Science

Our Posthuman Future | ,

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Is a baby whose personality has been chosen from a gene supermarket still a human? If we choose what we create what happens to morality? Is this the end of human nature? The dramatic advances in DNA technology over the last few years are the stuff of science fiction. It is now not only possible to clone human beings it is happening. For the first time since the creation of the earth four billion years ago, or the emergence of mankind 10 million years ago, people will be able to choose their children's' sex, height, colour, personality traits and intelligence. It will even be possible to create 'superhumans' by mixing human genes with those of other animals for extra strength or longevity. But is this desirable? What are the moral and political consequences? Will it mean anything to talk about 'human nature' any more? Is this the end of human beings? Our Posthuman Future is a passionate analysis of the greatest political and moral problem ever to face the human race..

Science

The Better Half | Dr. Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD

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A Guardian Book of the Week Longlisted for the PEN / E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award An award-winning physician and scientist makes the game-changing case that genetic females are stronger than males at every stage of life Here are some facts: Women live longer than men. They have stronger immune systems. They're better at fighting cancer and surviving famine, and even see the world in a wider variety of colors. They are simply stronger than men at every stage of life. Why is this? And why are we taught the opposite? To find out, Dr. Sharon Moalem drew on his own medical experiences - treating premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit; recruiting the elderly for neurogenetic studies; tending to HIV-positive orphans in Thailand - and tried to understand why in every instance men were consistently less likely to thrive. The answer, he discovered, lies in our genetics: two X chromosomes offer a powerful survival advantage. With clear, captivating prose that weaves together eye-opening research, case studies, diverse examples ranging from the behavior of honeybees to American pioneers, as well as experiences from his personal life and his own patients, Moalem explains why genetic females triumph over males when it comes to resiliency, intellect, stamina, immunity and much more. He also calls for a reconsideration of our male-centric, one-size-fits-all view of medical studies and even how we prescribe medications - a view that still sees women through the lens of men. Revolutionary and yet utterly convincing, The Better Half will make you see humanity and the survival of our species anew..

Philosophy

The Case against Perfection | Michael J Sandel

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Breakthroughs in genetics present us with a promise and a predicament. The promise is that we will soon be able to treat and prevent a host of debilitating diseases. The predicament is that our newfound genetic knowledge may enable us to manipulate our nature—to enhance our genetic traits and those of our children. Although most people find at least some forms of genetic engineering disquieting, it is not easy to articulate why. What is wrong with re-engineering our nature? The Case against Perfection explores these and other moral quandaries connected with the quest to perfect ourselves and our children. Michael Sandel argues that the pursuit of perfection is flawed for reasons that go beyond safety and fairness. The drive to enhance human nature through genetic technologies is objectionable because it represents a bid for mastery and dominion that fails to appreciate the gifted character of human powers and achievements. Carrying us beyond familiar terms of political discourse, this book contends that the genetic revolution will change the way philosophers discuss ethics and will force spiritual questions back onto the political agenda. In order to grapple with the ethics of enhancement, we need to confront questions largely lost from view in the modern world. Since these questions verge on theology, modern philosophers and political theorists tend to shrink from them. But our new powers of biotechnology make these questions unavoidable. Addressing them is the task of this book, by one of America’s preeminent moral and political thinkers..

Law

The Birthright Lottery | Ayelet Shachar

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The vast majority of the global population acquires citizenship purely by accidental circumstances of birth. In The Birthright Lottery, Ayelet Shachar argues that birthright citizenship in an affluent society can be thought of as a form of property inheritance: that is, a valuable entitlement transmitted by law to a restricted group of recipients under conditions that perpetuate the transfer of this prerogative to their heirs..

Science

The Journey of Man | Spencer Wells

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Around 60,000 years ago, a man—genetically identical to us—lived in Africa. Every person alive today is descended from him. How did this real-life Adam wind up as the father of us all? What happened to the descendants of other men who lived at the same time? And why, if modern humans share a single prehistoric ancestor, do we come in so many sizes, shapes, and races? Examining the hidden secrets of human evolution in our genetic code, Spencer Wells reveals how developments in the revolutionary science of population genetics have made it possible to create a family tree for the whole of humanity. Replete with marvelous anecdotes and remarkable information, from the truth about the real Adam and Eve to the way differing racial types emerged, The Journey of Man is an enthralling, epic tour through the history and development of early humankind..

