Judith Shulevitz

Science Editor

What does New York City’s new bike-share program have in common with the special police forces being set up in India to protect female tourists from rape? The answer can be found in Margaret Atwood’s recent science-fiction trilogy: Oryx & Crake, The Year of the Flood, and Maddadam (the third volume will be published in September). In these dystopic novels, cities have been divided into two parts. There are the gated and firmly policed compounds inhabited by scientists and the executives of biotech corporations, and there is everywhere else. If you aren’t a “compounder,” a happy inhabitant of one such amenity-rich compound, then you’re a “pleeblander,” a plebian relegated to the pleeblands, whose streets are filled with garbage and dominated by gangs, themselves run by corrupt private security forces totally uninterested in your safety or wellbeing. 

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The Lethality of Loneliness

We now know how it can ravage our body and brain

For the first time in history, we understand how isolation can ravage the body and brain. Now, what should we do about it?

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Sympathy for the Stay-at-Home Mom

An argument about work, life, and the modern calendar

Thanks to the ever-expanding modern work-week, opting to stay home with the kids is a different choice than it was twenty or thirty years ago. 

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The Corporate Mystique

Sheryl Sandberg and the folly of Davos-style feminism

Sheryl Sandberg and the folly of Davos-style feminism.

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Why Do Grandmothers Exist?

Solving an evolutionary mystery

By the cold logic of evolutionary science, post-menopausal women lack obvious utility. That they manage to attain old age requires explanation.

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How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society

The scary consequences of the grayest generation.

We are having kids later than ever. We have no idea what we're getting into.

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Time moves forward and fixes your body into place. An embryo divides; one cell becomes many. These cells divide again; a brain, arms, and fingernails are formed. You’re born; you grow; you look and behave in ways that scream you. How does this happen? Your genes tell your body what to do, using proteins as instructions. But what tells your genes what to do? Among other things, your epigenes do. These are biochemical tags that switch your DNA’s protein-making ability on and off without changing the DNA itself.

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After another shrill battle over organic food, meet a scientist who's found a less polarizing way to think about the future of farming.

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Peter Carey's The Chemistry of Tears takes on the history of technology, contrasting the germination of the modern machine in the tempestuous dreams o

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Monstrosities

The America of Russell Banks’s fiction has always been a bleak, punitive place, but in Lost Memory of Skin, its harshness has attained near-mythologic

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