November 2nd, 2003



For the princely sum of £41 I just bought:
Poul Anderson - The Broken Sword
M John Harrison - Viriconium
Roger Zelazny - Lord of Light (one of my all time favourite books and the reason I went in in the first place)
Jack Vance - Lyonesse
Arthur C Clarke - The Fountains of Paradise (another of my all time favourites)
Jonathan Carroll - The Land of Laughs
George RR Martin - Fevre Dream
Haruki Murakami - Norwegian Wood
Fritz Leiber - The Second Book of Lankhmar (I must pick up the first one sometime)
Samuel R Delany - Nova
Pohl & Kornbluth - The Space Merchants
Joe Haldeman - The Forever War (another all time favourite)
George R Stewart - Earth Abides

Which is about £3.25 per book.

Unless you want a similar fate to befall you, I recommend avoiding FOPP on Rose Street (next to Sainsburies, off of St Andrews Square).

Halloween and toothy scariness

Friday - was in a talk from 2-4 that overran, meaning that I got less time in the office afterwards than I hoped - dashed off promptly, hit home, helped Erin with a technical problem and made it to the station at 6:32. Got on the 7:00 train and was at Scott/Rob's place for 8:40 to watch Halloween videos. Mostly hung out in the kitchen and chatted to people randomly. Flirted with Rob's girlfriend's friend, which was great fun, even if nothing was meant by it. Went home to old flat at 3am and slept on the sofa (Hugh/Meredith grabbing the bed).

Slept badly (dreams of spiders and tiny crawling insects punctuated by waking up having slid halfway down the back of the sofa) but still felt largely awake when I awoke at 11. Had gorgeous breakfast of pancakes, sausages, bacon and Maple Syrup (cheers Joe) and chatted to him and Gemma before waking St up, signing legal papers to sell him my half of the flat and dissappearing back to Edinburgh (pausing briefly to chat to Gordon). Myself and Joe talked about all sorts of cool stuff on the way to Edinburgh and then met up with Ed to see Holes. Holes was truly magical - a proper kids film that never patronised - proper review later.

Then off to Lilian's to help with Zine. Battery on phone was dead by this point, and Lilian had wandered out, so her flatmate let me in and I lounged about reading PC-Pro until she returned, then helped her set up her scanner and scanned stuff before grabbing food. While eating soft chinese food, a chunk of my far back right-hand tooth came off (I could see both inside and outside). No real pain from it, so I assume the inside is dead. Feel vaguely miffed at dentist for not discovering that this was going to happen when I saw him two weeks ago. Am going to make emergency appointment on Monday.

And now to bed, having realised that the above is garbles by tiredness.

Hope you're all well, I'll read your journals later!

Cool meme of the day

I'm trying to get all my Livejournal friends' locations plotted on a map - please add your location starting with this form.
(Then get your friends to!)
  • Current Music
    PJ Harvey - Down By The Water

Chemical of love

minkyboylove mentioned Oxytocin in her journal in association with orgasm, which sent me in search of more references. I'd now like to know why I've not bumped into this before!

First, infusion of oxytocin into the ventricles of the brain of virgin rats or non-pregnant sheep rapidly induces maternal behavior. Second, administration into the brain of antibodies that neutralize oxytocin or of oxytocin antagonists will prevent mother rats from accepting their pups. Other studies support the contention that this behavioral effect of oxytocin is broadly applicable among mammals.

While there is no doubt that oxytocin stimulates all of the effects described above, doubt has recently been cast on its necessity in parturition and maternal behavior. Mice that are unable to secrete oxytocin due to targeted disruptions of the oxytocin gene will mate, deliver their pups without apparent difficulty and display normal maternal behavior. However, they do show deficits in milk ejection and have subtle derangements in social behavior. It may be best to view oxytocin as a major facilitator of parturition and maternal behavior rather than a necessary component of these processes.

Which makes it sound like the receptors have to be functioning, but the oxycytin doesn't necessarily have to be produced directly.

A number of factors can inhibit oxytocin release, among them acute stress. For example, oxytocin neurons are repressed by catecholamines, which are released from the adrenal gland in response to many types of stress, including fright.

A number of studies have implicated the neurohypophyseal peptides oxytocin and vasopressin in the central mediation of complex social behaviors, including affiliation, parental care and territorial aggression. Research on a monogamous rodent, the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster), suggests that these neuropeptides are also involved in the control of several behaviors associated with monogamy, including pair bonding, paternal care and mate guarding. Comparative studies using several species of vole have identified species-specific patterns of oxytocin- and vasopressin-receptor expression in the brain that appear to be associated with a monogamous versus non-monogamous social structure. Molecular studies suggest that changes in the regulation of oxytocin- and vasopressin-receptor gene expression underlie these species differences in receptor distribution and might provide a mechanism for the evolution of monogamy in voles.

Most behavioral and physiological effects induced by oxytocin can be blocked by oxytocin antagonists. In contrast, the antistress effects can not, suggesting that unidentified oxytocin receptors may exist.

Sexually naive female prairie voles received a daily subcutaneous injection of 20 microg oxytocin or isotonic saline for 5 days before being placed with a sexually experienced male for 48 h. Females treated with oxytocin were significantly more likely to mate during this period than saline-treated females.

Oxytocin is a pro-social hormone that affects the brain as a result of its interactions with gonadal steroids like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and corticosterone.

"The brain affects behavior, but behavior also affects the brain," Witt said. "The brain is very plastic and these gonadal steroids provide a certain milieu in which other chemicals, like oxytocin, can affect the brain."

Animal studies, from Witt’s lab and others, have shown that oxytocin can have dramatic effects on behavior. When the natural release of oxytocin is blocked, for instance, mothers - from sheep to rats - reject their own young.

Meanwhile, virgin female rats injected with oxytocin fawn over another female’s young, nuzzling the pups and protecting them as if they were their own.

More here and here
  • Current Music
    Pj Harvey - Teclo

Inventions Andy would like #6455

A website where you could store programs you'd like to see when they get repeated, and it would tell you before they were on.

I'd love to see The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, but it's not scheduled anywhere at the moment and I have no easy way of telling when it will be.
  • Current Music
    PJ Harvey - The Dancer