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John Maddox Offers Surprising Insights Into His

By | June 13, 1988

In 1955, a puckish, 30-year-old Weishman resigned as lecturer in theoretical physics at the University of Manchester to become science correspondent of the Manchester Guardian. Unwittingly, the energetically eclectic John Maddox thus took his first step toward the editorial chair of Nature, which he has occupied with distinction on two occasions—between 1966 and 1973, and from 1980 until the present. A robust defender of what he calls “the scientific enterprise,” Maddox has

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Knitting And Braiding Aren't Just For Grandmothers

By | June 13, 1988

Knitting, weaving, and braiding are generally reserved for yarn thread1 and hair. Scientific researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia, however, are experimenting with applying these techniques to fibers of metals, ceramics, and polymers—and they’re making everything from cars to finger joints. In the corner of a room in Drexel’s Fibrous Materials Research Laboratory—the only academic lab of its kind in the country—sits a 100-year-old machine originally de

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Letters

June 13, 1988

In his comment (April 4, 1988, page 8) to my opinion (November 30, 1987, page 11), Howard Temin either missed or misinterpreted the point had tried to make. I was concerned with the fact that the ubiquitous spread of CD-HeLa cells might expand the habitat of HIV not the host range. In addition to the increased use of such modified HeLa cells for large scale production of HIV or for virus research, accidental spread of such cells could contaminate other cells cultures without the researchers k

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Looking For The Patterns Behind Human Violence

By | June 13, 1988

HOMICIDE Martin Daly and Margo Wilson Aldine de Gruyter; New York, 328 pages; $42.95 (hardback), $18.95 (paperback) A characteristic common to good science and good literary criticism is that both are alert to subtext. Both can reveal that what you see is not what you get. Both can offer the excitement of discovering an unexpected pattern in a phenomenon of nature or in the behavior of a protagonist in a play. For a number of years, the authors of Homicide have been studying human behavior b

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Nailing Down Iron Assimilation

By | June 13, 1988

Iron is both a nutritious and potentially noxious element. Its precise regulation in cells is necessary to assure synthesis of several proteins of which the metal is an integral part. At the same time, the cell must avoid generation of tissue-damaging oxygen radicals, which are known to arise from certain transition metals, such as iron. Environmental iron is mostly in a form (the 3+ oxidation state) that is characterized by extreme insolubility at biological pH. In order to dissolve iron, ma

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National Lab Briefs

June 13, 1988

Scientists, beware! The West German hacker who invaded scores of U.S. military computer systems last year could easily strike again. Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory who finally tracked the electronic wizard down have been studying his M.O. Their conclusion: His tactics were often ridiculously simple. Many of the systems he entered used account names and passwords so obvious as to be worthless. And many current systems continue to use similar passwords. The best defense? Difficult p

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The ramshackle state of some of the nation’s science labs has prompted the Kresge Foundation in Troy, Mich., to step beyond its regular pattern of giving and add a special program for upgrading scientific equipment. The foundation, with assets of more than $1 billion, traditionally restricts its funding to construction and building-renovation projects. Now, says Kresge program officer Gene Moss, the foundation expects to give away between $10 million and $20 million for scientific equip

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Notable Books

June 13, 1988

E.O. WiLson, editor, NationalAcademy Press; Washington, D.C.; 496 pages, $19.50 (paperback); $32.50 (hardback) People have far fewer genes than do salamanders or many flowering plants, says Wilson as he piles up statistics to demon- strate the abundance of genetic information stored in living things. This richness—and its fragility—are examined from different angles by this volume’s 55 contributors. PATTERNING IN SEED PLANT SPECIES Jonathan D. Sauer, University of Californi

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NSF Struggles To Pay A Fair Wage

By | June 13, 1988

The foundation battles to get the best and the brightest WASHINGTON--William WuIf is the kind of person who believes that when you’ve been supported by a system, you have an obligation to give something back someday. So the University of Virginia computer scientist was sorely tempted when the National Science Foundation asked him to come to Washington for two or three years to run its computer and information science and engineering directorate. As a young professor, Wulf had benefited f

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Opinion

By | June 13, 1988

Opinion Don’t Link U.S.-Soviet Exchanges To Human Rights Author:HERBERT ABRAMS Date: June 13, 1988 One of the major controversies surrounding exchanges between U.S. and Soviet scientists is whether action on human rights should be a prerequisite for communication. A number of scientists have argued that it should. A few years ago, for example, the National Academy of Sciences canceled formal exchanges with the Soviet Union because of the plight of a number of Soviet scientists, particular

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