Book Book Review, Title Perfect Rigor, Author Masha Gessen, Rating 3.5,

Perfect Rigor

Masha Gessen

Book Review

Reviews, Science.

Too simply pure

The Poincaré conjecture, one of the great unsolved topological problems, was finally proven at the end of the 20th century by Grigoriy Perelman, a Russian mathematician of genius. Topology might be described as distilled geometry. The historian Masha Gessen, who grew up herself in the Russian mathematical culture, invites us into the Aspergian milieu of world-class geometers to tease out the tale.

Book Book Review, Title The Laws of Medicine, Author Siddhartha Mukherjee, Rating 3.5,

The Laws of Medicine

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Book Review

Reviews, Science.

Are there Laws of Medicine?

Modern medicine began embracing scientific methods during the last couple of centuries, and in the past one hundred years this has produced an explosion of medical technologies that have aided physicians in significantly controlling some diseases and in particular, extending lives. Today in developed countries, many tests are available for diagnosis and many drugs are available for possible treatment. So why can't physicians today just run a comprehensive battery of tests for every sick patient and spit out a clear diagnosis, and with that, a clear prognosis and plan for a cure? Siddhartha Mukherjee proffers an answer via his Laws of Medicine.

-PD-USGOV, NASA, modified

Galaxy NGC 1300. Attrib: NASA, modified, PD-USGOV.

 

Religion, Science.

Evolution + Intelligent Design = 42

Are evolutionary biology, intelligent design and the existence of God compatible? A reasonable case can be made for it, particularly if one relaxes their culture warrior muscles for a moment, and considers the argument that: science offers little tangible evidence of abiogenesis, the spontaneous creation of life from inanimate material, leaving room for God as the creator of the initial life forms; that God could just as well have created the remainder of life via the slow mechanism of biological evolution. This is not a new argument, and finds a much larger audience than the shouters like to acknowledge.

-PD, Forluvoft, modified

Attrib: Forluvoft, modified, PD.

 

Science.

Has Lamarckism been revived?

Epigenetic studies are burgeoning; these genetic mechanisms that are external to direct DNA/RNA encoding and expression are being intensively studied, particularly how environmental factors can stimulate methylation and acetylation of bases of DNA or histone proteins, which then affects the expression of specific gene activity. Is epigenetic modification heritable, and if so, does this represent a revival of Lamarckism?

-CC-BY-SA-3.0, Scotted400

Attrib: Scotted400, CC-BY-SA-3.0.

 

Observations, Science.

Large Scale Genomics in Beijing

Beijing Genomics Institute, BGI, situated in Shenzhen, on the border between Guangdong and Hong Kong, claims the title of the world's biggest Genomics institute. Their president Jian Wang said, 'For the last 500 years, you (the West) have been leading the way with innovation. We are no longer interested in following.' The scale of their sequencing capability is large, as are their goals: to crack hunger, illness, evolution - and the genetics of human intelligence.
-CC BY 2.5, Dietmar Nill, PLoS Computational Biology, July 2009

Attrib: Dietmar Nill, PLoS Computational Biology, July 2009, CC BY 2.5.

 

Education, Science.

Evolutionary zinger: The bat, the moth, and the mite

When Fred Rickson taught his section of General Biology at Oregon State, I made sure to attend all of his lectures, as he opened them with his evolutionary zingers, hoping that his students would would be enticed to be more prompt than usual.  My favorite was his zinger about the three-way symbiotic relationship between a bat, a moth, and a mite.