Robert B. Campenot Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress QP341.C36 2016 | Dewey Decimal 612.813
Like all cellular organisms humans run on electricity. Cells work like batteries: slight imbalances of electric charge across cell membranes, caused by ions moving in and out of cells, result in sensation, movement, awareness, and thinking—the things we associate with being alive. Robert Campenot offers an accessible overview of animal electricity.
Becoming a Marihuana User
Howard S. Becker University of Chicago Press, 2015 Library of Congress HV5822.M3B395 2015 | Dewey Decimal 362.295
OG Kush. Sour Diesel. Wax, shatter, and vapes. Marijuana has come a long way since its seedy days in the back parking lots of our culture. So has Howard S. Becker, the eminent sociologist, jazz musician, expert on “deviant” culture, and founding NORML board member. When he published Becoming a Marihuana User more than sixty years ago, hardly anyone paid attention—because few people smoked pot. Decades of Cheech and Chong films, Grateful Dead shows, and Cannabis Cups later, and it’s clear—marijuana isn’t just an established commodity, it’s an entire culture. And that’s just the thing—Becker totally called it: pot has everything to do with culture. It’s not a blight on culture, but a culture itself—in fact, you’ll see in this book the first use of the term “users,” rather than “abusers” or “addicts.” Come along on this short little study—now a famous timestamp in weed studies—and you will be astonished at how relevant it is to us today.
Becker doesn’t judge, but neither does he holler for legalization, tell you how to grow it in a hollowed-out dresser, or anything else like that for which there are plenty of other books you can buy. Instead, he looks at marijuana with a clear sociological lens—as a substance that some people enjoy, and that some others have decided none of us should. From there he asks: so how do people decide to get high, and what kind of experience do they have as a result of being part of the marijuana world? What he discovers will bother some, especially those who proselytize the irrefutably stunning effects of the latest strain: chemistry isn’t everything—the important thing about pot is how we interact with it. We learn to be high. We learn to like it. And from there, we teach others, passing the pipe in a circle that begins to resemble a bona fide community, defined by shared norms, values, and definitions just like any other community.
All throughout this book, you’ll see the intimate moments when this transformation takes place. You’ll see people doing it for the first time and those with considerable experience. You’ll see the early signs of the truths that have come to define the marijuana experience: that you probably won’t get high at first, that you have to hold the hit in, and that there are other people here who are going to smoke that, too.
In the 1960s University of Cincinnati radiologist Eugene Saenger infamously conducted human experiments on patients with advanced cancer to examine how total body radiation could treat the disease. But, under contract with the Department of Defense, Saenger also used those same patients as proxies for soldiers to answer questions about combat effectiveness on a nuclear battlefield.
Using the Saenger case as a means to reconsider cold war medical trials, Contested Medicine examines the inherent tensions at the heart of clinical studies of the time. Emphasizing the deeply intertwined and mutually supportive relationship between cancer therapy with radiation and military medicine, Gerald Kutcher explores post–World War II cancer trials, the efforts of the government to manage clinical ethics, and the important role of military investigations in the development of an effective treatment for childhood leukemia. Whereas most histories of human experimentation judge research such as Saenger’s against idealized practices, Contested Medicine eschews such an approach and considers why Saenger’s peers and later critics had so much difficulty reaching an unambiguous ethical assessment. Kutcher’s engaging investigation offers an approach to clinical ethics and research imperatives that lays bare many of the conflicts and tensions of the postwar period.
With BPA in baby bottles, mercury in fish, and lead in computer monitors, the world has become a toxic place. But as Emily Monosson demonstrates in her groundbreaking new book, it has always been toxic. When oxygen first developed in Earth's atmosphere, it threatened the very existence of life: now we literally can't live without it. According to Monosson, examining how life adapted to such early threats can teach us a great deal about today's (and tomorrow's) most dangerous contaminants. While the study of evolution has advanced many other sciences, from conservation biology to medicine, the field of toxicology has yet to embrace this critical approach. In Evolution in a Toxic World, Monosson seeks to change that. She traces the development of life's defense systems—the mechanisms that transform, excrete, and stow away potentially harmful chemicals—from more than three billion years ago to today. Beginning with our earliest ancestors' response to ultraviolet radiation, Monosson explores the evolution of chemical defenses such as antioxidants, metal binding proteins, detoxification, and cell death.
