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Monthly Archives

October 2006

The recent history of war epidemiology

By Biomedicine in museums

(originally published 11 October; updated 20 Oct because of new comments): 

Today’s (i.e., 11 October) big public health news report is the article by a Johns Hopkins University research team published in The Lancet on-line edition on the number of war-related casualties in Iraq. “We estimate”, the authors conclude, “that as of July, 2006, there have been 654 965 (392 979–942 636) excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war, which corresponds to 2,5% of the population in the study area”.

As Lancet’s editor, Richard Horton, points out in a comment, “this study adds substantially to the new field of conflict epidemiology, which has been evolving rapidly in recent years”. Unsurprisingly, US President George W. Bush questions the findings: “I don’t consider it a credible report”, he told a White House press conference (according to today’s Guardian ).

The Lancet’s report underscores the importance of the complex relations between war and (lack of) health throughout history.

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Scientific culture – science in culture

By Biomedicine in museums

The following report of the annual meeting of the German Society for the History of Medicine, Science and Technology (Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Medizin, Naturwissenschaft und Technik, DGGMNT) and the Society for History of Science (Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, GWG) held in Braunschweig, 28 September -1 Oktober 2006 shows that the cultural history of science is flourishing in the German speaking part of Europe:
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Conference: Body and Textuality, Barcelona, 26-30 March 2007

By Biomedicine in museums

Adam, here’s something for you: 

Conference on “Body and Textuality. Telling Bodies: Practices, Discourses, Looks”, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, 26-30 March, 2007

The body in the 21st century is everything but a certainty, a condition which raises an infinite number of questions. This Conference intends thus to be an interdisciplinary meeting point for discussing the body as a central cultural construction.

See further:

Animation of the inner life of the cell – II

By Biomedicine in museums

The journal EMBO Reports has a good review article (“Seeing is understanding: Improvements in computer software and hardware are revolutionizing three-dimensional imaging in biology”, Embo Reports, vol. 7, pp. 467-70) of the state-of-the-art of 3D-imaging in biomedical science — read it here. They refer, among other developments in the field, to a ribosome animation movie made by Said Sannuga, a molecular biologist and animation specialist, in cooperation with Venki Ramakrishnan at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. Here’s a still from their movie:

The movie version will hopefully soon be available online.

Biopolitics and technoscience

By Biomedicine in museums

If you happen to have your way through Toronto in the autumn and spring, why not visit The Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto to attend its “Biopolitics + Technoscience” meeting series.

This series is an interdisciplinary exploration of how life-itself is transformed through technology, science, and governance in a transnational world.   Its premise is that “biopolitics”   — loosely defined as the governing of life  — is a productive starting point to theorize the multiple and conflicting ways technoscience has altered living-being in forms as varied as sex, race, genomes, biodiversity, national populations and labor. The series is composed of fall roundtables and spring public lectures.

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The Poetics of Laboratory life

By Biomedicine in museums

Steve Woolgar and Bruno Latour started their careers with the book Laboratory Life (1979). A child of the linguistic turn in the humanities — one of their theses was the laboratories are about inscriptions; a site were lab people constantly write and inscribe –it became one of the most cited books in the science studies literature. What they missed, and what much of science studies has missed, is that laboratories are sites of play and fun; not so much playing with math and bacteria, but playing with lab mates. Which this short (3’44”) video clip from one of the lab teams (the happy nerds in team #62) at the Sanger Institute shows.

PS: they also have their spare-time drag show