Category: bzrusvju

Altuve, the Venezuelan ‘killer’ that threatens Atlético

first_imgIt is second top scorer of FirstThere is no doubt that the Venezuelan attacker has earned the chance to be on everyone’s lips. With seven goals in four games and ten in total, Oriana has managed to sneak into the top goalscorers of Primera. Specifically, the second in the race for the pichichi, only behind the Barca Jenni Hermoso (15 goals). For now, he has already matched his figure last season, when he scored 10 goals in 28 games. “I want to make 15 goals, at least. It is the figure that I have marked, “he said at the beginning of this campaign. And the truth is that it is very aimed at achieving it.With twelve matches played to date, Altuve is shown at his best level. And the team thanks him. Almost 60% of the goals of the Vallecano team come out of their boots. Or what is the same, Ten of the seventeen goals of the team led by Carlos Santiso are signed. A scoring streak that now threatens an Atleti who has little hope left before revalidating the league title. Five points behind Barça, a red and white defeat against Rayo would mean giving up the chance to be crowned again. The hopes are still alive. Oriana and ten more will depend on whether they leave frustrated Vallecas or not.For the franjirrojo team, it is not a match either in terms of ambitions. At stake is being able to storm the fourth place. If they sign the victory in this derby, they would chain five consecutive games without losing and also give the first great joy of the year to a hobby that, for now, is very proud of its women’s team. “I would choose Atleti to play at the Estadio de Vallecas”, Oriana Altuve (27 years old) said in an interview with AS. The Venezuelan forward will not be able to fulfill her desire in this 2020, since the derby will be played tomorrow (1:00 pm) in the modest C. D. Rayo Vallecano, but the player has already shown that against the rojiblanco team the matches are special. Because he is the current champion of the First Iberdrola and because he is the neighboring rival. And is that the absence of Real Madrid in this category has given greater importance to crossings between athletic and Rayistas, whose history in women’s football is loaded with successes (three leagues, a Cup and an International Women’s Cup).Altuve, who in the Rayo dressing room is part of the group The Panchis (with Argentine Yael Oviedo and Ruth Bravo and Chile’s Camila Sáez and Carla Guerrero), it will not only come forward to the derby. That of Caracas has been shown in a great state of form in recent games, scoring the team’s last seven goals in the league. A streak that impresses the swollen franjirroja, who has gone from suffering to see his team in a very comfortable position of the table, and that scares his rivals.last_img read more

Letter to the Youths

first_imgAlayea S. CooperContact # 0886-259262Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Dear Friends,I have been inspired so deeply that I can’t restrain myself but to voice out what I have in mind. Although I am not perfect, but I am trying to work on myself so I can be favored by the Lord.Friends, I am taking the liberty of writing these lines of encouragement, hoping that there will be some positive alterations in our behaviors as young people considered as future leaders.Fellow young brothers and sisters, I noticed that our activities these days have become so secular and we have indulged ourselves in sinful pleasures. I say this with heavy heart, that we have become utterly impious and have no fear at all.To be frank, yes, we talk and behave like people who belong to themselves and not owned by anyone. This is the reason why our lives are been short like a candle light because we are not afraid of anyone including our own parents. We lack civility and sometimes act like we are possessed by some fiends.We give names to ourselves and act according to them, cut our hairs like notorious criminals. I don’t really know what spirit has taken over us these days. Our dress code has become one major problem, too, all is secular.Fellow young brothers and sisters, I beseech you all to please desist. This a time to know that we are owned by someone and that person wants us to do what He likes so that we can live longer as He promises us.My mind is filled with hope and pleasure and very optimistic that there will be some positive changes in our behaviors after the reading of this inspirational note.Finally friends, after reading this note please pray this prayer aloud:Angels east, angels west, north and south do your best and tell your Boss to please help us change our vile behaviors as young people. We know that we have gone against your time without number. We also pray for the immediate stoppage of the secular and sinful pleasures we have indulged ourselves into. We pray for longevity so that we may be able our country to the next level.Thanks you Lord Jesus because we know that we have already been forgiven despite our past problems, in Jesus’ special name, AmenOne of Your Affectionate brothers,last_img read more

Local MP Takes Tour Of Local Fires

first_imgZimmer encourages anyone with questions or concerns to contact his office directly. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – MP for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies, Bob Zimmer, toured the wildfire situation this week and took the opportunity to thank those who have been fighting the fires.Zimmer says that while he has been in contact throughout the situation, it was important for him to get a first hand look at the damage.“Although I have been in constant contact with Pat Pimm about the status of the wildfires since the beginning, it was important to me to not only be able to see the wildfires firsthand, but also to speak to residents about their concerns, and to thank of those who have been working tirelessly to keep our homes and families safe.”Zimmer saw the Siphon Creek Wildfire from a helicopter and also toured the South Taylor Hill area, Beatton Airport Road, Buick Creek, and Doig River areas.- Advertisement -He also thanked all the Canadians that have pitched in and lent a helping hand.“It is good to see Canadians coming together in times of need. I want to once again thank all the men and women who have been working so hard to fight the fires that continue to plague our region. Your dedication and bravery have not gone unnoticed,” said Mr. Zimmer. “In particular, I want to thank Incident Commander Hugh Murdoch and Information Officer Erin Catherall for taking time out of their busy schedules to meet with me to discuss the situation and to provide me with the opportunity to see the Siphon Creek wildfire firsthand.”Advertisementlast_img read more

Kuznetsova advances

first_img Chennai Open Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia captured in India with a 7-6 (6), 6-2 victory Sunday over Carlos Moya, who was trying to win the tournament for a third straight year. Ljubicic, seeded first, completed his semifinal earlier in the day by beating Belgium’s Kristof Vliegen 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6). That match had been disrupted by rain Saturday night. In the final, Moya squandered a 4-0 lead in the first-set tiebreaker. Ljubicic then broke serve twice in the second set. “It’s a long time that I played two matches in a day, but it helped me,” Ljubicic said. “The earlier match gave me the rhythm from the first point in the final.” Adelaide International France’s Florent Serra won in Australia for his second career ATP Tour title, beating Belgium’s Xavier Malisse 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday. Serra, who improved 159 places in the rankings last season to finish at No. 49, won his only previous title in Bucharest last season. “Adelaide was where I played my first ATP tournament (in 2003) so I’m very happy to win here,” Serra said. “Because I won in Bucharest last year I was a bit more relaxed but it was still tight.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Kuznetsova earned three match points with a forehand winner and clinched it in 1 hour, 50 minutes when Asagoe netted a return. Also Sunday, Serbia-Montenegro’s Ana Ivanovic beat China’s Peng Shuai 6-2, 6-4 to set up a second-round match against second-seeded Amelie Mauresmo. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson On Monday, Martina Hingis will open against French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne, the Swiss star’s biggest test in her comeback from chronic foot problems. Hobart International Amy Frazier of the United States overcame a slow start to beat Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-0 Sunday in the first round in Australia. Frazier, who won the 2004 Hobart title, said it was a close match despite the score of the final two sets. “I felt like the whole match was so even and every game was so close,” Frazier said. “I didn’t feel like it was over until the last point.” center_img Sixth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova opened the Sydney International with a victory Sunday, beating Japan’s Shinobu Asagoe 6-1, 5-7, 7-5. The Russian star, the 2004 U.S. Open winner, used deep, powerful groundstrokes to keep Asagoe on the defensive, but struggled for consistency after taking the first set in 19 minutes, spraying 76 unforced errors in the match. Kuznetsova wasted two match points on Asagoe’s serve in the third set and then dropped her own serve as the Japanese player pulled level at 5-5. last_img read more