As we alter the world's chemistry, these defenses often become overwhelmed faster than our bodies can adapt. But studying how our complex internal defense network currently operates, and how it came to be that way, may allow us to predict how it will react to novel and existing chemicals. This understanding could lead to not only better management and preventative measures, but possibly treatment of current diseases. Development of that knowledge starts with this pioneering book.
Omega-3s, trans-fats, polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acidùresearch facts about fatty acids and their relationship to heart disease and atherosclerosis, obesity, cancer, and neurological disorders abound. Chemical names appear on every nutrition label. But, just what do these terms mean in health and disease?
The Fats of Life delineates the importance of essential fatty acids, with a focus on distinctions between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid variants. The chemical and biochemical characteristics of these fatty acids and their metabolism to a vast array of potent bioactive messengers are described in the context of their potential effects on general health and impact on various diseases and neurological disorders. Glen D. Lawrence addresses in detail the capacity for polyunsaturated fatty acids to influence asthma, atherosclerosis, heart disease, inflammation, cancer, and immunity. Lawrence makes clear that our understanding of the biochemical and physiological effects of dietary fats has advanced tremendously as a result of careful research, but he also stresses that this knowledge has not easily translated into sound dietary recommendations.
Ted Gioia Duke University Press, 2006 Library of Congress ML3920.G56 2006 | Dewey Decimal 782.42159
While the first healers were musicians who relied on rhythm and song to help cure the sick, over time Western thinkers and doctors lost touch with these traditions. In the West, for almost two millennia, the roles of the healer and the musician have been strictly separated.
Until recently, that is. Over the past few decades there has been a resurgence of interest in healing music. In the midst of this nascent revival, Ted Gioia, a musician, composer, and widely praised author, offers the first detailed exploration of the uses of music for curative purposes from ancient times to the present. Gioia’s inquiry into the restorative powers of sound moves effortlessly from the history of shamanism to the role of Orpheus as a mythical figure linking Eastern and Western ideas about therapeutic music, and from Native American healing ceremonies to what clinical studies can reveal about the efficacy of contemporary methods of sonic healing.
Gioia considers a broad range of therapies, providing a thoughtful, impartial guide to their histories and claims, their successes and failures. He examines a host of New Age practices, including toning, Cymatics, drumming circles, and the Tomatis method. And he explores how the medical establishment has begun to recognize and incorporate the therapeutic power of song. Acknowledging that the drumming circle will not—and should not—replace the emergency room, nor the shaman the cardiologist, Gioia suggests that the most promising path is one in which both the latest medical science and music—with its capacity to transform attitudes and bring people together—are brought to bear on the multifaceted healing process.
In Healing Songs, as in its companion volume Work Songs, Gioia moves beyond studies of music centered on specific performers, time periods, or genres to illuminate how music enters into and transforms the experiences of everyday life.
Heightened Expectations is a groundbreaking history that illuminates the foundations of the multibillion-dollar human growth hormone (HGH) industry. Drawing on medical and public health histories as well as on photography, film, music, prose, and other examples from popular culture, Aimee Medeiros tracks how the stigmatization of short stature in boys and growth hormone technology came together in the twentieth century.
This book documents how the rise of modern capitalism and efforts to protect those most vulnerable to its harmful effects contributed to the social stigmatization of short statured children. Short boys bore the brunt of this discrimination by the mid-twentieth century, as cultural notions of masculinity deemed smallness a troubling trait in need of remedy. These boys became targets of growth hormone treatment, a trend accelerated by the development of effective HGH therapy in the late 1950s.
With a revisionist twist, Medeiros argues that HGH therapy was not plagued by a limited number of sources of the hormone but rather a difficult-to-access supply during the 1960s and 1970s. The advent of synthetic HGH remedied this situation. Therapy was available, however, only to those who could afford it. Very few could, which made short stature once again a mark of the underprivileged class.
Today, small boys with dreams of being taller remain the key customer base of the legitimate arm of the HGH industry. As gender and economic class disparities in treatment continue, some medical experts have alluded to patients’ parents as culprits of this trend. This book sheds light on how medicine’s attempt to make up for perceived physical shortcomings has deep roots in American culture.
Of interest to historians and scholars of medicine, gender studies, and disability studies, Heightened Expectations also offers much to policy makers and those curious about where standards and therapies originate.
During the long twentieth century, explorers went in unprecedented numbers to the hottest, coldest, and highest points on the globe. Taking us from the Himalaya to Antarctica and beyond, Higher and Colder presents the first history of extreme physiology, the study of the human body at its physical limits. Each chapter explores a seminal question in the history of science, while also showing how the apparently exotic locations and experiments contributed to broader political and social shifts in twentieth-century scientific thinking.
