the gene: an intimate history by siddhartha mukherjee

 

Hindu philosophers have long described the experience of “being” as a web—jaal. Genes form the threads of the web; the detritus that sticks is what transforms every individual web into a being. There is an exquisite precision in that mad scheme. Genes must carry out programmed responses to environments—otherwise, there would be no conserved form. But they must also leave exactly enough room for the vagaries of chance to stick. We call this intersection “fate.” We call our responses to it “choice.” An upright organism with opposable thumbs is thus built from a script, but built to go off script. We call one such unique variant of one such organism a “self.”

 

 
 

our own fixer-in-chief

 
Trump’s remarks from Carrier Plant, taken from Time’s transcript:

And if I have to tell you, you know, doing speeches, I’d say — they say it’s not presidential to call up these massive leaders of business. I think it’s very presidential. And if it’s not presidential, that’s OK. That’s OK. Because I actually like doing it.

 
Trump styles himself, in his rallies and actions, as our own fixer-in-chief, believing it better for citizens to place their hopes not within institutions, but within him. What could possibly go wrong?

dancing about infrastructure

 

Mike Grunwald, writing in Time, in 2014:

But that’s just a bow to political reality. Republicans say nice things about infrastructure but haven’t shown any interest in paying for it. As a result, the nation has failed to take advantage of historically low interest rates to invest more in our overcrowded airports, outdated railways and flimsy bridges.

 

Matt O’Brien, writing in the Washington Post, this week:

“It will be as exciting as the 1930s.”

That is what Donald Trump’s chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon said about the incoming administration’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan. “With negative interest rates throughout the world,” he argued, “it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything” from “shipyards” to “iron works” and just “throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.”

corker warns against scrapping iran nuclear deal

 

Dave Flessner, in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, quoting Senator Bob Corker

“I don’t think that (repealing the deal) is a very good place to start,” Corker told reporters during a Chattanooga visit today. “If you tear the agreement up on the front end, it’s almost like cutting your nose off to spite your face because they already have access to all of their dollars.”