This topic has been bugging me for some time already. I know many people who casually refer to GMOs as if they are inherently bad for us-as in humanity-thing is, I have never heard any actual scientists say they were bad. Actually, if anything, I’ve heard and seen them speak out in favor of them (the one with the highest profile being Neil deGrasse Tyson-who was berated and labelled a big corporate shill for his comments). It’s interesting to have people speak out with such fervor against scientists who by trade are more in tune with a particular subject matter, astrophysicists notwithstanding. It happens all the time: anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, etc. It’s even more interesting when the issue feels more mainstream in scope. I mean, I don’t know any anti-vaxxers (thank Buddha), I have some friends in the climate change denier camp =( but what strikes me is how certain a lot of people I know are about the detrimental effects of GMOs. Specially when the evidence is not there. Where are we getting our information from? Not any scientist I’ve listened to.
I’ve had a few fb exchanges on this topic and (other than them being surprisingly civil) it seems to me that besides the uncertainty of the effect GMOs have on us, some of our fears stem from stuff that has to do more with patent law than science. But that isn’t what this post is about.
I stumbled onto this really great Youtube channel recently and they have a great breakdown of the topic (as well as many other health/science related topics). And yes, this post is just a drop in the bucket, but a drop nonetheless.
Jay Smooth, succinct as usual with his observations on society.
He embraced her, and with the warmth of her face against his, he understood in that moment, the boundlessness of his love for her. That is how, four days later, their remains were found in the wreckage.
She woke up with a start, coughing up fluid as the brightness swelled in her eyes. Anxiously, she searched the room for another face, a fading memory that had long haunted her sleep, when a jarring sound crept up her spine. Malfunction, malfunction, malfunction.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one of those rare books that enrapts you from the very start while sending the story in different directions. The death of a former Hollywood leading man in the waning days of his career, goes from being the big news headline of the day to an inconsequential detail as it coincides with the end and the beginning of two eras in modern history. As incidental as it may be, Arthur Leander’s death remains a crucial episode for the cast of characters whose lives we follow in the time before, during and after the event that wipes out 99% of the world’s population.
St. John Mandel paints her characters with amazing deftness, from Arthur’s ambitious rise from small town life to megastardom and his creeping decay, to Kristen’s struggles with life and survival in the new world, to Jeevan who’s search for purpose transcends the demise of civilization. Throughout, we see a contrast between people living as high-functioning sleepwalkers and those to whom survival is insufficient. We are able to admire the magnificence of simple, every day objects that we took for granted until they were lost to time.
In the end, we see that all the characters, even those who do not live past the event, have come to terms with their state in life. And the Symphony plays on. Thus far, this has been the best book I’ve read this year.
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Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Her use of pronouns has garnered all the attention but the confusion that arises from this is only a reflection of our cultural constructs rather than the structure of the book. Before you realize what’s going on, the interactions between all the ‘women’ in the first couple of chapters will be confusing. And with this, Leckie makes an epic point about our own gender biases and gender norms in language. But that’s not what the book is about. Ultimately, this is a story about defying one’s nature in the name of redemption. Leckie does an amazing job at iterating the space ship Justice of Thoren’s thought process as it redifines its purpose while sprinkling the story with lots of philosophical points about taking action and owning up to the consequences of such. (My favorite: “if you’re going to do something crazy, save it for when it’ll make a difference.”)
Its ability to shine a light on our own perceptions of gender is definitely an intriguing aspect of this book. In the end, we only know that the Breq is the hero of this story but Leckie leaves it up to us to define her gender.
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