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American Scientist_-_SepOct_2022

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How humans created a global Linguistic tricks that Taiwan's helpful insights on the ECOLOGY OF FEAR MANIPULATE THE BRAIN HISTORY OF ANTIVAX AMERICAN Scientist September–October 2022 Sculpting Science An immersive experience for exploring complex ideas

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AMERICAN Volume 110 • Number 5 • September–October 2022 Scientist Departments Feature Articles 258 From the Editors 292 259 Letters to the Editors 292 The History of Vaccine Uptake 262 Spotlight in Taiwan Personalizing pregnancy care • Gateway Moon-orbiting outpost When the bubonic plague pandemic • The genes behind ecosystems • Climate disclosure conundrum • hit in 1896, soon after Japan had Briefings colonized the island, social and 274 Sightings Pulling back the cosmic veil political forces led residents to resist 276 Arts Lab public health initiatives. 300 Sculpting science HungYin Tsai Robert Louis Chianese 300 The Art and Science of 282 Perspective Manipulative Language A landscape of fear of humans How does the brain handle speech that Asia Murphy is intended to mislead—in advertising, in political rhetoric, and even in ordi- 288 Engineering nary conversation? Science and engineering as puzzle Viviana Masia solving Henry Petroski 306 Performing Power In conflicts between animals, factors Scientists’ such as who won previous bouts and Nightstand who is watching may play a role in the outcome. 312 Book Reviews Reshaping astronomy • Lee Alan Dugatkin Inquiring minds From Sigma Xi 317 Sigma Xi Today IFoRE session spotlight • From the President: Science is for everybody • STEM Art and Film Festival • Faces of GIAR: Paula E. Cushing and Skye-Anne Tschoepe • 2022 Student Research Showcase winners 306 The Cover Artist and textile crafter Minga Opazo created the cover sculpture as part of RE-DRESS, a waste management project that weaves together mycology and fiber arts by using fungi to digest and transform clothing waste into soil. Through the project, Opazo and environmental scientist and doctoral candidate Danielle Stevenson plan to explore different fungal decomposers, processes, and myco-digester systems as possible solu- tions for the textile waste crisis. In “Sculpting Science” (Arts Lab, pages 276–281), Robert Louis Chianese makes the case that Opazo’s piece and other sci-art sculptures can provide unique insights into scientific concepts. A sculpture can render an abstract concept, such as quantum physics, in three dimensions, and probe complex themes, such as the impact of human waste on the natural world. A sculpture can also move, demonstrating kinetic scientific concepts in real time. Chianese analyzes seven sculptures that demonstrate the power of bringing science and art together in sculpture. (Cover image courtesy of Dominga Opazo Pavez and Danielle Stevenson.)

From the Editors AMERICAN Human Influence Scientist As humans, we often need and how they eat as a result. Such help wrapping our minds behavior ripples out. For instance, it around abstract concepts. increases the activity level of smaller VOLUME 110, NUMBER 5 We are visual, tactile crea- creatures at different times, which tures, so we are likely to best under- can affect seed distribution and even EDITORIAL stand an idea when we can physically overall ecosystem composition over Editor-in-Chief Fenella Saunders represent it. One medium that often the long term. These and other effects Managing Editor Stacey Lutkoski works well for exploring complex sci- can have wide-ranging consequences, Senior Consulting Editor Corey S. Powell entific ideas is art, and in this issue, even when we think we are conserv- Digital Features Editor Katie L. Burke Robert Louis Chianese takes us on a ing areas for wildlife. Book Review Editor Flora Taylor tour of science-influenced sculpture Senior Contributing Editors Efraín E. Rivera- (“Sculpting Science,” Arts Lab, pages Our own health as a species can Serrano, Sarah Webb 276–281). The pieces that Chianese also be altered by human behavior Contributing Editors Sandra J. Ackerman, Christa describes aim to uncover ideas relat- and tendencies. In “The History of Evans, Jeremy Hawkins, Jillian Mock ing to quantum physics, waste and Vaccine Uptake in Taiwan” (pages Editorial Interns Jasmine Johnson, Riley Gillibrand recycling, force and motion, invasive 292–299), HungYin Tsai tells the story Editorial Associate Mia Evans species, and even the line between the of how Japanese colonialism has af- living and the inanimate. As with most fected that island, explaining that fail- ART art, these pieces go beyond the con- ure of the colonizers to consider local Art Director Barbara J. Aulicino cepts they directly address and draw traditions and practices resulted in a the reader into an interaction with the great deal of resistance among the na- DIGITAL piece, with the aim of evoking wider tive population to public health initia- Digital Managing Editor Robert Frederick thoughts about the interplay between tives during an epidemic of bubonic Social Media Specialist Kindra Thomas humanity and the natural world. plague in which strong policing tac- tics were used. In later outbreaks of ADMINISTRATION Indeed, when you look through plague and cholera, when traditional EDITORIAL CORRESPONDENCE this issue you will find other articles practices were incorporated into pub- American Scientist offering insights about how we affect lic health responses, vaccination rates P.O. Box 13975 the world around us. In the Perspec- were much higher. Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 tive column, Asia Murphy discusses 919-549-4691 • [email protected] a shift in ecology, from studying how And human behavior can be pur- fear of apex predators affects the be- posely misleading. As Viviana Masia CIRCULATION AND MARKETING havior of prey animals to analyzing describes in “The Art and Science of NPS Media Group • Beth Ulman, account director how apex predators’ fear of humans Manipulative Language” (pages 300– changes their behaviors and ecosys- 305), implied messages in language ADVERTISING SALES tems (“A Landscape of Fear of Hu- can influence how people think with- [email protected] • 800-243-6534 mans,” pages 282–287). As Murphy out them realizing it. This technique explains, exposure to humans causes has been used in literary contexts—by SUBSCRIPTION CUSTOMER SERVICE apex predators to change not only Shakespeare, for example—but it’s American Scientist where they go but when they go there, also widely employed in advertising. P.O. Box 193 By informing readers about various Congers, NY 10920 types of implied messaging and alert- 800-282-0444 • [email protected] ing them about what to watch out for, Masia aims to give people better tools PUBLISHER with which to examine these mes- SIGMA XI, THE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH sages in order to avoid being manipu- HONOR SOCIETY lated by them. President Nicholas A. Peppas Treasurer David Baker We hope these different perspec- President-Elect Marija Strojnik tives on various types of human in- Immediate Past President Robert T. Pennock fluence give you food for thought Executive Director & Publisher Jamie L. Vernon about how you are both influencing and being influenced by other people EDITORIAL ADVISORY PANEL and the world around you. If you find Richard Boudreault, University of Waterloo that your awareness has changed af- René Fuanta, East Stroudsburg University ter reading any of these articles, write Simson Garfinkel, Digital Corpora Project to us and let us know. We appreciate Sonya T. Smith, Howard University the opportunity to be influenced by Caroline VanSickle, A. T. Still University of feedback from our readers. —Fenella Health Sciences Saunders (@FenellaSaunders) American Scientist gratefully acknowledges support for “Engineering” through the Leroy Record Fund. Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is a society of scientists and engineers, founded in 1886 to recognize scientific achievement. A diverse organization of members and chapters, the Society fosters interaction among science, technology, and society; encourages appreciation and support of original work in science and technology; and promotes ethics and excellence in scientific and engineering research. Printed in USA 258 American Scientist, Volume 110

Letters Convergent Engineering COVID-19 data changed, we adjusted 2015). In the engineering trade, we call parameters to fit the circumstances, and these branches Y fittings. The authors’ re- To the Editors: now masks are optional. Each member search would have benefited from an en- I read your special issue on conver- of our council applied their expertise to gineering perspective on eddy currents, gence science (July–August), and what the problem so that we could have the reverse flows, and other well-known came to mind was troubleshooting. best possible solutions. flow phenomena. Troubleshooters are people—technical or otherwise—who are brought in to A possible case in which convergence I hope the special issue stimulates fix problems. They are driven to find could have helped is David Kent and more collaborative efforts to fix vexing solutions, working simultaneously on David Thaler’s 2015 article on plaque problems. both the science and human relation- formation downstream of divergent ar- ship levels, and they bring many years teries and veins (“When the Cause of Thomas F. McGowan of experience to the table. Stroke Is Cryptic,” January–February Atlanta, GA As an example, I recently served SPECIAL ISSUE WICKED PROBLEMS • MIND MAPS • DISASTER RESILIENCE LIDAR Archaeology on the COVID-19 council at St. Bar- DRUG DELIVERY • SUSTAINABLE EDUCATION • REGENERATION tholomew’s Episcopal Church in At- To the Editors: lanta. There were five people on the AMERICAN I was interested to read about Anabel council, including a doctor, a nurse, Ford’s experience using LIDAR at the and two specialists working at the Scientist Maya settlement El Pilar (“The Endur- Centers for Disease Control and Pre- ing Legacy of the Maya,” First Person, vention. At first, we were bogged July–August 2022 May–June). I am not an archaeologist, down with data overload. Although I but I have spent more than two de- have not been medically trained, I took Converging cades applying airborne and ground- on the task of simplifying the objective on Public based LIDAR to the mapping of a va- so we could quickly make decisions as Health riety of terrains—including beaches, virus data changed. forests, snowpack, and flood waters— and archaeological sites, including Our criteria were the three Ds: dura- many hidden beneath the rainforests tion, droplets, and distance. The initial of Central American countries. (See fix was shorter services, masks, im- “Estimating Ancient Populations by Aeri- proved airflow, and spacing out folks, al Survey,” January–February 2019.) which involved limiting attendance. As American Scientist (ISSN 0003-0996) is published bimonthly by Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society, P.O. Box 13975, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 (919-549-0097). Newsstand single copy $5.95. Back issues $7.95 per copy for 1st class mailing. U.S. subscriptions: one year print or digital $30, print and digital $36. Canadian subscriptions: one year print $38, digital $30; other foreign subscriptions: one year print $46, digital $30. Print institutional rate: $75; Canadian $83; other foreign $91. Digital site license $200, print and digital institutional rate $275. Copyright © 2022 by Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic, or electronic process, nor may it be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or otherwise copied, except for onetime noncommercial, personal use, without written permission of the publisher. Periodicals postage paid at Durham, NC, and ad- ditional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send change of address form 3579 to American Scientist, P.O. Box 193, Congers, NY 10920. Canadian publications mail agreement no. 40040263. We invite you to Travel with us in Nov/Dec 2022! Discover Egypt! New Zealand Galapagos Islands November 5 - 17, 2022 Nov 10 - 25, 2022 On board the new Isabela II Discover the extraordinary or February 21 - December 8 - 14, 2022 heritage of Western Civilization in March 8, 2023 Explore the Galapagos in luxury Egypt including the rarely visited on this new all suites Lindblad/ Explore stunning National Geographic ship. sites of Abydos & Dendara! national parks with outstanding Tanzania Hawaii Lunar Eclipse naturalist Wildlife Lloyd Esler. Safari Nov 6 - 14, 2022 Join us to see the Total Lunar Tall Ship Sailing Adventure December Eclipse in Hawaii November 8th 14 - 27, 2022 and to explore the natural Panama to Costa Rica A memorable wonders of the Big Island. Dec. 3 - 10, 2022 holiday for you and your For info about Covid and An adventure of a lifetime sailing family! travel, please call our office. along the Pacific Coast with island stops, snorkeling, and more! (408)252-4910 We invite you to travel SIGMA XI Expeditions For information please contact: the World with Sigma Xi! Betchart Expeditions Inc. THE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH HONOR SOCIETY 17050 Montebello Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014-5435 Phone: (800) 252-4910 Email: [email protected] 2022 September–October 259

Online | Over the course of my career, manu- facturers have advanced their LIDAR Dive Deeper into Space NASA, ESA, CSA, and STSc systems from a few thousand pulses per The images from NASA’s James second to a million or more pulses per Webb Space Telescope (JWST) society’s largest problems. This second, as well as increasing the number included in Sightings (pages 274– curated collection from our of reflections recorded from each pulse, 275) provide a new and beautiful archives highlights other areas of greatly improving the resolution and perspective on the universe, and public health, as well as the ideas of accuracy of maps that can be derived there is so much more to explore. convergence on a larger scale. from the LIDAR point clouds. Obtaining JWST’s senior project scientist research-quality LIDAR observations John C. Mather spoke with senior still depends on careful calibration of the consulting editor Corey S. Powell in Why Permanent Standard Time Is LIDAR unit, accurate aircraft trajectories about the telescope’s first batch of Best for Our Bodies derived from local GPS base stations, images and the future for the project Sleep researchers have been and adequate overlapping of the LIDAR in this extended podcast interview. advocating for years to abolish swaths to enable accurate classification seasonal time changes. A bill recently and filtering of the point clouds. passed in the U.S. Senate does just Shackleton’s Endurance: Where that. So why do sleep researchers Hundreds of archaeologists could Could the Floe Go? overwhelmingly oppose it? spend their entire careers mapping the In this follow-up to her article about rainforests of Central America and still early polar exploration (“Going with miss thousands of important ruins, in- the Floe?,” November–December A Handbook for Climate cluding major cities, and their connec- 2009), Stephanie Pfirman describes a Communication tions. The sooner the entire region is new simulation tool that lets viewers Climate scientist Katharine mapped with research-quality LIDAR, follow sea ice movements. Hayhoe’s book Saving Us: A Climate the better. Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World is a how-to guide William (Bill) E. Carter How Living in a Racist Society about getting others to join you in Washington, PA Makes People Sick confronting global warming. Anti-Black racism in the United An Ode to Vintage Pyrex States influences health outcomes in myriad ways. Book Review Check out AmSci Blogs To the Editors: Editor Flora Taylor reviews Ainissa Ramirez’s paean to borosili- Sickening: Anti-Black Racism and cate glass (“The Chemical History of Health Disparities in the United States Find American Scientist Superior Glass,” May–June) delighted by Anne Pollock. In this gripping on Facebook this retired laboratory worker, raising book, Pollock illuminates the role the temperature of questions that have of race in health care using a wide been percolating in my mind. After range of case studies. Follow us on Twitter more than half a century, I still treasure my borosilicate glass Pyrex kettle. The current Pyrex manufacturer’s claim A Template for Analyzing Racism in Join us on LinkedIn that their soda lime glass cookware Health Care is superior to the original borosilicate In this companion review of /american-scientist formulation is at odds with Corning’s Sickening, intern reporter and own experiments on thermal shock. public health master’s student Find us on Instagram Jasmine Johnson examines the We Pyrex lovers must raise an out- book’s concluding chapter, in which cry at the threatened demise of stove author Anne Pollock explains how top cooking in glass. Where is the to analyze events in a way that wiggle room as oncoming regulations provides insights into instances of phase out natural gas in favor of glass- social injustice. unfriendly induction cooktops? Jeff Freeman Focusing on Solutions Rahway, NJ The July–August special issue explored how convergence science How to Write to American Scientist is transforming public health research, and how scientists are Brief letters commenting on articles using this approach to tackle appearing in the magazine are wel- comed. The editors reserve the right to edit submissions. Please include an email address if possible. Address: Letters to the Editors, P.O. Box 13975, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 or [email protected] 260 American Scientist, Volume 110

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Spotlight | Machine learning and maternity with limited resources, as costs for ex- Personalizing Pregnancy Care tended hospital stays and major devel- opmental needs throughout life can become economic burdens, especially Artificial intelligence can improve rates of prenatal visits for people at without social services support. higher risk of preterm birth. The research by Pengetnze and her team, as reported in the American Jour- nal of Managed Care, used AI to bring together a comprehensive view of Although the reputation of artificial mature birth. Black women are more pregnant patients’ risk factors to create intelligence (AI) has declined due to likely to experience adverse pregnancy a risk profile. The model leverages ma- evidence of racial bias in various al- outcomes than other groups. Preterm chine learning and data from multiple gorithms, the technology also shows births are elevated even among highly sources—such as community data sets, promise in improving equity in educated Black women because of the insurance claims, census-based socio- health care. For instance, during the accumulation of other social risks that economic data, and clinical data—to COVID-19 pandemic, AI proved use- affect their well-being. Most interven- predict preterm birth. Pengetnze and ful in tracking cases and predicting tions have focused on clinical visits, her team were able to train the AI outbreak hot spots. This technological but the most at-risk populations are system using data from a cohort to- development is now being deployed missed in these interventions when taling more than 6,500 patients; they in many ways that can benefit medi- they are not receiving regular preg- then demonstrated the program on cal diagnoses, create adaptive inter- nancy care. a test cohort of more than 2,700 pa- ventions, and treat health disparities. Preterm birth can lead to infant tients. The researchers were successful One recent application has been in mortality; if the infant survives, they at predicting preterm birth before 20 pregnancy care. may experience feeding difficulties, or 24 weeks—a crucial cutoff because Yolande M. Pengetnze, a pedia- developmental delays, and breathing interventions are more likely to work trician and vice president of clinical problems. Preterm delivery also can if providers can predict preterm risk leadership at Parkland Center for cause financial challenges for families early in the pregnancy. Clinical Innovation in Dallas, Texas, developed a model using AI to pre- Prenatal Care Attendance (N = 598) dict the risk of preterm births. One in 10 children is born prematurely (at 3.0 fewer than 37 weeks of gestation) in treatment cohort matched control cohort the United States. Preterm births are associated with many maternal risk 2.5 factors, such as race, insurance cover- age, and access to care. The primary average number of monthly prenatal visits risk factor, however, is a prior preterm P < 0.05 birth—yet the majority of women who 2.74-fold increase for treatment have a preterm birth have never been 2.0 pregnant before or never had a pri- 2.66-fold increase for control or preterm birth. Pengetnze and her 8 percent net increase team’s AI model aimed to figure out 1.5 what factors would be predictive for women without any history of pre- term birth. Social risk factors—such as income 1.0 level, education status, and access to nutrition—are not usually captured in predictive models, but combine to make health outcomes disproportion- 0.5 ately more challenging for commu- nities of color. Women of color have 0.61 0.56 2.28 2.05 more of these social risks, and pre- dominately Black neighborhoods are 0 also more exposed to environmental pollutants. These same neighborhoods before enrollment after enrollment PCCI often do not have good access to medi- Patients at risk of having preterm births attended the prenatal appointments at a signi cantly cal care; lack of proper nutrition and higher rate after enrolling in a personalized, AI-driven educational program. The program’s en- care, as well as maternal stress, have gagement with patients included risk-driven prioritized scheduling, text-messaging visit remind- been shown to correlate with pre- ers, risk-driven education, and transportation assistance—all forms of social support services. 262 American Scientist, Volume 110