Colts’ offense finally makes an appearance

first_imgNASHVILLE, Tenn.– It’s time to quit doubting the Indianapolis offense. The Colts showed they can be methodical and score lots of points at the same time. Peyton Manning threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns, including two to Marvin Harrison that tied the NFL record for most touchdowns between a quarterback and receiver, and the Colts beat Tennessee 31-10 Sunday. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 The Titans (1-3) are the NFL’s youngest team, and their inexperience showed. Drives ended repeatedly with dropped passes, including one that turned into an interception, costly penalties and two timeouts wasted in a drive h that finished with a missed field goal. Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said he was disappointed by the lack of execution. Center Justin Hartwig was much more succinct. “Today they just blew us out of the water. When we didn’t come out in the second half and put points on the board right away, it was pretty much over,” Hartwig said. Manning and the Colts had fans streaming to the exits midway through the third quarter. They rolled up 364 yards with four drives that stretched 69 yards or longer. “It’s tough,” Titans linebacker Peter Sirmon said. “You can’t stop it. Peyton Manning knows what he’s doing with the ball every time, and you’ve got to give him credit.” Harrison caught nine passes for 109 yards, and Edgerrin James also ran for 90 yards in helping the Colts improve to 4-0 with their highest point total this season. “I guess we won’t have to answer the question what is wrong with the offense now,” Colts coach Tony Dungy said. center_img Manning tied Ron Jaworski with his 116th consecutive start, which ranks second among quarterbacks behind Green Bay’s Brett Favre. He came into Sunday with a two-game drought without a scoring pass that was his longest since his rookie season. It didn’t last long. Manning was 4 of 4 for 64 yards on the opening possession and capped the drive with a 25-yard toss to Reggie Wayne, who was wide open with Titans safety Tank Williams late coming over to cover. “Last week people were kind of making a big deal,” Manning said of scoring 47 points in the first three games. “I overthrew it a couple times. The real mind-set is to finish drives into the end zone, and we did that today. And that really was the difference.” The Titans chose to spend most of the game in their basic defense instead of filling up the secondary to guard against the pass. They did stop James three times inside the Tennessee 7-yard line and force the Colts to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Mike Vanderjagt in the second quarter. That was the only big stop from a defense that watched the Colts convert seven of 10 third downs. Manning finally connected with Harrison on an 11-yard scoring pass for a 17-3 lead just before halftime for Harrison’s 100th career touchdown catch. They tied Steve Young and Jerry Rice for most touchdowns between a quarterback and receiver with 85 career touchdowns on a 24-yard pass with 13:09 left in the game and a 31-3 lead. Harrison said it’s still early in their careers. “You just never know when it’s going to end or what it’s going to be when it’s done,” Harrison said. Manning also tossed an 8-yarder to James and finished 20 of 27. Steve McNair did his best to carry the Titans as he scrambled four times for 40 yards, but he was the Titans’ leading rusher. He was 28 of 37 for 220 yards, and his only touchdown pass came on a 6-yarder to rookie Bo Scaife with 4:31 left in the game. That ended the Colts’ chance to become only the second team since World War II to hold opponents to single digits in each of their first four games. Tennessee looked like it might have a chance to rally at the end of the first half. The Titans trailed 17-3 when McNair found Drew Bennett on a 28-yard toss to the Colts’ 2-yard line, but the ball bounced out and appeared to be an interception by Bob Sanders. Officials originally ruled the ball down for Tennessee, but Indianapolis took a timeout, then the replay official buzzed for the review. Referee Walt Anderson overturned the ruling and gave the ball to the Colts. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Warriors’ preseason game will spark buzz in Seattle, but can it help lead to the Sonics’ return?

first_imgThe movement looked so precise and purposeful. This time, though, Kevin Durant made his footwork look distinguishable in another way.The Warriors’ star rocked a dark green pair of his KD 11’s during Wednesday’s practice that ended once again with a shooting session with All-Star teammate Stephen Curry. Before that, Eric Housen, the Warriors’ director of team operations, immediately saw the symbolism in Durant’s footwear. Or, so he thought.“Way to represent the A’s, KD!” Warriors coach Steve …last_img read more