Unlike most books on modern biomedicine, Higher and Colder focuses on fieldwork, expeditions, and exploration, and in doing so provides a welcome alternative to laboratory-dominated accounts of the history of modern life sciences. Though centered on male-dominated practices—science and exploration—it recovers the stories of women’s contributions that were sometimes accidentally, and sometimes deliberately, erased. Engaging and provocative, this book is a history of the scientists and physiologists who face challenges that are physically demanding, frequently dangerous, and sometimes fatal, in the interest of advancing modern science and pushing the boundaries of human ability.
Rejecting cries of gloom and doom, Hope for a Heated Planet shows how the fight against global warming can be won by the grassroots efforts of individuals. Robert K. Musil, who led the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization Physicians for Social Responsibility, explains that a growing new climate movement can produce unprecedented change-in the economy, public health, and home-while saving the planet.
Musil draws on personal experience and compelling data in this practical and rigorous analysis of the causes and cures for global warming. The book presents all the players in the most pressing challenge facing society today, from the massive fossil fuel lobby to the enlightened corporations that are joining the movement to "go green." Musil thoroughly explains the tremendous potential of renewable energy sources-wind, solar, and biofuel-and the startling conclusions of experts who say society can do away entirely with fossil fuels. He tells readers about the engaged politicians, activists, religious groups, and students who are already working together against climate change.
But the future depends, Musil insists, on what changes ordinary citizens make. Through personal choices and political engagement, he shows how readers can cut carbon emissions and create green communities where they live. With practical and realistic solutions, Hope for a Heated Planet inspires readers to be accountable and enables them to usher in an age of sustainability for future generations.
For almost sixty years, media technologies have promised users the ability to create sonic safe spaces for themselves—from bedside white noise machines to Beats by Dre's “Hear What You Want” ad campaign, in which Colin Kaepernick's headphones protect him from taunting crowds. In Hush, Mack Hagood draws evidence from noise-canceling headphones, tinnitus maskers, LPs that play ocean sounds, nature-sound mobile apps, and in-ear smart technologies to argue the true purpose of media is not information transmission, but rather the control of how we engage our environment. These devices, which Hagood calls orphic media, give users the freedom to remain unaffected in the changeable and distracting spaces of contemporary capitalism and reveal how racial, gendered, ableist, and class ideologies shape our desire to block unwanted sounds. In a noisy world of haters, trolls, and information overload, guarded listening can be a necessity for self-care, but Hagood argues our efforts to shield ourselves can also decrease our tolerance for sonic and social difference. Challenging our self-defeating attempts to be free of one another, he rethinks media theory, sound studies, and the very definition of media.
Less than a century ago, physicians, scientists, and cultural commentators became fascinated by the endocrine glands and the effects of their secretions on our bodies and minds. Of all the characteristics supposed to be governed by them, the attributes of sex evoked the wildest interest. The gonads, it was revealed, secreted chemicals that not only influenced the biological expressions of sex, but seemed to generate the vitality and energy that made life worth living.
Through a series of case studies drawn from Central Europe, the United States, and Britain, The Most Secret Quintessence of Life explores how the notion of sex hormones enabled scientists to remap the human body, encouraging hopes that glandular interventions could cure ills, malfunctions, and even social deviance in ways inconceivable to previous generations. Many of these dreams failed, but their history, Chandak Sengoopta shows, takes us into the very heart of scientific medicine, revealing how even its most arcane concerns are shaped by cultural preoccupations and anxieties.
Ritual trance has always been closely associated with music—but why, and how? Gilbert Rouget offers and extended analysis of music and trance, concluding that no universal law can explain the relations between music and trance; they vary greatly and depend on the system of meaning of their cultural context.
Rouget rigorously examines a worldwide corpus of data from ethnographic literature, but he also draws on the Bible, his own fieldwork in West Africa, and the writings of Plato, Ghazzali, and Rousseau. To organize this immense store of information, he develops a typology of trance based on symbolism and external manifestations. He outlines the fundamental distinctions between trance and ecstasy, shamanism and spirit possession, and communal and emotional trance. Music is analyzed in terms of performers, practices, instruments, and associations with dance. Each kind of trance draws strength from music in different ways at different points in a ritual, Rouget concludes. In possession trance, music induces the adept to identify himself with his deity and allows him to express this identification through dance.
