Links for March 2, 2015

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WHO smallpox workers in Ethiopia, courtesy of Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health
  • Further proof that all good ideas begin in wordplay: Historians of technology Lee Vinsel and Andy Russell have opened up a call for contributors to a project to complicate innovation-centered histories of technology, à la Walter Isaacson's new book, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. The project began with Russell's counter-title, The Maintainers: How a Group of Bureaucrats, Standards Engineers, and Introverts Made Digital Infrastructures That Kind of Work Most of the Time.
  • "...There is no saving the world, and the ones who say there is are the ones you need to save it from.": In this scathing critique of neo-environmentalism, Paul Kingsnorth argues that, short of the destruction of techno-industrial civilization, there is little we can do to protect nature from the tyranny of "sustainable" development. 
  • A recent exhibit at the Institute for the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins highlighted artistic representations of smallpox throughout history. The exhibit is now closed, but you can check out some of the images here.
  • Although she was told by Columbia that it was "a waste of their time to admit her to their graduate program because she’d end up as a housewife," Eugenie Clark got her PhD from New York University and went on to pioneer shark research. She was an ichthyologist, oceanographer, expert diver, prolific writer, and rider of whale sharks. Before dying at 92 this February, she celebrated two of her birthdays in a submersible 900 feet under the surface of Lake Tahoe.
  • The geneticization of cancer is in the news again—the New York Times looks at how doctors have begun to select therapies based not on what kind of cancer they treat, but on the kind mutation that likely caused the cancer. In many cases, the therapy has proven extremely effective, although the overall numbers of patients treated remains low
  • From Karl Marx to William Cronon, we've seen how information erasure is part of the process of commodification. Now the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled: you cannot store information on a fish.
  • The Guardian interviews Sid Meier, creator of the Civilization computer games that have stolen half your life.


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