Chicago Muslim 60 – Number 59

Oct. 27th, 2016 03:59 pm
[syndicated profile] koonj_feed

Posted by Shabana Mir

I’m not sure I merit this honor, but I’ve been listed as one of the Chicago Muslim Superstars on this blog. Given the numbers of superstars of all kinds, with long service in Chicago, I am actually sure I don’t merit this, but am touched and honored nevertheless.



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gramarye1971: white teacup of green tea with wooden chopsticks (Tea and Chopsticks)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
Here's the start of my photojournals from my trip to Japan earlier in the month! Not all the photographs have been taken by me -- my well-travelled friend J, whom I met up with for this trip, has a much better camera and eye for travel photography, so I've nicked some of his pictures where mine weren't quite good enough. Not many pictures from this first day, since I arrived in Japan late in the afternoon and the sun was well and truly set by the time I was on the move, but the next picspam will have much more to look at.

Day 0/0.5: BOS-NRT, and trains north - More text than pictures in this one. )

Next up: Akita by day, Aomori by night.
[syndicated profile] go_fug_yourself_feed

Posted by Heather

Dakota Fanning 
The runway version of this dress was more transparent. Lining it was the right choice: Because now, she simply looks like a fun and lively person, rather than someone who believes herself to be a member of Jem and the Holograms who’s come into the flesh realm. Three cheers for alterations. Read More ...

[syndicated profile] go_fug_yourself_feed

Posted by Heather

Gwyneth Paltrow 
I expected to eyeroll this, but… well, I still am a little, but mostly affectionately. Don’t get me wrong: The fact that it’s a dressed-up leotard is still frustrating, and I’m baffled as ever by the fact that somehow Gwyneth’s head never seems to be going to the same place as the rest of her. Read More ...

More Than Was Asked For

Oct. 27th, 2016 02:15 pm
[syndicated profile] in_the_pipeline_feed

Posted by Derek Lowe

Via AndyBiotech on Twitter, here’s an interesting report from the New England Journal of Medicine. It describes a patient diagnosed with follicular lymphoma who also was positive for hepatitis C. They went through a course of Gilead’s sofosbuvir with ribavirin, and that (as it usually does) cleared the Hep C infection. What’s interesting is that at the end of the treatment the lymphoma was in complete remission as well.

The patient received a 24-week course of sofosbuvir (at a dose of 400 mg once daily) and ribavirin (1200 mg once daily) from March through September 2014. Within 4 weeks, the level of HCV RNA was undetectable. Twelve weeks after treatment ended, the HCV RNA level remained undetectable, with a normal alanine aminotransferase level and FibroScan results consistent with a high rate of sustained virologic response.

In December 2014, findings on computed tomography (CT) of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis were consistent with a very good partial response of the follicular lymphoma. Positron-emission tomography and CT in June 2015 showed normal-sized mesenteric nodes with no 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose–avid disease (Figure 1B and 1D). Immunohistochemical and flow-cytometric tests showed that the bone marrow was lymphoma-free. As of September 2016, the patient remained well, with no clinical evidence of disease recurrence.

This is probably not a coincidence, as the paper points out, because B-cell lymphoma has been associated with hepatitis C infection, and a few cases like this are actually in the literature with earlier therapies (such as interferon). But it still comes as a welcome surprise – I can certainly imagine some ways that a viral infection might lead to lymphoma, but after that happens, I’m surprised that curing the viral infection has any effect on the cancer. There’s clearly a tighter relationship between the two than my mental picture allows for, and I’ll bet that I’m not alone.


Oct. 27th, 2016 10:26 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Livejournal's "recent comments" is not working.

Get It Together, Bakeries

Oct. 27th, 2016 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

Wrecky minion Aryn took this photo last Sunday, October 23rd:


So this bakery is selling Christmas cakes two major holidays before Christmas. Which would be awesome for pranking that friend who passed out after drinking too much, but otherwise... da heck?


And if you think Christmas Creep is bad, wait'll you see Easter Creep:

A pink Easter Egg cake... made October 19th.

Because it's never too early to stock up on "decorated" egg cakes in October, you guys.


It actually gets worse when bakeries try to be seasonally appropriate:

Orange icing + crappy turtle pancake = "Fall!"


