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History, Science, and the Politics of Uncertainty
Taking on what one former U.S. ambassador called “the last ghost of the Vietnam War,” this book examines the far-reaching impact of Agent Orange, the most infamous of the dioxin-contaminated herbicides used by American forces in Southeast Asia. Edwin A. Martini’s aim is not simply to reconstruct the history of the “chemical war” but to investigate the ongoing controversy over the short- and long-term effects of weaponized defoliants on the environment of Vietnam, on the civilian population, and on the troops who fought on both sides. Beginning in the early 1960s, when Agent Orange was first deployed in Vietnam, Martini follows the story across geographical and disciplinary boundaries, looking for answers to a host of still unresolved questions. What did chemical manufacturers and American policymakers know about the effects of dioxin on human beings, and when did they know it? How much do scientists and doctors know even today? Should the use of Agent Orange be considered a form of chemical warfare? What can, and should, be done for U.S. veterans, Vietnamese victims, and others around the world who believe they have medical problems caused by Agent Orange? Martini draws on military records, government reports, scientific research, visits to contaminated sites, and interviews to disentangle conflicting claims and evaluate often ambiguous evidence. He shows that the impact of Agent Orange has been global in its reach affecting individuals and communities in New Zealand, Australia, Korea, and Canada as well as Vietnam and the United States. Yet for all the answers it provides, this book also reveals how much uncertainty—scientific, medical, legal, and political—continues to surround the legacy of Agent Orange.
The Final Volume of the Groundbreaking Trilogy on Agent-Based Modeling
In this pioneering synthesis, Joshua Epstein introduces a new theoretical entity: Agent_Zero. This software individual, or "agent," is endowed with distinct emotional/affective, cognitive/deliberative, and social modules. Grounded in contemporary neuroscience, these internal components interact to generate observed, often far-from-rational, individual behavior. When multiple agents of this new type move and interact spatially, they collectively generate an astonishing range of dynamics spanning the fields of social conflict, psychology, public health, law, network science, and economics.
Epstein weaves a computational tapestry with threads from Plato, Hume, Darwin, Pavlov, Smith, Tolstoy, Marx, James, and Dostoevsky, among others. This transformative synthesis of social philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, and agent-based modeling will fascinate scholars and students of every stripe. Epstein’s computer programs are provided in the book or on its Princeton University Press website, along with movies of his "computational parables."
Agent_Zero is a signal departure in what it includes (e.g., a new synthesis of neurally grounded internal modules), what it eschews (e.g., standard behavioral imitation), the phenomena it generates (from genocide to financial panic), and the modeling arsenal it offers the scientific community.
For generative social science, Agent_Zero presents a groundbreaking vision and the tools to realize it.
A Short History of Osteoporosis
In the middle of the twentieth century, few physicians could have predicted that the modern diagnostic category of osteoporosis would emerge to include millions of Americans, predominantly older women. Before World War II, popular attitudes held that the declining physical and mental health of older persons was neither preventable nor reversible and that older people had little to contribute. Moreover, the physiological processes that influenced the health of bones remained mysterious. In Aging Bones, Gerald N. Grob makes a historical inquiry into how this one aspect of aging came to be considered a disease. During the 1950s and 1960s, as more and more people lived to the age of 65, older people emerged as a self-conscious group with distinct interests, and they rejected the pejorative concept of senescence. But they had pressing health needs, and preventing age-related decline became a focus for researchers and clinicians alike. In analyzing how the normal aging of bones was transformed into a medical diagnosis requiring treatment, historian of medicine Grob explores developments in medical science as well as the social, intellectual, economic, demographic, and political changes that transformed American society in the post–World War II decades. Though seemingly straightforward, osteoporosis and its treatment are shaped by illusions about the conquest of disease and aging. These illusions, in turn, are instrumental in shaping our health care system. While bone density tests and osteoporosis treatments are now routinely prescribed, aggressive pharmaceutical intervention has produced results that are inconclusive at best. The fascinating history in Aging Bones will appeal to students and scholars in the history of medicine, health policy, gerontology, endocrinology, and orthopedics, as well as anyone who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Farming, Antislavery Politics, and Nature Parks in the Civil War Era
The familiar story of the Civil War tells of a predominately agricultural South pitted against a rapidly industrializing North. However, Adam Wesley Dean argues that the Republican Party's political ideology was fundamentally agrarian. Believing that small farms owned by families for generations led to a model society, Republicans supported a northern agricultural ideal in opposition to southern plantation agriculture, which destroyed the land's productivity, required constant western expansion, and produced an elite landed gentry hostile to the Union. Dean shows how agrarian republicanism shaped the debate over slavery's expansion, spurred the creation of the Department of Agriculture and the passage of the Homestead Act, and laid the foundation for the development of the earliest nature parks.