The risk profiles were given to the that AI equity is achieved through Pengetnze and her team have prov- patients’ clinical providers to best de- looking for biases at every stage of de- en their risk profiles to be effective termine their care plans. This full-view velopment and identifying the sources through an educational program that perspective allows providers to engage of bias. “We always especially look at is tailored to each enrolled patient. The with their patients in getting the re- those potential risk factors that could program’s personalized care experi- sources that they need. The risk profiles ence includes risk-driven prioritized can shift blame away from patients who Preterm births are scheduling, text-messaging visit re- are at a higher risk because of structural elevated even among minders, risk-driven education, and racism in health care. According to Pen- highly educated Black transportation assistance. This kind getnze, the risk profiles identify those women because of the of social support has resulted in in- subtle signs that wouldn’t be obvious accumulation of social creased prenatal visit attendance. Go- even to trained clinicians. “As we talk risks to well-being. ing to the doctor more, lowering wait more about health equity, it’s important times, and supplying ride shares are that we have these kinds of risk profiles be biased,” she said. “It’s important to all small but effective steps in reducing that combine both the clinical and the keep in mind the fact that artificial in- preterm births, Pengetnze noted. social risk, because we know that these telligence has to be directed by insights are intertwined,” she said. “When we and full knowledge of what’s hap- With the recent Supreme Court de- address those factors, hopefully we can pening in the community.” Increased cision to overturn the ruling of Roe v. bring some level of equity in the care representation and diversity in the AI Wade, reproductive rights have been that’s provided.” field will also address disparities more left entirely up to individual states, accurately, she noted. which will lead more women to Pengetnze acknowledges the ethi- strongly consider their reproductive cal, equity, and justice concerns with life plans based upon their zip code. AI development and applications. Al- Pengetnze notes that a customized gorithms have been shown to amplify care experience can be addressed at biases in existing medical databases. local levels with government officials, Therefore, data of underserved popu- community organizations, and health lations are often skewed and not reflec- providers because smaller providers tive of community needs. Researchers or single-owned clinics may not have are working to achieve more algorith- the logistics to implement large-scale mic fairness, but Pengetnze points out social support programs. Mean of Total Cost per Delivery by Cost Composition (N = 598) Pengetnze and her team hope that using AI and digital technology will $1,302 saved per birth; $0.78 million saved for 598 births expand opportunities to improve pa- tient outcomes. If racial biases in AI $25,000 total cost saved 6 percent; baby cost saved 19 percent are addressed head-on, researchers could bridge known gaps in research. total cost in year 1 total cost in year 1 For instance, Pengetnze believes the treatment: $19,642 control: $20,944 way race and ethnicity are captured in data from insurance claims is $20,000 $9,253 baby cost still a concern. AI that is more user- $15,000 mom cost centered opens spaces for increased patient engagement, and Pengetnze $11,356 and her team have had their most suc- cessful outcomes when they centered $10,000 the patient. Their system educates the patient and engages them in their $5,000 $10,389 $9,588 own care to keep them proactively in- formed of the best-tailored interven- $0 control cohort tions for them. treatment cohort Other communities could imple- PCCI ment similar programs that are created specifically to their needs, Pengetnze Another outcome of this AI-driven patient educational program for reducing preterm births said. “Our next step is looking forward was a decrease in the cost of delivery for both the mother and the baby, both in terms of fewer to expanding this and implementing delivery complications for the mother and lesser health effects on the infant after birth. this on a larger level, engaging more providers, engaging more health plans, and engaging more safety net health systems to try to implement these pro- grams,” she says, “so that we can move from a singular clinical view to a more comprehensive social and clinical ap- proach to addressing preterm birth prevention.”—Jasmine Johnson 2022 September–October 263

Infographic | Gary Schroeder 264 American Scientist, Volume 110

First Person | Loretta Johnson The Genes Behind Ecosystems Loretta Johnson received a $250 grant in 1984 as a graduate student at the University of Connecticut for her study on “An Analysis of Hummock Development in Peatlands.” As the codirector of the Ecological Genomics Institute at Kansas State University, plant ecol- Courtesy of Loretta Johnson ogist Loretta Johnson seeks to understand the genetic mechanisms that underlie how organ- isms adapt to their environments. She applies functional genomics techniques to characterize genes with both ecological and evolutionary relevance. Her research focuses on a prairie grass species that varies greatly in appearance depending on whether it’s in an area of low or high rainfall. When she received a Grants in Aid of Research (GIAR) award, she recalls that it was her first grant, and it kicked off her career with successful funding: “As a beginning graduate student, I had never applied for any grant. I didn’t know how to do it. Then I got a GIAR and I realized I could really do this. As a graduate student, it has a huge impact on confidence. It might be a small grant, but it gives you a track record so that then you can go on and get larger grants, and more of them. It can have an impact, throughout someone’s lifetime, that is way more than just the grant amount, both monetarily and professionally.” Johnson spoke about her career path from traditional ecology to ecological genomics with American Sci- entist editor in chief Fenella Saunders. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. How did you get into the field of re- back to grassland. We have about 2 mil- limeters of precipitation in western Kan- lion acres [8,100 square kilometers] in the sas, and then 1,200 in Illinois. There’s a search that you’re in now? program here in Kansas. What we want huge range of precipitation. That rainfall I had a very different trajectory. I to know is, What are the plants and eco- regime has been in place since the last started out in a traditional ecology types of big bluestem that are best suited glaciation, about 10,000 years ago. There field—in particular, a narrow part for restoration? If we want to anticipate a has been plenty of time for these differ- of ecology called ecosystem ecology. I warmer and a drier climate in the future, ent populations to adapt. That’s what continued that work until about 2005. what would the best ecotype be? we’re seeing as ecotypes. We have a wet Then with all of the genetic and ge- ecotype and a dry ecotype. nome sequences and the tools that Does this plant species already show were becoming available, I thought, that type of adaptive behavior? What genomic tools are you using? “Wouldn’t it be great to combine ecol- It does show very strong ecotypic vari- ogy and genomics?” That’s what I’ve ation. If you look at a wet ecotype and We use what’s called genotyping by se- been doing for the past 15 years. I a dry ecotype side by side, they’re dis- quencing. It’s kind of like genetic finger- use genomic tools to help understand tinct genetically and phenotypically. printing. We have thousands of what how plants respond to the environ- What we’re studying, then, is whether we call single nucleotide polymorphisms. ment, and how they might respond to we should take this dry ecotype and These are places where there’s just one changes in the environment. plant it farther to the east as the prairie single change in the DNA sequence. We becomes warmer and drier. have, in our studies, maybe 10,000 dif- Why did you focus on the prairie grass ferences between the wet and the dry What does the term ecotype mean? ecotypes of big bluestem. That’s based species known as big bluestem, An- It’s a genetically differentiated form of at the DNA level. And then we also the same species. They can still inter- look at expression of genes using RNA. dropogon gerardii? breed, but they’re genetically distinct. We look at how the wet ecotypes and Ecologically, big bluestem is very im- Like different types of dogs or cats or the dry ecotypes respond differently at portant. It’s the dominant grass of the tomatoes, right? They all look a little the level of gene expression. prairies and can make up 70 percent of different, but they can still interbreed. the biomass. It really controls the whole This is the plant version of that. Recently the whole, full genome of structure and function of the prairie, and big bluestem has been sequenced. That it has effects throughout the ecosystem An ecotype is more genetically de- really provides a wealth of information and communities. Then it’s also a domi- termined than a phenotype, but there for us. Interestingly, big bluestem has a nant grass for forage for cattle, and graz- are different phenotypes of big bluestem genome about the size of the human ing cattle is a big deal here in the Great too. There is some element of plasticity. genome. It’s just a grass that doesn’t Plains. It’s huge in terms of the economic But in the case of our wet and dry eco- look very complicated, but there’s a impact; something like $8 billion a year types that we’ve been studying for 10 lot going on in it. It has multiple sets is generated from cattle sales. Many of years now, they’re really quite distinct in of chromosomes. For us, we have 23 these cattle are grazed on tallgrass prai- terms of the phenotype and genotype. pairs, except that big bluestem has 10 rie before they go to feedlots. Also, blue- That has been shaped by the very strong chromosomes as the base number, but stem is widely used in restoration. We rainfall gradient that we have here. it has six copies, or maybe nine copies have a program called the Conservation That’s why it’s so interesting to study of all of them. So it’s not 10 chromo- Reserve Program, which is a nationwide it in these grasslands. We have 500 mil- somes, it’s 90. That makes it more dif- program to take marginal lands out of ficult to work with genetically. agricultural production and to restore it 2022 September–October 265

Are you looking at what causes differ- it’s too dry to really support productive tors, in particular microbes. Clearly ent gene expressions, or are you looking crops. Or it might be that it’s too slop- the climate is important for these wet at an adaptation and seeing whether ing, where there’s too much runoff. So and dry ecotypes, but how much of you can find the gene that causes it? it’s much better to have it go back into this phenotype is due to the microbes We really would like to get at the can- natural prairie. These prairie grasses that are growing there? What are these didate genes that are involved in eco- are long-lived perennials. Once you get microbes doing? There are microbes types. What makes them different? them established, they can store carbon on the leaves, on the roots, inside the They could still interbreed, right? But in the roots and take carbon from the stems. What we’re looking at now is, if there are clear phenotypic and genotyp- atmosphere, as opposed to cropland; you have a dry ecotype, does it grow ic differences and gene expression dif- where the crop is removed every year, best with the dry microbes? Does the ferences. We’re trying to find out what’s the soil gets disturbed and can blow dry ecotype tank when it has the wrong the genetic basis for the ecology that we microbes? We see that the dry ecotype, see. That’s what has been driving me “The wet ecotype is this when it is with the dry microbes, we for the past 15 years. And it’s exciting. ginormous plant, and the have a 30 percent increase in growth. dry ecotype is this little Now, this research is done in the green- What have you been able to put togeth- house, but clearly the potential is there er about ecotypes by looking at genes? itsy-bitsy one, and a for a big impact from the microbes. We One of our biggest and most impor- single genetic difference have sequenced the microbes, and we’re tant results is, we’ve found why the also going to be looking at gene expres- wet ecotype and the dry ecotype differ in a key pathway can sion differences, both in the microbes in height. The wet ecotype is this gi- explain why these tall and also in these ecotypes. As you might normous plant, and the dry ecotype is ecotypes are so tall and expect, it’s not just climate that is the this little itsy-bitsy one. Even if they’re can capture more light.” controlling factor in how plants grow. growing together side by side, they look The living environment around it—its different. What we found is a single nu- away. In those areas where there’s mar- neighbors, competitors, microbes—how cleotide polymorphism difference in a ginal lands for crop growth, then these much do they contribute? gene that’s called GA1. This gene codes kinds of land restoration are encour- for a part of the gibberellic acid path- aged. This is a government program; Is there increasing awareness of the way, and gibberellic acid is a plant hor- people get paid to take their land out of extent to which plants are symbiotic mone that controls things such as inter- agricultural production and put it into with their environment? node elongation and height. Essentially grassland for about 10 years. It’s like what scientists are finding we found a genetic difference in a key with the microbes in your gut, how pathway that can explain why these tall Does your work essentially select for a much that controls your metabolism. ecotypes are so tall, and then we related particular cultivar that is better adapted? It’s the same thing with plants. What is that to height with genome association We have found these dry ecotypes that the microbiome that’s infiltrating the techniques. As the plant gets taller and are better adapted. We could see in plant doing? We’re finding it does a taller, you get more of the alternate GA1 our experimental plots, which are now lot. We’re pretty excited about that. variant expressed. Height is important ongoing for 12 years; over time, the because that basically determines bio- weather is quite variable from year to Do you feel that people don’t appreci- mass and competitiveness. If something year. We had a big drought in 2012, the ate the complexity of plant ecosystems is taller, it can capture more light. worst since the 1930s. The wet ecotype, as much as they do that of animal eco- when it was planted out in western systems? How are these discoveries helping you Kansas, totally tanked and never re- Well, you know, plants are viewed as to better use the different variants? ally recovered, whereas the dry eco- kind of primitive. In fact it’s just the op- We’re working with different govern- type is going gangbusters. So we have posite. They’re not mobile. They can’t ment organizations that are developing identified these, both phenotypically walk away when a predator comes. Not new plant materials for reclamation. and genetically, through greenhouse being mobile, they have a whole set For these conservation reserve lands experiments and also these long-term of problems they have to deal with in that are millions and millions of acres, field studies. place. I think that’s pretty interesting. do we want to plant them, say, with one cultivar? Or do we want to be thinking What research questions are you hop- Does your work establish protocols that about mixing it up? Maybe you want to ing to look at next? could be used in other research? consider planting the dry ecotype far- We spent probably the past 10 years Genome sequencing is widely used ther to the east, where there is less rain. looking at how these ecotypes are adapt- now, mainly because it’s so available. ed to climate; we have the wet ecotypes If you have a plant with a relatively So the purpose of the reclamation is to and the dry ecotypes. But now, instead small genome, you can sequence that restore the ecosystem? of climate factors being important in genome. It’s easy to do now. Fifteen During the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, all of adaptation, we’re looking at biotic fac- years ago it would have seemed im- these lands in the drier part of the Great possible, but it’s all possible now. This Plains had been turned over for agri- can be done—it’s not just with tallgrass culture. And it was way too dry there. prairie on the Great Plains. This se- There was a lot of wind and soil ero- quencing can be done anywhere, and sion in general. It’s in these areas where people are catching on and doing it. Q 266 American Scientist, Volume 110

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Spotlight | Designing greenwashing-resistant regulations Climate Disclosure Conundrum greenhouse gas–intensive firms had the highest increases in emissions. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling may block policies designed to reduce business’s carbon emissions, but do those policies even work? About a quarter of the S&P 500 com- panies that completed CDP’s annual The U.S. Securities and Exchange Com- about their carbon emissions and man- climate change survey undertook as- mission (SEC) is considering requir- agement. More than half of all S&P sessments of their business impacts ing publicly traded U.S. companies 500 firms responded to its requests for on the environment and integrated cli- to disclose the climate-related risks information. mate risk management into their busi- they face. Republican state officials, ness strategy. Yet entity-wide emis- emboldened by the June 30 Supreme At first glance, one might think that sions still increased. Court ruling in the case West Virginia a mandated, unified framework for v. Environmental Protection Agency, are reporting companies’ climate manage- Earlier research by Eun-Hee Kim already threatening to sue, claiming ment and risk data and their green- (Fordham University Gabelli School of regulators don’t have the authority to house gas emissions, such as the one Business) and Thomas Lyon (University impose this requirement. proposed by the SEC, is likely to lead of Michigan Ross School of Business and to more efficient use of fossil fuels, School of Environment and Sustainabil- While the debate heats up, what’s ity) found similar results in the first de- surprisingly missing is a discussion A company could cade of the U.S. Department of Energy’s about whether disclosures actually in- Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Registry. fluence corporate behavior. be “carbon neutral” Overall, it showed that participating in the registry had no significant effect on An underlying premise of financial when it counts only the the companies’ carbon emissions inten- disclosures is that what gets measured sity, but that many of the companies, by is more likely to be managed. But do facilities it owns and being selective in what they disclosed, corporations that disclose climate reported emissions reductions. A 2012 change information reduce their car- not the factories that study by Daniel C. Matisoff (Georgia bon footprints? Institute of Technology School of Pub- make its products. lic Policy) that focused on the power I’m a professor of economics and sector’s participation in CDP’s surveys public policy, and my research shows thereby lowering emissions as the found an increase in carbon intensity. that although carbon disclosure en- economy grows. courages some improvement, it is not Could the A-List Be Greenwashing? enough by itself to ensure that com- I did find that companies that have Even companies that made CDP’s panies’ greenhouse gas emissions proactively disclosed their emissions coveted “A-List” of climate leaders fall. Worse still, some companies use to CDP on average reduced their may not necessarily be free of green- these disclosures to obfuscate and en- entity-wide carbon emissions intensity washing. A company earns an A grade able greenwashing—false or misleading by at least one measure: carbon emis- when it has met criteria of disclosure, claims that a company is more environ- sions per capita of full-time employ- awareness, management, and leader- mentally or socially responsible than it ees. This metric means that as a com- ship, including adopting global best really is. I believe the SEC has an un- pany increases in size, it is estimated practices, such as a science-based precedented opportunity to design a to reduce its carbon footprint on a per- emissions target, regardless of whether program that is greenwashing-resistant. employee basis. It does not, however, these practices translate into improved necessarily translate to a reduction environmental performance. Disclosure Doesn’t Mean Less Carbon in a company’s overall carbon emis- Although carbon disclosure is often sions. Much of the decline involved Because CDP grades companies held up as an indicator of corporate so- large, emissions-intensive companies, based on sustainability outputs rath- cial responsibility, the data tell a more such as utilities, that were trying to get er than outcomes, an A-list company nuanced story. ahead of expected climate regulations. could be “carbon neutral” when it counts only the facilities it owns and In a 2022 article published in Cli- Companies that received a B grade not the factories that make its products. mate Change Economics, I investigated from CDP on average increased their Moreover, a company that has earned the carbon disclosures made by nearly entity-wide carbon emissions over an A could commit to removing all 600 companies that were listed in the that time. Notably, those in the finan- emitted carbon but maintain partner- Standard and Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) in- cial, health care, and other consumer- ships with oil and gas companies. For dex at least once between 2011 and oriented sectors that did not experience example, Microsoft has held a spot on 2016. The disclosures were made to the same level of regulatory pressure as the A-list since 2013 despite its 2019 CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure partnership with fossil fuel energy Project, a nonprofit organization that companies Chevron and Schlumberger. surveys companies and governments The collaboration uses Microsoft’s arti- ficial intelligence technology for oil and gas exploration and production. (continued on page 270) 268 American Scientist, Volume 110

