Get out your credit card and get some...

Science Books

April 6, 2006

Sex, Drugs and DNA: Science's Taboos Confronted
Michael Stebbins (2006)
ISBN: 1403993424

It's becoming increasingly obvious that science and politics in the US have not been getting along of late, and people are starting to notice. Mike Stebbins, Director of Biology Policy for the Federation of American Scientists, decided he could no longer tolerate such a state of affairs and this book is the result. Sex, Drugs and DNA is Stebbins' blisteringly candid account that uncovers the truth behind many scientific myths and why the government is only too happy to feed these unfounded beliefs. Stebbins explains that his book is an: "experiment in science writing." He says he wants to discover: "if a polemic that addresses the most controversial issues in health and science could reach people who have not been engaged in the subject." Many of the issues raised in the book - sexuality, race, genetic modification, cloning, creationism and bioterrorism - are considered taboo in scientific circles, but Stebbins believes that such topics fester and erupt into prejudice and ignorance if not openly discussed. Having had a history of working with government science policy himself, he is positioned as a prime authority on how such issues are swept under the carpet for nefarious or politically convenient reasons. In this regard, Stebbins' campaign for scientific truth includes a hit-list aimed at "getting rid of elected officials that have done something egregious in health or science policy," he said recently. The book has intrigue and shock value, sure, but Stebbins also wants his experiment to be enjoyable, too. "I wrote it keeping in mind that most people are not really interested in reading about the moment of discovery, but do want the controversy laid out before them. It's meant to be fun, but also to grab you by the collar and show you how crazy things have gotten," explains Stebbins. This is a science meets political polemic rant that travels at breakneck speed; it's a real eye-popper. Well worth a look.

When a Gene Makes You Smell Like a Fish: And Other Amazing Tales about the Genes in Your Body
Lisa Seachrist Chiu (2006)
ISBN: 0195169948

So just what function do all those genes scientists talk about actually do? Lisa Seachrist Chiu takes us on an extraordinary journey as she describes in anecdotal form what functions many of the genes in our bodies perform. Why do some people age prematurely? Why do some people find the taste of certain foods disagreeable? Both amusing and tragic, When a Gene Makes You Smell Like a Fish describes some of the more peculiar and odd ways our bodies interact and adapt with our environment and what can sometimes go wrong. As the title implies there is actually a gene that can make you smell, well, fishy. There is also the gene responsible for Black Urine, the Werewolf Gene and the Calico Cat Gene, and if you're not impressed by any of those then perhaps you'd be more interested in the Dracula Gene found in zebra fish. This particular mutation causes blood vessels to explode when they come in contact with light. Of course, not all genes express negative effects, and there are some that most of us would love to have. Take the Myostatin gene for instance, where the carrier of such a gene can develop their muscles to an amazing size and level of strength. Or what about the Cheeseburger Gene, where the luckily endowed person can eat pretty much anything they like without gaining weight. These stories alone might be enough to keep one enthralled, but Chiu goes one step further and frames them within today's revolutionary genetic research. If you have a fascination for how the human body functions but want an entertaining read at the same time, then When a Gene Makes You Smell Like a Fish is for you.

[Back to the Main Books Page]

Top of page     Home page     Forums     About

The terms and conditions governing your use of this website.

© 1997 - 2016 McMurdo Media Pty Ltd and its licensors. All rights reserved.