LIVING WITH THE GENIE
"A group of remarkably penetrating, frank, and expert scientists, techno-wizards, activists, and writers raise provocative questions about what is gained and what is lost in a world enthralled by technology in this wonderfully soulful forum on life in the 'Wired World.' " -BOOKLIST
Biotechnology, Cloning, Robotics, Nanotechnology...
At a time when scientific and technological breakthroughs keep our eyes focused on the latest software upgrades or the newest cell-phone wizardry, a group of today's most innovative thinkers are looking beyond the horizon to explore both the promise and the peril of our technological future.
Human ingenuity has granted us a world of unprecedented personal power -- enabling us to communicate instantaneously with anyone anywhere on the globe, to transport ourselves in both real and virtual worlds to distant places with ease, to fill our bellies with engineered commodities once available to only a privileged elite.
Through our technologies, we have sought to free ourselves from the shackles of nature and become its master. Yet science and technology continually transform our experience and society in ways that often seem to be beyond our control. Today, different areas of research and innovation are advancing synergistically, multiplying the rate and magnitude of technological and societal change, with consequences that no one can predict.
Living with the Genie explores the origins, nature, and meaning of such change, and our capacity to govern it. As the power of technology continues to accelerate, who, this book asks, will be the master of whom?
In Living with the Genie, leading writers and thinkers come together to confront this question from many perspectives, including: Richard Powers's whimsical investigation of the limits of artificial intelligence; Philip Kitcher's confrontation of the moral implications of science; Richard Rhodes's exploration of the role of technology in reducing violence; Shiv Visvanathan's analysis of technology's genocidal potential; Lori Andrews's insights into the quest for human genetic enhancement; Alan Lightman's reflections on how technology changes the experience of our humanness.
These and ten other provocative essays open the door to a new dialogue on how, in the quest for human mastery, technology may be changing what it means to be human, in ways we scarcely comprehend.
A few years ago I visited The Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Developer and impresario Steve Wynn built it to be the “greatest hotel of all time . . .romantic in a literary sense; a lovely place, perfect, even nicer than the real world.”Wynn hired architect Jon Jerde, whom he considers to be “the Bernini of our time,” to design Bellagio, one of the “cathedrals of our time.” The hotel casino joins a panoply of other contemporary consumption-driven temples, including the Mall of America, also designed by Mr. Jerde. Bellagioopened in1998 to great media fanfare, including articles in The New York Timesand Vanity Fair.
Built at acost of $1.6 billion, the Bellagio Hotel and Casino attempts to replicate the Mediterranean style of its namesake and inspiration, Bellagio, Italy, which Wynn regards as “sort of a universal symbol of the good life.” The real Bellagio is nestled in the Italian Alps next to the azure waters of Lake Como. The Bellagio Hotel and Casino, located in the Mojave Desert,is nestled next to an eleven-acre man-made lake that exists only due to the possession of rights to hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water from the Colorado River, many miles away. The power of that same river, harnessed by the engineering marvel of the Hoover Dam and transformed into electricity though an enormous hydroelectric complex, also lights up the Bellagio Hotel and Casino twenty-four hours a day. Through a massive technological infrastructure, the integrated historical beauty of the village of Bellagio is reduced to TheBellagio.
The Bellagio offers an indoor botanical “experience” that replicates the seasons with “four different scenes—summer, fall, winter and spring.” “Every 90 days,” says Wynn, “we change for the season and then in each of the four seasons the blooms last for 30 days. The hotel's smell and look change every 30 days. . .We have 111 people in the horticulture department of this hotel. We can make a season change in 18 hours—three nights, six hours a night, on the graveyard shift. In the spring, we've got full size cherry trees—like in Washington." Wynn’s goal in creating Bellagio: “The way God would do it if he had money.
Wynn’s trees and blooms are real, not silken substitutes: the cherry trees of spring will be followed by an explosion of chrysanthemums in the summer. Fall will look like the Halloween New England of Ichabod Crane, and December a winter wonderland. The seasons at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino do not change, they are changed. Unlike the seasons of Bellagio, Italy, which reflect the functioning of an integral ecosystem, the seasons at the Bellagio exist as discrete, unrelated “scenes.” They are “just this moment” frozen in time.