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Protestors outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 30 demonstrated in response to that day’s Francis Chung/E&E News/POLITICO/AP Images decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. Their satirical version of the U.S. Constitution begins “We the Corporations” to suggest that the ruling put business interests ahead out fossil fuel assets. This measure will of those of the people. The Court’s decision could prohibit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Com- better ensure that pledges translate mission’s proposed requirement that publicly traded companies must disclose their climate risks, into concrete actions in a timely and but it is unclear whether that type of disclosure is effective at lowering carbon emissions. transparent manner. (continued from page 268) greenwashing-resistant. First, misinfor- Ultimately, investors and financial Retail and apparel giants Walmart, mation or disinformation about environ- markets need accurate and verifiable mental, social, and governance factors information to assess their invest- Target, and Nike—all in the B to A- can be minimized if companies are giv- ments’ future risk and determine for range in recent years—offer another en clear guidelines on what constitutes themselves whether net-zero pledges example of the challenge. They regu- a low-carbon initiative. Second, compa- made by companies are credible. larly disclose their carbon management nies can be required to benchmark their plans and emissions to CDP. But they emissions targets based on historical There is now momentum across are also part of the industry-led Sus- emissions, undergo independent audits, the globe to hold companies account- tainable Apparel Coalition, which has and report concrete changes. able for their emissions and climate controversially portrayed petroleum- pledges. Disclosure rules have been based synthetics as the most sustain- It’s important to clearly define “car- introduced in the United Kingdom, able choice, above natural fibers, in the bon footprint” so these metrics are com- the European Union, and New Zea- Higgs Index, a supply chain measure- parable among companies and over land, and in Asian business hubs such ment tool that some clothing compa- time. For example, there are different as Singapore and Hong Kong. When nies use to show their social and en- types of emissions: Scope  1 emissions countries have similar policies, allow- vironmental footprint to consumers. are the direct emissions coming out of a ing for consistency, comparability, and Walmart has been sued by the U.S. Fed- firm’s chimneys and tailpipes. Scope 2 verifiability, there will be fewer oppor- eral Trade Commission over products emissions are associated with the tunities for loopholes and exploitation, described as bamboo and “eco-friendly power a company consumes. Scope  3 and I believe our climate and economy and sustainable” that were made from is harder to measure—it includes emis- will be better for it.—Lily Hsueh rayon, a semisynthetic fiber made using sions in a company’s supply chain and toxic chemicals. through the use of its products, such Lily Hsueh is an associate professor of economics as gasoline used in cars. It reflects the and public policy at the School of Public Affairs Designing a Disclosure Program complexity of the modern supply chain. and a senior global futures scientist at the Julie I see three key ways for the SEC to de- Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, both at sign a climate disclosure program that is Finally, companies could be asked to Arizona State University. She is a visiting scholar disclose a fixed deadline for phasing at the Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University. This article is adapted from The Conversation ( Email: [email protected] 270 American Scientist, Volume 110

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Briefings I n this roundup, managing editor oid Bennu Up Close,” May 13, 2019.) implants are minimally invasive, target Stacey Lutkoski summarizes Rather than a gentle touchdown, the specific nerves, and do not need to be notable recent developments TAG resulted in a plume of debris as the extracted. The coolant works through in scientific research, selected from arm sunk into the asteroid’s spongy sur- evaporation—similar to how sweat reports compiled in the free electronic face. In April 2021, OSIRIS-REx conduct- cools the body—and the external pump newsletter Sigma Xi SmartBrief: ed a flyby of the TAG site and found replenishes the liquid. The device is cur- rently in animal trials, and the results NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona indicate that it is a promising alternative to opioid pain management. Biodegradable Soundproofing that the landing had created a 9-meter- Reeder, J. T., et al. Soft, bioresorbable coolers Wikimedia Commons long elliptical crater. Because the probe for reversible conduction block of peripheral Sustainable building requires rethink- sank into the asteroid and displaced nerves. Science 377:109–115 (June 30). ing all aspects of construction, includ- surface debris, the TAG sample includes ing the materials used to buffer noise. deeper material from Bennu’s near sub- Dogs Link Scent and Sight Engineers at the Indian Institute of surface. These buried rocks are darker Technology Kanpur may have found an and redder than those near the surface. Canines have a direct connection be- unlikely replacement for the traditional Asteroids contain material from the tween the smell and vision regions of synthetic acoustic foam: seaweed. The earliest stages of planetary formation, their brains that has not been observed team used agar, a gelatinous substance including organic molecules. When in any other animal. Dogs are known derived from some species of red sea- OSIRIS-REx delivers the sample to Earth for their finely tuned sense of smell, weed, to create a film that absorbed in 2023, researchers will be able to ex- but little is known about the structure sounds at a level comparable to the amine its composition and learn more of their olfactory system. A study led petroleum-derived synthetic materials about Bennu and about the origins of by Philippa J. Johnson of Cornell Uni- commonly used for sound dampening. the Solar System. versity’s College of Veterinary Medicine The agar was mixed with glycerol and sought to discover more about the cellulose to create porous and nonpo- Lauretta, D. S., et al. Spacecraft sample col- mechanisms behind their sensitive nos- rous films of various thicknesses—agar lection and subsurface excavation of aster- es. The study included 20 mixed-breed and glycerol both dampen sound, and oid (101955) Bennu. Science 337:285–291. dogs and three beagles, both male and cellulose provides structure. Thicker, (July 7). female, ranging from 2 to 11 years old. porous films with 5 percent each of agar Using diffusion tensor imaging, an MRI and glycerol absorbed sound the best. Walsh, K. J., et al. Near-zero cohesion and technique that can model the brain’s These biodegradable soundproofing loose packing of Bennu’s near subsurface white matter, they identified a direct films could be used to replace plastic revealed by spacecraft contact. Science Ad- connection between the olfactory bulb foams in buildings, recording studios, vances doi:10.1126/sciadv.abm6229 (July 7). and the occipital lobe. This olfactory– and airplanes. For the material to be- occipital tract has not been identified in come commercially viable, however, Promising Implant Cools Pain the team will need to develop a flame- any other species. The team confirmed retardant version. A microfluidic device might be able to their findings through the dissection of provide targeted relief to postoperative two canine brains (unrelated to the 23 Kumar, S., K. Jahan, A. Verma, M. Agarwal, patients and others experiencing in- test subjects). Previous studies theorized and C. Chandraprakash. Agar-based com- tense pain. A team of biomedical en- that there might be a link between posite films as effective biodegradable sound gineers led by Jonathan T. Reeder of dogs’ senses of smell and sight, but this absorbers. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & En- Northwestern University has developed study marks the first evidence of that gineering 10:8242–8253. (June 23). a tiny implant that encircles a speci- connection. These findings provide in- fied peripheral nerve like a cuff. The sight into dogs’ cognitive functions and Bennu’s Surface Lacks Cohesion device acts like a miniature refrigerator, their superior noses. circulating coolant from an external Asteroids are often thought of as space pump into the cuff and numbing the Andrews, E. F., R. Pascalau, A. Horowitz, rocks, but Bennu’s composition seems nerve; when the pain treatment is G. M. Lawrence, and P. J. Johnson. Extensive more akin to a ball pit. In October complete, the pump is disconnected connections of the canine olfactory pathway 2020, after orbiting the asteroid for and the implant safely dissolves and is revealed by tractography and dissection. Jour- two years, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft absorbed into the body. Existing cooling nal of Neuroscience doi:10.1523/jneurosci conducted a touch-and-go (TAG) land- implants are bulky, imprecise, and need .2355-21.2022 (July 11). ing on Bennu, in which an arm reached to be surgically removed when treat- down and briefly contacted the surface ment is complete. These microfluidic to collect a sample. The mission’s prin- cipal investigator, planetary scientist Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, knew from previous years of observation that Bennu is a low-density, “rubble pile” asteroid rather than solid rock, but the lack of cohesion still came as a surprise. (See the blog post “Aster- 272 American Scientist, Volume 110

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Sightings Pulling Back the Cosmic Veil The first images from the James Webb Space Telescope are already transforming our view of the universe. F or months, the team in charge of the James Webb In July, NASA and the European Space Agency released Space Telescope (JWST) maintained spy-level secre- five public images that provide a first demonstration of cy around the first targets that would be surveyed those capabilities in action. “We saw that the telescope is by the giant observatory. The suspense started working perfectly, but we knew that,” says John Mather, an building at the telescope’s flawless launch on Christmas astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Day, 2021, and escalated sharply with the start of full opera- senior project scientist for JWST. “What we didn’t know tions this summer. Now, the first images are out, and they was, what does the universe look like?” were worth the wait. One of the images is a panorama of NGC 3324 (above), a JWST can’t help but make notable discoveries every- star-forming region, located 7,600 light-years away within where it looks, because its capabilities go far beyond those a larger structure called the Carina Nebula. The mountains of any of its predecessors. Its 6.5-meter-wide mirror, com- of clouds in the lower part of the image (colored orange, posed of 18 gold-coated beryllium hexagons, collects more indicating longer infrared wavelengths) are thick clumps of than six times as much light as the Hubble Space Telescope. hydrogen, molecular gas, and dust. Gravity is pulling that Its detectors can observe infrared rays out to a wavelength material together, collapsing it into infant stars that dot the of 30 microns, allowing it to peer through dust and to view clouds. The upper part of the image (blue, denoting shorter the stretched, reddened light from the early universe. Other wavelengths) looks relatively clear because intense radia- space telescopes have focused on the infrared sky, but not tion from more fully developed stars has burned away the with anything like JWST’s sensitivity. dust. The scene is about 16 light-years wide. 274 American Scientist, Volume 110

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI; NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) The dramatic, hard-edged boundary between the “moun- but two stars at the center. The brighter one, on the right, tains” and “sky” in the JWST image indicates that we are is a stable star at an earlier stage of evolution; its radiation looking at the nebula edge-on, seeing a cross section through helps light up the nebula, while the orbital movements of time: The mature stars in the upper section of NGC 3324 are the two stars around each other stir the pot with turbu- a few million years older than the ones below. Many of the lent motions. The dimmer, dying star is almost invisible details in the lower region—especially the heavily obscured at shorter wavelengths, implying that it is surrounded by initial stages of star formation—were invisible in Hubble a cocoon of dust—perhaps another shell being added to images of the same region (above, inset) and thus have never the ring. “A lot of the fine structure here is caused by dust, been seen clearly before. Mather is struck by all the jets and including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons—complicated streamers, which trace the complex ways gravity and mag- hydrocarbon molecules like you find in household solvents netism sculpt new stars and planets. “There’s one thing that or diesel fumes,” Mather says. These molecules could even- looks like a tube that comes up, bends over, and goes down tually seed the next generation of stars and planets with the again,” he says. “I don’t know what that is.” carbon compounds needed for life. Another of the early-release JWST images showcases the All of this is just the beginning. Other JWST observations other end of stellar evolution. The Southern Ring Nebula are uncovering evidence of the long-sought infant galaxies (formally NGC 3132, top right) is a luminous bubble blown in the early universe, analyzing the chemistry of planets out over several millennia by a dying star some 2,500 light- around other stars, and tracing disks of gas around super- years from us. When a midsize star like the Sun begins to use massive black holes. “The telescope’s optical performance up its nuclear fuel, it swells into a red giant and then turns is even better than we required it to be,” Mather says; it unstable, shedding its outer layers. That shedding is what shows details as small as 40 milliarcseconds, close to the we see here, with multiple shells and swirls indicating that theoretical optical limit. the star blew out material in a sequence of convulsions. JWST’s exquisite performance already has Mather itching Further complicating the picture, a long-wavelength ver- to do even better: “It tells us that the next generation of tele- sion of the JWST image (bottom right) clearly shows not one scopes we’re supposed to build is possible.”—Corey S. Powell 2022 September–October 275

Arts Lab Sculpting Science The three-dimensional nature of sculpture provides an accessible and tangible medium for exploring complex scientific ideas. Robert Louis Chianese Y ou are walking to the library contemplate powerful themes such as tial disappearance of the figure enables and notice an oversize hu- the impact humans have on the natu- us to witness on the level of ordinary man sculpture obviously as- ral world, or experience kinetic scien- scale a basic quantum idea: that what sembled from irregular metal tific concepts in action. appears to us as solid matter is ulti- slats. As you pass it by, the sculpture mately made up of tiny particles in the nearly disappears into the back- Complexity Experienced quantum realm. Absolutes, essences, ground. What just happened? Quantum mechanics is one of the Platonic solids—in this dimension, most unintuitive ideas in science. Ju- they do not exist. German-born sculptor Julian Voss- lian Voss-Andreae challenged him- Andreae just enabled you to experi- self to represent it, or at least one of The physicality of such a sculpture ence the insubstantiality of the per- its theoretical micro-aspects, on the allows us to feel a connection to it and, ceptible world, or his Quantum Man macroscale of ordinary objects. At the by extension, to the concept it repre- sculpture did, as you peered through subatomic level, quantum mechanics sents. Our bodily sensations are shaped its thin slats from the side (see images posits that matter exists as both mov- by what we see, as if we take on the at top of page 277). Sculpture has special ing particles and waves; whether it is form, tensions, balance, and postures resonance within science—sculpture visible depends on how the matter is of the work we are viewing. This physi- can embody an idea, such as quantum measured and observed. With his se- cal response involving muscular imi- mechanics, and even offer a vicarious ries of Quantum Man sculptures, Voss- tation taps into a phenomenon called symbolic experience of a scientific con- Andreae lets us have the experience of proprioception—your awareness of cept, as this one does. The physical peeking into the Alice-in-Wonderland your body’s movement, action, and realization of ideas makes sculpture a world of perception-dependent reality. position. Our proprioceptive response to medium that is perhaps uniquely suit- Quantum Man can excite bodily knowl- ed to the creation of sci-art—a merging Voss-Andreae himself wanted to be- edge of quantum reality. We seem to of art and science. come a painter until he read Roger Pen- fade away ourselves when its rigid steel rose’s The Emperor’s New Mind and “got opens up to space and light as we move To create sci-art, an artist studies and hooked to the bizarre world of quan- around it. Here, art conveys an esoteric meditates on a scientific concept and tum physics,” as he told Art Summit in idea from science in a way we can both then reimagines and recreates that con- 2018. In graduate school, Voss-Andreae sense and observe. cept as an image or object, or even a studied experimental physics, working sound or melody. These creations can with Anton Zeilinger on the quantum Impacts Revealed spark emotional engagement with scien- behavior of large objects. Regarding his Sculpture is also a fascinating medium tific concepts, aid accessibility to scien- equal commitment to art and science, for exploring the impacts of human be- tific ideas, reduce the perception of sci- the prolific sculptor cites Albert Ein- ings and human culture on the world ence as difficult or exclusive, and make stein: “Common to both is the devotion around us, as well as the impacts of science education fun and delightful. to something beyond the personal, re- human interference on the very nature moved from the arbitrary.” of biological life. Such works of art may not provide a full explanation of a scientific prin- The Quantum Man sculptures are Mary Mattingly’s Life of Objects, for ciple, but they can engage viewers in abstracted human figures made from example, forces us to feel the weight productive reflection as they inter- thin metallic plates shaped, spaced, of an irregular sphere of her collected, pret the piece. We can walk around a and aligned so that when viewed unwanted possessions on her nude sculpture, take in its three-dimensional head-on they seem to form solid sub- body; it is a meditation on the dangers shapes and definitions of space, as jects. Viewed from the side, though, of human overconsumption (see image well as its colors, textures, materials, the sculpture partially disappears into at top of page 278). Mattingly works in and physical weight. The direct, felt its surroundings as we look through many media, focusing on photogra- experience of sculpture can invite us the spaces between the slices. The par- phy, performance, portable architec- to sense abstract and confusing ideas, 276 American Scientist, Volume 110

The three-dimensional and inherently interactive medium of sculpture allows artists to por- Image courtesy of Julian Voss-Andreae tray even the most unintuitive concepts. In his Quantum Man (2006) sculpture, Julian Voss- Andreae demonstrates the principles of quantum mechanics. From one angle, the sculpture where, and the possible absorption of appears to be made of solid metal; from another, it almost disappears into the background. cloth back into the earth. In her most The viewer is reminded that solid matter is ultimately made up of tiny particles, and in the recent works, she collaborates with quantum realm perspective is everything. mycologists to discover which fungi best turn fabrics to mulch. ture, and sculptural ecosystems in her cates the harms of overconsumption commitment to alert us to the danger- perhaps more strongly than familiar But to what does Core Sample refer? ous effects of climate change. reminders to reduce, reuse, and re- Or to what does it not refer? Observ- cycle. With this piece, we can feel the ing this piece is an exercise in scientific To create Life of Objects, Mattingly burden of our consumption pressing and artistic looking. We must perform gleaned “objects” such as books, us to the floor. mental tests about its materials, weight, clothing, furniture, and trinkets from possible origins, and resemblance to around her apartment and then tied The idea that human behavior nega- known objects. The title indicates a them up with twine into what she tively affects the natural world and mining or geological sample. Core is calls “boulders” and dragged them ourselves, so painfully obvious in charged with multiple meanings—the across the Bayonne Bridge between Mattingly’s work, is also addressed heart, foundation, essence—it is as if the New York and New Jersey. This makes in Core Sample, a sculpture by Chilean- artist has extracted something founda- Life of Objects a performance piece, born textile artist Minga Opazo (see tional from the earth or from herself. staged and videoed to convey the image on bottom of page 278). Here, the drag and pull our possessions exert sculpture is plunked in front of us as Conceptually, the layering of fabric on us. (See her “Pull 2013” video: vimeo. an unavoidable enigma. We sense its with mud evokes the incompatibilities, com/419710646.) Like most of us, Mat- weight, its boxy shape, and the con- even the conflict, between the earth and tingly feels tethered to her possessions, trast between unblended layers of fes- humans. The textiles retain their colors, which impede her and weigh her tive fabric and dry, inert-looking soil. textures, and softness, as if preserved down. Her boulders of “stuff” are very in an earthen time capsule. We might heavy, and their inert “life” finally pins Opazo’s work is informed by the say that, like this cloth, human culture her to the floor in a vanquished, sub- discovery that much textile fashion is fixed in the natural world and yet missive posture. waste winds up in the Chilean desert, retains its unique qualities. Such an in- and she is committed to reusing that terpretation highlights the interdepen- Our proprioceptive experience of waste in her art. She wants to expose dence of nature and human culture. the effect of Mattingly’s boulder of the unsustainable use of textiles, the goods on the human body communi- exploitation of fabric workers every- It’s hard to settle on a single interpre- tation of Core Sample, however, and its radical ambiguity leaves us with some- thing of a sci-art Rorschach test that 2022 September–October 277

