What is the role of communication technology and media in making American society more adaptive, equitable, and democratic? Analyzing the field of communication against an in-depth picture of American society, this provocative, wide-ranging text explores how communication enterprises are intrinsically linked to the establishment and maintenance of social power. Throughout the book, changes in communication capabilities are related to changes in wealth and income distribution, the structures of economic organizations, work and the professions, minorities, law and government, urbanization, popular culture, (...) and globalization. In an engaging narrative the author presents empirical evidence that suggests that popular beliefs about the democratic role of media and communications often are misguided. While we are in an information age, it is not an information revolution that can liberate society. Emphasizing new technologies and media in contemporary American society, Rossides shows how most forms of social communication throughout history—language, gestures, clothing, buildings and spaces, ships and railroads—have sustained social power. (shrink)
We have synthesized a 582,970-base pair Mycoplasma genitalium genome. This synthetic genome, named M. genitalium JCVI-1.0, contains all the genes of wild-type M. genitalium G37 except MG408, which was disrupted by an antibiotic marker to block pathogenicity and to allow for selection. To identify the genome as synthetic, we inserted "watermarks" at intergenic sites known to tolerate transposon insertions. Overlapping "cassettes" of 5 to 7 kilobases (kb), assembled from chemically synthesized oligonucleotides, were joined by in vitro recombination to produce intermediate (...) assemblies of approximately 24 kb, 72 kb ("1/8 genome"), and 144 kb ("1/4 genome"), which were all cloned as bacterial artificial chromosomes in Escherichia coli. Most of these intermediate clones were sequenced, and clones of all four 1/4 genomes with the correct sequence were identified. The complete synthetic genome was assembled by transformation-associated recombination cloning in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, then isolated and sequenced. A clone with the correct sequence was identified. The methods described here will be generally useful for constructing large DNA molecules from chemically synthesized pieces and also from combinations of natural and synthetic DNA segments. 10.1126/science.1151721. (shrink)
Within the timespan of two years, two books have been published on the Presocratics as scientists. In 2011 appeared Carlo Rovelli’s The First Scientist. Anaximander and His Legacy, (Yardley: Westholme), and in 2013 Daniel Graham’s Science before Socrates. Whereas Rovelli, whose main field of study is quantum gravity, argues that Anaximander was the first scientist, Graham maintains that Anaximander should not count as a scientist. Empirical science started with Anaxagoras, who used his assumption that solar eclipses occur when the (...) moon blocks its light (“antiphraxis”) to measure the size of the sun on the occasion of a solar eclipse, and to a lesser extent with Parmenides, who recognized that the moon receives its .. (shrink)
McShea and Brandon propose that in the absence of constraint, biological diversity increases spontaneously. While heuristically useful, the thesis is unclear and of dubious empirical validity. The authors have no natural way to distinguish entropic decrease of diversity from the kind of increase that they are interested in. They make unsupported claims about how to explain dramatic increases of diversity and increases of functional complexity.