Getting Under Objectivity's Skin
December 5, 1998 | Volume 154 | Number 23
Cover: Modern notions of objectivity stand in contrast to 18th-century attempts to portray ideal forms, such as this engraving of a human skeleton and its muscles that was intended by a Dutch anatomist to show "more perfect patterns" than those observed in actual specimens. The engraving includes a rhinoceros and other decorations. (Table of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body, 1749, B. Albinus, London)
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News of the Week:
Diabetic Pregnancy Risk Starts Early
The risks faced by fetuses in diabetic mothers may stem from high sugar concentrations, causing excess cell death soon after conception.
Poor winter homes delay bird nesting
An analysis of carbon isotopes in migratory bird tissue links poor winter habitat to late arrival at breeding grounds the next summer.
Titanic wreckage still tells a riveting tale
A new analysis suggests that low-quality rivets contributed to the rapid sinking of the Titanic.
Gulf War syndrome may signal mental ills
Mood and anxiety disorders may underlie many cases of the controversial ailment known as Gulf War syndrome.
Turtle genes upset reptilian family tree
A genetic study suggests that turtles are not a primitive form of vertebrate.
Newer pennies pose a special toddler risk
Pennies minted after 1981, when swallowed, can trigger stomach ulcers and erode into ragged, circular blades of zinc.
Preemie diets linked to IQ
What a premature male infant eats in the first month of life can have long-term intellectual impact.
Very Large Telescope: New infrared camera struts its stuff
Newly released pictures show off the capability of an infrared camera installed Nov. 14 on the first of what will eventually be a quartet of 8.2-meter telescopes in northern Chile.
Scientists harvest antibodies from plants
Two studies demonstrate that mammalian antibodies synthesized by plants function normally, offering an inexpensive source for future medicines.
Star motions yield four more planets
Tracking the back-and-forth motion of nearby stars, astronomers recently have found evidence of four extrasolar planets, bringing to 16 the number of planets known to orbit sunlike stars.
Geraniums intoxicate Japanese beetles
Even though a few bites of geranium knock out Japanese beetles for hours, the insects keep going back for more.
Ravens memories can lead to thievery
Ravens ability to remember food caches may extend to the location of booty hidden by another bird.
Diverse fungi underlie plant success
Soil fungi play a bigger role than expected in maintaining the diversity of plant communities.
Schizophrenia: Consenting adults . . .
Systematic help from researchers allows patients with schizophrenia to understand the risks and benefits of participating in clinical trials.
. . . and memory lapses
Memory lapses of schizophrenic patients may represent not a disturbance specific to their mental disorder, but a lack of mental effort.
Voles are addicted to love
Female voles pick a mate in response to the release of dopamine within their brain, the same chemistry that makes cocaine and heroin addictive.
The threat of a piece of pumpkin pie
People with anorexia nervosa may have an actual fear of food.
Historians track the rise and times of scientific objectivity
Notions of scientific objectivity have changed over time and respond to social influences within and outside specific disciplines.
Fill 'Er Up . . . With Veggie Oil
Vegetable oils are moving from the kitchen table to the car engine
Vegetable oil can serve as a renewable, less polluting alternative fuel and engine lubricant.
Letters: A Selection from Letters to the Editor
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