Building a Cell: Staggering Complexity

first_img“The living cell is a self-organizing, self-replicating, environmentally responsive machine of staggering complexity.”  Thus began a special section on “Building a Cell” in Nature last week.1  The section with five papers explores what is known about gene regulation, cell organization and signalling.  It’s an opportunity, as well, to see what scientists think about what they are seeing.  “This Insight offers a hint of the most exciting research on the regulation of cellular organization and function,” the editors said, inviting the readers in for a look.Chromosome segregation: staggering machinery:  Bloom and Joglekar started out the series with a look at how cells divide the daughter chromosomes during cell division.2  “All organisms, from bacteria to humans, face the daunting task of replicating, packaging and segregating up to two metres (about 6 x 109 base pairs) of DNA when each cell divides,” their attention-getting abstract began.  “This task is carried out up to a trillion times during the development of a human from a single fertilized cell.”  Scientists may understand the strategy for replication, “But when it comes to packaging and segregating a genome, the mechanisms are only beginning to be understood and are often as variable as the organisms in which they are studied.”    Yet the seemingly unlimited ways different organisms accomplish this must meet stiff requirements for precision: “chromosome segregation must be executed with high fidelity so that the mother cell and the daughter cell that arise from division receive precisely the same DNA content,” they said.  Everything has to be done just right.  The cell has to be able to tell the chromosomes apart: which ones are the copies, and which ones are just look-alikes?  Where does each chromosome belong on the spatial template, like band members on a football field half-time show?  And where is the drum major calling the signals?  Here’s a take-home sentence: “Finally, the segregation machinery must function with far greater accuracy than man-made machines and with an exquisitely soft touch to prevent the DNA strands from breaking.”    Bloom and Joglekar talked “machine language” over and over.  The cell has specialized machines for all kinds of tasks: segregation machines, packaging machines, elaborate machines, streamlined machines, protein translocation machines, DNA-processing machines, DNA-translocation machines, robust macromolecular machines, accurate machines, ratchets, translocation pumps, mitotic spindles, DNA springs, coupling devices, and more.  The authors struggle to “understand how these remarkable machines function with such exquisite accuracy.”    The paper reads like a description of an alien spaceship filled with machinery carrying out amazing coordinated functions that visitors can only partially grasp, but know everything is obeying laws of physics: e.g., “Although DNA is not covalently linked to spindle microtubules or motor proteins, it may act as a spring in its capacity to absorb force and therefore prevent molecular motors from travelling too fast.”  Another example: “A different way of organizing polymers is to anchor many chains to a substrate (Fig. 1c).  In the field of polymer physics, this is an important strategy for regulating forces between polymers (for example in polymer brushes) and the environment, and for creating methods to switch rapidly from attraction to repulsion.  One type of brush is a Velcro-like structure, in which a highly oligomerized protein is attached to a subcellular site.”  Sure enough, such a strategy was discovered recently in a bacterium, with finesse: “Polymers of the C. crescentus protein PopZ assemble into a higher-order filamentous network that functions as an anchor for chromosome capture,” they said.    On two occasions they referred to evolution: (1) Speaking of how cells package the chromosomes to avoid breakage while making certain essential genes accessible during cell division, they said, “Several diverse protein machines have evolved to carry out these processes.”  They did not say how they evolved.  (2) Speaking of how certain genes are deactivated by histone modifications, they said, “DNA wrapping around the histone may impart a topological block to transcription.  In this model, nucleosome chirality at the centromere, as well as the path of DNA as it enters and exits the nucleosome, may have evolved to inhibit transcribing polymerases from inactivating the centromere, which would otherwise lead to chromosome loss.”  Presumably, if the cell had not “evolved” all this machinery “to” do these exquisite, coordinated functions, it would not exist today.Alternative splicing: staggering information and control:  Nilson and Graveley contributed a review article for the series about how alternative splicing expands the genome.3  This refers to the fact that a compact library of genes can be read in different ways, to generate more information in less space.  It would be like a software library with modules that can be joined in various ways to produce a variety of outcomes.  Like the other papers, this one has plenty of “wow factor” –The collection of components required to carry out the intricate processes involved in generating and maintaining a living, breathing and, sometimes, thinking organism is staggeringly complex.  Where do all of the parts come from?  Early estimates stated that about 100,000 genes would be required to make up a mammal; however, the actual number is less than one-quarter of that, barely four times the number of genes in budding yeast.  It is now clear that the ‘missing’ information is in large part provided by alternative splicing, the process by which multiple different functional messenger RNAs, and therefore proteins, can be synthesized from a single gene.A realization has been growing that alternative splicing, once thought unusual, is common.  Here’s a “spectacular example,” they noted: a gene in a fruit fly can produce 38,016 distinct messenger RNAs, “a number far in excess of the total number of genes (~14,500) in the organism.”  This means that there is far more information encoded in the genome than earlier believed: “the number of functionally distinct proteins that could be encoded by the genome is staggering.”  They said it now appears that “alternative splicing is one of the main sources of proteomic diversity in multicellular eukaryotes.”    This raises obvious questions about oversight and control.  What tells the fruit fly which one of the 38,000 protein products is needed at a particular time from that particular gene?  “The biochemical mechanisms that control splice-site usage, and therefore alternative splicing, are complex and in large part remain poorly understood,” they said.  “It is clear that there cannot be specific and distinct factors dedicated to each of the more than 100,000 alternative splicing decisions that occur in human cells; several genomes worth of regulatory proteins would be required if this were the case.”  Apparently, a small number of proteins are involved in alternative splicing events.  But what regulates the regulators?  “How can this handful of splicing regulators be responsible for controlling the plethora of alternative splicing events that occur?”  Again, this is “far from understood.”  The complexity truly is staggering when just the known mechanisms are listed:The number of mechanisms that are known to be involved in splicing regulation approximates the number of specific splicing decisions that have been analysed in any detail.  These mechanisms range from straightforward ones, such as steric blocking of splice sites or positive recruitment of the splicing machinery, to more complicated ones, such as formation of ‘dead-end’ complexes, blocking of splice-site communication or facilitation of splice-site communication.  Even these mechanisms are poorly understood at a detailed biochemical level (for example, what distinguishes dead-end complexes from productive complexes remains unclear).    The picture becomes even cloudier when splicing (and alternative splicing) is viewed not as a static process but as a highly dynamic process encompassing a large (yet to be defined) number of kinetic steps.  It is now clear that many factors can have marked effects on splicing patterns; these include transcription rate, core-splicing-machinery levels, intron size and competition between splice sites.So the kinetic factors add another dimension to the effects of alternative splicing.  Add to this the effects of chromatin structure (the “histone code”) and staggering seems an understatement.  Had enough yet?  “Last, before leaving the mechanistic aspects of alternative splicing, it should be noted that we have understated the complexity of the mechanisms involved.”  At this point, when the reader is about to collapse from overload, they keep rubbing it in: “it is clear that context affects function, and this adds a layer of complexity to the already complex field of alternative and regulated splicing.”    Surely these authors would not think this all evolved, would they?  Actually, they did.  In a confusing section about “bioinformatics,” a word that connotes intelligent design, they suggested that alternative splicing provides “evolutionary plasticity” – a more fluid environment in which mutations could cause significant evolution over point mutations on a gene.  But at the current time, these are only suggestions, if you can “envisage” them:These examples show the high level of evolutionary plasticity that alternative splicing provides.  Because small changes (that is, point mutations) in either exons or introns can create or destroy splicing control elements, it is easy to envisage that splicing patterns are constantly evolving: advantageous mutations would rapidly be selected for, and deleterious mutations would be selected against.  Indeed, we speculate that ‘non-conserved’ changes in splicing patterns might underlie the observed phenotypic variations between species and between individuals within species.  Recent studies have provided insight into the way in which human exons have evolved and the extent of alternative splicing differences between humans and chimpanzees.  