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New and Noteworthy

EIGHT PREPOSTEROUS PROPOSITIONS
From the Genetics of Homosexuality to the Benefits of Global Warming

By Robert Ehrlich
Princeton University Press
360 pages, $28

In his much-anticipated sequel to Nine Crazy Ideas in Science, physicist Robert Ehrlich takes on such widely bandied-about pop-science topics as the effectiveness of placebo cures, the dangers of cholesterol, even the possibility of extraterrestrial life. An entertaining guide geared mainly toward nonscientists, this book serves as a primer for evaluating the plausibility of ideas and the trustworthiness of so-called experts by way of the authorís flakiness-rating scheme, on a scale of zero to four.


THE IMMORTAL CELL
One Scientistís Quest to Solve the Mystery of Human Aging

By Michael West
Doubleday
256 pages, $25

The founder of Geron and Advanced Cell Technology portrays himself as a onetime creationist who began his quest into therapeutic cloning and anti-aging research after the death of his father. Disingenuous? Perhaps, but whatever you think of Michael Westís motivations, itís irrefutable that he and his current company are lightning rods for the antiĖstem cell research lobby. Though light on some of the not-so-positive details (his contentious departure from Geron, for example), this brisk memoir is important reading for anyone who wants to know more about stem cell science from one of its most important and controversial players.


BUILDING GLOBAL BIOBRANDS
Taking Biotechnology to Market

By Francoise Simon, Philip Kotler
Free Press
400 pages, $35

Delving into plenty of examples and case histories, these dual marketing strategists and business professors write that biotechnology may already account for “a third of world GDP.” Even if itís not quite that much yet, thereís no doubt the sum total is extraordinary. Their centerpiece is the idea of a global “targeted” model, and they deftly illustrate it with their discussion of the launch of such blockbuster drugs as Viagra, Lipitor, Rituxan, and Gleevec. Required for anyone with even a passing interest in biotech.

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Good for Us, Good for Them?

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