Genetic Twists of Fate

Author: Stanley Fields
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262289008
Format: PDF, Mobi
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News stories report almost daily on the remarkable progress scientists are making in unraveling the genetic basis of disease and behavior. Meanwhile, new technologies are rapidly reducing the cost of reading someone's personal DNA (all six billion letters of it). Within the next ten years, hospitals may present parents with their newborn's complete DNA code along with her footprints and APGAR score. In Genetic Twists of Fate, distinguished geneticists Stanley Fields and Mark Johnston help us make sense of the genetic revolution that is upon us. Fields and Johnston tell real life stories that hinge on the inheritance of one tiny change rather than another in an individual's DNA: a mother wrongly accused of poisoning her young son when the true killer was a genetic disorder; the screen siren who could no longer remember her lines because of Alzheimer's disease; and the president who was treated with rat poison to prevent another heart attack. In an engaging and accessible style, Fields and Johnston explain what our personal DNA code is, how a few differences in its long list of DNA letters makes each of us unique, and how that code influences our appearance, our behavior, and our risk for such common diseases as diabetes or cancer.

The Story Within

Author: Amy Boesky
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 1421410974
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The contributors to The Story Within share powerful experiences of living with genetic disorders. Their stories illustrate the complexities involved in making decisions about genetic diseases: whether to be tested, who to tell, whether to have children, and whether and how to treat children medically, if treatment is available. More broadly, they consider how genetic information shapes the ways we see ourselves, the world, and our actions within it. People affected by genetic disease respond to such choices in varied and personal ways. These writers reflect that breadth of response, yet they share the desire to challenge a restricted sense of what "health" is or whose life has value. They write hoping to expand conversations about genetics and identity—to deepen debate and generate questions. They or their families are affected by Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, genetic deafness or blindness, schizophrenia, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, fragile X, or Fanconi anemia. All of their stories remind us that genetic health is complicated, dynamic, and above all, deeply personal. Contributors Misha Angrist, Amy Boesky, Kelly Cupo, Michael Downing, Clare Dunsford, Mara Faulkner, Christine Kehl O’Hagan, Charlie Pierce, Kate Preskenis, Emily Rapp, Jennifer Rosner, Joanna Rudnick, Anabel Stenzel (deceased), Isabel Stenzel Byrnes, Laurie Strongin, Patrick Tracey, Alice Wexler -- Alexandra Stern, University of Michigan, author of Telling Genes: The Story of Genetic Counseling in AmericaRita Charon, M.D., Ph.D., Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of IllnessPatrick Tracey

Huntington s Disease

Author: Clay Farris Naff
Publisher: Greenhaven Publishing LLC
ISBN: 0737766034
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Huntington's Disease causes degeneration of brain cells, in motor control regions of the brain, as well as other areas. Symptoms get progressively worse, and include uncontrolled movements, abnormal body postures, and changes in emotion, behavior, judgment, and cognition. People with HD also develop impaired coordination, slurred speech, and difficulty feeding and swallowing. Provide your readers with essential information on HD. This book also serves as a historical survey, by providing information on the controversies surrounding its causes. Compelling first-person narratives by people coping with Huntington's Disease give readers a first-hand experience. Patients, family members, or caregivers explain the condition from their own experience. The symptoms, causes, treatments, and potential cures are explained in detail. Essential to anyone trying to learn about diseases and conditions, the alternative treatments are explored. Student researchers and readers will find this book easily accessible through its careful and conscientious editing and a thorough introduction to each essay.

Me Medicine vs We Medicine

Author: Donna Dickenson
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231159749
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Personalized healthcare -- or what the award-winning author Donna Dickenson calls "Me Medicine" -- is radically transforming our longstanding "one-size-fits-all" model. Technologies such as direct-to-consumer genetic testing, pharmacogenetically developed therapies in cancer care, private umbilical cord blood banking, and neurocognitive enhancement claim to cater to an individual's specific biological character, and, in some cases, these technologies have shown powerful potential. Yet in others they have produced negligible or even negative results. Whatever is behind the rise of Me Medicine, it isn't just science. So why is Me Medicine rapidly edging out We Medicine, and how has our commitment to our collective health suffered as a result? In her cogent, provocative analysis, Dickenson examines the economic and political factors fueling the Me Medicine phenomenon and explores how, over time, this paradigm shift in how we approach our health might damage our individual and collective well-being. Historically, the measures of "We Medicine," such as vaccination and investment in public-health infrastructure, have radically extended our life spans, and Dickenson argues we've lost sight of that truth in our enthusiasm for "Me Medicine." Dickenson explores how personalized medicine illustrates capitalism's protean capacity for creating new products and markets where none existed before -- and how this, rather than scientific plausibility, goes a long way toward explaining private umbilical cord blood banks and retail genetics. Drawing on the latest findings from leading scientists, social scientists, and political analysts, she critically examines four possible hypotheses driving our Me Medicine moment: a growing sense of threat; a wave of patient narcissism; corporate interests driving new niche markets; and the dominance of personal choice as a cultural value. She concludes with insights from political theory that emphasize a conception of the commons and the steps we can take to restore its value to modern biotechnology.

Making Faces

Author: Adam S. Wilkins
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674974484
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Adam Wilkins draws on studies of nonhuman species, the fossil record, genetics, and molecular and developmental biology to reconstruct the evolution of the human face and its inextricable link to our species’ evolving social complexity. The neural and muscular mechanisms that allowed facial expressions also led to speech, which is unique to humans.

