Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Me, Myself, and Why: Science of Self (video)

Pat Macpherson, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; author Jennifer Ouellette (Scientific American's "Cocktail Party Physics"), host Sonali Kohlhatkar (UprisingRadio.org)
Eat cr*p! Do it for yourself! - Eat kindly. Do it for yourself and others.
The colors, look at all the colors
Scientists are celebrating the success of a new experiment to make precision changes to the DNA of scientifically-tortured mice to cure a human liver disease. 

The DNA “edits,” as they are calling them, are the latest in a series of genetic studies that are part of a scientific push stemming from the Human Genome Project and related gene sequencing surveys.

We are taught in high school biology that genes are inherited from parents and determine, to a limited extent, our physical, physiological, and even psychological traits. (Epigenetics would differ from this point of view but has yet to become widely known). Humans share an overwhelmingly large proportion of our genes with one another. 

What I do I do for science (JF).
What then creates the stunning diversity we observe among humans? Karma, which is a psychological basis of our subsequent physiology? Chance, which is how science used to explain everything, which is no explanation at all? Do our genes direct our behaviors and our disposition to diseases? What determinant wins in the age-old question, Is it nature or nurture?
Attempting to ask and answer these questions is Scientific American science writer and journalist Jennifer Ouellette, who does not drink much but dropped acid (the entheogen LSD) in her subjective quest for objective science. LISTEN

Radical radio host and future TV star Sonali Kolhatkar is a scientist or was. Last week she gave this TedX address at Moorpark College in the Valley: "My Journey from Astrophysicist to Radio Host, or How I Found Meaning in My Life"

Me, Myself, and Why
Me, Myself, and Why
Her new book is Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self. Her previous book is [a horror story] called The Calculus Diaries. She has written for the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Discover, Salon.com, and Nature. Her science and culture blog is "Cocktail Party Physics," an odd name since Ouellette like us is nearly a teetotaler, who explains: 
As diverse as people appear to be, all of our genes and brains are nearly identical. Me, Myself, and Why dives into the miniscule ranges of variation to understand just what sets us apart. Drawing on cutting-edge research in genetics, neuroscience, and psychology -- enlivened with a signature sense of humor -- the book explores the mysteries of human identity and behavior. 

Readers ride along on a surprising journey of self-discovery as Ouellette has her genome sequenced, her brain mapped, her personality typed, and even samples a popular 1960s hallucinogen, which more importantly is an entheogen, under very controlled and scientific conditions.

Bringing together everything from Mendel’s famous pea plant experiments and mutations in The X-Men to our taste for cilantro (coriander) and our relationships with virtual avatars, Ouellette takes us on an endlessly thrilling and illuminating trip into the science of ourselves. More

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