Plant Breeding and Technological Innovation in Twentieth-Century America
Author: Helen Anne Curry
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Plant breeders have long sought technologies to extend human control over nature. Early in the twentieth century, this led some to experiment with startlingly strange tools like x-ray machines, chromosome-altering chemicals, and radioactive elements. Contemporary reports celebrated these mutation-inducing methods as ways of generating variation in plants on demand. Speeding up evolution, they imagined, would allow breeders to genetically engineer crops and flowers to order. Creating a new food crop or garden flower would soon be as straightforward as innovating any other modern industrial product. In Evolution Made to Order, Helen Anne Curry traces the history of America’s pursuit of tools that could intervene in evolution. An immersive journey through the scientific and social worlds of midcentury genetics and plant breeding and a compelling exploration of American cultures of innovation, Evolution Made to Order provides vital historical context for current worldwide ethical and policy debates over genetic engineering.
100 years after Karel Capek coined the word, “robots” are an everyday idea, and the inspiration for countless stories in books, film, TV and games. They are often among the least privileged, most unfairly used of us, and the more robots are like humans, the more interesting they become. This collection of stories is where robots stand in for us, where both we and they are disadvantaged, and where hope and optimism shines through. INCLUDING STORIES BY: BROOKE BOLANDER · JOHN CHU · DARYL GREGORY · PETER F. HAMILTON · SAAD Z. HOSSAIN · RICH LARSON · KEN LIU · IAN R. MACLEOD · ANNALEE NEWITZ · TOCHI ONYEBUCHI · SUZANNE PALMER · SARAH PINSKER · VINA JIE-MIN PRASAD · ALASTAIR REYNOLDS · SOFIA SAMATAR · PETER WATTS
Genetics and Agriculture in the Soviet Union and Beyond
Author: William deJong-Lambert
This volume examines the international impact of Lysenkoism in its namesake’s heyday and the reasons behind Lysenko’s rehabilitation in Russia today. By presenting the rise and fall of T.D. Lysenko in its various aspects, the authors provide a fresh perspective on one of the most notorious episodes in the history of science.
An Inquiry Into the Ultimate Origins of Human Suffering
Author: Timothy Anders
Publisher: Open Court Publishing Company
For all its beauty and splendor, the world is replete with suffering, hardship, and misery. Why does evil exist? Is evil necessary? Can we ever hope to abolish evil? Philosophers, theologians, scientists, and laypeople have often pondered these questions, but their answers have generally been unconvincing or unhelpful. They have sometimes tried vainly to show that all evil is really for the best, and sometimes to dismiss the problem of evil as too profound to be answered. In The Evolution of Evil, Timothy Anders offers an original and persuasive solution to the 'Problem of Evil,' one that is grounded in science. According to Anders, the root of all human suffering, and hence of all evil, is to be found in the historical process by which human life was created: evolution by natural selection. The compelling simplicity of this explanation has been overlooked because of several widely-held misconceptions, notably the view that evolution favors the good and eliminates the bad, or that evolution favors an inexorable ascent to 'higher,' more intelligent, and more complex forms. At the heart of these misconceptions lie prejudices such as anthropocentrism - the view that humankind is the 'point' of the universe, and that things therefore tend to be arranged for humanity's benefit; the assumption that nature is essentially benevolent toward humans; and political utopianism, which proclaims that it is possible to bring about a perfect or nearly perfect society. Anders exposes the roots of evil in humankind's biological background, showing that evolution is not benevolent or progressive, and that it tends to lead to suffering which can sometimes be mitigated but never entirely banished. Our primate ancestry has left us with many 'scars of evolution,' inefficient components which lead to pain and disappointment. Anders shows that humans are especially poorly adapted to their environment. The fact that they rely heavily on culture and intelligence is not an unmixed blessing: intelligence, self-awareness, and culture inescapably generate new kinds of suffering. The cumulative effect of evolution is to create organisms with an ever greater capacity for suffering. Interpersonal conflict, and in particular, conflict between the sexes, is built into the human condition because of our evolutionary history. Finally, Anders argues that, in the case of evil, to explain the how is to explain the why. There is no unsolved puzzle about evil. With the evolutionary explanation of evil, the issues is closed, and nothing further remains to be explained. The recognition that, while humankind is not itself evil, evil is ineradicable from the human predicament, may be a precondition for tackling human problems in realistic manner.
The articles collected in this volume have two features in common: they wantto integrate economics, demography and geography, and they want to overcome the stationary approach in modelling in favour of a dynamic one. The book is subdivided into three parts, where Part I is focussing on economic evolution, Part II on geographical development and Part III is related to demographic change. The present volume aims at providing a new look at this triangle in view of the classical background of discussions by introducing new research ideas focussing in nonlinear dynamics and stochastic modelling. Thus the main purpose of this book is to make a contribution to the interdisciplinary work needed to integrate the effortsbetween these three research fields and to serve as a research source in demonstrating the current state of art in dynamic modelling. The book isaddressed to social scientists in general, and those in particular with a background in economics, geographics and demographics. It should also be of interest to mathematicians, physicists, and systems analysts interested in model building and applications of nonlinear dynamics.