The topic of synthetic life has long been a subject for science fiction writers, philosophers, and even scientists. With the announcement in 2010 by renowned biologist J. Craig Venter that he and a team of scientists from the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) had created a bacterial cell with chemically synthesized genome, discussions of synthetic life were no longer just conjecture.Humans had assembled nonliving components to make a living cell (Gibson et al. 2010). I was one of the leaders of (...) that endeavor, and this article will be a first-person account of how we made our cell, along with my conjectures about what will come next in the new fields of synthetic biology and synthetic genomics.Scanning electron .. (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)
Few topics in contemporary science hold the wide interest commanded by immunology, so this graceful and timely account of the development of this science is a welcomed addition to the literature. Succinct, well-written, and informed, Intolerant Bodies narrates the history of immunology through the lens of autoimmune disease. In what the authors call “a biography” , they have focused on four central illnesses: multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes mellitus. However, the story told here extends (...) far beyond the topic of “attack against self” to provide perhaps the best overview of immunity available for the general reader. The specialist will also appreciate the rich anecdotal material and benefit from the historical insights scattered throughout the text. So the book is, in fact, more than a history of autoimmunity and offers a compact history for those who need not consult more comprehensive accounts (e .. (shrink)
As the ball flew towards us I leapt to my left to catch it. But it was you, reacting more rapidly than I, who caught the ball just in front of the point at which my hand was poised. Fortunate for us that you took the catch. The ball was headed on a course which, unimpeded, would have taken it through the glass window of a nearby building. Your catch prevented the window from being broken.
F. H. Bradley has assured us that where all is bad it must be good to know the worst. In the case before us the worst is that Jonathan Edwards, from whatever perspective he is viewed, represents an imposing enigma. I confess at the outset that the enigma is one I am unable entirely to dispel, although I am confident that I can explain what is enigmatic about his thought, his approach, his caste of mind, and that I can do (...) so "not through a glass darkly." The central problem is this: Edwards, on the one hand, accepted totally the tradition established by the Reformers with respect to the absolute primacy and authority of the Bible, and he could approach the biblical writings with that conviction of their inerrancy and literal truth which one usually associates with Protestant fundamentalism. On the other hand, Edwards insisted vigorously on the criteria of reason and experience, and he was without equal on the American scene up to the time of Charles Peirce in his capacity for philosophical analysis, for sustaining a logical argument, and for expressing his conclusions with the most painstaking attention to subtle nuances of meaning and rhetorical effectiveness. Moreover, he insisted on the use of philosophical concepts and principles in considering the "things of religion" and his speculations about creation, his estheticism, and pantheism caused deep anxiety in the minds of traditional Calvinists, whose theology was as literal as their biblical exegesis. This double-barrelled character of his approach has led critics to define him as a reactionary and "medieval" thinker who had lost touch with those currents of thought which would eventually lead to the "modern" point of view. Without pausing to evaluate that charge at this point, one thing at least is clear: in relation to his contemporaries Edwards was alone in his attempt to make the religious tradition intelligible in those philosophical terms first laid down by Augustine and Anselm in their enterprise of "faith seeking understanding.". (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:The Persians TIMOTHEUS (Translated by John Warden)... urging on their floating bronze-beaked chariots ram by ram furrowing the waves with pointed teeth....... with humped heads stripped away arms of fir, thumped ’em on the left, mariners tumbled, smashed ’em on the right in their pinewood towers, back on their feet again. Ha! Tear off flesh to their rope-bound ribs, sink ’em with thunderbolts, rip away gilded splendour with (...) iron-helmed rams. Thonged javelins fly fire-like, shafts trembling in pierced limbs, wood slivers ablaze long-winged brazen-headed, slaughtered victims swarm. ◊♦◊ Sea with glass-green hair its furrows stained with blood; shouts of victors, screams of vanquished; the barbarous fleet borne away over the fish-crowned gleaming curves of Amphitrite’s breast. ◊♦◊ Lord of a daywide land, islander out for a sail ha! listing, tipping, arms and feet arion 28.1 spring/summer 2020 96 the persians thrashing in the buffeting waves, cries to the sea god, “Father...” Winds drop and veer, smite him on the other side. No Bacchus poured that liquid into his wine jar belly. He vomits up the boiling sea flood, screaming through clenched teeth against the defiling sea: “Was once not enough to have your proud neck yoked with bonds of hemp? See, now my lord will churn you with pine trees born in the mountains, encompass your watery plains with mariners, you madcap, long-loathed, faithless plaything