Image courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery and Mary Mattingly Mary Mattingly’s work Life of Objects (2013) is part sculpture, part performance piece. It forc- Image courtesy of Cal Arts and Minga Opazo es the viewer to feel the weight of an irregular sphere of the artist’s collected and nearly dis- carded possessions. The visceral experience of seeing this trash boulder pinning the artist to the floor communicates the harms of overcon- sumption perhaps more strongly than familiar reminders to reduce, reuse, and recycle. evokes the investigative practices of ex- humation, examination, and discovery. Suzanne Anker is another artist con- templating the interplay between the natural world and human culture. She is a leader in the field of bio-art who frequently speaks at major universities and publishes in science journals. Go- ing back 30 years, her works of art can even qualify as science experiments in genetics. Her newest works push the scientific envelope and concern the pos- sible, fanciful evolution of biologic and nonbiologic substances. Anker’s canvases are petri dishes, and her sculptural material is anything she puts in them. In Rainbow Loom, An- ker filled hundreds of petri dishes with different substances, objects as well as artifacts, and she staged them to fer- ment into new, combined substances (see image on page 279). The piece con- templates the way bioscience could in- corporate, grow, and merge biological and nonbiological items into hybridized life-forms. The exhibit promotes spec- ulation and fanciful wondering that could generate new forms of hybrid sci-art objects, as well as otherworldly theories about the connections between the animate and the formerly living. The idea behind Rainbow Loom is rooted in the real scientific discov- ery that a protein from jellyfish can light up cells, tissues, and organs from other creatures. Similarly, An- ker wants to blend the genes of these objects to reveal deep connections between disciplines, and to create things she declares to be “naturally hypernatural”—that is, the miraculous rooted in the natural. There is also an elaborate, deep pun at the core of this project, where “cul- Minga Opazo’s sculpture Core Sample (2020) depicts a mining or geological sample to examine the complex relationship between human culture and the natural world. The piece explores the space between science and culture and inspires the viewer to engage in the investigative practices of exhumation, examination, and discovery. 278 American Scientist, Volume 110

ture” has at least two meanings: the fect example of sculpture in motion, tinues for over 10 minutes in a perfor- bio-cultures grown in petri dishes and enacting the shift from potential ener- mance of changing dynamic equilib- the cultural dimensions of modern so- gy to kinetic energy again and again as rium. The twirling hammer (which is ciety and modern bio-science. “In this the hammer “walks” back and forth. actually two hammers whose handles real or imagined container a concept or (Watch the sculpture in action online: have been fused) rolls, or “walks,” a substance, if allowed to ferment, will along a curved tilting channel, up sprout its hidden dimensions,” Anker and down again, reaching the far wrote in an essay for Antennae in 2015. Sculpture has the ends of the curve at either end, with a “From seeds, to politics, to toxic en- power to embody sledgehammer below countering their vironments inside, such a dish brings the principles of weight. The rotational kinetic move- forth a host of arresting results.” science, abstract as ment of the smaller fused hammers they may be, like primes the bigger hammer’s kinetic All three of these artists expose our few other art forms. energy until the entire sculpture paus- complicated reliance on both physi- es in an all-potential phase, with grav- cal, organic materials and the human- Before his death in 2012, Patton was ity ready to set the twirling hammers made products we use every day that an engineer who designed sawmills and the sledge into motion again. Art, can estrange us from the natural world. and loved mechanical motion. He craft, playfulness, and basic but seri- The artists urge us to examine those liked comforting motion best, positing ous scientific principles merge in this materials—how useful are they?—and that certain movements, such as that sculptural figure. find ways they might instead reconnect of the pendulum in a large clock, can us to the natural world. comfort and calm us. In contrast, Susan Knight’s static, 3-D paper cutouts are fixed sculptures Motion Visualized The slightest initial nudge will set that represent all forms of movement, A sculpture can consist of moving ob- Walking Hammer in motion that con- mainly involving water. She studies jects, demonstrating scientific concepts scientific issues explaining ecosystem in kinetic action, or it may even convey breakdowns, riparian health, and the idea of motion through its design groundwater quality, and she imagina- and three-dimensionality. Ken Patton’s tively transforms these concepts into Walking Hammer, for instance, is a per- patterns. (I used an image of her work Photograph by Henry G. Sanchez, image courtesy of Suzanne Anker For her Rainbow Loom (2014) installation, Suzanne Anker filled hun- The piece contemplates how bioscience could merge biological and dreds of petri dishes with different substances, objects, and artifacts, nonbiological items into hybridized life-forms, blending the genes of and she staged them to “ferment” into new, combined substances. these objects to sprout new, previously hidden forms. 2022 September–October 279

A sculpture can be strangely like music and dance: We flow with it, sample its rhythms, and reach an understanding about it that is often more somatically felt than intellectually reasoned. Image courtesy of the Susan Knight this and other works to engage view- ers “in a heightened reflection on our Although Susan Knight’s Velocity, Chaos Flow (2008) does not actually move, it evokes the shared responsibilities to water.” motion and impact of the spiny water flea (Bythotrephes longimanus), an invasive aquatic crustacean in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Michigan. This sculpture suggests the unset- A moving sculpture can engage with tling effects of the shift from order to ongoing chaos, without the promise of order returning. the viewer, recreating the interconnec- tivity of humans with our natural and in my self-published collection Illumi- ful movements and the piercing barbs built environments. Such principles are nations: Poems Inspired by Science.) of Bythotrephes longimanus, as well as on display in Philip Beesley’s Meander, the phase shift from order to ongoing a permanent art and science installa- Knight’s sculpture titled Velocity, chaos that occurs as the lake water ex- tion in a former factory on the Grand Chaos Flow represents the shift in phase periences the ripple effects of the wa- River in Ontario, Canada (see image on from order to chaos, invoking the mo- ter flea. Knight carved these intricate, page 281). The work is not one piece but tion and impact of an invasive aquatic delicate shapes with a simple X-Acto an enclosed, interactive environment crustacean, the spiny water flea (By- knife, and her work seems fragile, one wanders through that is designed thotrephes longimanus), on North Amer- even joyous, while conveying the mas- to invoke “joy, awe, and wonder.” It is ican ecosystems (see image above). Intro- sive and widespread negative impacts used as a teaching device replete with duced from northern Europe and Asia, of the water flea. detailed STEAM (Science, Technology, this invader has no local predators, re- Engineering, the Arts, and Mathemat- produces quickly, and competes with The whole piece seems to swim like ics) curricula for grades 5 and 8. zooplankton and small fish for food. an uncanny creature spreading disor- der in our planet’s natural habitats. Beesley is both sculptor and archi- Knight’s piece has a curved, Models of such chaos evoke what tect, with creative energies that extend smoothed top above long, discon- looms ahead in our unraveling world. from durable design to digital proto- tinuous tentacles outfitted with long On her website, Knight says she wants typing and computer-controlled elec- barbs. These tentacles represent the fit- tromechanical systems. These talents become manifest in Meander, an inter- disciplinary team project, which—like his other works—attempts to impart a sense of interdependent biologic and civic renewal. Beesley claims Meander is the “larg- est living architecture sculpture in the world.” The sculpture uses computers and sensors to interact with viewers as they move through the installation. The interactive spheres, clouds, and water-like formations evoke environ- mental elements in and around the Grand River area. This ambitious sculptural project provokes more than just bodily pro- prioceptive responses from its viewers; it literally responds to movements of the human body. Conceptually, Me- ander provides an experiential model of our relationship to the environ- ment, with back-and-forth interactions 280 American Scientist, Volume 110

among people and the natural world Image courtesy of Philip Beesley tightly linked. The message is espe- cially powerful given its setting in a Meander (2020) by Philip Beesley is a permanent science-art installation in a former factory on restored former industrial area. the Grand River in Ontario, Canada. The sculpture uses computers and sensors to interact with viewers as they move through the exhibit, mimicking the back-and-forth relationship between Meander, a collaborative effort of humans and our natural environment. Meander is a prime example of how sculpture can em- artists, engineers, environmentalists, body scientific principles in a way people can connect with both emotionally and physically. and architects, can be labeled a gesamt- kunstwerk, a total or all-embracing art mean; and engage our own body in the living environment, to scheme form. It exemplifies the idea that radi- response to its shapes. new ways of producing hybrids. That cal and highly imaginative productiv- is the ultimate purpose of this science- ity can emerge from the best sci-art A sculpture can be strangely like inspired, wonder-stimulating art—to endeavors. music and dance, in that we flow with tie us back into the concrete physical it, sample its rhythms, and reach an dimension of everyday life with a re- Sculpted Science understanding about it that is often newed commitment to enjoying and Sculpture has a power to embody the more somatically felt than intellectu- protecting its fragile beauty. principles of science, abstract as they ally reasoned. may be, that few other art forms can Robert Louis Chianese is an emeritus professor of match. A piece of sculpture confronts Some sci-art works stop us in our English at California State University, Northridge, us, and we react unavoidably to its tracks and let us wonder about seen a 1979 Mitchell Prize Laureate in Sustainability, a physical designs. A sculpture can both and unseen worlds, while at the same Fulbright Senior Specialist, and past president of arrest and puzzle us in its silent fix- time inspiring us to take better notice the American Association for the Advancement of ity or motion; change with our move- of the magnificent ordinariness of the Science, Pacific Division, the only humanities pro- ments around it; overwhelm us with familiar, and to take better care of it be- fessor selected in its 100-year history. He continues its imposing forms; force us to deci- fore it disintegrates into particles, per- to offer symposia at annual AAASPD conferences pher what an uncanny shape may sonal trash, fabric debris, or contami- on connections among the arts, the humanities, and nated waterways. Other works invite the sciences. Website: us to play with our world; to watch its synchronous motions, to dance with 2022 September–October 281

Perspective A Landscape of Fear of Humans Animals, even apex predators, take great pains to avoid people—a pervasive problem when these changes disrupt what they eat and where they go. Asia Murphy W ith just one video from of an older man talking about, of all studied how vigilant prey animals a remote trail camera, things, a court case. A quick glance were and how they hid in groups—it ecologist Justine Smith, toward the direction of the sound—a wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s that now a professor at the reflex, really—is all the puma gives. Its we began to compile data that showed University of California, Davis, evoca- body and brain have already decided that animals are aware of their risk of tively showed the fear that one claw- on another course of action. Despite becoming prey (their so-called preda- less, fangless, poisonless species can there being no actual human sharing tion risk). Not only are they aware, but strike in the heart of an apex predator. its little shrubby enclosure, likely no they actively work to decrease that human within a mile of it on such a risk, resulting in a cascade of effects On a cold, rainy night in March night, the large cat leaps away, slid- that are equal to or even greater than 2015, a trail camera Smith had in- ing under a log, disappearing almost the effect of a predator simply eating stalled recorded a puma in the Santa soundlessly. an animal. In 1999, Joel S. Brown and Cruz Mountains. (See the sequence of his colleagues at the University of Il- stills at the top of page 284.) As the vid- Exit, pursued by a human voice. linois, Chicago, gave the burgeoning eo begins, the sound of frogs can be Wild animals, even the apex preda- field its title: the ecology of fear. heard, and then a puma, glancing care- tors that we fear, are terrified of us. fully over its shoulder, emerges from Smith didn’t just find that the puma The idea that an organism might be the brush. The words “Frog (control) was afraid; she showed that pumas afraid of being eaten is intuitive, but playback” are emblazoned on the bot- feed far less when they hear human conceptualizing fear ecology allowed tom of the video. As the leaves in the voices compared to frogs. Ecologists researchers to follow that intuition background dance to the tip-tap of the have spent decades focused on the to its logical—or even surprising— rain, the puma approaches an undis- influence of fear on the relationships conclusions. Imagine the following tinguished mass that could be mud between predators and prey, and be- series of events: To avoid being eaten but is meat. Perhaps it’s the carcass tween apex predators and the smaller by a puma, a mule deer might avoid of an unfortunate mule deer, now re- predators that they sometimes kill. But the forest interior for an open meadow, duced to its trunk by periodic feedings in recent years, the focus has shifted. where an ambush predator would find and decomposition. The apex preda- We have begun to look at how ani- it hard to hide. If enough mule deer tor’s large paws hold one end of the mals’ fear of humans influences a va- avoid the forest interior for the safety mass as it tears into flesh and fur. The riety of phenomena, ranging from pre- of an open meadow, they will eat more video fades to black and the curtain dation rates to ecosystem restoration. plants in the open meadow than the descends on what can be thought of as In the increasingly human-dominated forest, which would change the veg- Act I of this 15-second play. world, successful wildlife conservation etation structure of both areas. Wild- and management must take into ac- flowers that native pollinators require The intermission passes in the blink count this fear—which has long gone might decline in the meadows, reduc- of an eye. The sound and image of the unaccounted for. ing the numbers of insects that sustain rain-spattered puma, crouching again frogs and songbirds, in turn reducing at its meal, returns for Act II. As the Origins of the Ecology of Fear the predators that eat them. The forest words “Human playback on” appear Although biologists knew that animals interiors might become too overgrown, on the bottom of the video, the peace- were afraid of being eaten—and even pushing out birds that require open ful scene is interrupted by the voice The ecology of fear, the idea that the pres- QUICK TAKE Animals can be quite sensitive to human ence of a predator causes a cascade of eco- presence, even seemingly innocuous recreation- logical effects across a landscape, is a funda- In recent years, ecologists have come to al activities. Wildlife conservation strategies must mental concept in wildlife ecology. appreciate how much animals, even apex account for the stresses humans cause animals. predators, fear humans, with myriad effects on animal behaviors and, in turn, ecosystems. 282 American Scientist, Volume 110

Apex predators, such as this leopard (Panthera pardus) outside of Mumbai, often fear Nayan Khanolkar/Nature Picture Library humans. As they change their behaviors to avoid the stress of human contact, a cascade of ecological effects results. basis, it is infinitely more reactive when compared to slower evolutionary pro- understory, such as ovenbirds; but the effectively. Iconic studies by William J. cesses. The same kangaroo rats that lack of mule deer might also allow oak Ripple and colleagues of Oregon State remain in their burrows one night for seedlings to grow to maturity, regener- University found that the mere pres- fear of the illuminating moonlight will ating the forest canopy. Due to the lack ence of wolves scared bison and elk spend hours foraging freely the next if of wildflowers in the open meadows— into avoiding riparian areas, allowing clouds happen to extinguish the light wildflowers that were perhaps the star overbrowsed species such as willows that makes them visible to predators. attraction for a national park—tourists and aspen to regenerate (although a might stop coming, taking their vital competing hypothesis claims the si- It didn’t take long before the ecol- admission fees with them. multaneous rise in the local beaver ogy of fear was applied not only to population was the cause). predator–prey relationships, but to In the decade following Brown’s predator–predator relationships as foundational work, a flurry of papers It wasn’t only wolves that were well. Smaller carnivores, such as swift came out, bolstered by the reintro- striking fear into the hearts of prey foxes, African wild dogs, and European duction of wolves into Yellowstone animals, and it wasn’t only in Yellow- genets, appeared to change the habi- National Park. Yellowstone was not stone. Studies show that kangaroo rats tats they used or when they were active predator-free prior to wolf reintroduc- in New Mexico avoided searching for when larger carnivores that would kill tion, but there were ecologically impor- food on particularly moonlit nights, them—coyotes, lions, and lynx—were tant differences between those other terrified of death from above in the around. The Yellowstone wolves didn’t predators and wolves. Coyotes are not form of ghostly owls. Kenyan zebras just regulate elk and bison populations large enough to kill elk and bison, and that avoided woodland patches dur- to healthy levels and potentially help although pumas are large enough to ing the day—when lions used them— save riparian areas. When Yellowstone kill elk on occasion, the large ungulates rested in them at night. Tiny silver fish had lacked wolves, coyotes had been could easily avoid pumas by choos- in dark Norwegian waters changed the free to kill pronghorn, the Western ing to browse in open habitats—such depth at which they schooled with the Hemisphere’s fastest land mammal and as delicate riparian areas—that would lengthening of the days to stay safely the only survivor of a giraffe-adjacent stymie an ambush predator. Wolves, hidden from larger fish. Due to how ungulate family that went extinct in the however, are not ambush predators. tightly tied each individual is to an- Pleistocene. A study by Kim M. Berger They chase down their prey, and need other in the web of life, changes in the and colleagues at Utah State Univer- open habitats to do so. Wolves are also behavior of one species influence the sity found that by both killing coyotes large enough—and numerous enough, behavior of another, influencing the be- and making them avoid certain areas, compared to the solitary puma—to kill havior of another, on and on, spreading wolves regulated coyote numbers and adult elk and bison, allowing them to out like ripples on a still pond. Because predation on pronghorns, allowing regulate ungulate populations more fear works on a moment-to-moment their populations to rebound. Fear is the reason an animal that is active during the day might suddenly 2022 September–October 283

