Life as an Extreme Sport

In Which An Editor Obnoxiously Brags About Her Author

I spent much of the fall grumbling – mostly good-naturedly – about editing a dissertation on the dual-use dilemma in the life sciences. I fell into editing the project rather late,Note, fellow editors: don’t take on a large project like that with a two-month window, especially not when you have two academic conferences of your own to prepare for and attend, plus your day job. which led to some memorable crankiness on my part (I actually sent back one chapter with “no” and “rewrite”), and sleep turned into a precious commodity for a while. Overall, though, I’m incredibly proud of the small part I had in the project, and extremely proud of the author in general. You can’t read the dis (yet), but you can see a little bit of Nick’s writing over on the Scientific American guest blog, today, where he looks at the proposed DHHS policy on gain-of-function

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Found Those Million-odd Pieces

Oh, I was doing so well until I wasn’t. But at least when I wasn’t, I was really committed to it. I’m not sure what threw the anxiety into overdrive today, but by about 10am I was a quivering mess. And once again, it wasn’t so much the potential diagnosis as it was not knowing what was going to happen in the afternoon. I suppose my primitive brain assessed threats and figured that not knowing this afternoon was a more immediate concern than what may come from that test. As for the biopsy itself – well, I had been tempted to live tweet it. Let’s all be grateful I didn’t, as I would have had to expose you to proof I’m a sailor’s daughter (I certainly swear like it), and then probably just would have slipped into somewhat mindless screaming. It seems that my cervix is as contrary as the

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Power Broker Bioethicists

Alice Dreger has a new post up discussing How to be a Bioethicist. She admits, upfront, that she sort of sucks as one, and not for reasons the snarkier or more vindictive readers of this blog might assume. Rather, she sucks as a bioethicist because she has a penchant for naming names and citing her work, because she is concerned about principles, and because she hasn’t figured out how to get a staggeringly high salary, regardless of currency. (Of course, she missed the fourth reason she makes a bad bioethicist: her unfortunate affliction with XX Syndrome.) Sarcasm, and even personal issues aside, I think Dreger raises a very interesting point about North American bioethics as a whole: what I rather jokingly referred to as the advent of “power broker bioethics” before I realized that this, indeed, was actually and precisely the correct phrase. A power broker, for those of you

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Lies, Damned Lies, and Mehdi Hasan on Abortion

I got really annoyed this morning. I woke up, and basically the first thing I saw on Twitter was numerous retweets and comments about a HuffPo UK article on abortion and social progressives attempting to argue that one could be socially progressive and still advocate for an anti-choice position. I disagree, rather vehemently. To the tune of almost 3000 words, give or take, as I basically deconstructed the author’s entire argument in an attempt to show not only why it was wrong, but obnoxiously so. With thanks to Nicholas G. Evans, Catherine Flick, and Laura Northrup, all of whom provided feedback and helped to focus my irritation into coherence. Without furtherOkay, with slightly further ado: yes, this piece was picked up and published, in edited form, on Comment is Free in The Guardian. Now, really, without further ado,…

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Food is Complex

Food is complex. That’s really the only conclusion I can draw after reading Francis Lam’s NYTimes article Cuisines Mastered as Acquired Tastes, and the following back and forth Lam had with his friend Eddie Huang over at Gilt Taste, Is it Fair for Chefs to Cook Other Cultures’ Food? Because of paywalls and irritating things like “flaky commute wifi access,” I actually read the second article, Lam and Huang’s back-and-forth, first. This was probably a mistake, since it made me cranky in a sort of ineffable way. I knew I disagreed with the piece, but putting my finger on a single reason why was elusive. Lam’s original NYTimes piece actually addressed some of the things that I think bothered me about the subsequent give-and-take. He did talk about how it’s difficult to start your own restaurant, and that non-immigrants may have a leg up there, not just because they may

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