of the swift-surfing winds.” Gasps out the words and a disgusting stream of sour sea water comes belching from his belly. ◊♦◊ Homeward they scurry, the Persian fleet, the foreigners squadron smashing into squadron in the long-necked strait jolts from their hands their mountain feet, leap from their mouths their gleaming helpmates; bodies without breath, without light, festoon the starsprent sea, weigh down the headlands. Survivors on the shore sit naked and freezing, tears dripping from their howled laments. Possessed by the dirge-song of grief, they keen and beat their breasts: “O vales of Mysia with your trees like a woman’s hair, take me home. For the winds are carrying me away. Timotheus 97 Never will the dust of earth receive my body....... in a cave where nymphs are born, below the ocean floor. Protect me from Helle, ship-bridged bringer of war. Had my lord not built that far-travelled causeway, never would I have come from Tmolus or Lydian Sardis to keep at bay the Greek war god. But now where shall I find sweet refuge from unbending fate? Who will free me from suffering and bring me home to Troy? Could I but fall at the ivy-robed knees of the Queen, the Mountain Mother, embrace her lovely arms and pray: ‘Goddess of golden hair, mother, I beg you rescue me, rescue me from the devious steel that slits the throat, from the wave-skimming gales, ship breakers, from Boreas that freezes by night. The winds will dash me to pieces. Already the cruel waves have torn the clothing from my body. Now I shall lie wretched, my flesh a feast to the tribes of birds.’” ◊♦◊ See a Greek with a sword of iron grab a man from Celaeno, rich in flocks, bereft in battle, drag him by the hair. Arms twined around knees, he breaks the seal of his lips seeking Greek in the shrill voice of Asia: Listen Mister not me why come. Not me, no never, big master send me, me no never come fight. Stay home Sardis, Sousa, Ecbatana. Great god Artemis 98 the persians Ephesus guard me. Swift-running backward-running they pursue their flight, cast from their hands the twin-mouthed javelins, tear the flesh from their faces, rip from their breasts their sumptuous Persian gowns, raise in one voice their Asiatic wailing. Those round the King are loud in panic at the coming disaster. The King looks down at the mingled host in flight, falls to his knees, defiles his body. Tossed in fate’s waves he speaks: Root and branch my house has fallen! The flaming ships of the Greeks have slain the flower of our youth. There is no way home, our ships consumed by the blazing might of harsh... (shrink)
Some time in the late 1590s, the Welsh amateur mathematician John Bulkeley wrote to Thomas Harriot asking his opinion about the properties of a truly gargantuan (but totally imaginary) plano-spherical convex lens, 48 feet in diameter. While Bulkeley’s original letter is lost, Harriot devoted several pages to the optical properties of “Mr Bulkeley his Glasse” in his optical papers (now in British Library MS Add. 6789), paying particular attention to the place of its burning point. Harriot’s calculational methods in (...) these papers are almost unique in Harriot’s optical remains, in that he uses both the sine law of refraction and interpolation from Witelo’s refraction tables in order to analyze the passage of light through the glass. For this and other reasons, it is very likely that Harriot wrote his papers on Bulkeley’s glass very shortly after his discovery of the law and while still working closely with Witelo’s great Optics; the papers represent, perhaps, his very first application of the law. His and Bulkeley’s interest in this giant glass conform to a long English tradition of curiosity about the optical and burning properties of large glasses, which grew more intense in late sixteenth-century England. In particular, Thomas Digges’s bold and widely known assertions about his father’s glasses that could see things several miles distant and could burn objects a half-mile or further away may have attracted Harriot and Bulkeley’s skeptical attention; for Harriot’s analysis of the burning distance and the intensity of Bulkeley’s fantastic lens, it shows that Digges’s claims could never have been true about any real lens (and this, I propose, was what Bulkeley had asked about in his original letter to Harriot). There was also a deeper, mathematical relevance to the problem that may have caught Harriot’s attention. His most recent source on refraction—Giambattista della Porta’s De refractione of 1593—identified a mathematical flaw in Witelo’s cursory suggestion about the optics of a lens (the only place that lenses appear, however fleetingly, in the writings of the thirteenth-century Perspectivist authors). In his early notes on optics, in a copy of Witelo’s optics, Harriot highlighted Witelo’s remarks on the lens and della Porta’s criticism (which he found unsatisfactory). The most significant problem with Witelo’s theorem would disappear as the radius of curvature of the lens approached infinity. Bulkeley’s gigantic glass, then, may have provided Harriot an opportunity to test out Witelo’s claims about a plano-spherical glass, at a time when he was still intensely concerned with the problems and methods of the Perspectivist school. (shrink)
"[The authors] artfully piece together important essays in educational policy and philosophy. . . . The book deals in detail with such issues as teacher professionalization, moral responsibility of public schools, accountability, and ethical codes of practice. Must reading for teachers, administrators, and professors in schools and departments of education." --Choice.
