Human Rights Day 2014

ASMastheadWebsiteIn honor of Human Rights Day 2014, December 10, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society collected a sampling of content from its magazine, American Scientist, about the intersection of science and human rights.

Sigma Xi is a member of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, and encourages its members to use their scientific knowledge and skills to support human rights. 

In Declarations Begin Responsibilities
From the July-August 2003 issue
A review of the book Science in the Service of Human Rights by Richard Pierre Claude. Reviewed by Susan Lederer.
Written by the founding editor of Human Rights Quarterly, this book describes the history and overlapping connections between science and human rights. It addresses questions such as “How can science promote the protection of human rights, and how can human rights uphold scientific freedoms?” And, it traces how policy makers have moved forward, or not, with the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

No One checked: Arsenic in the Wells
From the March-April 2002 issue
By Philip, Phylis Morrison
Morrison writes of the arsenic found in drinking water in a part of India and Bangladesh, as well as possible solutions.

Civil Liberties and the War on Smallpox
From the November-December 2011 issue
A review of the book POX: An American History by Michael Willrich. Reviewed by Ryan Seals.
This book, which describes a five-year wave of smallpox epidemics that swept the United States starting in 1989, discusses legal history. For example, it wrestles with the question of what role should the state play in individual and group choices, such as getting vaccinations.

A Climate of Ill Health

From the September-October 2011 issue
A review of the book Changing Planet, Changing Health: How the Climate Crisis Threatens Our Health and What We Can Do About It by Paul R. Epstein and Dan Ferber. Reviewed by Noel Castree.
The authors give this description in the book’s introduction: “This book is about how climate change harms health now, how it could devastate public health by midcentury, and how we must transform the way we power society and organize our economy to preserve a livable planet.”

The Growing Threat of Biological Weapons
From the January-February 2001 issue
By Steven M. Block
Block explains the history of biological weapon development, trends in their evolution, and the prospects for containing their proliferation.

The AIDS Industry in Africa
From the March-April 2008 issue
A review of the book The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS by Helen Epstein. Reviewed by Robert L. Dorit.
Dorit writes: “If the economic and scientific resources of the developed world can be joined with the courage and resourcefulness of the people of Africa, the cure for AIDS need not remain invisible.”

Toward a Cure for AIDS
In this podcast, David Margolis, a physician and researcher, discusses his investigation into the molecular biology of HIV infections to find ways to completely eradicate the virus from infected individuals.

Salivary Diagnostics
From the January-February 2008 issue
By David T. Wong
Amazing as it might seem, doctors can detect and monitor diseases using molecules found in a sample of spit.  “It's possible that diagnoses that use saliva could be made outside of a doctor's office, which is attractive for people who can't afford to see a physician or for people living in places where there are none,” writes Wong.

The Sight That Met Us Was Shocking
From the March-April 2014 issue
A review of the book Bergen-Belsen 1945: A Medical Student’s Journal by Michael John Hargave. Reviewed by Dianne Timblin. 
This is the diary Hargrave kept in 1945 as a medical school student who volunteered to help during the liberation of a German concentration camp.