Archive for February, 2007

Watching television "is serious threat to the health of children"

A UK scientist says too much television and computer screen watching is damaging children’s health and development.

Dr Aric Sigman, a psychologist surveyed 30 scientific papers on television and computer screen viewing.

His findings are to be published in the next issue of the journal Biologist, which will be available on the internet on Friday.

Dr Sigman, who is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Member of the Institute of Biology, says that the research shows too much TV can contribute to a range of childhood physiological and mental health problems.

By the age of 6, the average British child has spent one complete year in front of a screen, mostly the TV.

And the average adult will have spent 12 solid years in front of the box by the time he or she reaches 75.

Dr Sigman has found evidence that too much TV watching causes short-sightedness and disrupts hormonal balance and leads to increased risk of cancer and premature puberty. It also slows down the metabolism which is linked to increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Mental problems linked to too much TV viewing include autism, poor concentration and Alzheimer’s in adulthood.

Dr Sigman’s advice is that children under 3 years old should not watch any television, while those aged 3 to 5 should only watch half an hour a day at the most. Older kids should be limited to no more that one hour a day.

He mentions one research paper from Florence University where scientists found that screen based computer games and TV watching reduced levels of melatonin in the children’s blood, a condition that is thought to trigger early puberty.

Dr Sigman has called for TV viewing to be restricted before. In October 2005 there were reports in the media that he was calling for recommended daily allowances for TV viewing. Teenagers should watch no more than one and a half hours a day and adults two hours, he said.

His recommendations were criticized by experts as being unworkable and unrealistic.

On the other hand, there are experts who argue that TV can help with learning and even promote health through giving people information that they might not otherwise come across.

For instance, last year researchers at the University of Chicago found that preschool television exposure had no negative effect on school performance and earnings in later life and may even enhance these factors. Their study was called “Does Television Rot your Brain?”

They found a slight increase in school test scores occurred for an additional year of preschool television. And this was particularly marked in families where English was not the first language, where mothers had less than a high school education, and for non-white children.

Their conclusion was that “the introduction of television in the 1940s and 1950s had, if anything, positive effects on the achievement of students exposed to television as preschoolers.”

Alarmed parents burdened with yet more conflicting advice on how to raise children, and wondering how they are going to manage in a world where TV and the screen dominates every day life, may take comfort in the advice of many psychologists and experts. They say yes, be sensible and by all means limit your child’s viewing, but the most harmful thing you can do is leave a child to watch TV on his or her own for hours on end.

They would encourage you to use TV and computers to enlarge your child’s experience, and to develop a healthy curiosity about the world around them. They would say supervise what they watch and help them to make sense of it. Try not to use TV as a “parent substitute”, although even the best intentioned parents are guilty of that sometimes.

Click here for the journal Biologist.

Click here for University of Chicago study “Does Television Rot your Brain” (PDF).

Source: Catharine Paddock in Medical News Today

Le Peuple s’amuse

Le poète naïf, qui pense avant d’écrire,
S’étonne, en ce temps-ci, des choses qui font rire.
Au théâtre parfois il se tourne, et, voyant
La gaîté des badauds qui va se déployant,
Pour un plat calembour, des loges au parterre,
Il se sent tout à coup tellement solitaire
Parmi ces gros rieurs au ventre épanoui,
Que, le front lourd et l’oeil tristement ébloui,
Il s’esquive, s’il peut, sans attendre la toile.
Enfin libre il respire, et, d’étoile en étoile,
Dans l’azur sombre et vaste il laisse errer ses yeux.
Ah ! Quand on sort de là, comme la nuit plaît mieux !
Qu’il fait bon regarder la Seine lente et noire
En silence rouler sous les vieux ponts sa moire,
Et les reflets tremblants des feux traîner sur l’eau
Comme les pleurs d’argent sur le drap d’un tombeau !
Ce deuil fait oublier ces rires qu’on abhorre.
Hélas ! Où donc la joie est-elle saine encore ?
Quel vice a donc en nous gâté le sang gaulois ?
Quand rirons-nous le rire honnête d’autrefois ?
Ce ne sont aujourd’hui qu’absurdes bacchanales ;
Farces au masque impur sur des planches banales ;
Vil patois qui se fraye impudemment accès
Parmi le peuple illustre et cher des mots français ;
Couplets dont les refrains changent la bouche en gueule ;
Romans hideux, miroir de l’abjection seule,
Commérage où le fiel assaisonne des riens :
Feuilletons à voleurs, drames à galériens,
Funestes aux coeurs droits qui battent sous les blouses ;
Vaudevilles qui font, corrupteurs des épouses,
Un ridicule impie à l’affront des maris ;
Spectacles où la chair des femmes, mise à prix,
Comme aux crocs de l’étal exhibée en guirlande,
Allèche savamment la luxure gourmande ;
Parades à décors dont les fables sans art
N’esquivent le sifflet qu’en soûlant le regard ;
Coups d’archets polissons sur la lyre d’Homère,
Et tous les jeux maudits d’un amour éphémère
Qui va se dégradant du caprice au métier :
Voilà ce qui ravit un peuple tout entier !
Bêtise, éternel veau d’or des multitudes,
Toi dont le culte aisé les plie aux servitudes
Et complice du joug les y soumet sans bruit,
Monstre cher à la force et par la ruse instruit
À bafouer la libre et sévère pensée,
Règne ! Mais à ton tour, brute, qu’à la risée,
Au comique mépris tu serves de jouet !
Que sur toi le bon sens fasse claquer son fouet,
Qu’il se lève, implacable à son tour, et qu’il rie,
Et qu’il raille à son tour l’inepte raillerie,
Et qu’il fasse au soleil luire en leur nudité
Ta grotesque laideur et ta stupidité !
Molière, dresse-toi ! Debout, Aristophane !
Allons ! Faites entendre au vulgaire profane
L’hymne de l’idéal au fond du rire amer,
Du grand rire où, pareil au cliquetis du fer,
Sonne le choc rapide et franc des pensers justes,
Du beau rire qui sied aux poitrines robustes,
Vengeur de la sagesse, héroïque moqueur,
Où vibre la jeunesse immortelle du coeur !

