EJ, Fedorowicz Z, Christensen R, Lavrijsen A, Arents BWM. Emollients and moisturisers for eczema. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD012119. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012119.pub2.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Moisturizers Reduce Severity of Eczema – MedicalResearch.com (blog)

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