I had never been to Las Vegas, but I’ve always imagined it to be pretty awful. When I read about the Bellagio, however, part of me feared that I might actually enjoy it. I find it hard to resist the comfort of a luxury hotel, I like to gamble, and I enjoy delicious food. The Bellagio Hotel and Casino promised all those things in abundance. I decided to go and see for myself.
As the plane approached McCarran Airport, after crossing miles of subtle desert landscape, Las Vegas rose, Oz-like, out of the expanse of the Eastern Mojave. I could see the Great Pyramid, the Eiffel Tower, Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, Coney Island. Every casino had a lake or a moat or a fountain and at least one pool. On leaving the airport, only the heat and aridity reminded me that I was in the desert.
The Bellagio’s lobby is a cacophony of jazz, rock and roll, standards, and new age music; it sounds like a dozen radio stations playing simultaneously. Slot machines ring and clang. The elevators on the way up to the rooms play classical music; rock and roll on the way down. This was intended to adjust my mood for the activities of the bedroom or the casino. Although it appeared we were being shepherded with care, no one seemed to know where they were going. In the casino, rather disoriented myself, I overheard a woman behind me say, “I have no sense of which way to go where.” Her friend answered flatly, “I think people just give up and stay here.”
Despite almost continuous shoulder-to-shoulder proximity, patrons of the Bellagio seemed oblivious to each other. Doors frequently closed in my face. The dominant human contact came from accidentally bumping into people. Although together, we were in no way connected. After a few hours of wandering around I felt claustrophobic, engulfed. The Bellagio’s gimmicks, gardens and gambling were distracting but lacked any depth or richness that would make them compelling. Everything began to look, feel and sound the same. Weary and alienated, I retreated to my room.
The view from the 21stfloor encompassed five swimming pools and a tangled intersection that joined the freeways surrounding the city. Smog obscured the mountains I knew were there. With the curtains drawn, my admittedly comfortable, but nevertheless generic, hotel room could have been anywhere. Although I was here specifically to experience the Bellagio, I just couldn’t face the noisy, crowded, maze downstairs. I called room service and ordered dinner
Having finished my perfectly cooked medium rare lamb chop and a quite good Caesar salad, I leaned against the abundant down pillows on my bed to savor my glass of wine. For some reason the story of The Nightingaleby Hans Christian Andersen came to mind. One of my childhood favorites, in the Bellagio Hotel and Casino that night, I began to understand what it was about. Written in the 1840s, the story is a reflection on the seductions of technology and its limitations, especially when it supplants our direct experience of the natural world.
In the Bellagio I felt acutely the contrast between the technologically manipulated and manufactured environment and the natural one. The Bellagio felt uncomfortably isolated from the living world; it offered me nothing of essential value while insulating me from the connection to anything that might. I could not shake a constant feeling of anxiety in this technologically sustained land of the lotus-eaters.
The Nightingaleis about an emperor of China wholived in a gorgeous palace entirely made of porcelain. The most sophisticated technology of the time had been deployed to create, like Bellagio, “a lovely place, perfect, even nicer that the real world.” Although the gardens stretched out as far as the eye could see, they ultimately came to a great forest, which sloped down to the sea. In that forest lived a nightingale, who sang so beautifully that even the poor fishermen, who had so many other things to do, would stop and listen.
Travelers from all over came to admire the porcelain palace, but when they heard the nightingale in the forest, they all declared her to be the loveliest of all. They wrote books and poetry about her. Through these books the emperor came to know of the nightingale and demanded to hear her sing for him in the palace. When the emissaries of the court finally found her, the nightingale accepted their invitation, even though, she said, her song sounded best in the forest.
Back at the palace great preparations were made. At last the nightingale arrived, and at the emperor’s signal she sang. Her song brought tears to his eyes. The nightingale declined the golden collar he offered, saying his tears were reward enough. The emperor kept the nightingale at court in her own gilded cage, allowing her to go out only with twelve servants holding a silken string fastened to her leg.
One day the emperor received a large box containing a jewel-encrusted mechanical nightingale, a gift from the emperor of Japan. Around its neck hung a ribbon on which was inscribed: "The Emperor of Japan’s nightingale is poor compared with the Emperor of China’s." The bird sang when wound. Everyone in the court was delighted. One day while the wind-up bird was singing and attention was diverted, the nightingale escaped into the woods.