Spanning the long nineteenth century, Dean's study analyzes the changing debate over land development as it transitioned from focusing on the creation of a virtuous and orderly citizenry to being seen primarily as a "civilizing" mission. By showing Republicans as men and women with backgrounds in small farming, Dean unveils new connections between seemingly separate historical events, linking this era's views of natural and manmade environments with interpretations of slavery and land policy.
Sustainability and Environmental Ethics
As industry and technology proliferate in modern society, sustainability has jumped to the forefront of contemporary political and environmental discussions. The balance between progress and the earth’s ability to provide for its inhabitants grows increasingly precarious as we attempt to achieve sustainable development. In The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics, Paul B. Thompson articulates a new agrarian philosophy, emphasizing the vital role of agrarianism in modern agricultural practices. Thompson, a highly regarded voice in environmental philosophy, unites concepts of agrarian philosophy, political theory, and environmental ethics to illustrate the importance of creating and maintaining environmentally conscious communities. Thompson describes the evolution of agrarian values in America, following the path blazed by Thomas Jefferson, John Steinbeck, and Wendell Berry. Providing a pragmatic approach to ecological responsibility and commitment, The Agrarian Vision is a significant, compelling argument for the practice of a reconfigured and expanded agrarianism in our efforts to support modern industrialized culture while also preserving the natural world.
Land, Culture, Conflict, and Hope
Every society expresses its fundamental values and hopes in the ways it inhabits its landscapes. In this literate and wide-ranging exploration, Eric T. Freyfogle raises difficult questions about America’s core values while illuminating the social origins of urban sprawl, dwindling wildlife habitats, and over-engineered rivers. These and other land-use crises, he contends, arise mostly because of cultural attitudes that made sense on the American frontier but now threaten the land’s ecological fabric. To support and sustain healthy communities, profound adjustments will be required. Freyfogle’s search leads him down unusual paths. He probes Charles Frazier’s novel Cold Mountain for insights on the healing power of nature and tests the wisdom in Wendell Berry’s fiction. He challenges journalists writing about environmental issues to get beyond well-worn rhetoric and explain the true choices that Americans face. In an imaginary job advertisement, he issues a call for a national environmental leader, identifying the skills and knowledge required, taking note of cultural obstacles, and looking critically at supposed allies. Examining recent federal elections, he largely blames the conservation cause and its inattention to cultural issues for the diminished status of the environment as a decisive issue. Agrarianism and the Good Society identifies the social, historical, political, and cultural obstacles to humans’ harmony with nature and advocates a new orientation, one that begins with healthy land and that better reflects our utter dependence on it. In all, Agrarianism and the Good Society offers a critical yet hopeful guide for cultural change, essential for anyone interested in the benefits and creative possibilities of responsible land use.
A Guide for First Responders
“In many cases, the communities most ill-prepared to deal with . . . terrorism incidents,” Jason B. Moats writes in the introduction to this book, “are the rural communities that provide . . . food and crops.” Having conducted training across the country for first responders in cities, small towns, and rural communities, Moats for the first time gathers here the knowledge gleaned from research and nearly twenty years’ experience in emergency services and emergency training. Whether used in the field or in the classroom, this manual is designed to help rural communities prepare for an act of agroterrorism. It explains why the U.S. agriculture industry is a target for terrorists and how farms and farming communities across the country are vulnerable. The author lists known biological and chemical agents and their effects, explains model systems for supporting emergency response efforts, and lays out proven plans for gathering personnel and other resources in an orderly, coordinated way. In Agroterrorism: A Guide for First Responders, Moats spells out who should do what and when, providing a critically needed path through the bureaucratic maze of state, national, and interagency homeland security directives. With this book, Moats empowers those on the front lines in rural America, those charged with the responsibility of handling emergency crises in agricultural communities. Armed with the information they need, emergency response agencies, emergency managers, public health professionals, veterinary and animal health practitioners, as well as farmers and producers, will be able to answer the questions: “Where do we start?” “What do we do?” “Who is going to do it?” and “How do we pay for it?” Closing with a complete training program that includes practical exercises formatted for easy use, Agroterrorism: A Guide for First Responders contains resources vital for America’s rural communities, emergency managers, and the agriculture sector that is so central to our national interest.
