Brandy L Schillace

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Why we sanction some body modifications and not others

The headlines don’t get much stranger: “Two Charged With Murder in Illegal Butt Lift Operation.” The story broke September 16, with a mother and daughter arrested for injecting liquefied silicon into a woman’s buttocks. …


Perhaps the question isn’t ‘can machines be human,’ but ‘are humans machines?’

Sophia wants to have a baby. “The notion of family is a very important thing,” she explains; a sense of emotional connection. She would like to give the baby her own name. But it could not be her biological child; Sophia has no womb and no ovaries — no internal…


Activists have made it clear: Reproductive justice is a disability issue

The rights of disabled people are, suddenly, in the news. They deserve to be, but in the aftermath of the Texas anti-abortion legislation, disabled bodies have largely become talking points — a rhetorical device.

Award-winning essayist and journalist s. e. smith reports on “selective abortion” bills, which “employ a sinister…


Harnessing the brain’s ability to adapt for a better future

In May 2020, the New York Times published the names of 100,000 people, all of whom had died of Covid-19 in the U.S. by that date. They called it, then, an incalculable loss. In August 2021, forecasts by Model predicted that the U.S. would see another 100,000 deaths before December…


I still do it, because I have to. Here’s how I get through it.

Frankly, the only reason I can think of for running anywhere is to avoid a bear. And even then, it depends on the size and aggression of the bear. …


From the placebo effect to neuron generation, your gray matter has surprising superpowers

There’s a lot about the brain we still don’t know. In fact, just this week neuroscientists discovered what they’re calling “zombie” brain cells, which only turn on after you die. …


Staffing Shortages and the Re-evaluation of Service Work

The words were written in pink chalk on a slate clap-board sign: “Please be patient. The world is short-staffed right now.” I’d been standing there long enough to read it a half-dozen times, and was trying to embody the message.

Like most people, I haven’t traveled or even been out…


A long look at our war on viruses

The very first “vaccine” was given to an eight-year-old boy, James Phipps, who had somehow managed to avoid getting smallpox as it ran rampant through English cities and the countryside. Edward Jenner, the doctor, lived in a large estate next door and had convinced the Phippses to let him try…


For Many, There is No “Getting Back to Normal”

The United States reached it’s goal of 70% vaccinated adults a month late and during an outbreak of COVID19's delta variant. Children under the age of 12 remain un-vaccinated, but the country has reopened for business, and in-person schooling will begin again in the coming weeks. Despite rising cases across…


And Other Reasons to Stop Looking for Earth 2.0

The Science Daily has an entire category dedicated to “Acid Rain News.” You can discover a lot of unpleasant things up there, like the fact that increased acidity in the atmosphere disrupts the ecological balance of oceans. …

Brandy L Schillace

Author/Editor. Writing about history, science, & medicine for Scientific American, Undark, Globe and Mail, and more. brandyschillace.com. Twitter:@bschillace

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