Upon noticing her absence, the court decided that it preferred the wind-up bird anyway. With the real nightingale you could never tell what was going to be sung; with this bird everything was settled. The poor fisherman, however, who heard the wind-up bird said, "It sounds prettily enough, and the melodies are all alike; yet there seems something wanting, I cannot exactly tell what."
Sitting in the contrived elegance of my hotel room at Bellagio that night, I had the same feeling. Although this environment tried to anticipate my every need and respond with comfort and diversion, something was missing. I knew what the nightingale sounded like—her song was the icy, sweet and delicious taste of the mountain water I drank as a teenager when I went backpacking in the Sierra with my friends. Her song was the sound of crashing waves on the beaches of Mexico where as a child, I sipped coconut milk while leaning against the palmthat had provided it. The nightingale’s song was the subtle and varied fragrances of the roses growing in my father’s garden.
Yet all too often, like the emperor and his courtiers, I become enamored of the mechanical delights around me, and I do not even notice when the nightingale slips away. In San Francisco, my climate-controlled house reliably keeps me comfortable and protected from the elements. My “Fast Track Pass” allows me to bypass the long lines of bumper-to-bumper congestion as I travel back and forth across the the Golden Gate Bridge. My cell phone saves me precious minutes. It enables me, while enroute, to warn people that I am early or late for a meeting or lost and need directions. While grocery shopping, I can simultaneously check the wait at my favorite restaurant or order movie tickets. I regard email, voicemail and the Internet as essential to my life; they allow me to be readily in touch with people and to handle business easily and quickly.
Like the emperor’s courtiers, I am glad for technology’s predictable song. I depend on it without question. In the back of my mind I sometimes notice something is missing, but usually, with nearly unconscious acquiescence, I succumb to the technologically rich environment that eases and encompasses my daily life. Only when I find myself without these conveniences do I really remember what is missing and how essential it is.
One summer I spent a month at the Blue Mountain Center, in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Built as one of the “great camps” at the beginning of the 20thcentury, it is now a retreat for artists and writers. The Blue Mountain Center is a series of craftsman-style structures each with a view of Eagle Lake through broad-leafed maple trees. Technology there is minimal. While the erratic electricity was sufficient to power my miraculous office-in-a-box laptop, there was only one pay phone and one fax to be shared among the twenty residents. Cell phones were prohibited. Sending and receiving email, something I normally do several times an hour, required an inconvenient trip to the basement.
At first, being technologically limited felt like a huge inconvenience. Before long, however, as the distractions of these mediating technologies fell away, a more finely tuned awareness of my surroundings began to arise. My trips to the basement dwindled to a few times a week. Uninterrupted by the ringing of my own cell phone and the pseudo symphonic signals of others’, spared overhearing the loud and uninteresting phone conversations of strangers, I found myself tuning into the sounds of the place itself. I realized that when I am on my cell phone, regardless of where I am physically—in my car, walking down the street, in some store--mentally I am in the ether of the conversation. Where I am is nowhere. Without the distraction of phone calls, without the illusion of connection through fax and email, I began to connect to the place where I actually was.
At Blue Mountain I ran every day, about six miles through the forest. The loamy path was soft and springy, so much more forgiving to human knees than the asphalt road that I usually pound. At home I cannot conceive of running without my iPod, in part to shut out the noise of the city, in part to distract me from the boring and sometimes painful experience of running itself. But running in the woods at Blue Mountain felt different and I wanted to be able to fully experience it. I set the iPod aside and ran in silence. The quiet of the forest was palpable against my ears; it was pierced by the trilling of woodcocks and wood thrushes, the wind through the birches, the rustling of surprised creatures as they darted away, unseen, through the leaves. My senses were engaged. I felt sharply aware.
With no city lights or street lamps, it was very dark at night; the stars were profuse. The big dipper was perfectly framed in my bathroom window. My evening reverie was accompanied by the calling of loons, the sound of water lapping. Alert and present as I gazed up at the Milky Way, I felt connected, related, a part of something greater than myself. I felt at home in the universe.
