Seeds of Science: Why We Got It So Wrong On GMOs [EPUB]
17 April 2018, 11:58
2018 | EPUB | 0.68MB
Mark Lynas was one of the original GM field wreckers. Back in the 1990s--working undercover with his colleagues in the environmental movement--he would descend on trial sites of genetically modified crops at night and hack them to pieces. Two decades later, most people around the world--from New York to China--still think that 'GMO' foods are bad for their health or likely to damage the environment. But Mark has changed his mind. This book explains why.
In 2013, in a world-famous recantation speech, Mark apologised for having destroyed GM crops. He spent the subsequent years touring Africa and Asia, and working with plant scientists who are using this technology to help smallholder farmers in developing countries cope better with pests, diseases and droughts.
This book lifts the lid on the anti-GMO craze and shows how science was left by the wayside as a wave of public hysteria swept the world. Mark takes us back to the origins of the technology and introduces the scientific pioneers who invented it. He explains what led him to question his earlier assumptions about GM food, and talks to both sides of this fractious debate to see what still motivates worldwide opposition today. In the process he asks--and answers--the killer question: how did we all get it so wrong on GMOs?
The Pleasure Shock: The Rise of Deep Brain Stimulation and Its Forgotten Inventor [EPUB]
16 April 2018, 14:23
2018 | EPUB | 0.99MB
The electrifying, forgotten history of Robert Heath's brain pacemaker, investigating the origins and ethics of one of today's most promising medical breakthroughs: deep brain stimulation
The technology invented by psychiatrist Robert G. Heath in the 1950s and '60s has been described as among the most controversial experiments in US history. His work was alleged at the time to be part of MKUltra, the CIA's notorious "mind control" project. His research subjects included incarcerated convicts and gay men who wished to be "cured" of their sexual preference. Yet his cutting-edge research and legacy were quickly buried deep in Tulane University's archives. Investigative science journalist Lone Frank now tells the complete sage of this passionate, determined doctor and his groundbreaking neuroscience.
More than fifty years after Heath's experiments, this very same treatment is becoming mainstream practice in modern psychiatry for everything from schizophrenia, anorexia, and compulsive behavior to depression, Parkinson's, and even substance addiction.
Lone Frank uncovered lost documents and accounts of Heath's trailblazing work. She tracked down surviving colleagues and patients, and she delved into the current support for deep brain stimulation by scientists and patients alike. What has changed? Why do we today unquestioningly embrace this technology as a cure? How do we decide what is a disease of the brain to be cured and what should be allowed to remain unrobed and unprodded? And how do we weigh the decades of criticism against the promise of treatment that could be offered to millions of patients?
Elegantly written and deeply fascinating, The Pleasure Shock weaves together biography, scientific history, and medical ethics. It is an adventure into our ever-shifting views of the mind and the fateful power we wield when we tinker with the self.
Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution [EPUB]
15 April 2018, 16:10
2018 | EPUB | 6.5 MB
- Carrion crows in the Japanese city of Sendai have learned to use passing traffic to crack nuts.
- Lizards in Puerto Rico are evolving feet that better grip surfaces like concrete.
- Europe’s urban blackbirds sing at a higher pitch than their rural cousins, to be heardover the din of traffic.
How is this happening?
Menno Schilthuizen is one of a growing number of “urban ecologists” studying how our manmade environments are accelerating and changing the evolution of the animals and plants around us. In Darwin Comes to Town, he takes us around the world for an up-close look at just how stunningly flexible and swift-moving natural selection can be.
With human populations growing, we’re having an increasing impact on global ecosystems, and nowhere do these impacts overlap as much as they do in cities. The urban environment is about as extreme as it gets, and the wild animals and plants that live side-by-side with us need to adapt to a whole suite of challenging conditions: they must manage in the city’s hotter climate (the “urban heat island”); they need to be able to live either in the semidesert of the tall, rocky, and cavernous structures we call buildings or in the pocket-like oases of city parks (which pose their own dangers, including smog and free-rangingdogs and cats); traffic causes continuous noise, a mist of fine dust particles, and barriers to movement for any animal that cannot fly or burrow; food sources are mainly human-derived. And yet, as Schilthuizen shows, the wildlife sharing these spaces with us is not just surviving, but evolving ways of thriving.
Darwin Comes toTown draws on eye-popping examples of adaptation to share a stunning vision of urban evolution in which humans and wildlife co-exist in a unique harmony. It reveals that evolution can happen far more rapidly than Darwin dreamed, while providing a glimmer of hope that our race toward over population might not take the rest of nature down with us.