Pandora's DNA: Tracing the Breast Cancer Genes Through History, Science, and One Family Tree

Chicago Review Press
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2015 ALA Notable Book Would you cut out your healthy breasts and ovaries if you thought it might save your life? That's not a theoretical question for journalist Lizzie Stark's relatives, who grapple with the horrific legacy of cancer built into the family DNA, a BRCA mutation that has robbed most of her female relatives of breasts, ovaries, peace of mind, or life itself. In Pandora's DNA, Stark uses her family's experience to frame a larger story about the so-called breast cancer genes, exploring the morass of legal quandaries, scientific developments, medical breakthroughs, and ethical concerns that surround the BRCA mutations, from the troubling history of prophylactic surgery and the storied origins of the boob job to the landmark lawsuit against Myriad Genetics, which held patents on the BRCA genes every human carries in their body until the Supreme Court overturned them in 2013. Although a genetic test for cancer risk may sound like the height of scientific development, the treatment remains crude and barbaric. Through her own experience, Stark shows what it's like to live in a brave new world where gazing into a crystal ball of genetics has many unintended consequences.
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About the author

Lizzie Stark is the author of Leaving Mundania and a freelance journalist who has written for io9.com, The Today Show website, Psychology Today, the Daily Beast, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She holds an MS in New Media Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. 
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Additional Information

Publisher
Chicago Review Press
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Published on
Oct 1, 2014
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781613748633
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Medical
Medical / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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This guide introduces gamers, actors, and other imaginative folks to this emerging form. American freeform games share a common format—they are rules-light one-shot productions, a bit like improv theater games performed without an audience, requiring only a few people, and lasting for several hours. With few setting or scenography requirements, these games are easy to run, and are especially friendly to new players and organizers. 

Leaving Mundania author Lizzie Stark takes the reader through the history and development of the style, which counts US chamber larp, indie games and Nordic larp and freeform among its influences. The guide provides easy-to-understand instruction on how to play, run, and write these short scenarios, as well as advanced tips for those who want a deep dive.

Calling all theater educators, improv actors, and larpers: come join the American freeform revolution.

“If you are new to freeform roleplaying, the Pocket Guide to American Freeform is really useful. If you are a grizzled veteran who knows everything, it is a necessity.” 

-Jason Morningstar, creator of Fiasco, Bully Pulpit Games

“Lizzie Stark is a uniquely important figure in the LARP community, bringing Nordic design know-how to the American gaming experience. In this book, she shares her key findings from the experimental side of the American larp scene as well as the critical components to designing these kinds of games. If you’re a roleplayer looking to make the leap into less linear, more potent, and more original work, the Pocket Guide to American Freeform is the first book you should read.”

–Nick Fortugno, Playmatics

“Thought-provoking…[Allen] writes without sanctimony and never simplifies the people in his book or the moral issues his story inevitably raises." —Wall Street Journal

Few diseases are more gruesome than typhus. Transmitted by body lice, it afflicts the dispossessed—refugees, soldiers, and ghettoized peoples—causing hallucinations, terrible headaches, boiling fever, and often death. The disease plagued the German army on the Eastern Front and left the Reich desperate for a vaccine. For this they turned to the brilliant and eccentric Polish zoologist Rudolf Weigl.

In the 1920s, Weigl had created the first typhus vaccine using a method as bold as it was dangerous for its use of living human subjects. The astonishing success of Weigl’s techniques attracted the attention and admiration of the world—giving him cover during the Nazi’s violent occupation of Lviv. His lab soon flourished as a hotbed of resistance. Weigl hired otherwise doomed mathematicians, writers, doctors, and other thinkers, protecting them from atrocity. The team engaged in a sabotage campaign by sending illegal doses of the vaccine into the Polish ghettos while shipping gallons of the weakened serum to the Wehrmacht.

Among the scientists saved by Weigl, who was a Christian, was a gifted Jewish immunologist named Ludwik Fleck. Condemned to Buchenwald and pressured to re-create the typhus vaccine under the direction of a sadistic Nazi doctor, Erwin Ding-Schuler, Fleck had to make an awful choice between his scientific ideals or the truth of his conscience. In risking his life to carry out a dramatic subterfuge to vaccinate the camp’s most endangered prisoners, Fleck performed an act of great heroism.

Drawing on extensive research and interviews with survivors, Arthur Allen tells the harrowing story of two brave scientists—a Christian and a Jew— who put their expertise to the best possible use, at the highest personal danger.

This guide introduces gamers, actors, and other imaginative folks to this emerging form. American freeform games share a common format—they are rules-light one-shot productions, a bit like improv theater games performed without an audience, requiring only a few people, and lasting for several hours. With few setting or scenography requirements, these games are easy to run, and are especially friendly to new players and organizers. 

Leaving Mundania author Lizzie Stark takes the reader through the history and development of the style, which counts US chamber larp, indie games and Nordic larp and freeform among its influences. The guide provides easy-to-understand instruction on how to play, run, and write these short scenarios, as well as advanced tips for those who want a deep dive.

Calling all theater educators, improv actors, and larpers: come join the American freeform revolution.

“If you are new to freeform roleplaying, the Pocket Guide to American Freeform is really useful. If you are a grizzled veteran who knows everything, it is a necessity.” 

-Jason Morningstar, creator of Fiasco, Bully Pulpit Games

“Lizzie Stark is a uniquely important figure in the LARP community, bringing Nordic design know-how to the American gaming experience. In this book, she shares her key findings from the experimental side of the American larp scene as well as the critical components to designing these kinds of games. If you’re a roleplayer looking to make the leap into less linear, more potent, and more original work, the Pocket Guide to American Freeform is the first book you should read.”

–Nick Fortugno, Playmatics

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