This natural experience was not, of course, without its discomforts. The only “climate control” in my room was a portable fan that simply moved around the unrelenting heat that set in for a few days. My brain slowed, my body felt heavy. Screens on the windows offered the most advanced comfort-providing technology, but even they were insufficient to keep out the noseeums. For several nights I was beset by them. I scratched my countless bites to the point of drawing blood. The bed sheets excruciatingly abraded the sores on my legs, but without their cover I was afraid I would get more bites. I could find no distraction—even reading was out of the question since the light I required would be a beacon for the bugs.
In the moments when my world was defined by the discomfort caused by this tiny scourge, I watched my own futile attempts to escape it—to resort to benedryl or cortisone-- anything--for relief. I do not like to suffer, but suffering, an unmediated (and ultimately unavoidable) experience, is quite illuminating. The pain heightened my awareness of my body and the experience of being alive at that moment in that place. I would have preferred Blue Mountain without the noseeums and, while I would have taken anything to relieve the discomfort, I would not have altered that world to avoid it. Horrible as the noseeums were, they were part of an intricately connected environment. Bug free Bellagio, comfortable and opulent though it was, felt deadening and insulated; I couldn’t wait to get home. When my month at Blue Mountain was over, I did not want to leave nor return to my technologically mediated life. I had rediscovered what was missing.
In The Origins of Knowledge and Imaginationeminent mathematician and biologist Jacob Brownowski said, “I believe that the world is totally connected: that is to say, that there are no events anywhere in the universe which are not tied to every other event in the universe.”Even if the “event” is the simple experience of a rose or a noseeum bite, when a Bellagio designer is not calibrating the fragrance level or programming when and how I will have a particular experience, I can know that connection directly.
The experience of such connections, while freely available in the natural world, is not limited to it. Visiting Chartres Cathedral I experienced this same totality of presence. I felt focused and concentrated, in awe of the boldness of vision and purpose that created such a majestic structure. The jewel colors of the stained glass windows with their images of suffering and redemption penetrated not only the cathedral’s soft darkness but also something inside me. I felt the loosening of the boundaries that isolate a self; I felt enveloped in a unifying intimacy with the strangers around me. The specific place and specific moment were fixed in time, yet also transcended time.
Impressive medieval technologies were responsible for raising the edifice that evoked this experience, but the force I felt intimately connected to was something other than the sheer physical or mechanical power to erect a monument, even one so large and magnificent. In his autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams, Adams devotes an entire chapter, The Virgin and the Dynamo, to the study of how power and force shape people and history.
Although Adams marveled at the new technology of dynamos introduced at the Great Exposition of 1900 in Paris, he knew that there was another “kingdom of force” equally powerful, if not more so. “All the steam in the world could not,” said Adams, “like the Virgin, build Chartres.”I knew what he meant. At Chartres I could feel the élan vital, the force that created it, and I was silenced. For some time afterward I did not want to speak or be spoken to. Generating this experience was surely the intent of Chartres’ designers and builders. It was the perception of connection, the apprehension of what, according to Adams, mediaeval science called “immediate modes of the divine substance” and what I, less theologically inclined, call direct experience.
Such unmediated experiences are not limited to the natural world. Painter Barnett Newman tried to evoke this experience of connection in his work. When I stand before Newman’s The Stations of the Cross, a series of fourteen canvases in black and white, I feel through their terrible beauty, the suffering that is unavoidable in life. In an article about Newman, Arthur C. Danto wrote, “a picture represents something other than itself; a painting presents itself. . . Painting and viewer coexist in the same reality.”As Danto describes it, I “feel myself there, in relationship to the work, like someone standing by a waterfall.”For Newman this awareness of place, self and relationship, necessarily encompasses both pain and exaltation; without both, there can be no wholeness.
The actress Fiona Shaw recently afforded me a similar experience of connection in her performance of Euripides’ Medea. Shaw was not a window into Medea, a picture of Medea—she wasMedea, the spurned sorceress who exacts revenge on her husband by murdering their children and his betrothed. Shaw portrayed Medea’s indecision over murdering her children with excruciating agony. "I must do it, I can't do it," she wailed,and although I knew the end of the story, her extremity was so immediate I hoped she might yet change her mind. By the end of the play I understood Medea’s choices and the actions that followed; and I experienced the pain of her impossible situation. Science and technology may have advanced dramatically in 2400 years, but we humans are pretty much the same. None of us can escape the price of the human condition. We recognize each other in the happiness and suffering that connect us.