Biography & Autobiography

One in a Billion | Mark Johnson,Kathleen Gallagher

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“A riveting scientific detective story” (The Washington Post) by two Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists who chronicle a young Wisconsin boy with a never-before-seen disease and the doctors who save his life by taking a new step into the future of medicine. In this landmark medical narrative, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher share the story of Nic Volker, the first patient to be saved by a bold breakthrough in medicine—a complete gene sequencing, aimed at finding the cause of an otherwise undiagnosable illness. At just two years old, Nic experienced a brief flicker of pain that signaled the awakening of a new and deadly disease, one that would hurl him and his family into a harrowing journey in search for a lifesaving cure. After his symptoms stump every practitioner, it becomes clear that Nic’s is a one in a billion case, a disease that no one has ever seen before. As Nic and his family search for answers, the scientific community is racing to bring about the next revolution in medicine—translating results from the Human Genome Project to treatments for actual patients. At the forefront is the brilliant geneticist Howard Jacob, who starts a lab at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Then Nic’s head physician reaches out to Jacob with an unprecedented of idea. A disease like Nic’s is likely due to a rare mutation: if they could sequence his genes to try to find the mutation, the boy might live. Jacob doesn’t know if he can do it; Nic’s doctors don’t know if it will even work; and no one knows what else might lie in the Pandora’s Box of Nic’s genome. But they decide to try—and in doing so, they step into a new era of medicine. One in a Billion is “a compelling story of a modern medical miracle—the first instance of personalized medicine” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and the birth of a scientific revolution..

Biography & Autobiography

Dottir | Katrin Davidsdottir,Rory McKernan

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This is a memoir by two-time CrossFit Games champion, Katrin Davidsdottir. Dottir is two-time consecutive CrossFit Games Champion Katrin Davidsdottir's inspiring and poignant memoir. As one of only three women in history to have won the title of “Fittest Woman on Earth” twice, Davidsdottir knows all about the importance of mental and physical strength. She won the title in 2015, backing it up with a second win in 2016, after starting CrossFit in just 2011. A gymnast as a youth, Davidsdottir wanted to try new challenges and found a love of CrossFit. But it hasn't been a smooth rise to the top. In 2014, just one year before taking home the gold, she didn't qualify for the Games. She used that loss as motivation and fuel for training harder and smarter for the 2015 Games. She pushed herself and refocused her mental game. Her hard work and perseverance paid off with her return to the Games and subsequent victories in 2015 and 2016. In Dottir, Davidsdottir shares her journey with readers. She details her focus on training, goal setting, nutrition, and mental toughness..

Social Science

Human Diversity | Charles Murray

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All people are equal but, as Human Diversity explores, all groups of people are not the same -- a fascinating investigation of the genetics and neuroscience of human differences. The thesis of Human Diversity is that advances in genetics and neuroscience are overthrowing an intellectual orthodoxy that has ruled the social sciences for decades. The core of the orthodoxy consists of three dogmas: - Gender is a social construct. - Race is a social construct. - Class is a function of privilege. The problem is that all three dogmas are half-truths. They have stifled progress in understanding the rich texture that biology adds to our understanding of the social, political, and economic worlds we live in. It is not a story to be feared. "There are no monsters in the closet," Murray writes, "no dread doors we must fear opening." But it is a story that needs telling. Human Diversity does so without sensationalism, drawing on the most authoritative scientific findings, celebrating both our many differences and our common humanity..

Science

An Introduction to Statistical Genetic Data Analysis | Melinda C. Mills,Nicola Barban,Felix C. Tropf

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A comprehensive introduction to modern applied statistical genetic data analysis, accessible to those without a background in molecular biology or genetics. Human genetic research is now relevant beyond biology, epidemiology, and the medical sciences, with applications in such fields as psychology, psychiatry, statistics, demography, sociology, and economics. With advances in computing power, the availability of data, and new techniques, it is now possible to integrate large-scale molecular genetic information into research across a broad range of topics. This book offers the first comprehensive introduction to modern applied statistical genetic data analysis that covers theory, data preparation, and analysis of molecular genetic data, with hands-on computer exercises. It is accessible to students and researchers in any empirically oriented medical, biological, or social science discipline; a background in molecular biology or genetics is not required. The book first provides foundations for statistical genetic data analysis, including a survey of fundamental concepts, primers on statistics and human evolution, and an introduction to polygenic scores. It then covers the practicalities of working with genetic data, discussing such topics as analytical challenges and data management. Finally, the book presents applications and advanced topics, including polygenic score and gene-environment interaction applications, Mendelian Randomization and instrumental variables, and ethical issues. The software and data used in the book are freely available and can be found on the book's website..

Psychology

G is for Genes | Kathryn Asbury,Robert Plomin

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G is for Genes shows how a dialogue between geneticists and educationalists can have beneficial results for the education of all children—and can also benefit schools, teachers, and society at large. Draws on behavioral genetic research from around the world, including the UK-based Twins’ Early Development Study (TEDS), one of the largest twin studies in the world Offers a unique viewpoint by bringing together genetics and education, disciplines with a historically difficult relationship Shows that genetic influence is not the same as genetic determinism and that the environment matters at least as much as genes Designed to spark a public debate about what naturally-occurring individual differences mean for education and equality.

