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Download a PDF of the complete In Context #12 newsletter

In Context #12 (Fall, 2004)

Notes and Reviews

The Building-Block Universe
by Stephen L. Talbott

What one scientist has described as the "blackest heresy of establishment physics" is in fact a routine part of the way most scientists imagine the world. That is, they imagine it as a great machine constructed from elementary, thing-like building blocks. It is a picture that doesn't make much sense.

Feature Articles

Genes Are Not Immune to Context — Examples from Bacteria
by Craig Holdrege

The “lowly” bacteria are among our best instructors in the high art of genetic flexibility and adaptation. What we've been learning about bacteria illustrates the fact that the organism, along with its environment, provides the context that gives genes their meaning.

The Giraffe in Its World
by Craig Holdrege

What sort of creature is the giraffe? It reaches upward with seemingly every bone of its body. From its lofty height it exhibits social aloofness. And when it gallops over the African plain, it almost seems to float. Become acquainted with one of Africa's most remarkable creatures by reading this excerpt from a forthcoming booklet.

Quantum Puzzles
by Steve Talbott

The stance of our culture toward the revolution in physics is oddly schizophrenic. On the one hand, we have been treated, since at least the 1960s, to a parade of popularizations glorifying the purportedly bizarre results of what must seem to the layman an unapproachable science. These authors tell us of esoteric physicists in saffron robes, masters of zen and the tao, who from on high have stolen forbidden glimpses of the cosmic dance. But little of this drama, and none of its real significance, seem to have penetrated the public's day-to-day consciousness of science.

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