Sully Prudhomme -“Les Solitudes”, 1869

Aaron Live On TV (U-Turn)

AaRON is two songwriters who may have come straight out of the strange reality of a Lynch or Basquiat film: Simon Buret (singer/author/composer) and Olivier Coursier (composer/arranger).
AaRON’s story is sprinkled with incredible doubts but it also evokes luminous hidden beauties, ephemeral suns and moons.

“Our music is a reflection of the parallel universe that exists within each of us. A place where the child within escapes to heal wounds inflicted by the outside world.” Simon speaks simply and honestly and in his lyrics he goes for the essential, the subterranean feelings, tales that reveal the mystery enveloped in the ordinary things of life, the unspoken.

AaRON has its genesis in one of life’s lucky encounters where the fates decide that these two artists have something to say. Olivier defines their artistic relationship saying: “We complete each other, a real balance exists and we have enormous respect for each others work.

Their story begins in 2004. A mutual friend invited Simon to stop by and see Olivier who was working in his home studio on several projects. Simon, whose father is American, was to bring some lyrics in English. That fateful encounter was sealed by the name AaRON and a first track , “Endless Song”. In 2 months, 8 new songs were completed.

Interrupted by different commitments, a film for Simon (also an actor) and many concerts for Olivier, their meetings became less frequent. Despite this , in the first year they had written & produced 20 songs in Olivier’s home studio. Writing songs for Simon is the very essence of his art, an obsession, a primal need. Something that is quite rare is the author’s admission that, his lyrics are auto-biographical : love, the fantasy of it, even betrayed and unrequited. Themes that lead us down roads that deal with deception as well as superficial highs – always with no frills. Amongst these themes is a cover of “Strange Fruit”, made famous by Billy Holiday, that depicts the mass lynching in the United States deep south in the 30’s/40’s.

“U-Turn (Lili), the first single from the album “Artificial Animals Riding on Neverland” (to be released January 29th, 2007) is the main theme of Philippe Lioret film “Je vais bien, ne t’en fais pas” (‘I’ll be fine, don’t worry”), which depicts the loss of a twin brother. Olivier and Simon had just put the finishing touches on “U-Turn (Lili) and they send it to the director Philippe Lioret. He decides not only to use the song as a representation of the absent brother in the film but he also decides to re-name the main character “Lili” after the song.

This low- key movie has notched up a surprise 1 million ticket sales and the song “U-Turn (Lili) has proved an incredible success on the internet. In 2 months there have been 105,000 connections on, 100,000 streaming videos on YouTube and n° 1 on I-Tunes France for 4 weeks , just through word of mouth .

AaRON’s music takes us through the labyrinth of our lives, a detour in memories , bringing life through the eyes childhood, giving the light that is needed for all vision, “Don’t care what people say, I’m dreamin’ louder every day”.

Kate Museum Day # 2

Kate Moss has joined the A-list at Madame Tussauds London, giving you the chance to grab a fashionable close-up. The global style star helped dress the figure herself, choosing a classic ‘little black dress’ as inspiration for artists at Madame Tussauds Studios, who have created a stunning bespoke replica. Kate Moss’ launch coincides with London Fashion Week.“We’ve been asked by so many people to include Kate at the attraction because she is such an inspirational trend setter. Plus they are captivated by her timeless beauty and enigmatic personality that we’ve captured in the figure.”

Kate Museum Day # 1

Face of Fashion focuses on the portraits of five outstanding fashion photographers from Europe and America: Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, Corinne Day, Steven Klein, Paolo Roversi and Mario Sorrenti. It is the first exhibition of its kind, celebrating the innovation and diversity of current fashion portraiture.In the contemporary fashion world, models, actors, musicians and designers frequently swap places. The exhibition highlights the relationship between fashion and celebrity and illustrates the extraordinary intimacy that often develops between photographer and subject. The exhibition is curated by Susan Bright and the installation is designed by David Adjaye.
15 February – 28 May 2007

Acclaimed fashion photographer Corinne Day has produced a new series of portraits of Kate Moss for the National Portrait Gallery. The nine black and white images are all shot in close up in the style of a single frame, capturing both the beauty of the model, as well has her character. Each image is subtly different and reflects a conversation between the sitter and photographer. Day, known for establishing long term relationships with her subjects, has been photographing Moss for over 15 years.

Talking about the commission, she said, “I suggested to Kate that we have a conversation about a serious subject. The subject she chose to talk about revealed her true feelings and in turn defined her character.” The image, as well as an interview with Moss will be run in the March issue of British Vogue. The nine images, which have been brought together in one large frame, was unveiled at the gallery on February 12.