Archive for May, 2007

Masks: Faces of Culture

May 30, 2007

From the book’s foreword:

It is rare and exciting for a major art exhibition to be organized around so universal and appealing as masks. In an age when large retrospectives and carefully culled thematic presentations are abundant, we take great pride in presenting Masks: Faces of Culture. The individual masks selected for exhibition, and the themes of human existence they relate to, are as accessible to the youngest visitor as they are to the most sophisticated museum-goer.

That said, it is important to note that the driving forces behind this exhibition have been concerned not only with the expression–indeed facial expressions–of basic human themes, but also with a quality of visual aesthetics that exemplifies the highest culture of individual societies. The masks represented in these pages reveal some of the best craftmanship, artistry, creativity, and design that we could expect in any art form.

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Laughing Gas, Viagra, and Lipitor: The Human Stories Behind the Drugs We Use

May 25, 2007

Book Description

The stories behind drug discovery are fascinating, full of human and scientific interest. This is a book on the history of drug discovery that highlights the intellectual splendor of discoverers as well as the human frailty associated them. History is replete with examples of breakthrough medicines that have saved millions of lives. To offer just a few examples: ether as an anesthetic by Morton; penicillin as an antibiotic by Fleming; and insulin as an anti-diabetic by Banting discovered the use of insulin for treating diabetes.

In this book on the history of drug discovery, author Jie Jack Li highlights both the intellectual splendor of the discoverers as well as their human frailty, and he shows us that the discoverers of these medicines are, beyond a doubt, great benefactors to mankind. For instance, it is probable that without penicillin, 75% of us would not be alive today.

Li is a medicinal chemist and is intimately involved with drug discovery. Through extensive research and interviews with the inventors of drugs, including those of Viagra and Lipitor, he has assembled an astounding number of facts and anecdotes as well as much useful information about important drugs we know and use in our lives today. Figures, diagrams, and illustrations highlight the text throughout.

Both specialists and laymen alike will find Laughing, Gas, Viagra, and Lipitor information and entertaining. Students in chemistry, pharmacy, and medicine, workers in healthcare, and high school science teachers will find this book most useful.

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Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist’s View of Genetically Modified Foods

May 7, 2007

From the book’s preface:

Our civilization rests on food: on our ability to make the earth say beans, to store those beans and fruits and seeds, and to share them. Our creatures might feed their young, but as adults each one fends for itself, spending much of the day doing it. By contrast we humans have learned to farm. Over the last few centuries, advances in science have allowed fewer and fewer farmers to feed more and more people, freeing the rest of us to make and sell each other houses, hats, and video games, to be scientists and writers and politicians, painters, teachers, doctors, spiritual leaders, and talk-show hosts. In some parts of the world, only one person in 200 grows plants or raises animals for food. The other 199 of us buy what we eat . . . .

What genetic engineering actually is and how it differs from earlier techniques of plant breeding is not understood by many outside the laboratory and breeding plot. Nor do most people understand the effects on the science of plant breeding of new interpretations of patent protection. People have heard that scientists themselves oppose genetically modified foods–and few do, although they are rarely those who know this new science well. Most people lack the time–and often the knowledge–to critically examine the scientific research cited in support of the opposing views of the technology. By writing this book we seek to answer the questions that most people–whether for or against the idea of genetically modified foods–often forget to ask.

For holding information, click here.

Sustainable communities and the challenge of environmental justice

May 1, 2007

Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice

From the book jacket:

Environmental justice and sustainability have evolved over the past two decades to provide new and exciting directions for public policy and planning, but the relationship between their movements has traditionally been uneasy. What might, at first glance, seem like an obvious case for coalition is fraught with ideological and other concerns. How has it come to this, and how can we move forward?

Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice argues that there exists an area of theoretical and practical compatibility between these movements, a critical nexus for a broad social movement to create just and sustainable communities for all people. Agyeman shows how these two related movements can potentially work together by providing practical examples of organizations which employ the types of strategies he advocates. This book is vital to the efforts of community organizers, academics, policymakers, and everyone interested in more livable communities.

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The Jill Principle: A Woman’s Guide to Healing Your Spirit After Divorce or Breakup

May 1, 2007

From the book jacket:

If you’re contemplating a break-up, are in the midst of one, or eve if the relationship is technically “over,” reaching a place of peace and strength may seem a long way off, but you can use this time of upheaval and change to reconnect with your spirit and reclaim your true self. Michele Germain, a psychotherapist who specializes in divorce recovery, believes many long-term relationships fail due to unresolved “historical wounds” and unrealistic expectations. Emphasizing the body-mind-spirit connection, Germain offers an effective, holistic approach to healing.

The Jill Principle presents a step-by-step process that begins with recognizing the trauma of divorce, releasing emotional wounds from childhood, and eliminating negative self-talk. Guided medications, bioenergetic exercises, and other techniques help you identify and overcome buried pain and create lasting health and vitality in your body and soul. Moving personal accounts, including Germain’s own story, illustrate how the practices in this book have helped hundreds of women recover from crisis and find new opportunities for self expression and true happiness.

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When Illness Goes Public: Celebrity Patients and How We Look at Medicine

May 1, 2007

From the book jacket:

Steve McQueen had cancer and was keeping it secret. Then the media found out, and soon all of America knew. McQueen’s high profile changed forever the way the public perceived a dreaded disease.

In When Illness Goes Public, Barron H. Lerner describes the evolution of celebrities’ illnesses from private matters to stories of great public interest. Famous people who have become symbols of illness include Lou Gehrig, the first “celebrity patient”; Rita Hayworth, whose Alzheimer disease went undiagnosed for years; and Arthur Ashe, who courageously went public with his AIDS diagnosis before the media could reveal his secret. And then there are private citizens like Barney Clark, the first recipient of a permanent artificial heart, and Lorenzo Odone, whose neurological disorder became the subject of a Hollywood film.

While celebrity illnesses have helped to inform patients about treatment options, ethical controversies, and scientific proof, the stories surrounding these illnesses have also assumed mythical characteristics that may be misleading. Marrying great storytelling to an exploration of the intersection of science, journalism, fame, and legend, this book is a groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of health and illness.

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