Epigenetics in the Age of Twitter: Pop Culture and Modern Science

By Gerald Weissmann

Pop tradition meets state-of-the-art technology during this one-volume advent to the historical past of technology and smooth biology.

“[Weissmann] has emerged within the final 3 a long time as America’s finest and significant essayist. He has completed this prestige either epigenetically and during Twitter, notice of mouth, so that you could communicate. . . . very like Susan Sontag, Weissmann likes being a modern, and doesn't believe shackled by way of culture. . . . This e-book is a pleasure for the center and instructive for the mind.” —ERIC KANDEL, Nobel Laureate and writer of In seek of Memory

“Only a brain as nimble and good traveled as Gerald Weissmann’s may see, by no means brain make and expound on, the connections among salamanders and Prohibition . . . white blood cells, Hollywood and erectile disorder . . . overall healthiness care reform and Marie Antoinette . . . micro organism, the equivalent Rights modification and the “Miracle at the Hudson.” greater but, Weissmann does so with wit and perception. a desirable journey via heritage, technology and dad culture.” —MAX GOMEZ, MD, Emmy Award-winning WCBS-TV scientific Correspondent

“Erudite strength leaps from this vigorous commingling of artwork, tradition and technology. . . . In each one [essay], Weissmann reveals hyperlinks among learn and parts of background and dad tradition, which play off one another to illuminating influence. So US baby-kisser Sarah Palin pops up in a dialogue of ‘Marie Antoinette syndrome’. . . and the ‘meltdown’ of the legendary Icarus meets the nuclear model on the Fukushima Daiichi energy plant in Japan.” —Nature

Epigenetics, which makes an attempt to give an explanation for how our genes reply to the environment, is the newest twist at the ancient nature vs. nurture debate. In addressing this and different controversies in modern technology, Gerald Weissmann faucets what he calls “the social community of Western Civilization,” together with the various ignored girls of technological know-how: from the martyred Hypatia of Alexandria, the 1st lady scientist, to the Nobel laureates Marie Curie, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, and Elizabeth Blackburn, between different luminaries within the box. consistently instructive and sometimes hilarious, it is a one-volume creation to trendy biology, seen in the course of the lens of today’s mass media and the longer old culture of the clinical Revolution. even if carrying out the healthcare debate or imagining the long run prose styling of the medical learn paper within the age of Twitter, Weissmann proves to be considered one of our so much incisive cultural critics and satirists.

Gerald Weissmann is director of the Biotechnology examine heart on the big apple collage college of drugs and editor-in-chief of the FASEB Journal. His essays and stories have seemed in several courses around the world, together with the London assessment of Books and New York instances publication Review.

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He used to be hanged for having pinched, scratched and bitten a neighbor, “threatening to wreck him if he didn't signal the devil’s ebook. ” George’s crucial accuser was once his personal granddaughter, who accused George on the way to store her personal existence. (21) Lowell mentioned that “although the various accused were terrified into confessing, but no longer one endured in it yet all died protesting their innocence, even though an acknowledgment of guilt could have stored the lives of all. ” In Salem the accused have been additionally no longer, as usually the case in different places, deserted through their acquaintances. “In all of the trials of this kind,” he wrote, “there is not anything so pathetic because the photo of Jonathan Cary protecting up the weary hands of his spouse in the course of her trial, and wiping away the sweat from her forehead and the tears from her face. ”(20) Lowell tells how a terrible slave woman, Tituba, and a ranking of different defendants within the witchcraft trials have been pressured to admit to casting spells and to having “out-of-body” studies, to seeing nice balls of fireplace, to having visions of multitudes in white glittering gowns and the feeling of flying. in the direction of fancy than terror, Tituba’s confessions appear to ring a contemporary bell (and ebook and candle, maybe? ); they antedate through 3 centuries the “experiences” promised by way of the Witches of Plymouth or the Magick of Reiki. (2,12) Voodoo Economics Of that proud antebellum corporation of social reformers and abolitionists who had made Boston the transitority Athens of the United States, Lowell was once possibly the main cosmopolitan. He succeeded Longfellow as professor of contemporary languages at Harvard; he used to be the 1st editor of The Atlantic per month and The North American overview. He later turned American minister to Spain—where he found Goya’s darkish photographs of war—and to the court docket of St. James. The poetry and feedback he wrote have been more than enough for contemporaries to rank him one of the lions of the Saturday membership (that is, Emerson, Longfellow, Whittier, Holmes and Hawthorne). (22) yet Lowell used to be additionally an astute social critic. He famous that a lot of these hanged or pressed to loss of life have been aged, and plenty of of the accusers have been children. within the Salem of 1692—as in Angola today—it used to be infrequent for individuals to arrive the age of 70 or eighty. Lowell defined that outdated fogeys have been considered as curiosities, organic outliers who should have made a pact with the satan: “Unhappily there have been continually gruesome outdated girls; and in the event you crossed them in any respect, or did them a flawed, . . . they can ship a demon into your physique, who may reason you to vomit pins, hair, pebbles, or knives. ”(20) within the land the place witchcraft reigned, lifestyles was once brief. existence expectancy in Puritan Massachusetts used to be just a little better—slightly over 40—than for Angolans this day. within the Bay kingdom this day, in our age of stents, beta-blockers and the ICU on the MGH, we’ve doubled that brief span of years. (23) We owe that to cause, now not placebos. Lowell additionally traced the Salem witchcraft trials to socioeconomic factors. He attributed Salem’s obsession with witches to its roots in Cromwellian doctrine and argued that prior witchcraft trials in England have been a side of Calvinist trust.

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