Forcefully rejecting pseudo-science and reductionism, Rouget demystifies the so-called theory of the neurophysiological effects of drumming on trance. He concludes that music's physiological and emotional effects are inseparable from patterns of collective representations and behavior, and that music and trance are linked in as many ways as there are cultural structures.
The desktop computer has transformed office work. Business and social forecasters claimed that the use of video display terminals (VDTs) in the “Office of the Future” would free workers from routine tasks, giving them more time for creative work and chances for career advancement. Office Politics argues that, for many VDT workers––most of whom are nonunionized women in low-paying, dead-end jobs––exactly the opposite has been true. VDTs have been used to routinize office tasks; export work via satellite to low-wage, nonunion offshore offices; to de-skill workers and monitor their productivity. And the nature of the work has led to widespread health and safety problems, including vision, musculoskeletal (repetitive motion), and stress-related illnesses. Many have also charged that the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted by computer terminals are responsible for miscarriages, for birth defects, and for promoting cancer.
As office workers sought to protect themselves against these new occupational health and safety problems, they found little help from organized labor, business, or the government. Office Politics is the first book to explain why. It shows how corporate interests successfully redefined the VDT health and safety crisis as a “comfort” problem, how the government refused to collect data on the true scope of VDT-related illnesses or to regulate Information Age industries, and how labor unions ignored women workers.
Office Politics is key reading for everyone who works at a computer. It will be of special interest to students, academics, and professionals in political science, sociology, occupational and environmental health, business, labor and management issues, women’s studies, computing, and public policy.
David Lenson University of Minnesota Press, 1999 Library of Congress RM316.L46 1995 | Dewey Decimal 616.86
In a searing critique of the War on Drugs and other attempts to eradicate "getting high," Lenson ventures outside the conventional genres of drug writing and looks at the drug debate from a lost, and often forbidden, point of view: the user's. Walking a fine line between the antidrug hysteria prevalent in our culture and an uncritical advocacy of drug use, he describes in provocative detail the experiences and dynamics of drugs of pleasure and desire.
"Drug epicurean David Lenson claims the 'Just Say No' campaign of the Reagan years was an attempt to explicitly end rational discourse on the subject. The man's own whacked-out but brilliant 'discourse,' On Drugs makes philosophical points about narcotics that also apply to java and hooch. Lenson argues that once all mood-altering substances are eliminated, sobriety becomes a meaningless term." --Voice Literary Supplement
"On Drugs is heterodox and iconoclastic to the core."--Boston Phoenix
"In the national debate and reevaluation of attitudes toward drugs, this is a different kind of contribution, one that is speculative, discursive, and visionary." --Library Journal
"Lenson's magnificent book is a perceptive mapping of the rippling waves of undiscovered solar systems within our brain. It will comfort the fearful and guide the unprepared. A classic!" --Timothy Leary
"Lenson analyzes our culture's love-hate relationship with mood-altering substances from the user's point of view in On Drugs. He writes about the differences between 'drugs of desire' (mainly cocaine, crack, and speed) and 'drugs of pleasure' (mainly marijuana and hallucinogens. The former he sees as reflecting the main ideology of Western culture--consumerism--in that frequent users tend to fixate on acquiring more to the exclusion of everything else, while the latter tend to interdict the consumerist mind-set by letting users savor everyday activities and objects already at hand." --Utne Reader
"The best work I've read on drugs comes from outside the cultural studies-loop. In his remarkable On Drugs, David Lenson, who teaches comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, uses a phenomenological approach to describe the effects of various drugs. What does it feel like to be high on pot, coke, LSD? What, if anything, is to be gained from them? What are the costs? What attracts individuals to different drugs? One of Lenson's theses, brilliant and controversial, is that some kinds of drugs deliver us from the consumer world view into realms of contemplation--and are officially despised in part for doing so. What the guardians of official culture cannot tolerate, Lenson suggests, is any form of consciousnes that rises above getting and spending. What are we to do about the drug crisis? Lenson's advice is invaluable: Throw words at it, he says, lots of words. We need to use the cultural-studies movement to break the intellectual and classroom silence on drugs. We need to re-educate ourselves about drugs, and in so doing help educate our students." --Chronicle of Higher Education
David Lenson is professor of comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is also a rock and blues musician who has played saxophone with John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, and Junior Wells.
The 1966 edition of the leading medical textbook states that pregnant women can safely smoke half a pack of cigarettes a day. Yet today, women who smoke during pregnancy are among the most vilified figures in public health campaigns. Laury Oaks argues this shift is not due solely to medical findings indicating that cigarette smoking may harm the fetus. Also responsible are a variety of social factors that converged more than a decade ago to construct the demonized category of the “pregnant smoker.”