Like experiences in the natural world, Chartres Cathedral, Newman’s paintings, and Shaw’s Medea are conduits of connection. As they reveal and illuminate the full spectrum of human experience, we find ourselves enfolded in a universe that encompasses all of our foibles and inspires all of our greatness; in that embrace we are restored, made whole. Experiences in the natural world have the same effect, perhaps even more profoundly. Through them we discover and can feel our relationship to all life and the planet that sustains us. Through that connection, our lives become more meaningful—more purposeful. In Howard’s Endby E.M. Forster, Margaret exhorts her husband to open his heart to such direct experience—in both the natural world and the humanly constructed one--so that he may live a more complete and integrated existence: “Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. . .Live in fragments no longer.”
Several years after the nightingale fled, the emperor became gravely ill. By this time the wind-up bird had worn out and was too fragile to sing more than once a year. Because there was no one there to wind it, the bird sat silent on its pillow next to the ailing emperor. Death entered the room and stared at the monarch with his cold, hollow eyes. Terrified, the emperor lay helpless. Suddenly, through the open window came the sound of the most beautiful singing. It was the nightingale. Hearing of the emperor's illness she had come to sing to him of hope and trust. As she sang, the emperor slowly gained strength.
The grateful emperor wanted to reward the nightingale for banishing death, but she wanted nothing. Her reward, she replied, had been his tears the first time she sang. She stayed with him until the next morning when he woke, fully recovered. The emperor asked her to live with him at the palace and sing when she pleased; he would destroy the artificial bird. The nightingale told him not to do that, that the bird did well as long as it could. The nightingale refused to live in the palace, but promised to return and sing to the king of “those who are happy, and those who suffer; of the good and the evil hidden around you; of the faraway fishermen and peasants.”
The story’s finale reveals the essential difference between the force of nature and the limited power of technology. The ability of the nightingale’s song to heal rests on the fact that it leaves out nothing. She sings of beauty and happiness, but does not shirk from singing of evil and suffering as well. Offering the emperor no buffer from the totality of his realm, the nightingale connects him to the lives of those in his kingdom who support him with their fish and grain but whom he never sees. Through her song, the emperor expands his awareness beyond his insular porcelain walls and discovers his relationship to a larger world. The nightingale sings the truth of what is, and through her song the emperor is made whole.Even if the emperor had succeeded in making the mechanical bird sing, it would have failed to invigorate him. Its predictable song could not express or evoke the feelings that the all-encompassing song of the living bird could. Inanimate and mechanical, the wind-up bird could not create for the emperor the essential experience of connection.
Alone, like the emperor, in my hotel room at the Bellagio, I had available to me a wealth of technological distractions and entertainments: first run movies, DVDs, a CD player and a wide choice of music, a Jacuzzi, a fully loaded minibar. These technologies dazzled with their power to amuse but they did not inspire. Bellagio felt like the antithesis of Chartres. The experience of Bellagio offered me mind-numbing distraction; Chartres afforded me a deeper connection to myself and the world,
With each experience of connection I discover that I must push out the boundaries of the relevant further and further. Thisever-widening perspective affects how I relate to other people--those near as well as those on the other side of the world. It affects the way I act upon the natural world, and it affects the choices I make in the humanly-constructed environment. As the boundary of what is relevant to me expands, I am increasingly confronted withthe question of how my behavior and my choices affect this interconnected whole. Through these experiences of connection and the insights they have engendered I discovered the purpose and passion of my life—doing what I can to ensure that this planet continues to be a place where all people have the opportunity to experience the power of connection that helps them discover their own passion and purpose in life. Inherent in these experiences is the desire to preserve the opportunity for others to know them.
Brownowski describes the process of science—the process by which we gain knowledge-- as that of decoding a “completely connected world.” This decoding requires dividing that completely connected world into what is relevant and what is not relevant to the matter at hand. But in so doing, Bronowski says, we do violence to the connections in the world. We must always bear in mind that we are “certainly not going to get the world right, because the basic assumption that [we] have made about dividing the world into the relevant and irrelevant is in fact a lie. When we practice science (and this is true of all our experience), we are always decoding a part of nature which is not complete. We simply cannot get out of our own finiteness.” 
