Interesting Articles

This week’s New Yorker (dated March 13 2006) has two interesting articles about science. The first, for food lovers or food science lovers, is about some one who is trying to recreate the drink absinthe. My first thought, having read Zola, was why bring back such an evil drink that was so toxic that it was banned through out Europe and US. But the science of re-engineering such a beverage is interesting to me, and even though the article seems to skim over the surface, it is a very interesting read. He doesn’t mention Zola or any of the authors who wrote about the Belle Epoch, but he does mention the painters “from Degas to Picasso?.

Toulouse-Lautrec But I couldn't resist Toulouse-Lautrec, who epitomises this period in French history for me.

The second article is about the politicization of science. In particular, about how the religious right don’t want a vaccine to human papillomavirus and cervical cancer approved as vaccination against HPV and cervical cancer will encourage young adults to have sex before marriage. There is also the statement that the right wing religious movement would try to prevent a vaccine to HIV from being approved, as it too would “encourage adolescents to engage in unacceptable behavior�?. What they are doing amounts to criminal in my opinion. The rest of the article brings up to date Chris Mooney’s book “the Republican War on Science�?. Which unfortunately, and obscurely, isn’t mentioned.

on Monday, another article which caught my attention was Gary Younge’s in the Guardian. I have admired Younge’s writing ever since he succinctly explained the differences in social class between Britain and America. He wrote exactly what I had been trying to explain to my American friends. Gary's article this week is another one that sums up what I think, in particular about Larry Summers, ex-President of Harvard. He is the guy that claimed that women were genetically ill-equipped to excel at the highest levels of math and science. Come on, I’m a physical chemist. Gary Younge writes, and I concur, that saying that women are incapable of doing science is not heroism, as has been claimed, but bigotry. Similar, in fact, to the use of racial slurs in the past that are now recognized as being anti-social.