Additional studies along these lines are likely to improve the understanding of how alternative splicing contributes to speciation and phenotypic diversity.Thus, the real “understanding” is only a promissory note dependent on future research.  Will anyone remember to check back in a decade and see how the promissory note paid off?  Or will this be an example of a misuse of the power of suggestion?    The authors are not ignorant of the questions this research raises about final causes.  “Another crucial question is how many mRNA isoforms are functionally relevant?  Teleology suggests that if an isoform exists, it is important (similarly to the way in which ‘junk’ DNA is now considered to be treasure),” they noted, as if smarting from the realization that the “junk DNA” paradigm has imploded.  “But this idea [teleology] is hard to prove and is difficult for some to accept.”  First of all, we don’t know how many isoforms [products of alternative splicing] are functional, and “the question of how many alternative splicing events are functionally relevant is destined to remain unanswered for some time.”  A number of tantalizing possibilities appear on the horizon. Another outstanding question is whether there is a decipherable ‘splicing code’.  Will a computer be able to predict reliably the splicing patterns in a cell or organism?  Despite the numerous variables (known and unknown) involved in splice-site choice, rapid progress has been made in this area.  But it is not clear when or whether this Rosetta stone of splicing will emerge….    Much remains to be learned about the mechanisms of alternative splicing and the regulatory networks of alternative splicing.  It is clear that researchers are only beginning to understand the diversity and details of the mechanisms that are used to regulate alternative splicing, as well as the factors involved.  Recent technological advances, particularly in genomic analysis, suggest that the next few years are likely to be filled with many exciting and unanticipated discoveries that could rapidly reveal the mysteries of the field.Endocytosis: Master Plan Association:  Cells are not isolated entities.  They interact profoundly with their environment.  One way they do this is through endocytosis: the orderly capture of material from outside the cell membrane to the inside.  The authors of the third entry in Building a Cell4  wrote that endocytosis, long understood as mere intercellular trafficking, is being “integrated at a deeper level in the cellular ‘master plan’ (the cellular network of signalling circuits that lie at the base of the cell’s make-up).”  By deciphering this level, the “endocytotic matrix,” scientists “might uncover a fundamental aspect of how a cell is built.”    Their are two major types of endocytosis.  One uses clathrin (see 10/07/2003), the other does not.  Clathrin is a unique 3-legged protein that links up to form a kind of geodesic-dome net around the cargo coming in through the cell membrane (watch the “Flight of the Clathrin Bumblebee” animation from Harvard).  Other pathways envelop the cargo in lipids, without the clathrin.  By containing the cargo in a vesicle, the cell can control it, like shipping containers arriving at a dock.  The cargo can contain nutrients or signals from the environment.  A new finding coming to light is that the signals are reciprocal.  This hints that more is going on than once thought:Recent studies, however, have uncovered a wealth of evidence that endocytosis has a much wider impact on signalling, including the finding that signalling pathways and endocytic pathways are regulated in a reciprocal manner, and the finding that several molecules have roles in both endocytosis and signalling (see refs 3, 4, 5 for reviews).  The emerging model is that the net biochemical output of signalling pathways largely depends on topological constraints.  These constraints are imposed by the association of signalling molecules with membranes, which in turn is regulated by endocytosis and by cycles of endocytosis and recycling to the plasma membrane (that is, endocytic and exocytic cycles (EECs)).  This set-up allows signals to be decoded by the cell according to precise kinetics and at spatially defined sites of action.  And, not surprisingly, it translates into endocytosis having a large impact on almost every cellular process.  In addition, evidence is emerging that the endocytic machinery has molecular functions that are not immediately reconcilable with membrane trafficking, leading researchers to question whether these ‘non-canonical’ functions are ‘moonlighting’ jobs or whether they point to deeper levels of integration of the endocytic matrix within signalling circuitries and cellular programs.Moonlighting jobs: what a suggestive analogy.  But if the moonlighting is even part of a bigger master plan, that’s even more suggestive of unforeseen complexity at deeper levels.  “Here we summarize the current understanding of how endocytosis is embedded in the cellular master plan, and more specifically its connections to signalling,” they said, launching into the discussion.  They seem to like that “master plan” metaphor: “We review endocytosis at the level of the circuits involved, highlighting how the integration of endocytosis and signalling determines the net biochemical output of a cell.  Then, we analyse how endocytosis affects the execution of complex cellular programs.  And, last, we speculate on how endocytosis might have evolved to become a pervasive component of the cellular master plan.”  How did the E-word evolved sneak into the master plan?  We shall see.    Sparing our overwhelmed readers the details of signalling, circuits and I/O, we note that the authors make “a plea for systems biology” to pull all this data together – i.e., a big-picture perspective.  We note the authors mentioning “microtubule motors” that propel the vesicles along highways to their targets, such as the nucleus.  Yet the average speed of the motors seem inadequate to explain how the signals traverse large distances to reach their targets as rapidly as experiments show.  Are there “traveling waves” of protein activation?  We don’t yet know.  The system also has to account for degradation and recycling of some parts.  Recent findings show endocytosis intimately involved in such diverse activities as mitosis, cell-cycle progression, and transcription, as well as in signaling.  The roles for endocytosis described by the authors seems endless: asymmetrical cell division, cytokinesis (the last part of cell division), genetic reprogramming, tumor suppression, transcription.  They wonder again whether the endocytosis mechanisms are “freelancing” these jobs or are part of a bigger picture.    Trying to get a grip on how all these roles might have evolved, they explored three analogies: (1) the moonlighting hypothesis (endocytic proteins carry on dual functions), the (2) autogenous hypothesis (it all started with membrane budding), and (3) the “Roman-road” hypothesis (it emerged for one function but found uses for others later, like Roman roads built to transport armies proved useful for commerce).  The autogenous hypothesis imagines the nucleus evolving from an endosome (endocytotic vesicle).  “Eukaryotic cells would thus have evolved as a consequence of the acquisition of a novel cellular property, the capacity to carry out endocytosis, putting this process at the centre of the eukaryotic cell master plan.”  Putting have evolved and master plan in the same sentence seems strained.  It gets even more strained when motors enter the picture: “As a consequence, several functions must have co-evolved with endocytosis,” they said: “For example, the evolutionary development of endocytosis must have co-evolved with that of the cytoskeleton, because membrane dynamics requires cytoskeletal scaffolds and molecular motors.”  How that happened was left as an exercise.  The Roman-road discussion became even more personified and mixed with intelligent-design lingo:Different passengers can be envisaged on these endocytic routes: commuters, hitch-hikers, hijackers and ticket holders.  Commuters are the regular passengers (cargo and associated machinery) for which the system was initially designed.  Hitch-hikers are molecules that parasitize the system (that is, they hitch a free ride) for a purpose not associated with endocytosis, without altering the functioning of the system.  Hijackers are hitch-hikers that sidetrack the system for their own purposes, causing it to malfunction, for example pathogens and, probably, cancer proteins.  Ticket holders are hitch-hikers that have evolved to ‘pay the fare’, by acquiring a new endocytosis-associated role (and therefore contributing to the functioning of the endocytic system), while retaining their original role.  Their new endocytic function might be unrelated to their original role to the extent that they seem to be moonlighting, thus bringing us back to the first proposed hypothesis [moonlighting].How useful these metaphors are to really understanding the “master plan” of the cell is debatable.  But it appears that intelligent design is the key to unlocking the mystery of endocytosis, regardless of what the authors think about evolution.  Why?  Because it is apparent there is a master plan:The evidence that we have reviewed here clearly indicates that endocytosis and signalling are two sides of the same coin and should be conceptualized as a single cellular process that is central to the eukaryotic cellular master plan.  Unravelling the logic of the ‘endocytic matrix’ therefore seems to be indispensable to any attempt to reverse engineer the cellular master plan in order to understand how a cell is ‘built’.Remarkably, their concluding suggestions for further research incorporate both intelligent-design and evolutionary concepts.  On the one hand, they recommended “complete understanding will be obtained only by integrating an additional level of complexity: information from ‘omics’ approaches and ‘top-down’ modelling,” as if there really is a master plan.  But then they said we might be able to reproduce the evolutionary history of endocytosis.  “Finally, scientists have traditionally devoted considerably more energy to understanding how things are than to how things came to be the way they are.  