A 2015 video captured with a camera trap shows a puma in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Santa Cruz Puma Project/ California feeding happily on a carcass as frog calls play on a speaker nearby (left). When the audio changes to a human voice—a man’s dry narration about a court case—the big cat startles ers. Manifest destiny had decreed that (middle) and flees (right). This study showed that the mere presence of a human voice can it was humankind’s responsibility to scare these animals so badly that they won’t even finish an easy meal. “tame” North America’s uncivilized wilderness. “Large predatory animals, change to being only active at night. predator is the most dominant, the destructive to livestock and to game, Fear is the reason that an animal that apex of the ecological pyramid. Every- no longer have a place in our advanc- is typically solitary might decide to body is afraid of the big bad wolf, but ing civilization,” said E. A. Goldman of buddy up with a few pals. Fear is the the big bad wolf fears no one. the U.S. Biological Survey in 1925. And reason an animal might pass by a for- so European settlers went to work, de- est patch rich with food for one where Or so we thought. A flurry of re- stroying the forested refuges of these food is scarcer, but where things are search over the past decade has shown large and dangerous pests, shooting safer. Fear is the background hum of otherwise. and poisoning and snaring whatever continuous, sometimes intensifying, apex predator they could catch. They stress that forces tadpoles to limit their Scary Human Superpredators did such a good job that the places size in exchange for better evasion Animals, even large predators, have apex predators could be found con- ability, that makes eider duck eggs less good reason to fear humans. Apex pred- tracted by almost half, according to a likely to hatch, that makes grasshop- ators have always been hunted around formative 2004 study by Andrea S. La- pers in cages with spiders that have the globe—fearfully, vengefully, cere- liberte of New Mexico State University their mouthparts glued shut just as moniously. The hunting of apex preda- and Ripple. (See “America’s Cat Is on the likely to die as those in cages with spi- tors, however, became a concentrated Comeback,” November–December 2018.) ders that are free to eat them. Fear runs widespread extermination during Eu- up the trophic food chain, stopping at ropean imperialism. By the 1600s, the This extermination of large preda- the sharp teeth or claws of whatever largest carnivores had been hunted out tors was not only limited to the United of most of Europe, so it was with some States. Fifty times the current global population of tigers were killed in a trepidation that the colo- 50-year period in India during British nizers found that North colonialism, according to environmen- America was home to pu- tal historian Mahesh Rangarajan. The mas, grizzly bears, wolves, thylacine, a carnivorous marsupial, was and, rarely, jaguars. hunted to extinction in Australia, Tas- mania, and New Guinea by the early “The whole continent 1900s. Using DNA from museum and was one continued dis- current-day specimens, Simon G. Dures mal wilderness, the haunt and colleagues of the Zoological Soci- of wolves and bears and ety of London found that lion popula- more savage men,” John tions in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Adams wrote in his jour- and Zimbabwe declined suddenly and nal in 1756. Wolves and rapidly, causing a population bottle- bears and pumas were neck, beginning in the late 1800s during dangers, not only to their British and Germanic colonization. On lives, but to their liveli- average, 17 species of apex predators hoods as ranchers and across the globe now occupy less than their recreation as hunt- 50 percent of their historical range. Kangaroo rats avoid foraging on moonlit nights when predators from above, such as this barn owl, might detect them more easily. Animals are aware of their risk of predation, and actively try to reduce that risk. The study of these behavior changes and their cascading effects is called the ecology of fear. Rolf Nussbaumer Photography/Alamy Stock Photo 284 American Scientist, Volume 110

Whether apex predators retain a ge- © Musée de Picardie, Amiens/Bridgeman Images netic memory of this extermination or are reacting to current-day persecution, This 1736 painting by Carle van Loo, Bear Hunt, uses violent and warlike imagery to depict atti- the effect is the same: Apex predators tudes toward large predators at the time. Humans have always killed predators, but these animals’ across the world are afraid of humans. mortality levels around the world hit extremes during European imperialism. Some species went And this fear causes cascading effects. extinct, and many almost did. Predators have good reason to fear humans, both because of any lingering effects from these attempts at extermination, and because of present-day persecution. Today, in Switzerland, Eurasian lynx hunt prey near villages, but only after bobcats in Colorado were less likely slices of the landscape and the day, in- dark when people are asleep. In similar to appear at locations with many hik- creasing the likelihood that species that ecosystems across Europe, roe deer be- ers. Even grizzly bears in the Rocky only coexist thanks to careful partition- come more diurnal to avoid the now- Mountains of Alberta were found to ing of time and space will be forced to nocturnal lynx’s predation; however, avoid hikers and off-roaders, and fe- interact. Multiple studies have found this behavior puts them in the cross- males with cubs moved three times that spatial overlap between different hairs of human hunters, who are ac- more than usual in response to motor- species increases in habitats that get tive during the day. After aerial culling, ized recreational activity. more human visitation. Travis Gallo wolves in Alberta have become noc- and colleagues found that cottontail turnal, decoupling from their diurnal During the Anthropocene, humans rabbits didn’t spatially avoid coyotes in white-tailed deer prey in such a way are taking more than their share, not Chicago urban areas. My own research that it might allow the deer to invade just of material resources, but also in Pennsylvania showed that, through more of Alberta’s ecosystems than they space and time. This infringement avoiding humans, white-tailed deer already have, potentially putting al- squeezes wildlife into ever smaller ready threatened woodland caribou under intense competitive pressure. Effects of Fear of Humans on Wildlife Communities Ungulates such as white-tailed deer Illustration by Corlis Schneider and moose will “shield” their offspring by giving birth close to houses and vil- Fear of humans causes landscape-scale effects on an ecosystem. When humans are absent lages, using the local apex predator’s (left), large- and medium-sized predators roam more broadly, and small mammals limit their fear of humans against them to provide movements. When humans are present (right), carnivores forage and roam less widely, while a safe environment for their offspring small mammals are freer to forage and roam where they please. Because small mammals dis- to grow up. Californian pumas, unwill- perse seeds, this change could influence plant distribution and regeneration. Figures showing ing to spend too much time at one kill these effects are on the following page. (From Suraci et al. 2019.) for fear of being stumbled upon by a human, kill more deer in urban areas than they would under less stressful circumstances. Despite this increased pressure on their populations, how- ever, deer, by choosing to eat closer to houses and neighborhoods to avoid pumas, are encouraging these habitat edges to become thicker, bushier, and harder to move through. Okay, you might say. We are dis- rupting the lives and interactions of animals and plants, just by being there, but that’s only in the city. We have protected areas, nature reserves, and national parks where apex predators must surely be free of fear and thus able to act without the looming fear of humans. To that, I’ll point to stud- ies that show that human recreation— things as innocuous as biking, skiing, or even hiking—is still enough to cause fear-induced behavioral changes in wildlife. Shalene L. George of the University of Wisconsin and Kevin R. Crooks of Colorado State University found that the presence of hikers and bikers in a natural reserve system in California made mule deer one-third less likely to be active during the day. Jesse S. Lewis of Arizona State Uni- versity and his colleagues found that 2022 September–October 285

Behavior Changes When Wildlife Hear Human Voices hiking. Conversion of habitats into agricultural land and urban develop- puma behavior: puma behavior: ments also increased wildlife use of avoidance cautiousness the nighttime, once again forcing spe- cies that might otherwise use different 160 0.16 times of the day to avoid each other into concurrent activity, increasing avoidance their likelihood of interacting. distance to nearest speaker (meters) Conservation Implications The ecology of fear can be used for cautiousness good, particularly in human-wildlife movement speed (–1) conflict situations centered on live- 120 0.12 stock. In addition to the ever-handy scarecrow, a 2003 study in Idaho using 80 0.08 carcasses as an animal attractant found that motion-activated speakers that 40 0.04 played loud sounds, including people yelling, reduced carcass-consumption 0 0.00 by wolves, black bears, and red foxes control by 68 percent. human control human On the other hand, as anyone who playback treatment regularly observes animal behavior knows, animals are smart and often bobcat diurnal skunk activity opossum foraging become habituated to humans. The 1.5 efficiency urban coyotes of Chicago and San time of detections in hours 7.0 activity 3 level Francisco come to mind. (See “Subur- from middle of night detections per week 1.1 ban Stalkers: The Near-Wild Lions in Our 5.2 food patch discovery rate 0.8 Midst,” September–October 2017.) Still, 2 0.4 despite these animals’ abilities to live around us, our urban environments 3.5 0.0 might continue to be more stressful 1 control human for wildlife than natural ones, as Julia L. Nelson of the University of Cali- 1.8 fornia, Stanislaus, and her colleagues found in San Joaquin kit foxes. In ad- 0.0 0 dition, although animals might adapt control human control human to the Anthropocene, the continued background hum of stress presented playback treatment by humans and our cities and suburbs might dull their predator-avoidance average area used (hectares) deer mouse small mammal foraging reflexes, as predicted by the risk alloca- 0.27 space use 0.8 intensity tion hypothesis. 0.20 0.6 proportion of food In 1991, Steven L. Lima of Indiana 0.14 0.4 patches visited State University and Peter A. Bed- nekoff of the University of Michigan 0.07 0.2 broke down how animals should re- spond to low-risk and high-risk situ- 0.00 0.0 ations. They hypothesized that tem- control poral variation in risk is key to that human control human response: Animals that are faced with brief, infrequent high-risk situations playback treatment should respond in a more intense way compared with animals that are con- Illustration by Corlis Schneider stantly in high-risk situations. Animals change their behaviors when humans may be near, with effects that cascade through the My research in Pennsylvania also food web and ecosystem. Pumas avoid places with audible human voices, and they act more cau- supports this risk-allocation hypoth- tiously as well (top panel). Bobcats become more nocturnal when they hear people speaking in an esis. I found that white-tailed deer vigi- area; skunks avoid these areas; and possums forage less widely and less often in them (middle). lance behavior increased with predator Rodents take advantage of these changes, however, roaming and foraging more widely and more relative abundance, but only in the state often in the places where humans can be heard (bottom panel). (Adapted from Suraci et al. 2019.) forest that was surrounded by more forest. In the state forests surrounded fawns were forced into being active at eaten. A 2018 meta-analysis in Science by agriculture and urban development, the same times of day as black bears documented that 62 species ranging and bobcats, both carnivores that love from wild boar to tigers increased their eating fawns. This concurrent activity nighttime activity by an average fac- increases the fawns’ chances of run- tor of 1.36 in response to a variety of ning into their predators and being human activities, such as hunting and 286 American Scientist, Volume 110; Luiz Claudio Marigo/Bluegreen Pictures/Alamy Stock Photo;; https://com- species human consequence nocturnality 100 There will always be animals that,_Colorado.jpg;;; disturbance are fearful of humans. What can we do;;,_N%C3%A4he_Pulverstampftor_(cropped).jpg; red brocket diurnal 50 for them? Imagine a more charitable wiki/File:Kamienica,_Floria%C5%84ska_55,_Krak%C3%B3w_1.JPG deer subsistence competitor world where we respect our fellow hunting 0 passengers on this tiny blue rock. Na- gets an low high tional parks and other protected areas advantage could limit the number of daily visi- human disturbance tors and completely close off certain Atlantic Forest, Argentina sections during particularly sensitive biological periods, such as when off- coyote hiking 100 spring are born. We might design gre- enways with more buffer habitat than dietary shift nocturnality 50 we do currently, to give wildlife more toward space in urban areas. We could plan 0 our cities to reduce suburban sprawl nocturnal low high and turn off external lights to erase prey as much of our presence at night as human disturbance possible. Wild animals react to varia- Santa Cruz Mountains, CA tions in human presence: Deer and wild boar activity patterns and move- sable nocturnality 100 ment rates have been found to change antelope depending on whether it was hunting 50 season or not, and bats were found sport constrained to be less active in Greensboro, North hunting access to 0 Carolina, during the weekend, when water during low high more people were out and about. By Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe the day understanding the fear that we instill human disturbance in wildlife, and by being respectful, tiger forest product minimizes 100 considerate planet-mates, we can bet- collection direct ter coexist with other species. nocturnality 50 and hunting human– Bibliography carnivore 0 encounters low high Fardell, L. L., C. R. Pavey, and C. R. Dichman. 2020. Fear and stressing in predator–prey Chitwan National Park, Nepal human disturbance ecology: Considering the twin stressors of predators and people on mammals. PeerJ wild boar urban development 100 8:e9104. 50 altered nocturnality Gaynor, K. M., C. E. Hojnowski, N. H. Carter, foraging and J. S. Brashares. 2018. The influence of patterns human disturbance on wildlife nocturnal- ity. Science 360:1232–1235. Kraków and Białowieża Forest, Poland 0 low high Lima, S. L., and L. M. Dill. 1990. Behavioral decisions made under the risk of predation: human disturbance A review and prospectus. Canadian Journal of Zoology 68:619–640. A 2018 meta-analysis showed that animals around the world are shifting their schedules to become more nocturnal in the presence of a variety of human behaviors. These shifts have Ordiz, A., M. Aronsson, J. Persson, O. G. Stoen, many different consequences that need to be considered, especially as humans have become J. E. Swenson, and J. Kindberg. 2021. Effects so pervasive that avoiding places where they might be has become nearly impossible for of human disturbance on terrestrial apex many animals. (Adapted from Gaynor et al. 2018.) predators. Diversity 13:68. there was no relationship between and something about the more anthro- Suraci, J. P., M. Clinchy, L. Y. Zanette, and C. predator relative abundance and deer pogenically disturbed environment cre- C. Wilmers. 2019. Fear of humans as apex vigilance. In addition, deer vigilance in ated such a chronic high-risk situation predators has landscape-scale impacts the same state forests was highest dur- that deer vigilance was decoupled from from mountain lions to mice. Ecology Letters ing the day, when humans were more predator relative abundance. This de- 22:1578–1586. likely to be around. This result suggest- coupling could make it easier for preda- ed two things: Deer are more afraid of tors to kill fawns, potentially influenc- Wilson, M. W., A. D. Ridlon, K. M. Gaynor, S. humans than their natural predators, ing deer population density. D. Gaines, A. C. Stier, and B. S. Halpern. 2020. Ecological impacts of human-induced animal behaviour change. Ecology Letters 23:1522–1536. Asia Murphy is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz, studying how humans and urbanization influence species interactions, with a focus on carnivores. Twitter: @am_anatalia 2022 September–October 287

Engineering E SCI E N CE A G P I Henry Petroski U I N Z E O n the surface, the puzzles AZ E known as crosswords might SOLV R appear to be about vocabu- E I lary, literature, history, and N culture—subjects associated with the 288 American Scientist, Volume 110 G arts and humanities—but they can also contain significant references to scientific, mathematical, and D engineering topics. Indeed, the crossword may be looked upon as an excellent example of the intersection of the two cultures of science and the humanities, which more than half a century ago the physical chemist turned novel- ist C. P. Snow lamented were irretriev- ably separated by distinct and incom- patible ways of thinking. He claimed that scientists knew only as much about Shakespeare as humanists did about the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The very existence of the crossword, in which such diverse topics can appear simultaneously, belies this canard. In The Structure of Scientific Revolu- tions, philosopher Thomas Kuhn de- fined normal science as that done within the prevailing paradigm of a field, and he elaborated on the idea in a chap- ter titled “Normal Science as Puzzle-Solving.” Normal sci- G ence is not expected to produce any “major novelties, concep- tual or phenomenal.” However, when normal science proves to be incapable of solving the field’s prevailing puzzles, there arises a metapuzzle. Solving it requires a new paradigm, and the result is a scientific revolution. By analogy, nor- mal engineering conforms to current codes and standards, and its practice defines the state of the art. This state is challenged whenever a failure occurs Barbara Aulicino Henry Petroski is the A. S. Vesic Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering Emeritus at Duke University. His new book is Force (September 2022, Yale University Press). Email: [email protected]

and presents the puzzle of figuring out [arepo], and so forth, and then doing M Disdero/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0 what caused it. the reverse, starting in the bottom right- hand corner). The earliest known sator The sator square is a multi-directional word In his introductory essay to the fourth square was found in 1925 buried under edition of Kuhn’s Structure, philosopher the ash and pumice spewed over the square consisting of a Latin palindrome in- of science Ian Hacking likens solving Roman city of Pompeii when Mount puzzles to “pleasant ways to keep busy Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE. Other scribed on a clay tile found in the ruins of when one is not up to useful work.” squares have been unearthed in Eng- Compared with normal science, puzzles land, France, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Pompeii. It is the earliest known example may be tame entertainment, but they and Syria, showing the widespread use can also be instructive. A crossword may of sator squares, often as a talisman to of the genre. be thought of as a puzzle incorporating ward off evil, at least through the 14th a variety of subpuzzles—or clues—and century. Scholars still debate the origin influential columnist at the World be- this characteristic may be part of the and purpose of the squares and are un- gan pointing out how sloppy her edit- genre’s appeal to individuals ranging certain how to translate arepo, which ing was, Petherbridge began to take her from readers of detective fiction to sci- may have been a proper name. If it is job seriously, initiating “industry stan- entists accustomed to dealing with com- a name, a rough literal translation of dards” for what was to be considered plicated natural phenomena and inter- the square might be “The farmer Arepo a quality crossword. The success of the dependent physical substructures. Every holds the wheel [guides the plow].” World’s puzzle prompted other newspa- human endeavor—profession, service, pers and magazines to offer their own craft—has its canonical forms and corre- Moving to modern times, the first crosswords. In 1925, Scientific American sponding terminology. To practitioners, American crossword, under the name began to publish ones featuring “techni- this structure is their lingua franca; to Word-Cross, appeared in 1923 in the cal, industrial, or scientific themes.” outsiders, it is jargon. weekly color section of the New York World. It had a diamond-shaped grid At the same time, manufacturing The construction of a crossword of blank squares into which could industries in the United States and might be thought of as an engineering be written interlocking three-letter Britain were adapting principles of problem. Constraints, a defining char- words that represented answers to a scientific management, also known acteristic of a practical problem, may be list of definitions. Reader interest in as Taylorism, after Frederick Winslow imposed by an editor as to the specific the new puzzle grew, and the puzzle’s Taylor. Born in Philadelphia in 1856, shape, size, and difficulty of the puz- creator and puzzle-page editor Arthur Taylor was expected to attend Harvard zle, or these parameters may be self- Wynne suggested patenting it. When University and become a lawyer, but imposed. An engineering problem with- the newspaper balked at paying the deteriorating eyesight made that plan out constraints would be akin to free fees, the matter was dropped, and the impractical. Instead, he entered into verse as Robert Frost defined it: play- crossword concept was in the public an apprenticeship at a company that ing tennis without a net. An analogy domain. Wynne lost his initial enthusi- manufactured water pumps. At age can also be drawn between solving a asm for coming up with a new puzzle 22, he began working in the machine crossword puzzle and doing science: each week. When he invited readers to shop at the Midvale Steel Works and in the clues might be thought of as exper- submit their own creations, many did, time became foreman. Throughout his imental results, and the grid of blank but he was a careless editor who al- time at Midvale, he saw workmen just and black squares as the paradigm lowed inconsistencies, omissions, and soldiering on and falling well short of into which interpretations of the data typos to threaten the very existence expected productivity. This observa- must fit. A crossword may have been of the new form of wordplay. It was tion seeded his thinking about how to constructed to yield a specific solution, Wynne’s careless proofreading that al- improve worker output. which is not to say that a clever solver lowed Word-Cross to become Cross- could not find an equally plausible one. Word and, finally, crossword. Concurrently with his work at Mid- vale, Taylor earned via correspondence Puzzle Theory When Wynne appealed to his ex- courses a degree in mechanical engi- An ancient predecessor of the cross- ecutive editor for help seeing submis- neering from the Stevens Institute of word is the sator square, a “word sions through to press, the boss’s sec- Technology. This qualification enabled square” containing five five-letter Latin retary was assigned to Wynne as an him to broaden his experience by work- words stacked one upon another: sa- assistant. Margaret Petherbridge—a ing as an independent consulting en- tor arepo tenet opera rotas, with Smith College alumna who would be- gineer, in which capacity he began to sator on top and rotas at the bottom. come known as Margaret Farrar after promote his ideas on industrial man- Arranged in this way, the words form a she married the cofounder of the dis- agement. He achieved considerable two-dimensional palindrome, meaning tinguished book publishing house of prominence in the field before dying that it reads the same both horizontally Farrar, Straus and Giroux—aspired to (in two directions, from the top left- be a journalist, not a puzzle processor. hand corner to the bottom right-hand Initially at least, she did not put much corner, and from the bottom right-hand effort into editing a form of puzzle she corner to the top left-hand corner) and considered “schlocky drivel to puff out vertically (starting in the top left-hand the paper and placate the masses,” ac- corner and reading from top to bottom cording to Adrienne Raphel, whose the first letter of each word [sator], book Thinking Inside the Box recounts then the second letter of each word the story of the crossword. When an 2022 September–October 289

