Does Santa exploit elves? Philosophical questions about Christmas

For the hard-to-buy-for ideas person on your list let me suggest a book that has somehow appeared on my desk: Christmas: Philosophy for Everyone.

Subtitle: Better than a lump of coal.

Who sent it? Christopher Hitchens, or one of his legion of New Atheist supporters? No, I think not.

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Dialogue of the Domestic reveals the hidden parts of humankind

In Dialogue of the Domestic, University of Alberta graduate student Anna House says she tries to show how, by arranging items in homes, occupants tell stories about themselves and leave out disturbing details they prefer kept out of the spotlight. She says that domestic interior tells a story about relationships and human character.

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Tuberculosis Outbreak Hits Nunavut

Six decades ago, a malady known as consumption stormed across the Arctic, snuffing hundreds of lives, tearing apart thousands of families, and seeding a deep distrust in a bungling public health-care system.

Now, the pernicious disease written so indelibly upon Inuit history and psychology is making an unwelcome return to the North. This week, Nunavut recorded its 98th case of tuberculosis in 2010, the most logged in the territory’s 11-year history. Continue reading

The citizenship test doesn’t translate

Globe and Mail journalist Maragaret Wente barely passed the online Immigrantion sample test. An interesting perspective about Canadian citizenship, immigrants and family members. Language requirements for new immigrants and cuts to language programs for new immigrants don’t add up but should we be surprised?

The new citizenship test is not a snap. I took a sample test online, and barely passed. (“You might have to study harder!” scolded the automatic message.) People are grousing because failure rates have soared. In some places, they’re hitting 30 per cent. Yet the questions aren’t really harder than they were when I took the test for real more than 30 years ago. So what’s happened?

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History of Biology Seminar and Informatics Workshop

 

2011 MBL-ASU History of Biology Seminar:
History of Cell BiologyMay 15 -21, 2011 in Woods Hole, MA

 

The MBL-ASU History of Biology Seminar is an intensive week for graduate students, postdoctoral associates, younger scholars, and established researchers in the life sciences, history, philosophy, and the social sciences. Continue reading

Stem cells give sight to blind mice, raising hope for aging humans

High above the downtown clamour, in one of Toronto’s shiny glass towers, modern medicine’s pioneers have put a whole new spin on an old nursery rhyme.

Using stem cells salvaged from the retinas of human cadavers, researchers with the University of Toronto have restored sight to the eyes of, well, three blind mice. The feat, aside from indicating a quirky sense of humour, has been repeated several times over the last year and marks an important step toward the goal of restoring sight in people.

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