Organised into three sections covering the place of semantics in linguistics, the description of sentence and word meanings, and current theoretical approaches to semantics, this book is aimed at undergraduates as well as general readers.
This book offers a revisionary account of key epistemological concepts and doctrines of St Thomas Aquinas, particularly his concept of scientia, and proposes an interpretation of the purpose and composition of Aquinas's most mature and influential work, the Summa theologiae, which presents the scientia of sacred doctrine, i.e. Christian theology. Contrary to the standard interpretation of it as a work for neophytes in theology, Jenkins argues that it is in fact a pedagogical work intended as the culmination of philosophical and (...) theological studies of very gifted students. Jenkins considers our knowledge of the principles of a science. He argues that rational assent to the principles of sacred doctrine, the articles of faith, is due to the influence of grace on one's cognitive powers, because of which one is able immediately to apprehend these propositions as divinely revealed. His study will be of interest to readers in philosophy, theology and medieval studies. (shrink)
In Romances with Schools, John Goodlad steps out from behind the public persona of distinguished scholar and advocate for public schooling to offer a moving personal account of a life devoted to educating the young. He deftly interweaves fascinating personal details with reflections on many of the larger issues in education that he has explored throughout his career.
Our concern in this paper is with the question of how irrational an intentional agent can be, and, in particular, with an argument Stephen Stich has given for the claim that there are only very minimal a priori requirements on the rationality of intentional agents. The argument appears in chapter 2 of The Fragmentation of Reason.1 Stich is concerned there with the prospects for the ‘reform-minded epistemologist’. If there are a priori limits on how irrational we can be, there are (...) limits to how much reform we could expect to achieve. With this in mind, Stich sets out to determine what a priori limits there are on irrationality by examining `a cluster of influential arguments aimed at showing that there are conceptual constraints on how badly a person can reason’ (p. 30). Stich aims to remove the threat of a priori limits on the project of reforming our cognitive practices by showing, first, that these influential arguments are bad arguments, and, second, that at best there are only minimal constraints on how irrational we can be.2 We aim to show three things. The first is that Stich’s own arguments against strong a priori limits on how badly a person can reason are unsuccessful, because Stich fails to take into account that the concept of rationality is an epistemic, not just a logical concept, and because he fails to take into account the connection between having a concept and being able to recognize conceptually simple inferences involving the concept. The second is that the position Stich argues for, on the basis of Richard Grandy’s principle of humanity, turns out not to be distinct from the one he rejects. The third is that, in any case, the position that Stich rejects in order to preserve some scope for the project of improving our reasoning is not only no danger to that project but must be presupposed by it. (shrink)
This study examines the use of a video news release in a specific story. Press coverage and editorial criticism in the case showed that journalists do not articulate sufficiently how the news owners' sway, through institutional controls, can lead to a hegemony of expedient action in the newsroom. Critical self-reflection by news workers will better enable journalists to ethically deliberate news choices that balance their responsibilities to owners, peers, and the public.
A useful linkage can be made between recent literature on the philosophy and ethics of place and Australian work on education for place responsiveness. Place education, which holds a creative tension between deep experience and critical awareness, has a central role to play in any practical expression of an ethic of place. The way forward is suggested by Stefanovic's mediated iterative process for group work and the suspension of outcome orientation and judgement to allow the experience to speak for itself (...) prior to critical reflection for individual work. Malpas's philosophy of place and experience provides a framework for understanding the importance of narrative in structuring and being structured by place, and the significance of childhood place memories. Narrative emerges as a 'central organising principle' of place and identity, and can be viewed as both stories that connect us and stories that make us different. Place responsiveness work in Australia presents the opportunity for constructive intercultural dialogue and embedding new narratives of sustainability in place. (shrink)