Douglas Healey/AP Images He believed that “Behind the desire to solve this or that problem that confers A contestant shows his enthusiasm for the subject as he prepares to participate in the 2007 no material advantage, there may be a American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which was held in Stamford, Connecticut. deeper curiosity, a desire to understand the ways and means, the motives and prematurely of pneumonia in 1915. He Puzzle Celebrities procedures, of solution.” was survived by his four principles of As crosswords are supposed to be rec- scientific management: analyzing work reational, early clue-answer pairs were The first of a series of British-style tasks; training workers; systematizing rather straightforward, and solving crosswords to be published regularly work; and promoting teamwork among the puzzle was not terrifically tough in America appeared in 1943 in the workers and managers. The overall ob- mental work. For this reason at least, progressive weekly the Nation. When jective was to discover the “one best British commentators excoriated the the puzzles’ creator, Jack Barrett, died way” to perform each task and so maxi- practice of solving such crosswords as suddenly in 1947, the magazine ran mize efficiency of production. time wasted with nothing of value pro- a contest to select a new editor. The duced. In spite of the disapproval of winner was Frank Lewis, for whom Although solving a crossword was the Oxbridge intellectuals who tended Barrett was “the only American whose supposed to be an escape from work, to be these critics, crosswords did gain puzzles held sustained interest.” Lewis some enthusiasts were taking their task currency in Britain, and in the more was a civil servant when he was se- as seriously as Taylor took the mak- pretentious publications they took on lected by the War Department to work ing of widgets, with success measured a distinctly different, more cryptic per- at Bletchley Park, Britain’s secret cryp- in speed. But was there a single best sonality. Whereas American puzzle tography headquarters, where he way to achieve the fastest time? Unlike clues tended to be straightforward defi- cracked the Japanese shipping code. manufacturing, in which teamwork is nitions, British clues were more erudite, It was while stationed in England that essential, crossword solving is mostly requiring on occasion knowledge of a he had developed a love for the cryptic a solitary activity. The question then classical language and its literature. Or crossword. Lewis ran puzzles in the becomes personalized, especially for they could be mystifying, each clue be- Nation until 1976. those who compete in tournaments, ing a nontrivial puzzle in its own right, where the fastest is the best. Although with the solver having to recognize in it The connection between crosswords many solvers may not have even heard a pun or anagram or some other word- and the British War Department didn’t of scientific management, the most play as prompting the answer. Even start with Lewis. In 1941, before there competitive ones essentially follow a with this greater difficulty, the staid were digital computers, a faux cross- similarly rational path to success. Times of London did not publish a daily word contest was held at the offices of crossword before 1930. the London Telegraph to see who might Reflective crossword solvers can solve a difficult puzzle in less than 12 analyze their technique to discover The New York Times waited until minutes. Those who entered were un- where it fails to be efficient. Having 1942, after Margaret Farrar was hired wittingly being interviewed, and the identified the speed bumps, they can to edit the puzzles that had become so best of them were invited to help in the devise work-arounds and establish very popular a feature in newspapers war effort. Solvers who accepted the the systematic solving style that works and magazines across America. In- invitation were destined for Bletchley best for them. They can hone their sys- deed, crosswords had gained such cur- Park. And among the code breakers at tem by working on more and more rency that the Stanford mathematician Bletchley Park was the artificial intel- puzzles. Because they are both manag- George Pólya wrote in the preface to ligence pioneer Alan Turing, working er and executor of their own method, his 1945 book, How to Solve It: A New among a host of crossword enthusiasts they must strive to see their work hab- Aspect of Mathematical Method, pub- who largely remained anonymous. its objectively and judge them harshly. lished by Princeton University Press, They can learn from the champions, that “a mathematics problem may be The British style of crosswords got a but ultimately they are their own best as much fun as a crossword puzzle.” boost in popularity when musical com- trainer and coach. poser Stephen Sondheim revealed its niceties in 1968 in an article in New York magazine, to which he also contributed some puzzles he himself had created in that style. In his introduction to a book of such puzzles, he wrote of the cryptic crossword that “the pleasures involved in solving it are the deeply satisfactory ones of following and matching a devi- ous mind (that of the puzzle’s author) rather than the transitory ones of an en- cyclopedic memory.” The British style did not gain wide popularity in America, in spite of the ef- forts also of the New Yorker, which in the 1990s was predicting that, like “sushi or cappuccino or acupuncture,” it would, at least among sophisticated readers, soon catch on. Nowadays, the Sunday 290 American Scientist, Volume 110

New York Times Magazine on occasion and accuracy. The tournament ran an- Puzzle Satisfaction publishes a Puns and Anagrams puzzle, nually through 2019, when almost 750 but it is the daily Times crossword that solvers competed, but the pandemic No one today expects a crossword so- is firmly established as the American forced its cancellation in 2020. It was lution to have the mystical power of a standard. Just as ontogeny recapitulates held virtually in 2021 and returned to medieval word square. It is a pedes- phylogeny in biology, so each week’s its conventional format in April 2022. trian thing consisting of a 15 by 15 grid worth of puzzles in the Times retraces of black and white cells that might in a way the evolution of the crossword Since 2012, the human contestants suggest a chess board designed by from simple fun to near-cryptic chal- had been joined by an unofficial solver someone under the influence. To the lenge. It is well known, at least among named Dr.Fill (the expected space is unlikely person seeing a crossword for regular solvers, that as the week pro- omitted so that spellchecker programs the first time, its arrangement of emp- gresses from Monday through Saturday, will not change it to Dr. Phil), a com- ty squares might appear to be random, the puzzle gets more difficult and de- puter program designed by Matthew and why some cells are numbered and mands a more mature mind to solve it. Ginsberg, an Oxford-trained astro- others not as an inconsistency. In fact, physicist and mathematician specializ- the grid is symmetrical, usually about Just as the emphasis of a scholarly ing in artificial intelligence. Ginsberg is a diagonal, and a number need only journal can change with a change of also a quick-witted crossword creator; appear in a square that will contain the editor, so has the nature of the New York one of his puzzles contained a clue in- first letter of an answer. The numbered Times crossword changed with a change volving “an Einstein quote that holds clues are grouped in two lists, one for in editorship. Farrar retired in 1969 and true when solving clever crosswords.” words reading horizontally (across) was succeeded by Will Weng, who was and the other for words reading verti- chief of the Times’s metropolitan news Since 2012, human cally (down). desk and favored wordplay and bad contestants have been puns over knowledge of high culture. joined by a computer How an individual solver proceeds Upon Weng’s retirement in 1977, the to respond to the clues is a matter of editorship was taken over by Eugene program named personality and circumstance. If rec- Maleska, whom Farrar had known as a Dr.Fill, which placed reation is the objective, how a solver prolific puzzle constructor. His day job 11th in 2017 and took proceeds is of no matter. Perhaps the had been teaching Latin and English first place in 2021. most common approach is to just tackle in the New York City school system, the clues in order. When speed is of within which he rose to the position of The answer, imagination is more im- the essence, competitive solvers have superintendent of a Bronx school dis- portant than kno ledge, certainly devised a variety of approaches. Some trict. His academic background influ- applies equally to paradigm-shifting go directly for the longest words, argu- enced the erudite puzzles he published, science and cryptic puzzle clues. ing that this will give the most hints to which often contained literary quota- the crossing words. Most solvers use tions and references to opera that may Before the virtual event, the best block capitals; some mix in a lowercase have seemed aimed at an intellectually Dr.Fill had done was to place 11th in script e because it can be written in one snobbish readership. Since 1993, the New 2017. Two things changed for 2021. stroke compared with at least three for York Times crossword has been edited by First, Ginsberg partnered with Dan a capital E. Will Shortz. According to Wikipedia, his Klein, who heads up the Natural Lan- favorite crossword clue is “It might turn guage Processing Group at the Uni- I am a recreational solver, but I into a different story,” which had the versity of California at Berkeley and switch between across and down clues as answer spiral staircase. His favorite developed an interest in crosswords one word provides letters for its cross- puzzle is the one that was scheduled to while stuck at home during the pan- ings. Neither my wife nor I consider run on Election Day in 1996. It was con- demic. He and his group went on crosswords a waste of time; we believe structed by Jeremiah Farrell, a professor to develop the Berkeley Crossword they exercise both our short- and long- of mathematics emeritus at Butler Uni- Solver and brought it to the attention term memories. Furthermore, solving versity. Farrell prepared two versions, of Ginsberg. Unlike the standard ar- a crossword is a form of continuing so there would be compatibility with tificial intelligence that drove Dr.Fill, education. It is rare that I do not take words crossing the alternate answers the Berkeley solver employed neural some new knowledge away from each to the clue “Lead story in tomorrow’s networks, and the two approaches puzzle I solve: a vocabulary word, a newspaper (!)”: bob dole elected or complemented each other nicely to historical fact, a literary allusion, a piece clinton elected. produce an improved Dr.Fill for the of trivia, a bit of insight, a confirmation competition. Second, playing from of human ingenuity. Shortz had crafted his own cur- home in Oregon, Ginsberg was able riculum at Indiana University and to run Dr.Fill on a bespoke desktop Virtually every crossword, like many received a bachelor’s degree in enig- computer with more processing pow- a mathematical problem, has a unique matology in 1974. Three years later, he er, which was too heavy to lug to the solution. Finding it without chasing a earned a law degree from the Univer- East Coast, rather than use a laptop as wrong answer down a rabbit hole can be sity of Virginia, but he eschewed the he had been doing. With these advan- frustrating, but so are most scientific and bar and took a job as associate editor tages, Dr.Fill took first place. engineering problems. And as is true of the new wordplay magazine Games. for those problems, putting it aside and In 1978, Shortz founded the Ameri- sleeping on it is often rewarded by fresh can Crossword Puzzle Tournament, in progress toward the solution. which contestants are judged for speed (References for this article are available online at 2022 September–October 291

The History of Vaccine Uptake in Taiwan When the bubonic plague pandemic hit in 1896, soon after Japan had colonized the island, social and political forces led residents to resist public health initiatives. HungYin Tsai D uring the COVID-19 pan- in the eastern Pacific Ocean, bridges in Taiwan in the 17th century for a short demic, we saw a resurgence northeast and southeast Asia. At the period of time. Japan defeated the Qing in phenomena that we time, nearly 3 million people lived on Empire (China) in 1895, becoming the thought were things of the the island. Historically known as For- first modern Asian colonial empire, past. Not only did we see hospitals mosa, the island was the home of pi- with Taiwan secured as its first colo- fill up and many tragic deaths, but we rates before the colonizers came, and it nial possession. Indigenous peoples also saw resistance to vaccines, masks, was the forward base for imperialists have lived on the island since about and quarantine and isolation. (See “A to move wherever they wanted. This 5000 BCE. Starting in the 16th century, Pandemic of Confusion,” November– geographical location was a blessing Chinese immigrants began moving to December 2020.) If history repeats, it for Taiwan’s economic and cultural de- Taiwan. Thus, it was home to many may also hold lessons: How did peo- velopment but made it vulnerable to kinds of traditional medicine, includ- ple overcome medical resistance in imported diseases. ing Indigenous medicine and Chinese pandemics of yore? medicine, the latter brought to Taiwan The plague outbreak in 1896 might by southeastern Chinese immigrants. The plague outbreak in 1896 and have been part of a global pandemic cholera outbreak in 1919 in Taiwan of- known as the “third plague pandem- After Taiwan became a Japanese fer some perspective. Vaccine hesitan- ic,” which lasted from 1855 to 1960. colony in 1895, those traditions were cy and resistance to public health mea- This 105-year pandemic started in Asia forcibly swept away as the colonists sures first emerged there during the and reached most of the world’s popu- charged ahead with a westernization 1896 outbreak. But Taiwan was able lations within a few years. agenda, recognizing only modern to overcome later pandemics. A few medicine; Japan also abandoned its decades after the first plague outbreak, The history of Taiwan demonstrates own traditional medicine, Kampo. The people on the island devoted them- how people decide whether to trust Japanese colonial government forbid selves to public health, and the plague vaccines and other public health mea- was largely controlled. They also lined sures. Throughout Japanese coloniza- This 1926 public health campaign poster, up to be vaccinated against cholera, tion, approaches to pandemics varied titled “Namo Great Buddha Policeman,” was even though they had strongly resist- substantially, resulting in very differ- distributed by the Japanese colonial govern- ed vaccination before. To understand ent vaccine uptake rates and, more ment. It shows a policeman holding prayer why requires stepping back in time, to importantly, affecting the long-term beads in his left hand and a sword in his Japanese colonization in 1895, just be- solidarity between society, medicine, right. The other six divine hands on his back fore the plague outbreak hit the island. and the government. each show one function of the police, clock- wise from bottom left: “arresting criminals, During the Japanese colonization The Plague Outbreak of 1896 controlling political activities and ideologies of Taiwan from 1895 to 1945, the is- The response to a disease is always a [two hands], preventing outbreaks, ‘civiliz- land experienced an unprecedented combination of general aspects of hu- ing’ economies of Indigenous populations, outbreak of bubonic plague that be- man nature and a specific cultural and and emergency aid.” Police were widely mis- gan in 1896, as well as the lingering social setting. The plague hit at a partic- trusted after the 1896 pandemic began, be- threat of cholera. This island, which is ularly turbulent time in Taiwan’s histo- cause of their strong-armed tactics to enforce slightly bigger than the country of Bel- ry. The Spanish and the Dutch East In- quarantine and isolation. (Translation from gium and sits in a vital trade position dia Company established trading bases Japanese by the author.) When a plague outbreak spread through QUICK TAKE This history shows how one divided soci- Taiwan’s population in 1896, public health ety learned to overcome vaccine hesitancy. measures failed, because they did not account The Japanese colonial government suc- Today, Taiwan has one of the highest vaccina- for social and political divisions and mistrust. ceeded in quelling later outbreaks of plague tion rates for COVID-19 in the world. and cholera after the 1910s, by integrating locals into public health in a variety of ways. 292 American Scientist, Volume 110 The Collections from the Archives of Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica 2022 September–October 293

