Orphan Medicine and Science 007: Books at a Look

Ant company

Bert Hölldobler and Christina L. Kwapich Belknap (2022)

Ants are “simply fooled,” write Bert Hölldobler and Christina Kwapich of their well-researched, brilliantly illustrated treatise on ant symbiosis. Different organisms – together with micro organism, butterflies, fungi and spiders – “can bypass or break their code and make the most of the social positive aspects of the ant neighborhood,” reminiscent of getting into a colony and pretending to be ants in order that their hosts can’t inform good friend from foe. Former Hölldobler co-author E. O. Wilson, who died final yr, admired the enchanting e-book as “a real basic.”

Contained in the orphan drug revolution

James A. Geraghty Chilly Spring Harbor Laboratory Press (2022)

An “orphan” illness is a uncommon situation that has been deserted by the pharmaceutical business. Fewer than 10 medicine had been authorised to deal with orphan illnesses in the US within the Nineteen Seventies, however there have been greater than 900 because the Orphan Drug Act of 1983. Some had been developed by biotech corporations the place entrepreneur James Geraghty held senior positions for over 4 a long time. His illuminating, generally passionate account connects sufferers’ struggles with enterprise, medication, politics and expertise.

An empire of affect

Lulu Yilun Chen Hodder & Stoughton (2022)

In 2017, the Chinese language firm Tencent overtook Fb financially. Based in 1998 by Pony Ma, it combines the options of Deliveroo, Fb, PayPal, TikTok, Uber, WhatsApp and Yahoo into the super-app WeChat, notes reporter Lulu Chen. Her inside story, primarily based on intensive interviews however discreetly unillustrated, grapples with the tormented relationship between the Web and the Chinese language authorities. He predicts that Tencent’s future can be oriented – like an “overconfident dragon” – extra in direction of China than the remainder of the world.

The science of tremendous spies

Catherine Harkup Bloomsbury (2022)

Undercover agent James Bond films are well-known for his or her expertise. However how dependable is their science? Chemist turned author Kathryn Harkup affords a classy reply, movie by movie. For instance, when creator Ian Fleming revealed Golden finger in 1959, lasers didn’t exist. When his adaptation got here out in 1964, they did. The video confirmed a ruby ​​laser emitting a lethal beam. Actually, dying would require a carbon dioxide laser producing infrared radiation, invisible to the general public.

Mathematical intelligence

Junaid Mubeen Profile (2022)

For many of historical past, arithmetic has been outlined by computation—whether or not with stones, slide guidelines, or computer systems. This “false coupling” is why many concern the rising computing energy of synthetic intelligence (AI) will overwhelm mathematicians, argues mathematician and educator Junaid Mubeen. His clever evaluation explains why computer systems will at all times complement, not substitute, people. “Human information,” he says, “is embodied, emotional and subjective” – which might by no means be true of computer systems and AI.

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