A popular political advertisement from early this summer begins with US President Barack Obama addressing a crowd of moon-eyed supporters. Suddenly, the screen goes dark to a crescendo of minor chords. Phrases such as “Fear and Loathing”, “Nauseating” and “Divide and Conquer” flash onto the screen, along with video clips of commentators complaining that Obama has used scare tactics to manipulate voters. In the final scene, the iconic poster from Obama’s 2008 election campaign appears, the word HOPE transforming into FEAR as it bursts into flames.
The advertisement, produced by the conservative organization American Crossroads in Washington DC, is typical of those that have come to dominate the US airwaves and YouTube in preparation for next month’s presidential election. Emerging from both the right and the left, these commercials increasingly resemble horror films as they seek to sway voters by triggering basic emotions such as fear, anger and disgust.
That strategy fits with emerging scientific evidence about how people acquire their political beliefs. In the past, political scientists agreed that social forces — most importantly, parents and the childhood environment — strongly influenced whether people became conservative or liberal, and whether they voted or engaged in politics at all. “We now know that it is probably not the whole story,” says John Jost, a psychologist at New York University.
Read Full Article at Nature
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The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration, by academic medical historian Dr. Richard Barnett.
Publisher Thames and Hudson writes: The Sick Rose is a visual tour through the golden age of medical illustration. The nineteenth century experienced an explosion of epidemics such as cholera and diphtheria, driven by industrialization, urbanization and poor hygiene. In this pre-color-photography era, accurate images were relied upon to teach students and aid diagnosis. The best examples, featured here, are remarkable pieces of art that attempted to elucidate the mysteries of the body, and the successive onset of each affliction. Bizarre and captivating images, including close-up details and revealing cross-sections, make all too clear the fascinations of both doctors and artists of the time. Barnett illuminates the fears and obsessions of a society gripped by disease, yet slowly coming to understand and combat it. The age also saw the acceptance of vaccination and the germ theory, and notable diagrams that transformed public health, such as John Snow’s cholera map and Florence Nightingale’s pioneering histograms, are included and explained. Organized by disease, The Sick Rose ranges from little-known ailments now all but forgotten to the epidemics that shaped the modern age.
Images via The Guardian
Images based on CT and MRI data, to be viewed in crossview technique. See entire gallery HERE
Lindy West: I don’t have any children yet, so my breasts are still more aesthetic than functional. I mostly use them as a food shelf, a cellphone case, and an in-flight pillow. When I was young and single and had less self-esteem, I used to joke that my breasts were “all I had” (good one, unhappy baby self!), but now that I’m older, I don’t have to rely on them to feel beautiful—for the time being, they’re just parts of me that fill my clothes and make my back hurt and, sure, make me feel pretty sometimes. I just don’t think about them that much anymore. Thanks to Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, a surprisingly emotional book by Florence Williams, though, that’s all changing. All of a sudden I can’t stop thinking about my breasts. Because it turns out they are total jerks.
In Breasts, Williams, a contributing editor for Outside magazine, attempts to offer a comprehensive social, cultural, medical, and scientific history of the human breast, a la single-word-titled best-sellers like Cod or Salt or Stiff—though not, alas, Balls. (In an act of one-word-wonder solidarity, Stiff author Mary Roach blurbed Breasts, citing Williams’ “double-D talents.”) Though that genre of sweeping, single-topic histories can wind up feeling hasty and reductive (it’s hard to write the history of one thing without touching on the history of all other things), Williams’ writing is scientifically detailed yet warm and accessible. She also stays firmly away from the juvenile (BOOOOOOOOO!!!) and isn’t afraid to delve into her personal life, making Breasts a smart and relatable, if occasionally dry, read.
Excerpt of an article written by Lindy West, at Slate. Continue HERE
A number of life-support machines are connected to each other, circulating liquids and air in attempt to mimic a biological structure.
The Immortal investigates human dependence on electronics, the desire to make machines replicate organisms and our perception of anatomy as reflected by biomedical engineering.
The interpretation of anatomy with a mechanical vocabulary reflects strongly on the Western perception of the body.
Defining the body as a machine – where dysfunctional parts can be replaced by mechanics – speaks of how we understand life.
These objects encompass social debates about the ethics of euthanasia, the quantification of both the value and quality of life, making physical a poetic desire to conquer our own mortality.
The medical machine – whether in use or not – is an object which transcends its materiality. Designed and created to perform a single, most meaningful function, we never subject these devices to a critical investigation as industrial products within the context of material culture.
This work aims to explore the nature of these devices as objects of our times, liberated from their restrained purpose while still charged with its resonance.
Revital Cohen is a designer who develops critical objects and provocative scenarios exploring the juxtaposition of the natural with the artificial. Her work spans across various mediums and includes collaborations with scientists, bioethicists and animal breeders.
Text and Images via Revital Cohen
Here is a small selection of old anatomical illustrations that provide a perspective on the evolution of medical knowledge in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868).
Trepanning instruments, circa 1790
Trepanning instruments, circa 1790
These illustrations are from a book on European medicine introduced to Japan via the Dutch trading post at Nagasaki. Pictured here are various trepanning tools used to bore holes in the skull as a form of medical treatment. The book was written by Kōgyū Yoshio, a top official interpreter of Dutch who became a noted medical practitioner and made significant contributions to the development of Western medicine in Japan.
Human anatomy (date unknown)
This anatomical illustration is from the book Kanshin Biyō, by Bunken Kagami.
Human anatomy (date unknown)
In this image, a sheet of transparent paper showing the outline of the body is placed over the anatomical illustration.
This illustration is from a book by Genshun Koishi on the dissection of a 40-year-old male criminal executed in Kyōto in 1783.
Source: Nihon Iryō Bunkashi (History of Japanese Medical Culture), Shibunkaku Publishing, 1989. Text and images via Pink Tentacle