Thoughts on marriage in the 21st century

Recently released data from Pew’s American Trends Panel survey confirm that American attitudes toward marriage are undergoing a steady but seismic shift. By 2017, only 50% of Americans ages 18-44 had ever been married. There are marked generational differences on the question of whether long-term cohabiters should ultimately marry;  55% of those ages 18-29 agree…

Scivias and the illuminations of Hildegard von Bingen

Scivias by Hildegard of Bingen Hildegard von Bingen’s Scivias (short for “Scito vias Domini,” or “Know the Ways of the Lord”) is, as the title suggests, mostly comprised of various divinely-ordained rules for life, with an emphasis on potential social deviancy. In a manner reminiscent of the Book of Revelation (or even the Quran), Hildegard…

Natalia Karp plays Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp minor

From Wikipedia: In 1943, after the death of her husband in a bomb raid, Karp was sent to the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp where she came into contact with Amon Göth (a man who had personally shot 30-90 women and children during the liquidation of the Tarnów ghetto). On his birthday, Göth ordered her to play…

On autophagy

Autophagy (from the Greek “auto” and “phagy,” literally meaning “self-eating”) is an intracellular process in eukaryotes that involves the breakdown and recycling of organelles, proteins, and other molecules. Cellular components targeted for degradation are typically dysfunctional or inefficient (i.e. such degradation may represent a diversion of resources), and are enveloped by an autophagosome (a double-membraned…

A brief history of the fall of Rome

The dissolution of the Western Roman Empire is popularly perceived as a sudden and dramatic cataclysm, with the “fall of Rome” often precisely dated to 476 CE. In that year, so the story goes, the child Emperor of the West (later derisively referred to as Romulus Augustulus), was deposed by the barbarian warlord Odoacer who…

Hypoxia, anoxia, lactic acid fermentation, and naked mole rats…

Fermentation is the ancient and evolutionarily conserved metabolic process by which glycolytic pyruvate is reduced by the electron carrier NADH, thus regenerating NAD+ while producing any of a number organism-specific end products. For example in yeast, the fermentation end product is ethanol, while in mammals, the end product is lactate. In mammals, this process occurs…