Re-evolving an endomembrane system in vivo, starting from prokaryotes, is a formidable task, but if it is successful, it will enormously improve understanding of the master plan of eukaryotic cells.”  Go figure.  They used the phrase “master plan” eight times, but spoke of its antithesis, evolution, 14 times.  We can only hope that with understanding – however scientists arrive at it – will come healthful benefits, like the ability to fight disease.Chromatin remodelling: glimpses of a higher code:  Combinatorial assembly is a key phrase in the fourth paper in the series.5  If that sounds like coding, that’s because it is.  Ho and Crabtree wrote,Before mammalian genomes were sequenced and genome-wide analyses of chromatin function became possible, ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling was thought to be largely a permissive mechanism that operates to allow the binding of general transcription factors.  However, the discovery that a large number of non-redundant genes are involved in chromatin remodelling and the ability to carry out more rigorous genetic analyses is enabling the specialized and instructive functions of these complexes to be defined.  These functions arise partly from the combinatorial assembly of the complexes.  The assembly of complexes from products of gene families suggest that biological specificity is produced in much the same way that letters produce meaning by being assembled into words.  But the mechanisms by which these chromatin-remodelling “words” are “translated” into specific biological functions are still unclear, and new ways to probe complex chromatin structure might be needed before we can improve our mechanistic understanding.The authors did not use the phrase “histone code” but the concept is related.  Apparently the combinatorial assembly of histone modifications is a means of storing cellular information independent of the genetic code.  An important question is whether the code is heritable.  The answer: we don’t yet know.  They said, “At present it is not known whether chromatin remodelling can transmit the memory of cell fate from one generation to the next.  With mounting evidence of the transience and reversibility of chromatin modifications (such as the presence of histone demethylases), the view that chromatin configuration is fixed after being established is giving way to the view that the chromatin landscape can be altered in response to both extrinsic signals and intrinsic signals, such that de-differentiation through nuclear reprogramming is possible.”  That possibility is clearly of interest for stem cell research.  On the other hand, “If their program of action is transmitted from one generation to another, then uncovering the mechanisms that direct remodellers back to their appropriate sites of action after each cell division will be crucial for understanding how the specificity and the memory of chromatin-remodelling action are achieved during development.”  One thing is clear from recent research: “For these reasons, the roles of ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling may be wider, yet more precise and programmatic, than was previously thought.”    What did these authors think about evolution?  All they said was brief and speculative.  They assumed evolution without saying anything about how it took place.ATP-dependent chromatin-remodelling complexes seem to have evolved to accommodate the major changes in chromatin regulation that occurred during the evolution of vertebrates from unicellular eukaryotes (Box 1).  As an example, complexes of the SWI/SNF family, which is one of the most-studied families of chromatin-remodelling complexes, have lost, gained and shuffled subunits during evolution from yeast to vertebrates.  In particular, the transition to vertebrate chromatin-remodelling complexes involved the expansion of several of the gene families encoding the subunits and the use of combinatorial assembly, which together are predicted to allow the formation of several hundred complexes.  But what is the advantage of combinatorial assembly?This statement says little more than “it evolved during the evolution of” this or that.  Moreover, the wording that said evolution involved the expansion…and the use of combinatorial assembly, by using subjunctive and passive verbs, shields the statement from any explanatory utility.  <1>Who or <1>what came up with “the use of combinatorial assembly”  How?  Why?  Evolution, a mindless and passive process, cannot shed light on such questions.    Certainly, the authors avoided elaborating on what they meant.  But they did elaborate on their last question, “what is the advantage of combinatorial assembly?”  It’s much like the advantage of alternative splicing (see #2 above): it allows for orders of magnitude more information to be derived from the same compact code.  It means that both alternative splicing and chromatin remodelling use the same strategy of combinatorial assembly to yield vast quantities of functional information.  One of their figures illustrates how “Combinatorial assembly of chromatin-remodelling complexes produces biological specificity.”  They said, “Current evidence indicates that many vertebrate chromatin-regulatory complexes are assembled combinatorially … thereby greatly expanding the potential for diverse gene-expression patterns compared with unicellular eukaryotes.”    This expansion of compact information is particularly evident in the “diverse patterns of gene expression [that] occurs in the development and function of the brain,” they noted; therefore, “it may be no accident that an extraordinary diversity of neural phenotypes is emerging from genetic studies of the subunits of chromatin remodellers in the nervous system,” they said.  No accident; does that comport with a blind Darwinian mechanism?Cell skeleton: epigenetic information:  The final paper in the series concerns the cytoskeleton. Did you know those soft squishy entities we call cells have a skeleton?  It’s true: “The ability of a eukaryotic cell to resist deformation, to transport intracellular cargo and to change shape during movement depends on the cytoskeleton, an interconnected network of filamentous polymers and regulatory proteins,” wrote Fletcher and Mullins,6 (see 01/14/2008).  That’s old news.  What’s new, they continued, is that “Attention is now focused on how cytoskeletal networks generate, transmit and respond to mechanical signals over both short and long timescales.”  An important insight is emerging from this work, they said: “long-lived cytoskeletal structures may act as epigenetic determinants of cell shape, function and fate.”  Not all the information about a living cell is stored in DNA.  That’s what epigenetic (above the gene) means.    These authors put cell research into a historical context.  Years of detailed research has brought us to a time when we need to step back and look at the big picture.In a 1960 lecture, cell and developmental biologist Paul A. Weiss encouraged his audience to think of the cell as an integrated whole “lest our necessary and highly successful preoccupation with cell fragments and fractions obscure the fact that the cell is not just an inert playground for a few almighty masterminding molecules, but is a system, a hierarchically ordered system, of mutually interdependent species of molecules, molecular groupings, and supramolecular entities; and that life, through cell life, depends on the order of their interactions”.    This statement may be more relevant today than it was 50 years ago.  Despite tremendous progress, fundamental gaps remain between our understanding of individual molecules and our understanding of how these molecules function collectively to form living cells.  The sequencing of genomes outpaces characterization of the cellular components they encode and far exceeds our ability to reassemble these components into the types of complex system that can provide mechanistic insight into cellular behaviour.  An even more difficult task is to connect the behaviour of cells in culture with that of more complex living tissues and organisms.Notice how this statement relates to the quote by Dr. Daniel Robinson at the top right of this page.  Understanding is not going to come merely from studying fragments; it’s going to require grasping the big picture of how all these hierarchical complex organizations fit together.    With that sermon in mind, Fletcher and Mullins delved into the details of the cytoskeleton.  “The cytoskeleton carries out three broad functions: it spatially organizes the contents of the cell; it connects the cell physically and biochemically to the external environment; and it generates coordinated forces that enable the cell to move and change shape.”  The word skeleton is a bit of a misnomer, they noted; “it is a dynamic and adaptive structure whose component polymers and regulatory proteins are in constant flux.”    Once again, the concepts of combinatorial assembly come to mind.  They use a simple analogy that invokes images of intelligent design – more or less:The proteins that make up the cytoskeleton have many similarities to LEGO, the popular children’s toy.  Both consist of many copies of a few key pieces that fit together to form larger objects.  Both can be assembled into a wide range of structures with diverse properties that depend on how the pieces are assembled.  And both can be disassembled and reassembled into different shapes according to changing needs.  But only the cytoskeleton fulfils all of these functions through self-assembly.It appears that we are looking at a system that is both the toy and the player.  From a few simple building blocks, many diverse structures and functions are built.  The authors wonder “how molecules collaborate to form functional cytoskeletal structures” that both provide stability to the cell and response from the environment.  Does “self-assembly” really explain such things?  Or is it a place-holder for ignorance about processes beyond our comprehension?    Many wonders about the protein parts, like the microtubules, which form highways for intracellular traffic, are discussed in this paper, which space does not allow to recount.  Here’s one sample: “A microtubule can switch between two states: stably growing and rapidly shrinking.  