Social Science

The Quick Fix | Jesse Singal

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An investigative journalist exposes the many holes in today’s bestselling behavioral science, and argues that the trendy, TED-Talk-friendly psychological interventions that are so in vogue at the moment will never be enough to truly address social injustice and inequality. With their viral TED talks, bestselling books, and counter-intuitive remedies for complicated problems, psychologists and other social scientists have become the reigning thinkers of our time. Grit and “power posing” promised to help overcome entrenched inequalities in schools and the workplace; the Army spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a positive psychology intervention geared at preventing PTSD in its combat soldiers; and the implicit association test swept the nation on the strength of the claim that it can reveal unconscious biases and reduce racism in police departments and human resources departments. But what if much of the science underlying these blockbuster ideas is dubious or fallacious? What if Americans’ longstanding preference for simplistic self-help platitudes is exerting a pernicious influence on the way behavioral science is communicated and even funded, leading respected academics and the media astray? In The Quick Fix, Jesse Singal examines the most influential ideas of recent decades and the shaky science that supports them. He begins with the California legislator who introduced self-esteem into classrooms around the country in the 1980s and the Princeton political scientist who warned of an epidemic of youthful “superpredators” in the 1990s. In both cases, a much-touted idea had little basis in reality, but had a massive impact. Turning toward the explosive popularity of 21st-century social psychology, Singal examines the misleading appeal of entertaining lab results and critiques the idea that subtle unconscious cues shape our behavior. As he shows, today’s popular behavioral science emphasizes repairing, improving, and optimizing individuals rather than truly understanding and confronting the larger structural forces that drive social ills. Like Anand Giridharadas’s Winners Take All, The Quick Fix is a fresh and powerful indictment of the thought leaders and influencers who cut corners as they sell the public half-baked solutions to problems that deserve more serious treatment..

Juvenile Fiction

Camo Girl | Kekla Magoon

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Set in the modern-day suburbs of Las Vegas, a young girl finds herself caught between two worlds. She is drawn to the popular new boy—the only other black student in the school—but also loyal to her BFF, a geeky boy whose social status, like hers, is bottom-rung, and with whom she has shared an incomparable friendship. Author Kekla Magoon deftly navigates the muddy waters of racial and cultural identities in this contemporary exploration of one girl’s attempt to find herself..

Technology & Engineering

Genetics of the Fowl | F. B. Hutt

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This has been the indispensable companion of chicken breeders since its introduction in 1949. Chapters include the genetics of plumage, egg production, body size, disease resistance, and much more. (Animals/Pets).

Science

CRISPR People | Henry T. Greely

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What does the birth of babies whose embryos had gone through genome editing mean--for science and for all of us? In November 2018, the world was shocked to learn that two babies had been born in China with DNA edited while they were embryos--as dramatic a development in genetics as the cloning of Dolly the sheep was in 1996. In this book, Hank Greely, a leading authority on law and genetics, tells the fascinating story of this human experiment and its consequences. Greely explains what Chinese scientist He Jiankui did, how he did it, and how the public and other scientists learned about and reacted to this unprecedented genetic intervention..

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Against Equality of Opportunity | Matt Cavanagh

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Against Equality of Opportunity deals with the ways in which opportunities - education, jobs and other things which affect how people get on in life - are distributed. Take jobs: should the best person always get the job? Or should everyone be given an equal 'life chance'? Or can we somehow combine these two ideas, saying that the best person should always get the job, but that everyone should have an equal chance to become the best? These seem to be the standard views, but this book argues that they are all flawed. We need to understand meritocracy for what it is - a technical rather than a moral ideal; and we need to accept that equality just isn't something we should be striving for at all in this area. We also need to rethink our approach to the related issue of discrimination. We tend to assume discrimination is wrong because it violates either meritocracy or equality, when in fact it is wrong for quite different reasons. In all these areas, then, Cavanagh aims to loosen the grip of established ways of thinking, in order that other ideas might find room to breathe. This is particularly important in the case of meritocracy, which after the recent conversion of the centre-left now dominates the debate more than ever. This book will be of interest to students and teachers of political philosophy, but ultimately it is aimed at anyone who cares about the fundamental values that lie behind the way society is organized. Though the argument is rigorous, it does not require a professional philosophical training to follow it..