To artists who convey the force of connection through their work, nature is essential to the creative process. For writer and painter John Berger, landscape painting is about experiencing that moment of wholeness--the connection--that arises in direct awareness. For Berger, “the process of painting is the process of trying to re-achieve at a higher level of complexity a previous unity which has been lost.” For abstract painter John Wells, direct experience of the natural world is both the object and the source of his creative force. “. . .all around the morning air and the sea’s blue light, with points of diamond and the gorse incandescent beyond the trees; countless rocks ragged or round and of every color; birds resting or flying, and the sense of a multitude of creatures living out their minute lives. . . All of this is part of one’s life and I want desperately to express it; not just what I see, but what I feel about it. . . but how can one paint the warmth of the sun, the sound of the sea, the journey of a beetle across a rock, or thought of one’s own whence and wither? That’s one argument for abstraction. One absorbs all these feelings and ideas: if one is lucky they undergo an alchemistic transformation into gold and that is creative work.”
The creative personality, according to Bronowski—whether an artist or a scientist or an activist “is always one that looks on the world as fit for change and on himself as an instrument for change.”She understands that the world she paints or studies or acts on is but a fragment of a connected whole, and the integrity and truth of her creative act depends upon operating and acting within the truth of that connection. Nobel prize winning biologist S.E. Luria distilled Bronowski’s message to this: “that the integrity of the doer should be matched by the vision of the thinker; that such vision consists as much of what the viewer projects outward as of what it receives; that passivity before the supposedly inexorable march of events—whether the Industrial Revolution or the mechanization of society—can only lead to slavery; and that freedom must be created by the interaction between human wisdom and the physical world.”
Now, perhaps more than ever, if we are to survive meaningfully on this planet we must interact wisely with the world. The choices we make about science and technology, as individuals and societies, must be regarded as creative, world-altering acts made withinthe context of the whole.This awareness has rarely guided our actions in the past but it must guide us now lest our creations continue to systematically annihilate that which what matters most: Because of the off-road vehicles and tractor-trailers that allow cattle grazing at 7000 feet, cattle dung have polluted most Sierra streams with giardia, an intestinal parasite, and I can no longer drink the Sierra stream water I once relished.
There are far fewer palms trees now than there were when I sat sipping coconut milk on the beach in Mazatlan only decades ago. Their habitat has been destroyed by urban development and their seeds eaten by the foraging pigs and other animals that are introduced to support expanding urban populations. Today 80 percent of the palms in the world are endangered.
While the roses in my father’s garden still bloom, fourteen percent of all rose species are endangered. Their habitat has been imperiled by development and the seeds of invasive exotics that hitch a ride on our shoes and clothing as we travel on planes, trains and automobiles or find their way into packing crates shipped on freighters or by rail.In fact, one out of every eight plants on the planet is imperiled—nearly 34,000 plant species at last count.With each of these losses, not only is the opportunity to experience them severed, but the whole web of relationship within which the plant exists is affected. As the self-perpetuating fabric of nature disintegrates, our opportunity to experience a connected self in a connected world is diminished.
On my final evening at the Bellagio, I went up to my room to pack. As I watched darkness descend on the desert, the glow of the Strip’s bright lights and neon masked the stars. A line from a poem by Richard Shelton came to mind, “Oh my desert, yours is the only death I cannot bear . . .”If we capitulate to an ever more mediated and constructed world, then the death of the desert and all that it represents is certain. The nightingale enjoins: Only connect. . . 
All quotes in first three paragraphs are from Vanity Fair, October, ’98
Origins of Knowledge and Imagination, Jacob Bronowski
Forster, E.M., Howard’s End1999 Modern Library Paperback Edition, p. 170
Id. at 59
Berger, John, The Look of Things, Painting a Landscape
Gayford, Martin and Karen Wright, The Grove Book of Art Writing, pp. 40-41
Bronowski, p 123
Id. At xii.
By Carlo Morici,Paschalococos and the Disappearing Palms,Chamaerops No.40, published online 19-02-200, http://www.palmsociety.org/public/english/chamaerops/040_1.shtml
WILLIAM K. STEVENS Plant Survey Reveals Many Species Threatened With Extinction The New York Times April 9, 1998,p. A-1
From Requiem for Sonoraby Richard Shelton
Thank you, thank you to Shoshona Alexander, editor extraordinaire, for her invaluable help in bringing this essay into being and Daniel Sarewitz for his exquisite editing sense and sensibility.