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The WellAn Excerpt

by Leave a comment The Well
I think I’ve lived in dreams, so much so that I can’t separate them from memory. I thought I had fallen down the stairs, was as sure of it as I was of that feeling when gravity pulls you down. But, that was just a dream. I used to dream about drowning. But, that was a memory, after all. Read more

Mummy DNA Uncovers Secrets of Ancient Egyptians' Ancestry

by Leave a comment Mummy DNA Uncovers Secrets of Ancient Egyptians' Ancestry
Before I decided to go into biomedical science, I wanted to be an Egyptologist. Inspired in part by Indiana Jones, I had grand notions of adventure and discovery in the Sahara Desert. The pyramids, the Sphinx, ancient hieroglyphics, and pharaohs – these all fascinated me, but none as much as mummification, a ritual that preserves the body for traveling into the afterlife where it reunites with the soul. A new study, published in May in Nature Communications, has now unlocked another secret of the past hidden in the DNA of ancient Egyptian mummies. As an amateur historian of ancient Egypt and a trained scientist who studied viral genetics, this discovery immediately caught my eye. Read more

The Dreamers’ ParadoxA review of Hanya Yanagihara's
The People in the Trees

by Leave a comment The Dreamers’ Paradox
When Dr. Norton Perina first meets Eve deep in the jungle of a small, isolated Micronesian island called Ivu’ivu, he knows that he’s witnessing something truly alien. Her movements are inhuman, even zombie-like, her behavior unnatural, demented; she’s more of a creature than a person, “…as if she had once, long ago, been taught how to behave as a human and was slowly, steadily forgetting.” (p. 141) She is called “Eve, the first woman of her kind” (p. 147). What Perina later finds is that there are others like her; she is a mo’o kua’au, an Ivu’ivuan word that translates to “without voice” or “without conversation”, and more roughly to “without friends” or “without love” – they are “the dreamers”. These lost souls and the genesis of their condition – a rare, mythologized species of turtle – will become the focus of Perina’s scientific research. Their exploitation will bring him fame and ultimately destroy a civilization. Read more

Innocence

by Leave a comment Innocence
A 9-year-old girl sat alone, dark curly hair and nerves, running her fingers through the soft grass of summer. Honeybees carried pollen from flower to flower, busy at their work and paying her no attention, which she enjoyed because she could observe them up close as they gathered for the hive. Ada was blowing dandelion seeds into the wind, watching them dance and twirl and fly away, when a call for morning prayer required her participation. She walked tentatively toward the circle of Christians holding hands to find her place among the safety of the “adults,” summer camp counselors no older than 25. The words were never familiar to her, so she mouthed along as best she could – it was easier to fake it than to be the only one abstaining from the ritual. Jesus, sin, God, these words carried little meaning to her. Read more