This ‘dynamic instability’ enables the microtubule cytoskeleton to reorganize rapidly and allows individual microtubules to search the cellular space quickly, up to 1,000-fold faster than a polymer that is sensitive only to changes in the cellular concentration of its constituent subunits or to the actions of regulatory proteins.”    Microtubules, intermediate filaments, and actin filaments with their cross-bridges form intricate, dynamic networks that give spatial organization to the cell interior.  The pieces are not independent: “the polymers of the cytoskeleton are intricately linked together,” they said.  “The organization of these links and the resultant architecture of the cytoskeletal networks has a central role in transmitting compressive and tensile stresses and in sensing the mechanical microenvironment.  On the hubs and highways of this network, motor proteins do their work – carrying cargo, pulling, harnessing, constructing, and responding to signals.  Interestingly, “Some cytoskeletal structures can span distances much larger than that of the typical cell,” such as in filopodia, forming communication channels between cells.  The same physical constraints must be obeyed that engineers consider when building bridges:Microtubules are the stiffest of the three polymers and have the most complex assembly and disassembly dynamics.  The persistence length of microtubules, a measure of filament flexibility that increases with stiffness, is so large (~5 mm) that single microtubules can form tracks that are almost linear and span the length of a typical animal cell, although microtubules are known to buckle under the compressive loads in cells.  During interphase, the part of the cell cycle during which cells prepare for division, many cells take advantage of this stiffness by assembling radial arrays of microtubules that function as central hubs and ‘highways’ for intracellular traffic.  During mitosis, the part of the cell cycle during which cells separate chromosomes into two identical sets, the microtubule cytoskeleton rearranges itself into a high-fidelity DNA-segregating machine called the mitotic spindle.  The ability of the mitotic spindle to find and align chromosomes depends, in part, on the complex assembly dynamics of individual microtubules.Another example shows that biology speaks the same language as engineering:When shear stresses are applied to actin-filament networks, as well as to networks of intermediate filaments or extracellular-matrix filaments such as collagen and fibrin, the networks stiffen and resist additional deformation, as a result of filament entanglement (in which the displacement of one filament is impeded by another filament) and the entropic elasticity of individual filaments.  When a rigid crosslinker such as scruin is added to randomly organized actin filaments and shear stress is applied, the magnitude of the elastic modulus (a measure of the resistance of the network to deformation) increases significantly, and the network retains the stress-stiffening behaviour attributed to the entropic elasticity of individual filaments.  When the more flexible crosslinker filamin A is added to randomly organized actin filaments together with the molecular motor myosin, the rigidity of the network increases to more than that of an entangled filament network, and the network stiffens nonlinearly as though it were subject to external stress.  These studies demonstrate the importance of the entropic elasticity of filaments in the mechanical properties of networks without specific filament orientation.You get the idea.  Young’s modulus, compressive forces, shear stresses and other physics terms pervade the paper – as if we were reading a treatise on architecture.  But it’s not just the architecture.  These systems are integrated with other systems in a hierarchical, unified whole – the living cell.  When things go wrong, the results can be as catastrophic as an earthquake.  “And mutations in the genes encoding intermediate filament proteins are associated with many diseases in humans … including a predisposition to liver disease in the case of some keratins, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) in the case of a neuronal class of intermediate filament called neurofilaments, and progeria (a hereditary form of premature ageing) in the case of improperly assembled nuclear lamins.”    The authors commented on one other interesting and important development: epigenetics.  Evidence is emerging that the cytoskeleton determines part of a cell’s “memory” that is inherited through cell division.  “Given that cytoskeletal structures are often highly dynamic, with specific factors that promote disassembly and recycling of the cytoskeletal building blocks competing with factors that assemble and stabilize them, is it possible for mechanical inputs to be recorded?” they asked.  Because the time lag for disassembly of a network exceeds the cell cycle, it appears that a hysteresis signal persists through the division: “the result can be a persistent structure that affects the behaviour of a cell over a longer timescale than the initial signal.”  It can provide a memory independent of DNA.  But this memory is not in the particulars, but rather than in the interactions: “In contrast to molecular motors, for which the relationship between force and velocity is immediately reversible, the observation that there is more than one growth velocity for a given force suggests that actin-filament network growth depends on history.  The cytoskeletal structure and the process by which it is built can record mechanical interactions, whereas a single filament could not.”  What are the implications?  A cell’s fate will depend not only the DNA it inherits, but on the structure of the parent cells: “To the extent that the cytoskeleton is intricately involved both mechanically and biochemically in cellular processes such as cell division and motility, long-lived cytoskeletal structures could create variability in cell behaviour and may guide variation towards certain phenotypes,” i.e., cell fate.  The details of this idea have “just begun to be explored in detail.”    The authors ended by noting that, “Until not long ago, eukaryotic cells were thought to be distinguished from bacteria and archaea by the presence of a cytoskeleton.  But the discovery of cytoskeletal polymers even in comparatively simple cells of small size and genome are revealing the central importance of internal organization for cell function.”  They speculated briefly on the origin of the polymers of the cytoskeleton, but the description was only about possible homologous structures in bacteria.  “More than 35 actin-like proteins have been identified in bacteria, but most remain to be characterized,” they said.  This begs the question about where the bacteria got their cytoskeletons.  They must do a good job, because we still have them with us.The authors of the last paper concluded with another quote from Paul Weiss’s lecture in 1960: “Life is a dynamic process.  Logically, the elements of a process can be only elementary processes, and not elementary particles or any other static units.  Cell life, accordingly, can never be defined in terms of a static inventory of compounds, however detailed, but only in terms of their interactions” (italics in original).  This realization reverberates throughout all the sciences.  The more we focus on reducing biology to chemistry, and chemistry to physics, and physics to fundamental particles, the more we risk missing the real story.1. Deepa Nath, Ritu Dhand and Angela K. Eggleston (Editors), “Building a Cell,” Nature 463, 445 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/463445a.2.  Kerry Bloom and Ajit Joglekar, “Towards building a chromosome segregation machine,” Nature 463, 446-456 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08912.3.  Timothy W. Nilsen and Brenton R. Graveley, “Expansion of the eukaryotic proteome by alternative splicing,” Nature 463, 457-463 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08909.4.  Giorgio Scita1 and Pier Paolo Di Fiore, “The endocytotic matrix,” Nature 463, 464-473 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08910.5.  Lena Ho and Gerald R. Crabtree, “Chromatin remodelling during development,” Nature 463, 474-484 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08911.6.  Daniel A. Fletcher and R. Dyche Mullins, “Cell mechanics and the cytoskeleton,” Nature 463, 485-492 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08908.We hope you have enjoyed this tour inside the cell.  Review articles like those in this series, unlike single papers that focus on one detail, are valuable for pulling together many recent findings into a coherent picture.  And what a picture!  Systems upon systems, structures upon structures, codes upon codes: the language of networks, signals, responses, interactions, and communication – the details of which underscore the complexity of the whole.  Whoever described a cell as an “undifferentiated blob of protoplasm” should be placed in the Dodo cage.  Dr. Mullins sure knows better now.  His paper was the least concerned about evolution.  We hope he will smell the coffee, trust his instincts, and wake up to thoughts of design (10/21/2008).    Evolutionists have to be the most incorrigible ideologues that ever walked this planet.  No one else in the history of mankind has had this much access to the details of life’s complexity.  Yet despite staring at this complexity with the highest resolution ever attained, and despite employing the language of engineering to describe it, they continue to say “it evolved.”  They attribute “machinery [that] must function with far greater accuracy than man-made machines” to blindness and accident.  To add insult to injury, some of them forbid anyone from thinking anything else!    This is one area where the Master Plan has broken down.  The broken parts require complete overhaul, wipe, reinstall of new software, and reboot.  It was costly to provide that overhaul, but it can be downloaded free.  In the big picture, though, we can see that, all along, it was the Master Plan behind the Master Plan.(Visited 44 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Assam’s tea country where lethal liquor takes lives

