Archive for: July, 2007

Best LOLShai'hulud ever, and Dune diatribe

Jul 06 2007 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

I've been reading the Brian Herbert/Kevin J. Anderson prequels and sequels to the late Frank Herbert's Dune series. Dune is arguably the most influential sci-fi series ever, and in my opinion one of the best ever written, even Frank Herbert's later books in the series which people tend to shun.
However, I simply cannot stand KJ Anderson's writing style, and his influence on Brian Herbert and the prequels/sequels is particularly onerous. I find him to be completely without talent for the genre. His penchant for merely dragging the story through a series of plot points is perhaps the most pernicious infraction, however his annoying contributions towards character development (or lack thereof) deserve mention as well. There is a tendency towards mind-numbing quantities of pedantry when stretching out the deaths of minor characters who we don't really care about at all, especially ones who are somewhat meanspirited, but not quite evil enough to drive satisfaction at their untimely and very long-winded demise. Worse yet, major characters like Paul Atriedes and Baron Harkonnen gholas receive about as much character development as the slig farmer. Additionally, there is a nauseating substitution of typical yarn-spinning techniques like developing a story with simply asking a string of rhetorical questions in an effort to get the reader to think about things he or she, being undoubtedly smarter and most likely a better writer than KJ, had already considered 2 chapters prior. I would suggest that KJ write a book called Completely Useless and Ineffective Socratic Methods for Dummies, but it seems he already has. And he keeps rewriting it. Every time he publishes. Lisan al-Gaib help us.
That being said, I am compelled to get through the entirety of the series because I am so enthralled with Frank Herbert's universe, and the stories are based upon notes and outlines that he himself had drawn up. The influence is palpable in the expanded Dune universe; it makes the works he did not author at least tolerable.
So anyway. Here's my vote for the best LOLShai'hulud evah!

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The Basics of Menopause and Hormone Therapy III: Cognitive Consequences

This is the third part in an overview of menopause and hormone therapy. Parts one and two are here and here. This time around I describe changes in cognitive and behavioral profiles for women and animal models of menopause. I may decide to expand on a handful of studies at a later date, but for now I wanted to provide a very brief overview of human studies, problems inherent to human studies, and animal studies. I think the next part of this series will focus on the quality of our animal models and what they have to tell us. But for now, anyone who is interested in these issues knows where to start digging!
Granted, some of the info in this series is a bit dated, but I'll do future posts to expand on recent findings. I also posted a follow-up on factors to consider when evaluating hormone therapy use and comparing new findings to "common wisdom".

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The Basics of Menopause and Hormone Therapy II: Types of HRT and Physiological Consequences

Jul 04 2007 Published by under Health Care/Medicine

This is the second of a series that examines menopause, hormone therapy, and consequences of each. Today's installment looks at the makeup of common hormones on the market, physiological consequences of hormone loss and replacement, and the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) studies. A slight emphasis is placed on Alzheimer's Disease as a segway to the next installments, which will focus on cognitive and neurobiological consequences of menopause and hormone therapy.

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