This book charts the emergence of smoking during pregnancy as a public health concern and social problem. Oaks looks at the emphasis public health educators place on individual responsibility, the current legal and social assertion of fetal personhood, the changing expectations of pregnant and prepregnant women, and the advent of antismoking campaigns. She explores how public health educators discuss “the problem” with one another, how they communicate with pregnant smokers, and how these women themselves understand the “risk” of fetal harm. Finally, Oaks discusses the various meanings of “objective” statistics on the effects of smoking on the fetus, exploring the significance of cultural context in assessing the relative importance of those numbers. She argues that rather than bombarding pregnant women with statistics, health educators should consider the daily lives of these women and their socioeconomic status to understand why some women choose to smoke during pregnancy. Without downplaying the seriousness of the health risks that smoking poses to women and their babies, the book supports new efforts that challenge the moral policing of pregnant smokers.
The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945 unleashed a force as mysterious as it was deadly—radioactivity. In 1946, the United States government created the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) to serve as a permanent agency in Japan with the official mission of studying the medical effects of radiation on the survivors. The next ten years saw the ABCC's most intensive research on the genetic effects of radiation, and up until 1974 the ABCC scientists published papers on the effects of radiation on aging, life span, fertility, and disease.
Suffering Made Real is the first comprehensive history of the ABCC's research on how radiation affected the survivors of the atomic bomb. Arguing that Cold War politics and cultural values fundamentally shaped the work of the ABCC, M. Susan Lindee tells the compelling story of a project that raised disturbing questions about the ethical implications of using human subjects in scientific research.
How did the politics of the emerging Cold War affect the scientists' biomedical research and findings? How did the ABCC document and publicly present the effects of radiation? Why did the ABCC refuse to provide medical treatment to the survivors? Through a detailed examination of ABCC policies, archival materials, the minutes of committee meetings, newspaper accounts, and interviews with ABCC scientists, Lindee explores how political and cultural interests were reflected in the day-to-day operations of this controversial research program.
Set against a period of conflicting views of nuclear weapons and nuclear power, Suffering Made Real follows the course of a politically charged research program and reveals in detail how politics and cultural values can shape the conduct, results, and uses of science.
Gonorrhea. Bed bugs. Weeds. Salamanders. People. All are evolving, some surprisingly rapidly, in response to our chemical age. In Unnatural Selection, Emily Monosson shows how our drugs, pesticides, and pollution are exerting intense selection pressure on all manner of species. And we humans might not like the result.
Monosson reveals that the very code of life is more fluid than once imagined. When our powerful chemicals put the pressure on to evolve or die, beneficial traits can sweep rapidly through a population. Species with explosive population growth—the bugs, bacteria, and weeds—tend to thrive, while bigger, slower-to-reproduce creatures, like ourselves, are more likely to succumb.
Monosson explores contemporary evolution in all its guises. She examines the species that we are actively trying to beat back, from agricultural pests to life-threatening bacteria, and those that are collateral damage—creatures struggling to adapt to a polluted world. Monosson also presents cutting-edge science on gene expression, showing how environmental stressors are leaving their mark on plants, animals, and possibly humans for generations to come.
Unnatural Selection is eye-opening and more than a little disquieting. But it also suggests how we might lessen our impact: manage pests without creating super bugs; protect individuals from disease without inviting epidemics; and benefit from technology without threatening the health of our children.
Why is the Weather Channel one of the top ranked cable networks? Why was The Day After Tomorrow a summer blockbuster? The Weather in the Imagination seeks to answer these and other questions about our fascination with the weather, as Lucian Boia offers an intriguing analysis of the theories, scenarios, and psychoses caused by climate.
Boia here examines the cultural influence of weather through the lens of anthropology and psychology, history, and catastrophe. He first investigates how human diversity is linked to weather and why people differ according to their native climates. He then looks at how climate can explain the dynamics of historical progress and the rise and fall of civilizations, citing how Nazis used it to justify the superiority of the "Aryan" race. And what can destroy or induce panic in a society more effectively than a good climatic jolt? Boia investigates the social upheaval caused by catastrophic weather conditions, citing the most gripping example in human history, the Biblical Flood.
The Weather in the Imagination is a thought-provoking chronicle of how humans throughout history have been bewildered, infuriated, and often terrified by the weather.