Hands, Rupert Murdoch, Sculpture, IVF, Genetics

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The Children Of Anaxagoras

Pablo Maurette | Lapham's Quarterly | 9th July 2018

Do we have hands because we are clever, or are we clever because we have hands? Anaxagoras, in the fifth century BC, thought the latter. “According to Aristotle, in order to realize the master plan in which our role is to be the dominant, most intelligent species, rational nature has endowed us with hands. But what about Anaxagoras’ alleged claim? What does it mean that we are the dominant species because we have hands? What if intelligence is a consequence of our possession of hands?” (3,470 words)

The Endless Reign Of Rupert Murdoch

Richard Cooke | The Monthly | 9th July 2018

In effect, a living obituary of Rupert Murdoch, portraying him as a great man but not a good one. “Murdoch is a legacy unto himself, at least in the sense of something left over from a previous era, but still in active existence. Within the Murdoch companies, plans for his succession are made on the assumptions of something like immortality … Events that might have been career or life defining to anyone else are half-remembered in Murdoch’s, miniaturised by the scale of his events” (10,040 words)

A Spitting Image

James Fenton | New York Review Of Books | 8th July 2018

Scholars claim that the Ancient Greeks painted their sculptures; as did some Italian Renaissance masters. But that feels wrong, somehow. “What on earth was the point of seeking out the purest white marble from Paros, which was mined by lamplight, to be transported across the sea in specially constructed ships? Why did the famous sculptors of the period ignore other colored or veined marbles? Why does Pliny, who was familiar with Greek statuary, make no reference to its having been painted?” (3,250 words)

How IVF Changed The World

Philip Ball | Guardian | 8th July 2018

The birth of Louise Brown in 1978 transformed the science and politics of fertility. “Newspapers that had warned how IVF threatened human welfare and dignity suddenly became sentimental baby-worshippers”. The medical establishment, which had opposed the pioneering work of Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards, came to see that the fundamentals had changed: Edwards received a Nobel Prize in 2010. IVF is now a standard procedure accounting for 3-6% of births (2,100 words)

Reversed Aging And Pig Organs

Matthew Hutson | Future Human | 2nd July 2018

Conversation with Harvard geneticist George Church about chimeras, gene-editing, human longevity, matchmaking, brain transplants. “I’ve spent a huge fraction of my career trying to bring down the price of technologies. The one that’s most dramatic is DNA sequencing. We brought that price down by 10 million-fold over the past 14 years, and I’m hoping that this year we’ll bring it down below zero dollars. Hopefully we’ll be paying people to get their genome sequenced” (2,900 words)

Video of the day Biarritz

What to expect:

Scenes from the early life of Coco Chanel: She founds her couture house in Biarritz in 1915

Thought for the day

Science is not a collection of truths, it is an exploration of mysteries
Freeman Dyson

Podcast Death By Derivatives | Damn Interesting

The first derivatives are traded in mid-19C Chicago. The first ruined derivatives trader shoots himself
(14m 55s)

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