The Collections from the Archives of Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica Public health campaign posters from the Japanese colonial government en- couraged people to maintain hygiene and watch out for mice. The poster on the left, titled “A Campaign Poster Call for Exterminating the Plague in 1916,” includes an image of rodents as plague vectors and, below that, an image of a person spreading sterilizer. By 1902, the Japanese government began offering a bounty for trapped mice and rats. The campaign continued for years, until after World War II. The poster above from 1942 shows a Japanese zoologist’s instructions for catching rats using bowls and rice, with the headline reading in Japanese, “A Guide to Catching Rats.” practicing medicine without a license had only recently landed on the island. rules more evident than in relation to and did not offer licenses for those Along their way from the north to the hospitals. All the physicians at these practicing traditional medicine on the south of Taiwan, the colonizers were hospitals spoke Japanese, a language island, effectively banning its prac- met with resistance. These conflicts that very few Taiwanese understood, tice. Failing to recognize local healers caused around 300 deaths of Japanese alienating the public from the official paved the way for Taiwanese mistrust soldiers and more than 10,000 deaths plague-control response. The hospitals of Japanese-imported medicine. of Taiwanese locals in 1895. But in also isolated plague patients from their some places, such as the cities of Taipei families and communities to control the When the plague struck Taiwan in and Tainan, local community leaders spread of the disease, a practice that 1896, Japan quickly launched a series worked with Japan and opened their scared and angered many local people. of science-based actions to control the doors to the empire’s military. The outbreak. At that time, the germ theo- colonial authority and local leaders The gap between the promises made ry of disease—the idea that pathogens were unfamiliar with one another, but about modern medicine and the limited cause infectious diseases—had been they tried to work together to bring effectiveness of the available treatments recently popularized by the likes of the peace to these cities. By 1896, when the bothered local people as well. Antibi- great microbiologists John Snow, Lou- plague outbreak hit, Taiwanese soci- otics would not be available until the is Pasteur, Robert Koch, and Kitasato ety was coming to peace with, but still mid-20th century, so physicians could ShibasaburÛ. Drawing on this theory, hesitant toward, Japanese authority. only provide medical interventions that Japan began requiring quarantines, in- we now know were terrible—for exam- specting ships and travelers, segregat- Japanese physicians at the time ple, extracting patients’ lymph nodes ing all patients from their families, iso- claimed that the plague had come to the or injecting patients with disinfectant. lating patients in specialized “plague” island because of trade activity between These treatments tended to fail, and hospitals, and requiring the families Taiwan and Xiamen, a treaty port in most hospital patients died. of those patients to stay inside their south China that had suffered a plague homes for about seven days. If the pa- outbreak in 1894. Most Taiwanese, on Surviving records of the prevalence tient passed away, the body had to be the other hand, believed that the plague and mortality rate of this plague are cremated to eliminate any possibility had come from the Japanese coloniz- inaccurate, because many people of transmission. This requirement vio- ers, because there had been no outbreak avoided government institutions and lated local burial practices believed to in Taiwan before they came to power. were never counted. But medical re- comfort the spirits of the deceased and Thus the colonizers and the colonized cords in the two plague hospitals in their living families. blamed one another for the spread of Taipei show that in 1896 the mortal- the disease, entrenching resentments ity rate after receiving curative treat- These actions made sense from a sci- and foiling attempts to cooperate. ments was 53 percent, not much lower entific perspective, but enforcing them than the 60 percent mortality rate of was not always practical. At the time Nowhere were the Taiwanese peo- plague victims recorded by the gov- of the outbreak, the Japanese authority ple’s fears and violations of pandemic ernment that year (the latter attempted 294 American Scientist, Volume 110

to include those who died outside of The Collections from the Archives of Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica hospitals). Although Japanese phy- sicians were proud of their modern A Taiwanese woman receives a cholera vaccination during the 1919–1920 cholera outbreak. medicine, the low survival rate was a The title at the top reads in Japanese “Vaccines and Immunizations (in Shilin, Taipei).” sign to the local population to avoid hospitals. A petition from May 16, authorities were also upset, because culture and one of the most influential 1898, urged the colonial government to they worked hard to implement an ad- community leaders, commented in the leave the Taiwanese people alone. The vanced public health strategy to fight Taiwan New Newspaper in 1896 that the petition stated [translated from writ- the outbreak, only to have it thwart- Taiwanese had their folk practices to ten Chinese], “If one was taken into ed by locals whom they saw as un- handle pandemics, and he told the colo- the hospital by the police and treated educated. Thus, the outbreak raged on nizers to leave Taiwanese people alone. by Japanese [modern] medicine, less and threatened business activities and Yet for the time being, the colonial gov- than 1 in 10 would survive. But if one populations on the island, which were ernment did not heed his advice. were sent to the rural area and treated already vulnerable amidst the political with local medicine, 8 or 9 of 10 would instability of a new colony. These divisions had tragic conse- survive.” More than 140 businesses in quences for both Japanese and Taiwan- Taipei signed this petition, reflecting Growing fears of the official medical ese residents. The plague continued to the local community’s general view of response to the plague led many Tai- threaten them for many years. Accord- hospitals. In short, they viewed these wanese people to hide from authorities. ing to the published official statistics, isolation hospitals as a combination of If a Taiwanese family suspected that a 566 people died of plague in 1897, and prisons and death camps. relative was infected, they would hide the annual number of deaths grew to that person at home or send them to the 3,670 in 1901, even though a plague Later in the 1920s, Tu Tsung-Ming, countryside under the cover of night. vaccine came out that year. who held the distinction of being If a hidden person died, their family the first Taiwanese MD PhD trained would either bury the body at night, Ongoing Vaccine Hesitancy in Japan, commented on the limits when authorities were least likely to be The profound distrust between the of clinical treatments, even though around, or they would simply throw Japanese-dominated health officials he fully embraced modern medicine the body away. The families of patients and the local Taiwanese population [translated from Japanese]: “I must didn’t want to be quarantined, either. later shaped the attitudes toward vac- confess that [traditional] . . . medical If they were forced to stay home, they cines. The tension erupted in a 1902 treatments can cure every cholera and could not earn a living. Local news- community meeting between local plague patient, but a dignified, skilled papers reported rampant violations of leaders, traditional healers, and the practitioner of Western medicine can public health rules. Japanese health authority in Taipei. As do nothing in this area—almost all of reported in the Taiwan New Newspaper his patients will die.” Although all the Initially, the Japanese colonial gov- on March 25, 1902, Japanese govern- statistics about mortality during these ernment responded to these violations ment physicians called a meeting with outbreaks are limited in accuracy, the with strong-armed police action. The local community leaders and licensed evidence indicates overall that sur- police patrolled the streets and dragged local practitioners of traditional medi- vival was higher among people who anyone who looked sick to the hospital. cine. In this meeting, a Japanese physi- left the cities and received traditional A local entrepreneur, Lí Chhun-Seng, cian, Horiuchi Tsugio, announced that medicine than it was among people in who was among the first few Christian a vaccine was available to prevent the the cities receiving modern medicine. Taiwanese people exposed to Western Because of the high mortality rates and brutal therapies in plague hospitals, rumors spread that Japanese physicians were killing local people in hospital iso- lation wards. This misinformation was the result of political and medical dis- trust, rather than its cause, because it did not appear until conflicts over the hospitals and quarantines occurred. Dis- trust inspired misinformation, and then misinformation deepened the distrust of the government and modern med- icine, in a self-reinforcing cycle. Out- landish rumors spread quickly, some even claiming that the Japanese would eat humans in the plague hospitals—a crime hidden by the cremations. Local Taiwanese people in the cities, where there were more Japanese phy- sicians and police surveillance, lived in fear of hospitals, physicians, and police. On the other hand, the Japanese 2022 September–October 295

Gujing Pharmacy (guˇ jıˇngyào fáng), located in Tainan City, is a traditional pharmacy and his- Mirror Media Inc. toric site. Zeng Shijie (above) is the third generation in his family to run the business. During Japanese colonization, pharmacies such as this one served as a bridge between modern and almost all Taiwanese people in Taipei traditional medicines. The Japanese colonial government did not offer licenses for traditional were strongly opposed to the shots. Tai- medicine, except briefly during the plague pandemic in 1901. But it did allow pharmacies serv- pei residents were concerned, because ing traditional medicine to remain open, largely because they were economically beneficial. At during an early vaccination campaign, these businesses, locals could receive primary care and medicine from traditional healers. the only Taiwanese person to volun- tarily receive the vaccination (locals de- plague, and that all licensed local heal- coverage in the Taiwan New Newspaper. scribed him as “crazy” for doing so) ers should receive the jab, because they According to the report, a practitioner had died of plague soon after. This case were “educated” members of the com- of traditional medicine attending the had shocked locals because Japanese munity, as a way of encouraging all meeting described to Horiuchi how physicians had claimed that the vac- Taiwanese people to do the same. From cine was modern, safe, and effective. the perspective of Japanese physicians, this vaccine was the most advanced The Collections from the Archives of Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica medical technology at that time, and it could stop the plague’s spread and death toll. However, because of the co- ercive tactics that had been employed by Japanese authorities during the pan- demic, locals remained hesitant about all modern medicine and government health policies. Several days later, this Plague- Vaccination Meeting received further The Taiwan Colonial Government Medical School was established in 1899. Taiwanese elites began to receive modern medical train- ing, claiming it for the colonized and build- ing trust among locals. These elites became fixtures in the local political, economic, and cultural scenes, and some eventually led the local resistance to Japanese rule. 296 American Scientist, Volume 110

Of course, there were reasonable expla- The Collections from the Archives of Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica nations as to why a safe and effective vaccine could not save this one person. A crowd lines up to receive cholera vaccinations in northern Taipei during the 1919–1920 out- Nevertheless, more misinformation break. Despite locals’ rejection of the plague vaccine in the early 1900s, this vaccine was well and conspiracies circulated after the received. The Japanese government ran successful public health campaigns during this time by man’s death, claiming that the vaccine taking a collaborative approach with locals. The title, published in an album by the Taipei Prefec- was poisonous or designed to kill the ture, says in Japanese, “The crowd lined up at the vaccination site (in Shilin, Taipei).” Taiwanese people. information became endless, because One dramatic difference was the This man’s name, the exact date of it did not address the root of the prob- emergence of new social elites. The co- this occurrence, and details about his lem: the ingrained distrust between lonial government continued to encour- vaccination were not recorded in official the ruling class and state-sanctioned age Taiwanese to use modern medicine, documents, such as newspapers and physicians on the one side, and local and a community of Taiwanese elites government archives. This dearth of Taiwanese on the other. received modern medical training at the information reflects another common Taiwan Colonial Government Medical issue with imperial medicine: a lack of Overcoming Medical Distrust School, established in 1899. These elites transparency. Because the colonial gov- History, it turns out, does not necessar- became fixtures in the local political, eco- ernment wanted to maintain its medical ily repeat. The Japanese and Taiwan- nomic, and cultural scenes, and they had legitimacy and worried about further vaccine hesitancy, official documents Modern and traditional medicine have often concealed controversies. But ac- long coexisted on the island of Taiwan. cording to the Taiwan New Newspaper’s report, the story of this adverse event ese learned from the plague pandem- credibility as authentic Taiwanese voic- spread quickly among practitioners of ic, and they successfully maintained es. Some of these elite physicians would traditional medicine and local residents. public health during later disease eventually lead the local resistance to outbreaks. In 1919–1920, many years Japanese rule. When local practitioners of tradi- after the first 1896 outbreak of plague, tional medicine asked Horiuchi about the Taiwanese people lined up outside These Taiwanese physicians not this concerning case at the meeting, he of vaccine stations waiting for their only became new social elites, but they speculated that the man may have al- shots against cholera, a disease that also claimed modern medicine for the ready been infected with plague when had threatened local communities for colonized. For local people, practi- he was vaccinated. When the local years, well before colonization. Plague tioners of modern medicine were no healers continued to argue with Horiu- and cholera were controlled in Taiwan longer “others”; rather, these new Tai- chi, he blamed the traditional medicine in 1918 and 1920, respectively, a tre- wanese physicians were members of the patient received as treatment for mendous public health success at the the community who stood up for their the plague, and he denied any adverse time. What changed? rights against the colonial authority. effects of the vaccine. Unsurprisingly, Some Taiwanese physicians became the Japanese colonists lost the support of community leaders and local practi- tioners of traditional medicine, and the plague vaccination campaign failed. Only Japanese communities on the island were willing to receive shots, and the Taiwanese people, who com- prised the majority of the population, remained hesitant about this vac- cine. In 1903, 12 percent of the Japa- nese population in Taipei received the plague vaccine, while only 5 percent of the Taiwanese did so. The plague continued threatening the island until 1917, causing around 24,000 deaths, the majority of whom were Taiwanese, with an approximate overall mortality rate of 80 percent. The Plague-Vaccination Meeting in Taipei, which took place almost 120 years ago, foreshadowed the contem- porary antivaccination movements and mistrust toward modern medi- cine and government authority that we see today. When pandemics hit Tai- wan over a century ago, a politically and socially polarized society became more polarized. The fight against mis- 2022 September–October 297

People in Taipei await their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on August 23, 2021. Taiwan Walid Berrazeg/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/Alamy Stock Photo enjoys a high vaccination rate for COVID-19, with more than 91 percent of the population receiving at least one dose, and most of them more than one dose. ing licenses to practitioners of tradi- tional medicine in Taiwan. This conces- government officials who offered pub- institution was composed entirely of sion was not a victory for traditional lic health services, such as monitoring locals, including practitioners of tra- medicine, because it was a temporary disease outbreaks, prescribing drugs, ditional medicine and their helpers. compromise. The licenses were only and providing vaccinations. The fact Family members of patients could stay granted at that particular moment in that medical officials and medical pro- with sick relatives in the institution. colonial history; no future generation fessionals were local community lead- would become licensed to practice tra- ers gradually built the locals’ trust in Despite these compromises, local ditional medicine, thus cutting off for- modern medicine and public health people initially hid from the Plague mal education in traditional medicine. practices. In 1919, when the colonial Treatment Institution. Overturning the Nevertheless, this policy served a sig- government launched the cholera vac- impression that the official plague hos- nificant function for public health: All cine campaign, about 55 percent of Tai- pitals were death camps would take traditional healers had to report cases pei residents received their shots with time. In 1899, a local newspaper re- of notifiable infectious diseases to the no major resistance. ported that Japanese police had taken a government. By recognizing the prac- Taiwanese barber into the Plague Treat- titioners of traditional medicine, the In addition to this integration be- ment Institution because he looked sick. colonial authority could engage these tween the Taiwanese and modern The barber did not have plague, and healers in the front-line monitoring for medicine, the government also soft- a practitioner of traditional medicine outbreaks. Through this licensing pol- ened its approach to traditional medi- treated the illness he did have. The bar- icy, practitioners of traditional medi- cine by integrating local practitioners ber thought he would die in the institu- cine became part of the infrastructure into the public health system for pri- tion but was shocked to learn that he of public health, providing treatment mary care and outbreak monitoring. could receive health care there. Thus the for locals and data for the government. Plague Treatment Institution became a In 1896, under pressure from the role model. A similar institution contin- Another strategy the Japanese colo- growing plague outbreak, the colo- ued to serve patients in 1899 and 1901 nial government employed was pro- nial government decided to work with when the plague resurged. In 1899, the moting alternative ways for individuals practitioners of traditional medicine, Tea Merchant Association in Taipei es- to support public health. One example who enjoyed far more trust among tablished another clinic that provided was a cash award for catching mice the local community. A new Plague health care, including traditional medi- and rats; the government would pay Treatment Institution was established cine, to the business area’s residents and people to turn in the rodents, either in Taipei. A Japanese physician super- migrant laborers in the tea industry if dead or alive. This policy significantly vised its management, but all the diag- they came down with the plague. reduced the number of mice and rats, noses and treatments carried out there the primary vector of bubonic plague. were based on traditional medicine. In 1901, the colonial government In the summer of 1902, there were 700 The medical team in this treatment further adjusted its policies by grant- plague cases and 200 germ-carrying rats caught. These numbers peaked in 298 American Scientist, Volume 110

the summer of 1904, with 1,600 plague patients in these locations. In 1902, In response to the COVID-19 cases and around 200 germ-carrying there were 125 licensed practitioners pandemic, practitioners of traditional rodents. After 1907, the numbers of of modern medicine and 1,434 licensed medicine worked with modern medical both patients and captured mice gradu- practitioners of traditional medicine professionals to care for patients and ally decreased. In the summer of 1909, in Taiwan. By 1940, there were 2,302 prevent the collapse of the health care there were only 300 plague patients and practitioners of modern medicine and system. When the Omicron surge around 100 germ-carrying mice. After only 133 practitioners of traditional arrived in Taiwan in 2021, numbers that, the numbers stayed below that medicine, because the colonial govern- of cases skyrocketed, and people with 1909 threshold. ment no longer granted licenses for tra- COVID-19 filled emergency rooms and ditional medicine. On the other hand, clinics. Taiwan’s National Research Ultimately, the Japanese govern- the number of traditional pharmacies Institute of Chinese Medicine launched ment succeeded in stamping out two increased from 173 in 1906 to 3,511 in a campaign to distribute NRICM101, of the most threatening diseases to the 1922. This number later went down which is an updated traditional public at that time, plague and cholera, slightly, but there were still 2,130 tradi- prescription designed for COVID-19. by working cooperatively with locals. tional pharmacies in 1942. Even when Once a patient had tested positive the numbers of physicians increased, for SARS-CoV-2 infection and their Coexisting Medical Traditions traditional medicine remained com- symptoms had been confirmed by a The Japanese learned from the 1896 mon in Taiwan. practitioner of traditional medicine, they plague pandemic that the best ap- could apply for this prescription. Some proach to public health is to integrate When the plague and cholera pan- practitioners of traditional medicine also rather than oppose local traditions. demics subsided, Taiwanese pharma- provide health care for mild vaccine side Once locals could become physicians, cies no longer had to report cases of effects, to encourage vaccination among beginning in 1899, public health sys- notifiable infectious diseases, but they their customers. Many also take care of tems successfully began controlling still provided most of the primary care patients with long COVID. Evidence outbreaks of infectious diseases, one to the general population. Although about the efficacy of NRICM101 and of the biggest threats people faced at the Japanese government promoted the treatments for long COVID remains that time. This “progressive narrative” modern medical education, there was limited (although clinical trials of the of medicine dominates most history only 1 physician per 2,564 people at former are underway), but these books. But when we look at the history that time. (As a reference, there was 1 offerings add to the medical choices for of public health failure, such as that in physician per 379 people in the United the population. Taiwan in 1896, we see that medical re- States in 2019.) These pharmacies filled sistance was not solely about medicine the gap left by the lack of physicians, Taiwan now enjoys high levels of or science, but rather about political especially in rural areas. vaccine uptake. This history shows and social pressure and distrust. Tradi- that social, cultural, and political divi- tional medicine also was not relegated The coexistence of modern and tra- sions that impede public health can be to the ashes of history, but rather be- ditional medicines continues today in overcome when those in power work came part of medical modernization, Taiwan. When the Republic of China to learn from the marginalized, gain serving as a bridge with healing needs government took over Taiwan at the trust, and bridge divides. in local communities. end of World War II, it established a double-track system. Traditional and Bibliography These local healers had practiced modern medicine each has its own their medicine long before the colonial medical education and licenses (usual- Fan, Y. C. 1995. Plague and the public health in government arrived, and they were ly the education of traditional medicine Taiwan (1895–1920). Bulletin of NCL Taiwan there to fight with health officials over contains basic training in modern med- Branch 1:59–84. the high-profile death of one of their icine, but the reverse is not the case). own Taipei residents after his vaccina- Modern medicine still frames pub- Hsu, H. C. 1999. The prelude of outbreak tion, in that meeting in 1902. This posi- lic health in general, and a universal defense in the Japanese colonial Taiwan. tion made local healers look like anti- health care system monitors outbreaks. Taiwan Wen Shian: Report of Historico- science activists railing against modern The social trust in modern medicine Geographical Studies of Taiwan, 50:251–276. medicine. In the “progressive narrative” and the government is more solid com- of modern medicine, traditional medi- pared with the colonial period. Lo, M. C. 2002. Doctors within Borders: Profession, cine was often considered witchcraft. In Ethnicity, and Modernity in Colonial Taiwan. fact, modern and traditional medicine When the COVID-19 pandemic Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. have long coexisted in Taiwan. hit Taiwan in 2019, the public health system responded quickly, directly, Ou, Y.-H., Bubonic plague, cholera, and influenza Even though the colonial govern- and transparently. In the first 140 days in the history of communicable diseases in ment no longer licensed practitioners of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan’s Taiwan (1895–1920). The Archives of Institute of traditional medicine in the early 20th Central Epidemic Command Center of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica. Accessed century, people still used traditional (CECC) organized a specialized team July 25, 2022. prescriptions from local pharmacies. for its COVID-19 response and held 164 /collections_con_en.php?no=68. These pharmacies were legally rec- livestreaming press conferences about ognized because of the government’s protecting public health. These efforts Tsai, H. Y. 2021.Cultural Encounters in Medi- business and tax concerns. Traditional are clearly trusted by contemporary cine: (Re)Constituting Traditional Medicine in pharmacies operated under licenses Taiwanese. As of July 26, more than 91 Taiwan under Colonization, Modernity, and for pharmacists and pharmaceutical percent of the population has received Exchange. PhD diss., Virginia Tech. stores, and traditional healers saw their at least one COVID-19 vaccination. HungYin Tsai is a postdoctoral fellow at Tokyo Col- lege, the University of Tokyo. She explores cultural encounters of medicine and bioethics through the interdisciplinary perspective of science, technology, and society. Email: [email protected] 2022 September–October 299

