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Annalee Newitz
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It would have been very helpful for Johnson to have stated outright in the article how he met Yokia, and what the context was of his involvement with her. As it stands, the reader is at a loss to understand how he knows her and what her stake is in all this. I am still unsure why she is in a story about epigenetics, since there is no evidence that she is one of the people affected by an epigenetic predisposition to violence. Even if "Ghost" is a story about place, it still just so happens to be a place that is predominantly African-American, poor, and full of gangs. These are not the only places on Earth where childhood abuse happens, but nowhere in this story do we hear anything about white suburban violence, or childhood abuse among any groups other than Yokia's family. The structure of the story suggests that Oakland is a problem -- as if there are generations of people here who are breeding violence into their children. But this isn't what the science of epigenetics is about. These studies suggest that childhood abuse -- which takes place everywhere -- will affect the adults subjected to it. If that is the case, then this story shouldn't be about place at all. It should be about a variety of people, from a variety of places, who have suffered from childhood abuse and now show symptoms that suggest a perturbation in their epigenome. I strongly feel that you can't just take a person with a violent background and say, "Well here is a person who might suffer from this epigenetic disturbance, so here is her story." There needs to be more evidence that she actually does suffer from it, and isn't simply suffering from poverty, disenfranchisement, and the resultant stress.
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When I'm 164, by David Ewing Duncan, Published by TED Books (Available for Kindle, iPad, Nook) Reviewed by Annalee Newitz Half cultural prognostication and half science journalism, David Ewing Duncan's TED Books longread When I'm 64 explores whether medicine will one day make it possible for us to live forever... Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2012 at Download The Universe
Glad you liked it! I'll be curious to see what Simon Lewis does with his film career now. I almost wish he'd go back to making silly comedies - but with non-neurotypical characters.
Toggle Commented Feb 23, 2012 on Narrative and Neuroscience at Download The Universe
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Blindsight, by Chris Colin. The Atavist, 2011. (Kindle Single/ Atavist App / Nook / iBook) Reviewed by Annalee Newitz Blindsight is about what happens when narratives are interrupted, neurologically and socially. New York Times journalist Chris Colin offers a fascinating snapshot of the life-changing car accident of B-movie director Simon... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2012 at Download The Universe
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Jan 30, 2012