White pointy-headed "ghosts" + anything = FAIL!

Seriously, let's talk about all the ways this is a bad idea.

Oh yes, please, put it on white cupcakes. THAT HELPS SO MUCH.


Speaking of not helping, you know how all the creepy clowns in the news have McDonald's hiding Ronald and Target pulling costumes?

This was also spotted last week.

[head desk]


Although at least the clown is recognizable. What about this thing?

It was out last week, so... Dapper Halloween Alien? Count Unibrow? Evil Mystic Muppet?

Oooh, "Evil Mystic Muppet" would be an awesome band name.


Thanks to Aryn W., Elizabeth C., Robbie C., Anony M., Julie R., Alexa M., & Jenny E for reminding us it's just two more months 'til Christmas.


Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.


Oct. 27th, 2016 08:39 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
Gym tonight, or just crash really hard?

We shall see.
[syndicated profile] nyt_science_feed


Some buttons, such as the door-close button on an elevator, are mere artifices — placebos that promote an illusion of control but in reality do not work.

(no subject)

Oct. 27th, 2016 09:39 am
marina: (facing night)
[personal profile] marina
Hello friends!

I'm back from my long and pleasant exile from the internet, work, responsibilities and all other earthly attachments.

Well, not really. I did have 2 weeks off work though, for the holidays, and though this is the first year when I haven't traveled anywhere during that time I did try, as one of my friends put it, to "breathe. Just breathe."

I'm still kind of utterly puzzled about how I managed to survive the previous 3 months. People keep telling me I'm so accomplished and amazing for managing to write a thesis draft while working full time, but like, I actually did those things while also being "homeless" and living in a friend's guest room while having 90% of my earthly possessions packed up in boxes, while ALSO being disabled with two herniated disks in my back and going to physical therapy for that.

For 3 months I sacrificed every little thing that brought me joy to fit all of that shit in there, to stay functional, and it's just been... I'm amazed I survived as well as I did. It took about 6 days of being on vacation - complete, utter vacation, with no plans, no obligations, staying with my parents where I basically didn't have to do any chores or cook my own meals, just read fic and watch shows and lounge around in bed, until I felt human again. Until I felt like myself.

And let me tell you what the definition of feeling like myself is, apparently: it's finding joy in little things, utterly mundane, inconsequential things, instead of constantly feeling like the objective of any given day is to not let myself burst into tears.

I've moved into a new apartment, and it's still stressful and new. I'm not used to my new roommate and his schedule/habits, I'm not used to the noise outside my window, I'm not used to my room, and I'm not used to the schedule of getting to and from work from this new place. I'm not used to any of it, and it's uncomfortable, and requires adjustment and experimentation and stressful dealing.

But at the same time - I find joy in the idea of going to the store and buying foods I like to make breakfast with on weekdays. I find joy in the idea of buying little things online that I've really needed, like charging cables for my phone. I find joy in the idea of baking on weekends, and shopping for warmer clothes. Seeing the weird, beautiful tree outside my building makes me smile, as does warm weather and the sea.

It's like I've been... cleansed of some of the intense, to-the-core anxiety about the world, and I can think a little more clearly. I can deal with things instead of feeling crushed constantly. I'm back to being, more or less, myself.

I did use my vacation to do a ton of useful things. I did the yearly check up for my car, went shopping for 80% of what I needed at my new apartment, CLEANED my car which had become kind of like my home base in the last few months and was full of stuff that needed to be thrown out or moved. I also met with a friend visiting from Toronto, saw 2 movies in the theater (a big deal for me), went to the beach at least 5 times (and got an ear infection for my trouble :/) and wrote 10,000 words of original fiction.

There's still so many errands I didn't have time for or that weren't possible to get done because of the holidays: I need to do a blood test, go to the government offices that are open like 3 hours a day to change my address officially, go to city hall and get a parking permit for my new address, go to the post office and send a parcel I was supposed to send weeks ago... and that's just the big stuff that can be done during work hours and I need to wrangle my work day to fit in somehow.

Anyway, these are all the real life updates. The truth is I rarely go for this long without making real posts here, and coming back is a little disorienting. On the one hand I want to update about my RL, on the other RL is boring and I just want to talk about fun, ridiculous things.