Environmentalism of the Rich

Author: Peter Dauvergne
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262336235
Format: PDF, ePub
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Over the last fifty years, environmentalism has emerged as a clear counterforce to the environmental destruction caused by industrialization, colonialism, and globalization. Activists and policymakers have fought hard to make the earth a better place to live. But has the environmental movement actually brought about meaningful progress toward global sustainability? Signs of global "unsustainability" are everywhere, from decreasing biodiversity to scarcity of fresh water to steadily rising greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, as Peter Dauvergne points out in this provocative book, the environmental movement is increasingly dominated by the environmentalism of the rich -- diverted into eco-business, eco-consumption, wilderness preservation, energy efficiency, and recycling. While it's good that, for example, Barbie dolls' packaging no longer depletes Indonesian rainforest, and that Toyota Highlanders are available as hybrids, none of this gets at the source of the current sustainability crisis. More eco-products can just mean more corporate profits, consumption, and waste.Dauvergne examines extraction booms that leave developing countries poor and environmentally devastated -- with the ruination of the South Pacific island of Nauru a case in point; the struggles against consumption inequities of courageous activists like Bruno Manser, who worked with indigenous people to try to save the rainforests of Borneo; and the manufacturing of vast markets for nondurable goods--for example, convincing parents in China that disposable diapers made for healthier and smarter babies.Dauvergne reveals why a global political economy of ever more -- more growth, more sales, more consumption -- is swamping environmental gains. Environmentalism of the rich does little to bring about the sweeping institutional change necessary to make progress toward global sustainability.

Markov Random Fields for Vision and Image Processing

Author: Andrew Blake
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262297442
Format: PDF
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This volume demonstrates the power of the Markov random field (MRF) in vision, treating the MRF both as a tool for modeling image data and, utilizing recently developed algorithms, as a means of making inferences about images. These inferences concern underlying image and scene structure as well as solutions to such problems as image reconstruction, image segmentation, 3D vision, and object labeling. It offers key findings and state-of-the-art research on both algorithms and applications. After an introduction to the fundamental concepts used in MRFs, the book reviews some of the main algorithms for performing inference with MRFs; presents successful applications of MRFs, including segmentation, super-resolution, and image restoration, along with a comparison of various optimization methods; discusses advanced algorithmic topics; addresses limitations of the strong locality assumptions in the MRFs discussed in earlier chapters; and showcases applications that use MRFs in more complex ways, as components in bigger systems or with multiterm energy functions. The book will be an essential guide to current research on these powerful mathematical tools.

The Ethics of Computer Games

Author: Miguel Sicart
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262261537
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Despite the emergence of computer games as a dominant cultural industry (and the accompanying emergence of computer games as the subject of scholarly research), we know little or nothing about the ethics of computer games. Considerations of the morality of computer games seldom go beyond intermittent portrayals of them in the mass media as training devices for teenage serial killers. In this first scholarly exploration of the subject, Miguel Sicart addresses broader issues about the ethics of games, the ethics of playing the games, and the ethical responsibilities of game designers. He argues that computer games are ethical objects, that computer game players are ethical agents, and that the ethics of computer games should be seen as a complex network of responsibilities and moral duties. Players should not be considered passive amoral creatures; they reflect, relate, and create with ethical minds. The games they play are ethical systems, with rules that create gameworlds with values at play. Drawing on concepts from philosophy and game studies, Sicart proposes a framework for analyzing the ethics of computer games as both designed objects and player experiences. After presenting his core theoretical arguments and offering a general theory for understanding computer game ethics, Sicart offers case studies examining single-player games (using Bioshock as an example), multiplayer games (illustrated by Defcon), and online gameworlds (illustrated by World of Warcraft) from an ethical perspective. He explores issues raised by unethical content in computer games and its possible effect on players and offers a synthesis of design theory and ethics that could be used as both analytical tool and inspiration in the creation of ethical gameplay.

Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology

Author: Elliott Sober
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262691628
Format: PDF
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There has been considerable and lively debate in philosophy of biology over the decade since the first edition of this anthology appeared. Changes and additions in the new edition reflect the ways in which the subject has broadened and deepened on several fronts; more than half of the-chapters are new. In all, twenty-three selections take up fitness, function and teleology, adaptationism, units of selection, essentialism and population thinking, species, systematic philosophies, phylogenetic inference, reduction of Mendelian genetics to molecular biology, ethics and sociobiology, and cultural evolution and evolutionary epistemology. Elliott Sober is Hans Reichenbach Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

A Prehistory of the Cloud

Author: Tung-Hui Hu
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262330105
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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We may imagine the digital cloud as placeless, mute, ethereal, and unmediated. Yet the reality of the cloud is embodied in thousands of massive data centers, any one of which can use as much electricity as a midsized town. Even all these data centers are only one small part of the cloud. Behind that cloud-shaped icon on our screens is a whole universe of technologies and cultural norms, all working to keep us from noticing their existence. In this book, Tung-Hui Hu examines the gap between the real and the virtual in our understanding of the cloud. Hu shows that the cloud grew out of such older networks as railroad tracks, sewer lines, and television circuits. He describes key moments in the prehistory of the cloud, from the game "Spacewar" as exemplar of time-sharing computers to Cold War bunkers that were later reused as data centers. Countering the popular perception of a new "cloudlike" political power that is dispersed and immaterial, Hu argues that the cloud grafts digital technologies onto older ways of exerting power over a population. But because we invest the cloud with cultural fantasies about security and participation, we fail to recognize its militarized origins and ideology. Moving between the materiality of the technology itself and its cultural rhetoric, Hu's account offers a set of new tools for rethinking the contemporary digital environment.