"2014": Putin's lies and Russia’s new "Doublethink"
- “WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, AND IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”. The slogan from George Orwell’s “1984” dystopia appears to capture the state of Russia’s 2014 official discourse quite accurately. This has not gone unnoticed by public and academic spectators in and outside Russia: while Bild magazine is counting Putin’s lies in his recent ARD interview, a Zeit article declares Russia itself to be a post-modern “lie”...
"A comparative analysis of the political economies and ideologies underlying the emergence of the Palestinian Hamas and the Algerian FIS"
- This paper examines the political-economy and cultural dynamics and discourses underlying the emergence of the Palestinian Hamas and the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front. Both movements emerged in the late 1980s as responses to continuing (neo) colonial conditions in their countries. I explore to what extent the various processes commonly referred to as “globalization,” both the world-wide economic transformations epitomized by post-fordism on the macro/system level and neo-liberal structural adjustment programs within countries, and—perhaps more important—its cultural dynamics contributed to the rise and power of both movements. I examine the socio-economic situation in Algeria and Palestine-Israel during the 1980s and link it to the politics developments in both countries. Next I review the events behind the founding of both movements and the main components of their ideologies and strategies. Finally I explore their arguments to determine whether the political-economic or cultural pressures unleashed by globalization were the determining factor in their emergence and ideological development. I conclude by comparing the two case studies to determine if there are common threads that can serve as the basis for a region-wide investigation of the role of globalization in the emergence and/or rise to social hegemony of Islamist movements in other MENA countries.
"A great poet on a great brother poet": a parallactic reading of Goethe and James Joyce
- The essay provides a contrapuntal ‘parallactic’ reading of Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s ‘Bildungsroman’ Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre - with its extensions Wilhelm Meisters theatralische Sendung and Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre - and James Joyce’s high modernist A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Ulysses (1922). Derived from astronomy, the term parallax designates, transferred to literary history, a narrative stratagem, a metapoetical rationale, and an interpretive method. Joyce employs it as a key concept and narrative tool in Ulysses to denote a stereoscopic perspective applied to the protagonists’ actions and the world they live in. Leopold Bloom thus refl ects on it and the technique of Ulysses is determined by it. On a higher plane, literary critics, too, engage in literary historical parallax whenever they read texts intertextually — as exemplified in this essay. A parallactic reading of the novels’ protagonists Wilhelm Meister and Stephen Dedalus, as regards not just their identification with Shakespeare’s Hamlet but also the symbolic connotations embedded in their names and mythological pretexts, allows us to shed new light on the roles and significance of narrative irony, chance, and paternity in these novels.
"A manager in the minds of doctors" : a comparison of new modes of control in European hospitals
- Background: Hospital governance increasingly combines management and professional self-governance. This article maps the new emergent modes of control in a comparative perspective and aims to better understand the relationship between medicine and management as hybrid and context-dependent. Theoretically, we critically review approaches into the managerialism-professionalism relationship; methodologically, we expand cross-country comparison towards the meso-level of organisations; and empirically, the focus is on processes and actors in a range of European hospitals.
Methods: The research is explorative and was carried out as part of the FP7 COST action IS0903 Medicine and Management, Working Group 2. Comprising seven European countries, the focus is on doctors and public hospitals. We use a comparative case study design that primarily draws on expert information and document analysis as well as other secondary sources.
Results: The findings reveal that managerial control is not simply an external force but increasingly integrated in medical professionalism. These processes of change are relevant in all countries but shaped by organisational settings, and therefore create different patterns of control: (1) ‘integrated’ control with high levels of coordination and coherent patterns for cost and quality controls; (2) ‘partly integrated’ control with diversity of coordination on hospital and department level and between cost and quality controls; and (3) ‘fragmented’ control with limited coordination and gaps between quality control more strongly dominated by medicine, and cost control by management.
Conclusions: Our comparison highlights how organisations matter and brings the crucial relevance of ‘coordination’ of medicine and management across the levels (hospital/department) and the substance (cost/quality-safety) of control into perspective. Consequently, coordination may serve as a taxonomy of emergent modes of control, thus bringing new directions for cost-efficient and quality-effective hospital governance into perspective.
