Thursday, December 18, 2014

North Korea, Sony and California Stem Cells

Lauren Miller, a California stem cell agency director, and Seth Rogen at
the Los Angeles premier of "The Interview" on Dec. 11. The appearance
 coincidentally followed the agency's board meeting. Getty Photo, Michael Tran
It would seem unlikely that California’s $3 billion stem cell agency would have a link – even tenuously – to a major international news story dealing with hacking, Hollywood and North Korea.

But it has happened.

The link to the flap is Lauren Miller, who was appointed as a patient advocate just one year ago this month to the governing board of the agency by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Miller is married to Seth Rogen, who starred, directed and co-wrote the now “disappeared” movie comedy,  “The Interview.” Rogen and Miller, an actress and writer, have worked together and co-founded an Alzheimer's awareness and fund-raising effort.

For those oblivious to things Hollywood, the film dealt with a couple of TV tabloid types on a mission to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The plot has it that the dictator turns out to be a fan of their show.

The North Korean government did not care for the treatment and denounced it as “a blatant act of terrorism.” Federal officials said North Korea was behind a devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures, which produced the $44 million film. Sony had planned to begin showing the film nationwide Christmas Day but concerns arose about threats from the hackers. Sony has since pulled the movie and is not allowing public showings, which will probably turn it into a cult film, secret, of course. 

Miller and Rogen co-founded Hilarity for Charity, which raises funds to combat Alzheimer’s Disease. On the stem cell agency Web site, Miller says,
“As the founder of Hilarity for Charity, an organization which raises awareness of Alzheimer's Disease among young people, I am truly thrilled to join the California stem cell agency Board as the Alzheimer's Patient Advocate,” Miller says. “To have the opportunity to learn about, and support the research for so many important diseases is such a great honor and responsibility and I look forward to starting.”
The item continues:
“Miller’s commitment to raising awareness about Alzheimer’s comes from her family’s battle against the disease. Her grandfather died of Alzheimer’s and her mother was diagnosed with it when she was just 55 years old.”
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