Social Science

Brown | Kamal Al-Solaylee

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By the author of the Canada Reads finalist and bestselling Intolerable comes a stunning new book about the meaning of being brown Finalist for the 2016 Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction Brown is not white. Brown is not black. Brown is an experience, a state of mind. Historically speaking, issues of race and skin colour have been interpreted along black and white lines, leaving out millions of people whose stories of migration and racial experiences have shaped our modern world. In this new book by Kamal Al-Solaylee¸ whose bestselling Intolerable was a finalist for Canada Reads and for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and won the Toronto Book Award, fills in the narrative gap by taking a global look at the many social, political, economic and personal implications of being a brown-skinned person in the world now. Brown people have emerged as the source of global cheap labour (Hispanics or South Asians) while also coming under scrutiny and suspicion for their culture and faith (Arabs and Muslims). To be brown is to be on the cusp of whiteness and on the edge of blackness. Brown is packed with storytelling and on-the-street reporting conducted over two years in 10 countries from four continents that reveals a multitude of lives and stories from destinations as far apart as the United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Britain, Trinidad, France, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Qatar, the United States, and Canada. It contains striking research about immigration, workers’ lives and conditions, and the pursuit of a lighter shade of brown as a global status symbol. It is also a personal book, as the author studies the significance of brown skin for those whose countries of origin include North Africa and the Middle East, Mexico and Central America, and South and East Asia, he also reflects on his own identity and experiences as a brown-skinned person (in his case from Yemen) who has grown up with images of whiteness as the only indicators of beauty and desire..

Philosophy

The Ethics of Human Enhancement | Steve Clarke,Julian Savulescu,C. A. J. Coady,Alberto Giubilini,Sagar Sanyal

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We humans can enhance some of our mental and physical abilities above the normal upper limits for our species with the use of particular drug therapies and medical procedures. We will be able to enhance many more of our abilities in more ways in the near future. Some commentators have welcomed the prospect of wide use of human enhancement technologies, while others have viewed it with alarm, and have made clear that they find human enhancement morally objectionable. The Ethics of Human Enhancement examines whether the reactions can be supported by articulated philosophical reasoning, or perhaps explained in terms of psychological influences on moral reasoning. An international team of ethicists refresh the debate with new ideas and arguments, making connections with scientific research and with related issues in moral philosophy..

Comics & Graphic Novels

Bite Maker: The King's Omega Vol. 1 | Miwako Sugiyama

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Nobunaga won the genetic lottery and was born an alpha (α): his beauty, intelligence, and talent drive everyone wild with lust. Despite his seemingly perfect life, Nobunaga is unsatisfied--until he meets the woman of his dreams, who can sate his every desire. Enjoy a taste of the supernatural in this Omegaverse tale about love, lust, and the power of attraction..

Fiction

Ruined | Jus Accardo

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Jax lost the genetic lottery. Descended from Cain, the world's first murderer, he's plagued by a curse that demands violence in exchange for his happiness. He left everything behind, including the girl he loved, but thriving on the pain of others is lonely... And it's killing him. After a series of heartbreaking losses, Samantha put rubber to pavement and headed for college as fast as her clunker could carry her. But she can't outrun her problems. When an attack at school drives her back home, she's thrown into the path of a past-and a guy-she's been trying to forget. Sam strains Jax's control over his darkness, but running isn't an option this time. Someone-or, something-followed her home from school: a ruthless monster with a twisted plan centuries in the making. Forced together to survive, and fighting an attraction that could destroy them both, Jax and Sam must stop a killer bent on revenge. Hell is looking for a way to break loose... Series order: Eternal Balance Book 1: Ruined Eternal Balance Book 2: Embrace Eternal Balance Book 3: Released.

Medical

Access to the Genome | Maxwell J. Mehlman,Jeffrey R. Botkin

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Completion of the Human Genome Project will make possible a staggering array of new medical technologies, including new diagnostic and screening tests for inherited disorders, gene therapies, and the ability to manipulate a person's inherited, non-disease traits. Most of the attention given to the social implications of these technologies has focused on their potential to harm the individual, for example, by denying employment or insurance. This book explores instead the potential harm to society if we unfairly distribute the enormous benefits of genetic technologies. The resulting division of society into genetic haves and have-nots would undermine the basic foundation of Western democratic society—the belief in equality of opportunity. This book explains, in terms that can be understood by the general reader, how DNA works, what the Human Genome Project is, what these genetic technologies are and what they promise, and how they could disrupt our democratic society. In an original contribution to the literature, the book then discusses the alternatives for avoiding the creation of a genetic underclass, ranging from halting the Human Genome Project itself to making genetic technologies available without regard to ability to pay. The authors' provocative conclusion is that a lottery in which everyone has a chance to obtain access to these technologies is the only feasible option. This book will be of interest to anyone who wishes to learn more about the Human Genome Project and the genetic revolution that it will create, as well as those who already are familiar with the project and are concerned about the social consequences of its scientific developments..