"A system for the intracellular generation of triple helix-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) and the sequence-specific inhibition of human MCP-1 gene expression"
- Chemokines play a key role in the cellular infiltration of inflamed tissue. They are released by a wide variety of cell types during the initial phase of host response to injury, allergens, antigens, or invading microorganisms, and selectively attract leukocytes to inflammatory foci, inducing both migration and activation. Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), a member of the CC chemokine superfamily, functions in attracting monocytes, T lymphocytes, and basophils to sites of inflammation. MCP-1 is produced by monocytes, fibroblasts, vascular endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells in response to various stimuli such as tumour necrosis factor-a (TNF-a), interferon-g (IFN-g), and interleukin-1b (IL-1b). It also plays an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammation, and overexpression of MCP-1 has been implicated in diseases including glomerulonephritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Oligonucleotide-directed triple helix formation offers a means to target specific sequences in DNA and interfere with gene expression at the transcriptional level. Triple helix-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) bind to homopurine/homopyrimidine sequences, forming a stable, sequence-specific complex with the duplex DNA. Purine-rich sequences are frequent in gene regulatory regions and TFOs directed to promoter sequences have been shown to prevent binding of transcription factors and inhibit transcription initiation and elongation. Exogenous TFOs that bind homopurine/ homopyrimidine DNA sequences and form triple-helices can be rationally designed, while the intracellular delivery of single-stranded RNA TFOs has not been studied in detail before. In this study, expression vectors were constructed which directed transcription of either a 19 nt triplex-forming pyrimidine CU-TFO sequence targeting the human MCP-1 or two different 19 nt GU- or CA-control sequences, respectively, together with the vector encoded hygromycin resistance mRNA as one fusion transcript. HEK 293 cells were stable transfected with these vectors and several TFO and control cell lines were generated. Functional relevant triplex formation of a TFO with a corresponding 19 bp GC-rich AP-1/SP-1 site of the human MCP-1 promoter was shown. Binding of synthetic 19 nt CUTFO to the MCP-1 promoter duplex was verified by triplex blotting at pH 6.7. Underlining binding specificity, control sequences, including the GU- and CA-sequence, a TFO containing one single mismatch and a MCP-1 promoter duplex containing two mismatches, did not participate in triplex formation. Establishing a magnetic capture technique with streptavidin microbeads it was verified that at pH 7.0 the 19 nt TFO embedded in a 1.1 kb fusion transcript binds to a plasmid encoded MCP-1 promoter target duplex three times stronger than the controls. Finally, cell culture experiments revealed 76 ± 10.2% inhibition of MCP-1 protein secretion in TNF-a stimulated CU-TFO harboring cell lines and up to 88% after TNF-a and IFN-g costimulation in comparison to controls. Expression of interleukin-8 (IL-8) as one TNF-a inducible control gene was not affected by CU-TFO, demonstrating both highly specific and effective chemokine gene repression. Furthermore, another chemokine target, regulated upon activation normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES), which plays an essential role in inflammation by recruiting T lymphocytes, macrophages and eosinophils to inflammatory sites, was analysed using the triplex approach. A 28 nt TFO was designed targeting the murine RANTES gene promoter, and gel mobility shift assays demonstrated that the phosphodiester TFO formed a sequencespecific triplex with the double-stranded target DNA with a Kd of 2.5 x 10-7 M. It was analysed whether RANTES expression could be inhibited at the transcriptional level testing the TFO in two different cell lines, T helper-1 lymphocytes and brain microvascular endothelial cells (bend3 cells). Although there was a sequence-specific binding of the TFO detectable in the gel shift assays, there was no inhibitory effect of the exogenously added and phosphorothioate stabilised TFO on endogenous RANTES gene expression visible. Additionally, the small interfering RNA (siRNA) approach was tested as another strategy to inhibit expression of the pro-inflammatory chemokines MCP-1 and RANTES. Two different methods were pursuit, describing transient transfection with vector derived and synthetic siRNA. The vector pSUPER containing the siRNA coding sequence was used to suppress endogenous MCP-1 in HEK 293 cells. An empty vector without RNA sequence served as a control. Inhibition due to the siRNA was measured in stimulated and unstimulated cells. In TNF-a stimulated cells MCP-1 protein synthesis was decreased by 35 ± 11% after siRNA transfection. Using a synthetic double-stranded siRNA, the TNF-a induced MCP-1 protein secretion could be successfully inhibited about 62.3 ± 10.3% in HEK 293 cells, indicating that the siRNA is functional in these cells to suppress chemokine expression. The siRNA approach targeting murine RANTES in Th1 cells and b-end3 cells revealed no inhibition of endogenous gene expression. Gene therapy approaches rely on efficient transfer of genes to the desired target cells. A wide variety of viral and nonviral vectors have been developed and evaluated for their efficiency of transduction, sustained expression of the transgene, and safety. Among them, lentiviruses have been widely used for gene therapy applications. In order to improve the delivery of TFOs or siRNAs into the target cells, cloning of the lentiviral transfer vector SEW, the production of lentiviral particles by transient transfection were performed with the aim to generate lentiviral vector-derived TFOs in further experiments. Here, Th1 cells were transduced with infectious lentiviral particles and transduction efficacy was measured. Transduction efficacy higher than 82% could be achieved using the lentiviral vector SEW, opening optimal possibilities for the TFO or siRNA approach.
"A team", definitely
"And God Laughed ...": Indeterminacy, Self-Reference, and Paradox in Law
"Antiflow" of antiprotons in heavy ion collisions
- In the framework of the relativistic quantum dynamics approach we investigate antiproton observables in Au-Au collisions at 10.7A GeV. The rapidity dependence of the in-plane directed transverse momentum p(y) of p's shows the opposite sigh of the nucleon flow, which has indeed recently been discovered at 10.7A GeV by the E877 group. The "antiflow" of p's is also predicted at 2A GeV and at 160 A GeV and appears at all energies also for pi's and K's. These predicted p anticorrelations are a direct proof of strong p annihilation in massive heavy ion reactions.
"Anything can happen" : narrative ambiguity and musical intertextuality in THE HOLIDAY
- Romantic comedies are not renowned for intricate storytelling and have rarely been deemed worthy of the sustained scholarly attention of analytic ‘close readings’. What applies to the genre as a whole applies no less to its music, which has yet to be discovered by film musicology as a field of enquiry. But genre films such as romcoms can be highly self-conscious and self-reflexive, and can show a playfulness in their use of cinematic techniques that may be as much fun for the analyst as for the audience.
"Back to basics" : a cognitive analysis of conversion de-adjectival nominalisation in English