first_imgSpurious ‘sulai,’ or country spirit, has often taken lives in Assam. But the cheap liquor was seldom a large-scale killer until more than a week ago when it felled 157 people in and around two tea estates in eastern Assam’s Golaghat and Jorhat districts. The disaster forced the State to crack down on illicit breweries that allegedly thrive on a nexus between bootleggers and excise and police officials.Where did the tragedy happen?On February 21, death struck at the Halmira Tea Estate in Golaghat when plantation workers gathered to celebrate a birth. Local hospitals soon began to fill with patients from villages around Halmira and Borhola Tea Estate in Jorhat district. Preliminary investigations pointed to the ‘sulai’ having come from the same source. The tragedy happened within a certain radius of the two estates not far from each other, but social activists involved with the health of plantation workers said it could have been anywhere across Assam’s tea-growing areas comprising 65,000 major and small gardens.What caused the deaths?Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said a lethal combination of methanol and liquid molasses claimed the lives of plantation workers. The National Human Rights Commission took note of the methanol content and issued notice to the State government, asking it for a report on the cause of death and the action taken. Excise officials said ‘sulai’ traditionally involved fermenting molasses and breaking it down to ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, and carbon dioxide at a controlled temperature. A process of distillation over firewood yielded the clear, pungent liquor with alcohol content of up to 45%. But high demand and commercialisation saw illegal manufacturers using the cheaper methanol, an alcohol that provides the same kick as ethanol and occurs naturally at low levels in fermented drinks, but is far more toxic. If not produced by standardised factories, a higher dose of methanol can cause multiple organ failure.Why are gardens affected?A survey done a decade ago by an NGO in 64 tea estates of Sonitpur district revealed 87% of plantation workers aged above 40 were addicted to alcohol. This addiction, activists say, is a colonial hangover; the British planters made rectified spirit easily and cheaply available to the earliest plantation workers to let them forget the trauma of being uprooted from their central Indian homes 170 years ago. Alcoholism coincided with another habit the British introduced — salted tea — to counter dehydration.What are corrective measures?In 2017, the BJP government amended the Excise Rules for “scientific brewing” and to end the control of the country liquor market by a few barons. Companies were offered licences, expected to fetch ₹200 crore in annual revenue, to bottle hygienic country spirit. A firm in Jorhat set up an automated plant to produce ‘sulai’ with 12% alcohol. But illicit brewers have been cashing in on the demand with cheaper stuff that sells higher on weekly pay day or during a social occasion, as was the case in Halmira.last_img read more