OK, let's do a list of things that are currently making me happy.

* In November [personal profile] cesy will be visiting, and she and I will spend a few days up north in a city that's about 5,000 years old. I am SO EXCITED about this \\\o/// Taking the train! Staying at a hotel! Meeting friends from up north on the way back! DAYS OFF WORK DOING FUN STUFF. I was worried about procuring vacation days for this, but so far so good? My former boss told me taking more than two days off would be a problem, but he's... not in charge of me anymore, and the person who technically is didn't bat an eyelid when I said I'm gonna be gone most of the week, so.


* Pitch! I resisted this show for a long time because I ABHOR baseball as a sport, but even though I spent basically the entire first 2 episodes yelling about how it wasn't really a sport I was simultaneously enjoying the show SO MUCH. SO SO MUCH. It's a very Status Quo show, but it manages to bring in a nice dose of liberal values, and honestly even if it got everything else wrong, I'd still watch it for Ginny. GINNY. I don't give a fuck about the sport you've dedicated your life to, but I need you on my screen forever.

* The original fiction series The Slave Breakers, which I've been rereading. Despite the atrocious title, this series is just... endless trauma recovery (without the actual trauma on screen), praise kink, comfort, support, cuddling, kindness, caretaking, etc etc. If you're able to read any kind of slave fic at all (if you were able to read Captive Prince, for example) I recommend checking it out. It's about people who are poly and kinky and emotionally honest and just... the true kink of this verse is kindness. Just... endless kindness. It's so relaxing to sink into, like a bubble bath.

* If you speak Russian: this ridiculous thing (about how to turn someone gay with a spell), and this ridiculous Erik/Charles meme.

* In RL ridiculousness - I've recently been added to a whatsapp group for ex-spies. Yes, you heard that right. My life has definitely leveled up in surrealness. )
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
I really liked it. Especially the first half an hour or so is exactly the blend of humour, action, frivolous and serious I like. It manages to make deadpool seem both intimidating and effective, but also whimsical and willing to charge into impossible odds.

Deadpool is notoriously edgy, in good ways and bad depending on his mood and the medium he's portrayed in. His whole schtik is doing bad things to bad people -- he openly admits that's not really ok, but that it also does good by getting bad people out of the way.

There's two problem with "edgy". Read more... )
[syndicated profile] in_the_pipeline_feed

Posted by Derek Lowe

Have a look at this article from Bloomberg Businessweek, which is mostly about the abuse of a visa program (EB-5) meant to encourage investment in out-of-the-way or economically depressed areas of the US. That’s not necessarily a bad idea, but it seems to have been an invitation to a lot of abuse over the years, which is going to be a strong possibility any time you start handing out green cards. There are apparently a lot of brokers who round up prospective investors and match them with projects – some good, some, well, not so good.

In this case, the pitch was for a biotech research center in Newport, Vermont. It’s OK if you’ve never heard of the place – it’s a town of about 4500 right up by the Canadian border. It is not exactly the location you’d envision as a biotech research prospect, I have to say, but that isn’t necessarily something that the various foreign investors might have picked up on. The article mentions a businessman from Venezuela who was (understandably) ready to leave that country, and saw this EB-5 program as the best opportunity for residency in the US. The two developers of the Newport biotech facility, though, had some problems:

They’d invested their money without knowing that the Securities and Exchange Commission had been investigating Stenger and Quiros for almost two years, and that the state of Vermont had been doing so for nine months. In April 2016 federal government lawyers seized the resort and halted work on the biotech project, calling it “rampant with fraud.” The SEC and Vermont also announced that they were opening civil court proceedings. The tangled financing they’d uncovered left more than half of the 731 foreigners who had placed their money with Stenger and Quiros vulnerable to deportation, and threw $83 million that had been invested in the biotech project into limbo. (Stenger has settled the federal case, without admitting or denying culpability, and is cooperating with the SEC. Quiros has denied the government’s allegations.)

