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New York Times Book Review "[S]mart, delightful... a splendidly entertaining education in ethics, activism and science.” Editors's Choice, New York Times Book Review An impassioned defense of intellectual freedom and a clarion call to intellectual responsibility, Galileo’s Middle Finger is one American’s eye-opening story of life in the trenches of scientific controversy. For two decades, historian Alice Dreger has led a life of extraordinary engagement, combining activist service to victims of unethical medical research with defense of scientists whose work has outraged identity politics activists. With spirit and wit, Dreger offers in Galileo’s Middle Finger an unforgettable vision of the importance of rigorous truth seeking in today’s America, where both the free press and free scholarly inquiry struggle under dire economic and political threats. This illuminating chronicle begins with Dreger’s own research into the treatment of people born intersex (once called hermaphrodites). Realization of the shocking surgical and ethical abuses conducted in the name of “normalizing” intersex children’s gender identities moved Dreger to become an internationally recognized patient rights’ activist. But even as the intersex rights movement succeeded, Dreger began to realize how some fellow progressive activists were employing lies and personal attacks to silence scientists whose data revealed uncomfortable truths about humans. In researching one such case, Dreger suddenly became the target of just these kinds of attacks. Troubled, she decided to try to understand more—to travel the country to ferret out the truth behind various controversies, to obtain a global view of the nature and costs of these battles. Galileo’s Middle Finger describes Dreger’s long and harrowing journeys between the two camps for which she felt equal empathy: social justice activists determined to win and researchers determined to put hard truths before comfort. Ultimately what emerges is a lesson about the intertwining of justice and of truth—and a lesson of the importance of responsible scholars and journalists to our fragile democracy. Booklist (starred review) "A crusader in the mold of muckrackers from a century ago, Dreger doesn’t try to hide her politics or her agenda. Instead she advocates for change intelligently and passionately. Highly recommended." Kirkus (starred review): “Let us be grateful that there are writers like Dreger who have the wits and the guts to fight for truth.” Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and The World until Yesterday “Alice Dreger would win a prize for this year’s most gripping novel, except for one thing: her stories are true, and this isn’t a novel. Instead, it’s an exciting account of complicated good guys and bad guys, and the pursuit of justice.” From the Hardcover edition.
In the long run, were all dead. But for some of the most influential figures in history, death marked the start of a new adventure. The famous deceased have been stolen, burned, sold, pickled, frozen, stuffed, impersonated and even filed away in a lawyers office. Their fingers, teeth, toes, arms, legs, skulls, hearts, lungs and nether regions have embarked on voyages that criss-cross the globe and stretch the imagination. Counterfeiters tried to steal Lincolns corpse. Einsteins brain went on a cross-country road trip. And after Lord Horatio Nelson perished at Trafalgar, his sailors submerged him in brandy which they drank. From Mozart to Hitler, Rest in Pieces connects the lives of the famous dead to the hilarious and horrifying adventures of their corpses, and traces the evolution of cultural attitudes towards death.
The first and best compendium of facts weirder than fiction, of intriguing information and must-talk-about trivia has spawned many imitators - but none as addictive or successful. For nearly three decades the editors have been researching curious facts, unusual statistics and the incredible stories behind them. Now the most entertaining and informative of these have been brought together in a long-awaited, thoroughly up-to-date new edition.
A brilliant inquiry into the origins of human nature. "Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read..also highly persuasive." -Time Now updated with a new afterword One of the world's leading experts on language and the mind explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts. Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.
Once again historian Harvey Rachlin uncovers odd and stirring stories behind some of the most fascinating objects in the world. "Jumbo's Hide," Publisher's Weekly writes, "is entertaining and enlightening … a pageant of human aspiration, achievement, obsession, and belief." Artifacts explored include: The truce flag that ended World War I, The Maltese Falcon, John Adam's pigtail and Jesse James' Stickpin and Galileo's middle finger.
A laugh-out-loud miscellany of everything you ever wanted to know about death. From bizarre funeral practices and macabre urban myths to lucrative jobs in the death business. Accompanied by cartoons from the creators of the hit webcomic, ‘Cyanide & Happiness.’
From Silvio Berlusconi's bed to Casanova's memoirs (the most expensive manuscript in history), via the Statue of Liberty's nose and an X-ray of Marilyn Monroe's chest, here is a remarkable record of some of the quirkiest, most unexpected and sometimes bizarre possessions that have changed hands in the last year - some costing millions, some only pennies (or even nothing at all). Ranging from rare historical artefacts (such as Marie-Antoinette's pearls) to the weirdly iconic (Elvis's medicine cabinet, anyone?), by turns ingenious, intriguing and witty, this is a brilliant and teasing insight into the culture of our time, packed with extraordinary things to amuse, inspire or amaze.

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