MIT Gayin Dooriyan

first_imgNothing quite erases the distance (mit gayin dooriyan) for the 20 million NRIs worldwide than Bollywood. Sangita Shresthova took Bollywood with her when she moved to Prague.“Indian cinema has for some peculiar reason, thankfully for us, got into the hearts and minds of people outside Indian shores, and that’s why we are all here,” says Amitabh Bachchan, the legendary film star who has acted in more than 160 Indian movies.Increasingly now U.S. universities are beginning to pay attention to the unrelenting Bollywood phenomenon. Shanti Kumar conducts a graduate-level seminar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as part of its Media and Cultural Studies program. Priya Joshi teaches a Bollywood course at the University of California at Berkeley and Vamsee Jaluri at the University of San Francisco. The University of Wisconsin-Madison also convenes an annual Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference on South Asia.At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, the Department of Comparative Media Studies offers two Bollywood courses taught by Tina Klein and Tuli Banerjee, whose favorite Bollywood actor is without a doubt, Amitabh Bachchan. Akhil Narang: “Some of my non-Asian friends have a hard time figuring out Bollywood.”Klein says she developed an interest in Bollywood from her work in transnational cinema and the Diaspora. Banerjee, who was exposed to Indian cinema from an early age, says Bollywood was integral to her course on Indian popular culture. She says students in her courses learn and understand the relationship between pop culture and the social imaginary of India as a nation through this medium.While Bollywood fans may be surprised to learn that their trivial pursuits are treated with such gravity by academics at prestigious universities, Klein says: “American academics have been studying popular film and popular culture more generally for a long time now. As Asian film becomes better known in the U.S., academics become more interested in studying it. I think as more young people with family ties to South Asia become professors, they are bringing it into the classroom as well.”Banerjee’s course examines the elements of the formulaic “masala movie, music and melodrama, the ideas of nostalgia and incumbent change in youth culture, as well as shifting questions of gender and sexuality. Using various Bollywood films, we come to grasp how the film industry is organized and how it shapes what we see on the screen.”Aswin Punathembekar, an MIT almunus, currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says “The most important thing to do here is to get away from the idea that the Hollywood mode of film production and aesthetics is the ‘right’ way and that all other cinemas are somehow not the norm. Most journalists writing in the West make this assumption that Indian cinema is little more than a poor imitation of Hollywood. The fact of the matter is Indian cinema has evolved its own aesthetic system, derived from a range of influences (Sanskrit and Parsi theatre, mythologies such as the Ramayan and Mahabharata, folk performance/music, etc.). Aswin Punathembekar: “Most journalists writing in the West make this assumption that Indian cinema is little more than a poor imitation of Hollywood.”“Indian cinema, like cinemas in other nations, is best understood in relation to the socio-cultural and political contexts within which it operates, to which it responds. It should be studied because as a culture industry, it has enormous influence on various individual, social and political levels.“It plays an extremely crucial role in constructing identity (national, regional, religious, gender, sexual, linguistic, and so on). Think about all the ways in which Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, etc. are dealt with in Hindi cinema, or gender stereotypes, questions of sexuality…the list is endless!”In the MIT Bollywood classes, elements of Indian cinema are dissected, examined under the microscope, and serve as grist for term papers. Students argue over their favorite stars – Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Vivek Oberoi, Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta and Zayed Khan – and films – Dil Wale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Dil Se, Jal Ho Naa Ho, Main Hoo Na.At one particular class they could come to an agreement on their worst film. LOC (Line of Control) bombed as far as everyone was concerned. Bad plot, bad songs and bad acting was their consensus, notwithstanding the fact that the movie had an all-star line-up.“Some of my non-Asian friends have a hard time figuring out Bollywood. They even ask if the songs are a ‘break’ in the film, rather than coming to understand how much of an integral part they are of the film,” notes senior Akhil Narang. Tracy Daniels: “I love the songs and even though I don’t understand Hindi, the themes break the language barrier.”“If, for instance, the couple in question are in the house in the scene of the film and the song takes place in the kitchen, chances are it’s in ‘real time’ and should be seen as such. If the song changes from the present place/situation totally, to some exotic lands, well then, it’s now the ‘fantasy aspect’ of the film, but it still relates to the plot itself. Then there are the songs you internalize with, like Dil Se,” says graduate student Parmesh Shanai.Actor/producer Shahrukh Khan once explained Bollywood to novices: “The Hindi film is like Titanic, everything is told to you. This is going to happen, the ship will hit an iceberg and just in case you don’t know it, let me show you at the beginning of the film how it happened. Everything is explained, you don’t have to think too hard, just enjoy the moments. Films are very basic. You follow the story, you enjoy it, it’s full of emotion and whenever you get a little bogged down, a song will come.“A Hindi film is a complete variety entertainment show and you don’t have to worry about whether you’ll understand the film or not. I think films should not give social messages, or pass value judgments, or tell you what’s right and what’s wrong. Films should make you laugh, cry, sing, dance, have a good time and come back home, that’s all.”Now what could be simpler than that folks?Students and faculty alike are clearly having a blast. Sajan Saini: “I grew up watching Hindi movies every weekend at a rented theatre where my parents ran the shows for local Indians living in Montreal.”“What I like most about the class is how the information we gain can be interwoven into many aspects of life, literature, etc.,” says senior Neil Sengupta.Tracy Daniel’s enthusiasm bubbles forth as she explains how the class enlightened her on Indian culture, ideals, as well as the color and splendor of the sets and costumes. In a paper entitled, “Bollywood Dreams: Visions of a Wet Sari”, she writes, “The sari is draped with numerous connotations of life, love, and sorrow, yet never is it more provocative than when drenched by Bollywood Cinema. The ‘wet sari’ sequence was popularized in the 1970’s and 80’s films of Raj Kapoor, who shrewdly exploited gratuitous titillation in the face of the importunate censorship looming over Indian filmmakers at the time. Pooja Kaul re-appropriates the sari in a manner that is equally suggestive, yet diverts itself from the seemingly gratuitous nature of Bollywood by grounding it in classical traditions of expression and emotion.”Commenting on the films themselves, she says, “I love the songs and even though I don’t understand Hindi, the themes break the language barrier. It’s easy to understand that two people are in love or see the turmoil between families.”Graduate student Sajan Saini, who has a growing personal interest in documentary filmmaking and script-writing, reminisces, “I grew up watching Hindi movies every weekend at a rented theatre where my parents ran the shows for local Indians living in Montreal. I thought Amitabh was ‘The Man.’“During my teens, I went through a long phase of disenchantment with Bollywood. Since the time of DDLJ, I’ve found myself returning to a Bollywood, that’s been dynamically improving its narrative trends… and as a moviegoer, I’m beginning to appreciate and respect more the spectacle-driven entertainment value and technical proficiency of the Bollywood pot-boiler. Parmesh Shanai: “There are songs you internalize”“Film makers like Mani Ratnam, Farhan Akhtar, and the super-cool Ram Gopal Varma have gotten me excited about Bollywood’s growing levels of narrative maturity, or at the very least character-intensive plots. And what I find particularly interesting, is how the aged Amitabh Bachchan has begun opening up new plot structures for Bollywood: stories about older characters and the personal struggles they are enduring, as opposed to college-based youthful love stories.”Film scholar and MIT alumnus, Sangita Shresthova, who now finds herself living in Prague, Czechoslovakia, wasn’t leaving Bollywood behind when she moved. She not only teaches traditional Indian and Bollywood dance there, but also recently organized a festival of Bollywood films with a Czech film maker who’s very interested in Bollywood films and an Indology scholar, who studied with her at Charles University.She told Radio Prague, “Our objective really was to bring Bollywood to Prague, and I think we’ve succeeded in doing that. We also really wanted to motivate the South Asian community here to be more active, and I think maybe we’ve succeeded in that.” The Bollywood juggernaut rolls on.  MIT instructor Tuli Banerjee  MIT instructor Tina Klein Related Itemslast_img read more