As the article shows, the whole thing seems to have been an elaborate Ponzi-style endeavor, where further projects had to keep getting launched in order to pay off the previous ones. The biotech center came after a resort about twenty miles away was elaborately developed, with (it seems) many millions of dollars being elaborately drained out of the whole effort along the way. Check out this pitch:

In September 2012, Stenger announced a $600 million plan to create 10,000 jobs by transforming Newport into a biotechnology hub. He was going to do so, he said, by partnering with AnC Bio, a South Korean company that wanted to produce revolutionary technology in rural Vermont. He’d already raised $50 million from EB-5 investors for the project, which would be anchored by a renovated 90,000-square-foot facility just outside Newport, in the hills overlooking Lake Memphremagog. A plant there had once produced high-end skiwear, before being abandoned in 2005. Soon, Stenger said, it would manufacture artificial organs and offer stem-cell therapy, with 50 sterile rooms for research. He would build a hotel and conference center by the lake and a four-story commercial and residential complex downtown. However far-fetched the plan may have sounded, some 500 people attended the press conference, and Vermont’s top elected officials stood beside Stenger as he spoke.

 Yikes. Double yikes. This is the sort of thing that would only impress people who have very little idea of how this field works (which category includes many an investor and many an elected official). For some years now, the phrase “stem cells” has been roughly equivalent to the phrase “magic beans” for these folks, as that paragraph above shows.We’re not talking about just roping in hopeful businessmen from Venezuela and who knows where; the ropees in this one include the governor of Vermont and Senator Patrick Leahy. “Manufacture artificial organs”, eh? That certainly would be quite a sight, since no one’s actually doing that yet. “50 sterile rooms” for research? How could it miss?
It could miss in a lot of ways, actually. The article has the painful details, but it seems clear that the US-based organizers of these particular projects (the above-named Bill Stenger and his partner, Miami businessman Ariel Quiros) were ripping everyone off in every direction they could, Quiros especially. Money was being freely tossed around between one project and another and used as collateral for further loans to keep the music playing. Everything was behind schedule and over budget, and it was about this time that the Vermont regulators noticed that the South Korean company involved had been under investigation for years and that its headquarters had been seized and auctioned off in 2013. As this was going on, 35 of the foreign investors were suddenly informed that Ariel Quiros had “bought out” their equity in one of the projects, and they now had IOUs from him instead. And so on and very much so on. Readers who have seen financial chicanery at work will hear so many alarms going off as they read that they’ll hardly be able to think straight. It end like you’d figure it ends – arrest warrants, frozen assets, foreclosures, forensic accounting, my client welcomes the investigation and has done nothing wrong.
The “biotech hub” in Newport can be traced from this hopeful 2011 article and this one (from the Newport newspaper itself), and even in the spring of 2015 you can find articles about the (long-delayed) ground-breaking ceremonies. That last one quotes a market research firm (hired by Stenger and Quiros) saying that the market for the company’s products would be over four billion dollars in a few years. By August of that year, the stories were about a new airport being put in because of all this development. Magic beans indeed. Make a note – any time you hear about some amazing stem cell business opportunity from a company you’ve never heard of, with a chance to get in on the ground floor, start with the assumption that it’s a scam and see if you can disprove it. Maybe asking someone who knows something about the business would be a good idea, too. The city of Newport, the state of Vermont, and a lot of investors would all have been better off had they tried that method, but they have a big hole in the ground instead.
linaewen: Girl Writing (Girl Writing)
[personal profile] linaewen posting in [community profile] writethisfanfic
Hello on Thursday!  What kind of a writing day has it been today -- or yesterday, if today hasn't gotten going yet?
  •     I thought about my fic once or twice
  •     I wrote
  •     I did some planning and/or research
  •     I edited
  •     I've sent my fic off to my beta
  •     I posted today!
  •     I'm taking a break
  •     I did something else that I'll talk about in a comment
Thursday Discussion:  How do you back up your work?  Have you ever lost anything important to your story because you hadn't saved or backed up properly?
laughing_tree: (Default)
[personal profile] laughing_tree posting in [community profile] scans_daily

"Since the New Avengers were formed from the heroes we love but the Marvel Universe forgets in favor of the Caps, Thors and Iron Men, these villains are the strange, the forgotten, the out-and-out weird, come together to prove just how dangerous they can be. Hopefully this will be a new beginning for at least a couple of these bizarre maniacs. There's evil gold in them thar hills, and I plan to make it shine." -- Al Ewing

Read more... )


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