The Art and Science of Manipulative Language How does the brain handle speech that is intended to mislead—in advertising, in political rhetoric, and even in ordinary conversation? Viviana Masia We human beings, as homi- tions have capitalized on this empiri- The British philosopher of language nes loquentes, rely on ver- cal scaffolding, using the technique of Herbert Paul Grice devised the term im- bal language to carry out electroencephalography to examine plicatures for such contents, which the many functions: to make how the human brain deals with im- speaker does not explicitly verbalize in ourselves understood, to learn about plicitly transmitted contents—that is, an utterance but which can be inferred facts or ideas, to spread cultural values, those aimed at the subliminal thresh- from the assumption that the speaker and to induce people to do what we old of our cognitive perception. Newly wants to be cooperative in the communi- want them to do—that is, to manipulate emerging lines of research in this di- cative task at hand. As further explained other people. The power of language to rection are beginning to reveal how by Marina Sbisà of the University of Tri- influence other people’s thoughts and the brain interprets (or misinterprets) este, the successful understanding of an behaviors is of course a focus of linguis- unsaid meanings in a message. implicature strongly relies on the extent tic research, but it also flows into the do- to which some contextual premises are main of psychology and, notably, of the For the purposes of this discussion, in fact shared. Owing to this shared un- interplay between language and human communication is implicit whenever derstanding, it is possible to leave cer- cognition. A particularly subtle form of some content of a message, or the way tain contents unexpressed but easily re- this interplay is manipulative language, it contributes to the normal unfolding coverable. For example, if I understand a which requires the receiver to take part of an interaction, is left unexpressed or sentence such as “Lovely weather we’re in the reconstruction of a negotiated underspecified. Consider the follow- having!” to be ironic and to hint at an meaning; the receiver is thereby made ing short dialogue as an illustration. opposite weather condition (which is to assume some of the responsibility for the actual implicature it conveys), it is the interpretive choices made. Speaker A: Why don’t you try my because I know and my listener also delicious chocolate cookies? knows that the weather is not nice what- As a linguist, I am interested in the Speaker B: Oh, I have to lose soever. Shared contextual assumptions inner workings of the human brain weight. My doctor wants to put are thus the indispensable condition to when manipulative language is heard me on a strict diet. understand an implicature. or read. I conduct neurophysiologi- cal experiments on the processing of On the face of it, this exchange looks Invisible Content in Communication different strategies of implicit com- quite easy to understand. One would munication, especially in contexts in hardly object to interpreting speaker B’s Far from being limited to the realm of which the messaging may turn out to reply as a refusal of speaker A’s offer. ordinary conversation, implicatures are be deceptive, such as political speech Yet, on a closer look, such a refusal is abundant in present-day advertising, or advertising. Earlier lines of research not the immediately perceptible mean- where they exercise a strongly persua- on implicit and manipulative lan- ing of speaker B’s message, but rather sive power. Other devices frequently guage have concentrated on quantita- is content that can only be inferred used in persuasive communication are tive analyses aimed at assessing how from the overtly expressed statement. It presupposition and metaphor, each of often a designated speaker resorts to seems, then, that speaker B is implicitly which works in a slightly different way. a certain discourse strategy to distort refusing speaker A’s offer. This conver- her recipients’ views on certain is- sational practice turns out to be particu- One example comes from a well- sues (either in public speeches or on larly useful when we want to be polite known maker of athletic wear: social media). My current investiga- toward an interlocutor and to avoid giving a negative reply too directly. ADIDAS. Impossible is nothing. Human communication takes place on sev- QUICK TAKE By learning to spot implied messages in eral levels at once: not just speech, gestures, various forms of discourse, recipients gain the and body language, but also messages that The implicit level of communication can ability to examine such messages directly and are implied but not explicitly uttered in words. be a particularly effective channel for leading thereby avoid being manipulated by them. the recipients of a message to act or think in a specific way without directly questioning it. 300 American Scientist, Volume 110

And Brutus is an honorable man. Speech that is designed to manipulate listeners can be found in many realms, from advertising Jimlop collection/Alamy Stock Photo to classic literature. William Shakespeare, for example, often uses ironic speech to evoke a reac- tion opposite to what is explicitly said. In the play Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, speaking at the advertising is called presupposition, from titular character’s funeral, repeatedly describes Brutus as an honorable man, using the word hon- the Latin praesupponere (to suppose in orable in increasingly jarring contexts, until Brutus becomes the target of the crowd’s hostility. advance). Although it has often been treated as analogous to implicature, pre- Here, while the slogan explicitly says Coca-Cola. Continuous quality is supposition is a pragmatic phenomenon that nothing is impossible, it also im- quality you trust. of a different sort. With the term presup- plies that with Adidas everything is position, we refer to any content that is possible, or that nothing is impossible The mechanism at play here is no attributed to the receiver’s background to Adidas. The implicature here de- different from the former case. The knowledge before a message is uttered. rives from the conjoining of the slo- association between the slogan and a When we presuppose some content in a gan with the Adidas brand name. This background picture provides the neces- conversation, we believe that content to is what makes the slogan relevant to sary grounding for the implicature that be already known by the receiver. Lan- the purpose of the commercial itself, Coca-Cola ensures continuous quality, guage avails itself of several construc- which is of course to convince the ad- which makes it worth being trusted (see tions that may serve this purpose. For dressee to buy Adidas wares. The slo- image on page 302). Whoever produced example, compare these two remarks: gan exploits the implicit association the slogan evidently did not want to between the brand Adidas and the commit to the overt statement, “Coca Jane’s sister has found four white statement it is combined with to let Cola ensures good quality and so you kittens in her garden. the addressee infer that Adidas makes can trust it.” Instead, the addressee, everything possible. relying on assumptions of relevance versus and shared context of the message, is Note: The crucial effect is, as supposed to arrive at this impression Jane has got a sister. She has phrased above, to “let the addressee through inferential reasoning. found four white kittens in her infer.” With an implicature, it is the garden. recipient who must do the job of re- What makes implicatures manipula- constructing the meaning actually tive in advertising is thus their function Do the two sentences convey differ- intended by the sender. The ad does of calling upon the recipient’s contribu- ent meanings? Or do they convey the not explicitly state that with Adidas tion to construct the meaning of a mes- same meanings in different ways? Both everything is possible but leaves this sage. In effect, the recipient becomes sentences communicate the point that interpretation to the inference made by a part-author of that meaning and is Jane has a sister, but, whereas in the first the recipient. therefore less likely to question its truth. example this information is conveyed as old information, in the second example A similar strategy appears in a bev- Another linguistic device that can be it is overtly stated, as if the addressee did erage ad: used for manipulation in the context of not know it already. Robert Stalnaker was the first philosopher to character- ize presupposition as information taken 2022 September–October 301 Francis Joseph Dean/Deanpictures/Alamy Stock Photo for granted as part of the background The strategy known as implicature can be used to promote different products. By placing a knowledge (or “common ground,” to strong visual image of the product together with aspirational phrases (“continuous quality/ use his words) of both speaker and re- quality you trust” or “impossible is nothing/breaking records and barriers”), each ad encour- ceiver. In the first example, the presup- ages viewers to infer that the product itself deserves credit for that successful outcome. position that Jane has a sister is triggered by what in linguistic terms is called a second version makes these presup- ment of this kind, participants read a definite description, in this case represent- positions more explicit. Furthermore, passage of text in which some of the ed by the genitive phrase “Jane’s sister.” in the sentence “My son stopped tell- sentences contain presupposed infor- Other definite descriptions having the ing lies,” the verb stopped indicates a mation whereas other sentences make same function are nouns preceded by a change of state, presupposing that a direct assertions. Researchers monitor definite article (for example, the house), previous fact has occurred before the the participants’ eye movements, in- nouns preceded by demonstrative ad- one explicitly uttered. In the first sen- cluding fixation on certain spots and jectives (this/that chair), and proper tence, this fact is left implicit and al- regression to earlier portions of the names (John, Laura, Mount Everest, Cuba), lowed to pass as old information, text, to gauge the amount of cogni- which can only refer to single entities or whereas in the second sentence it is tive processing needed for each type individuals in the world. What all these openly stated. of sentence. The data show clearly that expressions have in common is that they participants spend more time—that presuppose the existence of a particular Like implicatures, presuppositions is, expend more effort—processing referent; but, in addition, they presup- are very common in advertising mes- overt assertions than they spend on pose that this referent is clearly identifi- sages in a number of different lan- presuppositions. These results indicate able by the receiver. guages. Consider the examples below: that the recipients of a message may receive implied information without Presuppositions may also concern Lindt. Mastering the seduction of consciously questioning it but will facts or states of things, as exemplified smooth. tend to take more time in processing in the following pair of comments: direct assertions of facts, examining Opel. Nuova Opel Meriva con their accuracy more closely. My son stopped telling lies only FlexDoors. Apriti al mondo. [New when he came of age. Opel Meriva with FlexDoors. Open Subsequent behavioral studies have up to the world.] further corroborated these results. versus In a study led by Florian Schwarz of Nutella. Après les enfants, con- the University of Pennsylvania, par- My son used to tell lies. He sommateurs historiquement pri- ticipants looked at pictures of scenes stopped only when he came of age. oritaires, la marque part à la con- while listening to pairs of sentences quête des adultes. [After children, such as the following: “Also John went It is quite straightforward to notice who have historically been our top- to the cinema,” and “Only John went that while the first sentence conveys priority consumers, the brand will to the cinema.” Tracking of the partici- some content as presupposed (“my son now set out to conquer the adults.] pants’ eye movements showed faster used to tell lies”) through a subordi- eye-shifts in response to sentences nate temporal clause—which is another One theoretical framework for the containing a presupposition (“Also, common presupposition trigger—the study of presuppositions has been that John went”) than to the sentences that of cognitive psychology. In an experi- 302 American Scientist, Volume 110

made an assertion (“Only John went”). Unspoken but Powerful sures of the actual cognitive processing Schwarz interpreted these observa- The function of implicit communication of presupposition; nevertheless, they tions to mean that the sentences con- in the domain of advertising goes well yielded interesting insights into how taining a presupposition probably took beyond the boundaries of language. Be- the mental representation of informa- less cognitive effort to process than the cause manipulation is a practice with tion could be affected by the explicit or sentences containing an assertion. which we influence people’s minds and implicit manner in which it was pre- behaviors, the fact that implicit commu- sented. The more precise techniques In the ad for Lindt chocolate, “the nication calls for some cognitive par- that have recently come into play, par- seduction of smooth” presupposes that ticipation on the part of the audience is ticularly those of electrophysiology, there is a seductive smoothness that what makes this mode of communica- have shed additional light on the cogni- Lindt is capable of generating. What tion as subtle as it is powerful. With tive mechanisms by which we decode must be taken for granted here is that practice, however, an attentive con- presuppositions. It is now clear that the chocolates made by Lindt are so sumer can soon learn to spot implicit presupposition is likely to be read faster smooth that they can seduce whoever communication in all sorts of discourse, and to consume less energy for cogni- eats them. The ad for Opel automobiles from news reports to legal regulations. tive processing than explicit assertions. contains the Italian change-of-state verb Thus, the motivation for making a pre- apriti (“open up”), which presupposes The idea that the explicit and the im- supposition unchallengeable seems to that the addressee has previously been plicit encoding of content might have be well-grounded in psychology. closed to the world. Finally, in the ad different impacts on the processing of for Nutella, the French temporal con- junction après (“after”) conveys the pre- The explicit and implicit coding of supposition that children, historically content may have different impacts on the main consumers of this product, are the processing of a linguistic message. already convinced of its quality. Had all these presuppositions been made a linguistic message was first proposed Implicature, too, has been investi- explicit in the messages, their impact on in the 1970s by cognitive psychologist gated both through questionnaires to the addressee’s attention would have Peter Hornby of the State University of assess the ease of information recall and been strikingly different, and so would New York at Plattsburgh, among oth- through online experiments linguisti- the addressee’s likelihood of critically ers. Whereas linguistics at that time was cally in studies led by Cory Bills of the sounding out their truth. mostly a theory-driven discipline with- Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics in out the sophisticated scientific tools to Berlin. Within the domain of neuro- By contrast, a message that packages run laboratory experiments, a group physiology, brain imaging studies car- some information as presupposition of cognitive psychologists led by Eliza- ried out at the Cognitive Science Insti- can divert the recipient onto a decep- beth F. Loftus of the University of Cali- tute in Paris by Ira Noveck and Andres tive processing path; here, the recipient fornia, Irvine, ran a pioneering study of Posada have revealed that the process- risks losing part of some relevant infor- what became known as the misinforma- ing of an implicature activates some ex- mation that is linguistically presented tion effect—the ability of presupposition tra areas in the left hemisphere of the as not requiring extra cognitive effort to exert a misleading effect on memory, brain, in addition to those usually acti- to be understood. Thus, its truth only even on memories of something read or vated while processing explicit mean- needs to be accepted as is. seen just shortly before. Loftus’s experi- ings. These extra areas include some ment called for the research subjects associated with higher cognitive func- According to the way that conver- to watch a short movie about a car ac- tions and with Theory of Mind (ToM)— sations normally unfold, presupposi- cident and then to answer questions that is, the capacity to represent mental tions often serve to streamline the ar- about it. Some of the questions con- states of others, a crucial element for the chitecture of utterances by relegating tained presuppositions about objects or ability to understand implied meanings. to the background the information that events that were not in the movie. (For is already shared by both interlocutors example, a question such as “Where As a matter of fact, because implica- and is less important in the current was the bus stop?,” when no bus stop tures are hidden communicative inten- communicative task. In the language of had been shown.) Loftus observed that tions, they can successfully be under- advertising, however, presuppositions most of the subjects did not notice the stood only if we have in mind what the serve another function, because the wrong presupposition and answered as speaker actually intends to say, which contents accompanying a product and if the object or the event mentioned in may sometimes coincide with the literal describing its qualities are generally not the question had been part of the film. message but sometimes not. The func- known in advance by the addressee; The presuppositional wording of the tioning of an implicature in discourse these contents are also the most infor- question thus altered the subjects’ men- thus hangs on the implicit assumption mationally salient for deciding whether tal representation of the scenes beheld. that we are all endowed with a ToM or not to buy the product. Most of the ability through which we can get into time in commercials, though, these con- Originally, these types of tests were the mental world of the speaker and tents are presupposed, which means targeted at gathering only indirect mea- guess what he or she did not say. In that they dodge the critical scrutiny of the receiver. For this reason, presuppo- sitions are said to be unchallengeable: Any attempt on the part of the address- ee to question the truth of presupposed content would simply turn out to be contradictory and uncooperative. 2022 September–October 303 been established, whether or not it was ever discussed. That presupposition can be used to verbalize both manipulative and non-manipulative content makes it a particularly effective strategy for pass- ing along tendentious content in a sub- liminal way. This ad for Opel (above) first imputes a problem to viewers and then offers to solve it. With Catching What Is Not Said the invitation “open up to the world” (apriti al mondo), the ad implies that viewers have been Another form of indirect communica- tion that can be put to several differ- previously closed off from the world but that, with the help of this new car, they can fix the ent uses is the metaphor. The linguist Teun A. van Dijk, director of the Centre problem. The Lindt ad (below at right) contains a different presupposition: that the brand’s of Discourse Studies in Barcelona, dis- cusses how metaphors used in the class- particularly smooth chocolate is as satisfying as seduction. room can serve an educational purpose, whereas in political discourse they may human development, one of the first convey a veiled attack on a political op- signs of an emerging Theory of Mind ponent and even regulate the legitima- comes at around age two, when chil- tion of political power. With respect to dren begin to attribute mental states presupposition and implicature, con- and intentions to those around them. sider the following examples. When a product is advertised by means of a slogan containing an implicature, The round window overlooked the we are asked to use our ToM ability to enchanted forest. infer what the implicature is. The corruption of political parties Implicit language or indirect com- has indebted lots of honest citizens. munication is one of the most effective means humans have at their disposal to achieve manipulative goals, because it subliminally builds biased mental mod- els in receivers’ representations of the world. The impact of manipulation on human cognition thus often takes the form of an attentional bias, drawing the receiver’s attention to information A rather than B; in this way, the resulting understanding is partial or distorted. And manipulation is even more suc- cessful when it is unperceived, namely when the recipient is not aware that he is being manipulated. This phenome- non is possible because manipulation relies on the same linguistic structures that are used for non-manipulative purposes—for example, in a phrase such as “those black cats” or “those crooked politicians.” In the first use, “those” is understood to mean simply “the black cats that you see over there or that we have discussed before,” whereas in the second use, the descriptor “crooked” is slipped in as if this trait had already 304 American Scientist, Volume 110

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