Category Archives: Science

Summer Time

by James Morris

At Saint Sulpice, a magnificent church in Paris, there is a famous gnomon made up of three different parts. Against one of the walls of the church is a tall obelisk. Running down the obelisk and across the floor of the church is a brass line set in white marble. And, in a window opposite the obelisk, there is a small hole that lets in a shaft of light on sunny days.

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It Takes Two

by James Morris
Photograph by Randy Phillis

Great fleas have little fleas,
Upon their backs to bite ‘em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so, ad infinitum.

~ Augustus De Morgan, A Budget of Paradoxes

You are not alone. Certainly, you have family and friends to help, support, and encourage you. But you have even more intimate partnerships.

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Genes, Genomes, and Genies

by James Morris
Illustration by Talia Niederman

We are all, in a way, familiar with genetics. We know that children resemble their parents. We know that there are sometimes uncanny similarities among distant family members. And not a day goes by without some mention of genetics in the news – a gene is implicated in a disease; DNA testing is used to solve a crime; another genome is sequenced.

Yet we might struggle with certain details. What is a genome and why do we care about its sequence? What are genes and how do they relate to traits we see all around us? Why do some traits get passed on – brown eyes, red hair, high blood pressure – but not always, and sometimes in seemingly random ways?

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