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My Life as a Science Promoter – God has competition 7/11/11

July 13, 2011

I spent a good portion of my day either reading or walking around downtown Chicago. On a day that was a cool, breezy 80 degrees, sweating was not an issue. On my train ride to lunch at Freshii (@Freshii)–a new healthy restaurant I was introduced to–Psychology Today (@PsychToday) was my choice of literature. The science of the mind has always been appealing to me. In college I studied how DNA (nature) makes each of us unique and to compliment that training I’ve always considered it a hobby to understand the psychology (nurture) portion of human uniqueness. Some fun facts about food I learned from the August issue of PT (they have many articles about research linking food and mental health):

  • Umami is now considered as one of the five basic tastes, along with salty, sweet, bitter, & sour. One line caught my attention: “Much of the appeal of pizza, [renowned chef Heston Blumenthal] points out, comes from the combination of two naturally umami-rich foods–cheese and tomatoes.
  • Basil’s volatile oils are destroyed by heat, so it is always best to use basil fresh and minimize contact with heat.

science chicago

After finishing off an entire large salad from Freshii, my lunch coma was spent in a waiting room. I immediately noticed the cover of the new Time magazine. Marine biologist, Dr Josh Drew (@labroides), has recently made me aware of the destruction of our oceans from overfishing, so this topic has been of interest to me. The article discusses a potential solution–farming fish. Before you read about the solution, you should be aware of the problem, Death of our Oceans (a recent post of mine highlighting two must-read articles from the BBC and Mother Nature Network). When you’re done, read here: The Future of Fish.

With Mother Nature treating us very well in Chicago, I decided to take a walk through Millennium Park. The sun was hot, but a cool breeze off the lake made the day very enjoyable. Everything worked out well because as I searched for a spot to sit down and read my book (2010 Best American Science Writing), there happened to be a free concert at the Pritzker Pavilion. At home I usually read while listening to classical music, well, the Grant Park Orchestra was putting on a show. Perfect! The article I read today was titled, “A Life of Its Own,” by Michael Specter from the New Yorker. To sum it up:

Can life be built from scratch? While such an idea might seem the stuff of science fiction, the reality is that scientists have already begun to see results in this area. Michael Specter investigates where this research is headed, and what it implies about the nature of life

I can only imagine where this debate will be headed when synthetic biology meets religion on a mainstream platform. The world wouldn’t have seen a matchup like this since Muhammad Ali met George Foreman during a Rumble in the Jungle. I like this quote from the editors of Nature (one of the most respectable science journals) in 2007:

For the first time, God has competition

I’ll stop there for today. Below is a picture of me by the famous Millennium Bean. Thanks for reading, let you be you!

millennium bean

The shirt says 'Geology Rocks'

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