culture

Oscillator

Tag archives for culture

Food for Thought

Industrial food production separates us from our food, increasing the distance from living thing to food product. As factories continue to import corn and export almost everything we eat, writers like Michael Pollan urge us to eat “real” food, and projects like the Slow Food movement have gained over 100,000 members who strive to preserve…

In the recent articles, blog posts, and comment threads about possible biological reasons for the continued gender disparity in tenured math and science faculty positions, the discussion seems to be divided between two groups: those who emphasize the social and cultural aspects involved in gender and intelligence, and those who emphasize the scientific evidence of…

I’m realizing that perhaps in yesterday’s post I took everyone’s love and understanding of postmodern feminist theory for granted so I’m going to start a little series of posts that I think will slowly introduce some of the issues that I spend a lot of time thinking about and hope that other people will too.…

I love this quote from the XKCD blog: The role of gender in society is the most complicated thing I’ve ever spent a lot of time learning about, and I’ve spent a lot of time learning about quantum mechanics. Many scientists try very hard to de-emphasize this complexity, trying to reduce “human nature” down to…

The Results! Part 1

I’ve been busily rubbing all sorts of things on bacterial growth plates after all the great suggestions I got yesterday. I want to present the data from the first big experiment suggested by JerryM, who wondered what kind of bacteria would be present on my hands immediately after washing them and then every thirty minutes…

Bacterial Buddies

Commenter JohnV asked me whether I had let any of my silkworms crawl on an LB plate (what microbiologists use to grow colonies of bacteria) to see what kind of bacteria is living on them in case I ever suffer from catastrophic experiment contamination. I hadn’t thought of what kind of bacteria could be living…

Biology is Power

I got a lot of interesting responses to my post about DIYbio and how modeling innovation in biotech on computer hacker culture may lead to a science that is less “democratized” than what is being proposed. My friend Adam pointed me to Jaron Lanier‘s work criticizing the “open” and “free” culture movements online as both…

The BioPolitics of BioShock

BioShock2 came out a couple days ago, the sequel to the wildly successful video game BioShock. BioShock is a first-person-shooter video game set in Rapture, an underwater city overrun by violently insane genetically engineered mutants called “Splicers”, creepy zombie-like girls, “Little Sisters”, that harvest corpses for “ADAM”–sea slug stem-cells that provide super-human strength, regenerative powers,…

What if…?

Synthetic biology is still a new field, and victories are small and incremental. Much of the promise and peril of synthetic biology still lies in the future: genetic devices made to order, computer aided genome design, organisms specially constructed for specific industrial purposes. Will we use this biological technology for good–new more affordable and accessible…

Synthetic Voices

Modern day biological engineering and artificial life research focuses on the microscopic, the molecular, the informational, the stuff of the scientific revolutions of the past one hundred years. Our current synthetic biologies aim to turn the living into the designed, the wet into the computational, the complex into the understandable. In the 1700’s, the interplay…