Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Music Helps Aging Adults' Movement

November 26, 2010
Aging: Unsteady on Your Feet? Try Moving to Music

Elderly people in a new study cut their risk of falling by more than half after they took classes in eurhythmics, an exercise-and-music program designed for young children.

The 12-month trial recruited 134 people, average age 75, who were unsteady on their feet. Half were randomly assigned to weekly hourlong eurhythmics classes for the first six months, and the other half took no classes until the following six months.

The program, developed by the early-20th-century Swiss composer Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, teaches movement in time to music, from Mozart minuets to jazz improvisations. Participants have to walk and turn around, stay in step with changing tempos, learn to shift their weight and balance, handle objects while walking, and make exaggerated upper-body movements while walking.

The two groups were monitored to determine how many times they fell. In the first group, there were just 24 falls over the first six months, compared with 54 among those who were not in the classes.

Even after the classes ended, the participants maintained their improvements in balance, walked with a more regular gait and were better able to walk while doing other things. The study was published online in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Read the full article HERE.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Singing and Dancing Robot (Japanese, of course)

And female, of course. I really hate the legs; they give me the creeps.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vocaloid Holograph Anime Pop Singer Miku Hatsune

Voice is electronically generated (hence the vocaloid), performance is mix of extremely sophisticated holographic imagery and a slamming live band. The technology is pretty amazing; I've watched a couple of times just to watch how the necktie tracks or how they step out of the spotlight or in front of each other. Some comments here and there are grumbling about preferring music made by humans, but really, it's all made by humans; it's not like the hologram wrote her own stuff! The possibilities reel the mind. I find the anime body incarnate troubling. Still, age of wonders...

Check out the instant costume changes in this medley:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Shadow Scholar: Writing College Assignments for Profit

Here's a rather depressing article written by someone employed as a writer of college papers for cheating students: undergrads, grads, theses, basically everything.

November 12, 2010
Chronicle of Higher Education
The Shadow Scholar
The man who writes your students' papers tells his story

By Ed Dante

Editor's note: Ed Dante is a pseudonym for a writer who lives on the East Coast. Through a literary agent, he approached The Chronicle wanting to tell the story of how he makes a living writing papers for a custom-essay company and to describe the extent of student cheating he has observed. In the course of editing his article, The Chronicle reviewed correspondence Dante had with clients and some of the papers he had been paid to write. In the article published here, some details of the assignment he describes have been altered to protect the identity of the student.

The request came in by e-mail around 2 in the afternoon. It was from a previous customer, and she had urgent business. I quote her message here verbatim (if I had to put up with it, so should you): "You did me business ethics propsal for me I need propsal got approved pls can you will write me paper?"

I've gotten pretty good at interpreting this kind of correspondence. The client had attached a document from her professor with details about the paper. She needed the first section in a week. Seventy-five pages.

I told her no problem.

It truly was no problem. In the past year, I've written roughly 5,000 pages of scholarly literature, most on very tight deadlines. But you won't find my name on a single paper.

I've written toward a master's degree in cognitive psychology, a Ph.D. in sociology, and a handful of postgraduate credits in international diplomacy. I've worked on bachelor's degrees in hospitality, business administration, and accounting. I've written for courses in history, cinema, labor relations, pharmacology, theology, sports management, maritime security, airline services, sustainability, municipal budgeting, marketing, philosophy, ethics, Eastern religion, postmodern architecture, anthropology, literature, and public administration. I've attended three dozen online universities. I've completed 12 graduate theses of 50 pages or more. All for someone else.

You've never heard of me, but there's a good chance that you've read some of my work. I'm a hired gun, a doctor of everything, an academic mercenary. My customers are your students. I promise you that. Somebody in your classroom uses a service that you can't detect, that you can't defend against, that you may not even know exists.

I work at an online company that generates tens of thousands of dollars a month by creating original essays based on specific instructions provided by cheating students. I've worked there full time since 2004. On any day of the academic year, I am working on upward of 20 assignments.

In the midst of this great recession, business is booming. At busy times, during midterms and finals, my company's staff of roughly 50 writers is not large enough to satisfy the demands of students who will pay for our work and claim it as their own.


Read the full article HERE.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Rappers Arrested in Iran


Young rappers arrested in Iran
By Reza Sayah, CNN

(CNN) -- Police in Tehran have arrested several members of underground Iranian rap groups, the semi-offical ILNA news agency reported.

Tehran Police Chief Hussain Sajedinia told ILNA that several young boys and girls were discovered using vacant homes to record and videotape illegal rap music for various websites and satellite networks.

Police raided the homes, arrested the young musicians and confiscated "western style musical instruments" and several bottles of liquor, according to ILNA.

The report did not specify when the raids took place, how many rappers were arrested, or how old they were.

"These groups use the most trashy, juvenile and street-like words and phrases that have no place in proper grammar," the police chief told ILNA. "More importantly, they have no regard for the law, principles, proper behavior and language."

Police were searching for a girl and several other of the young rappers after identifying them in material found during the search of the vacant homes, ILNA reported.

"A court order has been issued for the arrest of all of the accused and police in Tehran will make their utmost effort to arrest these people," Sajedinia told ILNA.

In Iran, rap and rock music is not a serious crime but is considered un-Islamic. Ignoring the laws against playing rap and rock music can lead to accusations of Satan worship and sentences of flogging or a night in jail.

It's not clear if the young Iranian rappers are still in jail or what they're being charged with.

Sajedinia accused Iran's underground rap scene of spreading profanity and poisoning young minds. He called for an increase in traditional Iranian music to counter the influence of rap music, ILNA reported.

"Those who have been arrested are among those who have veered away from proper behavior, who have distanced themselves from all of life's hardships and are in search of comforts that have no limits," he said.