A Scientist's Take on Creativity
This book is about having ideas and—a much longer haul—making them work. David Jones, best known for his Daedalus column, tells many stories about creators and their creations, including his own fantastical-seeming contributions to mainstream science—such as unrideable bicycles and chemical gardens in space. His theory of creativity endows each of us with a Random-Ideas Generator, a Censor, and an Observer-Reasoner. Jones applies the theory to a wide range of weird scientific experiments that he has conducted for serious scientific papers, for challenging printed expositions, and for presentations to a TV audience. He even suggests new ones, not yet tried! Creativity is as essential to science as curiosity, physical intuition, and shrewd deduction from well-planned experiments. But, says Jones, ingenuity is very uncertain—even for the greatest inventors, about 80 percent of ideas fail. Jokiness can help, and so can lots of random data. Jones has copious clever advice that will help you have that madly brilliant private thought in the first place—and will encourage you to take it further! Neither dense nor demanding, The Aha! Moment is engrossing, edifying, and scientifically serious; yet it is lightly written, has many jokes, and asks lots of silly questions. As Jones shows, it can often pay to take an absurd idea seriously.
Ecosystem effects from air pollution in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and elsewhere in New York have been substantial. Efforts to characterize and quantify these impacts, and to examine more recent recovery, have focused largely on surface waters, soils, and forests. Lakes, streams, and soils have acidified. Estuaries have become more eutrophic. Nutrient cycles have been disrupted. Mercury has bioaccumulated to toxic levels. Plant species composition has changed. Some surface waters show signs of partial chemical recovery in response to emissions control programs, but available data suggest that soil chemistry may continue to deteriorate under expected future emissions and deposition. Resource managers, policymakers, and scientists now need to know the extent to which current and projected future emissions reductions will lead to ecosystem recovery.
In this book, Timothy J. Sullivan provides a comprehensive synthesis of past, current, and potential future conditions regarding atmospheric sulfur, nitrogen oxides, ammonium, and mercury deposition; surface water chemistry; soil chemistry; forests; and aquatic biota in New York, providing much needed information to help set emissions reduction goals, evaluate incremental improvements, conduct cost/benefit analyses, and prioritize research needs. He draws upon a wealth of research conducted over the past thirty years that has categorized, quantified, and advanced understanding of ecosystem processes related to atmospheric deposition of strong acids, nutrients, and mercury and associated ecosystem effects. An important component of this volume is the new interest in the management and mitigation of ecosystem damage from air pollution stress, which builds on the "critical loads" approach pioneered in Europe and now gaining interest in the United States.
This book will inform scientists, resource managers, and policy analysts regarding the state of scientific knowledge on these complex topics and their policy relevance and will help to guide public policy assessment work in New York, the Northeast, and nationally.
The Post Office and the Birth of the Commercial Aviation Industry
Conventional wisdom credits only entrepreneurs with the vision to create America's commercial airline industry and contends that it was not until Roosevelt's Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 that federal airline regulation began. In Airlines and Air Mail, F. Robert van der Linden persuasively argues that Progressive republican policies of Herbert Hoover actually fostered the growth of American commercial aviation. Air mail contracts provided a critical indirect subsidy and a solid financial foundation for this nascent industry. Postmaster General Walter F. Brown used these contracts as a carrot and a stick to ensure that the industry developed in the public interest while guaranteeing the survival of the pioneering companies. Bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, and politicians of all stripes are thoughtfully portrayed in this thorough chronicle of one of America's most resounding successes, the commercial aviation industry.