All Woman

Georgia O’Keeffe was a woman of few words, but if she had been inclined towards verbal eloquence, she would have been quite the talker and writer. She had a wealth of thoughts and ideas to express, and was not at all reticent or falsely modest. In her view, there was no reason to paint anything that could be conveyed through any other medium. She believed that art should be seen, not read, and referred to it as "arting."

In her later years, O’Keeffe wrote that her first memory was of light – the brightness of it surrounding her. This reflects the sensibility of an artist, but it’s also a biological fact. Every individual experiences a piercing, shaft-shaped blaze of light upon entering the world. O’Keeffe never forgot this drama, which may explain why she saw "God" as a woman and was viewed as eccentric by others. She kept her more blatant manifestations of God’s uterine potencies tucked away in her private collection until her death, knowing that the world wasn’t quite ready for them. And she was probably right – the world rarely is ready for people like her.

Born in 1887, O’Keeffe was the second child and first daughter of second-generation Americans. Her father was of Irish descent and her mother was Hungarian. She had five younger siblings – one brother and four sisters – and her family lived on a farm in Wisconsin. While she wasn’t her mother’s favorite child, O’Keeffe appreciated the freedom that came with not being overly favored. She was able to find her own autonomy without undue pressures and expectations. Growing up in Wisconsin, where there was little to obstruct the view of the horizon and the imagination, was also a blessing.

Her parents’ generation was full of pioneers – men and women who left their homelands behind to start anew in America. They were hardworking people who toiled to create a better life for themselves and their families. O’Keeffe’s upbringing was filled with stories of romantic individualism – heroic tales of adventurers, explorers and pioneers. Wisconsin was the first state to introduce women’s suffrage, and it was a place where social egalitarianism was valued. Despite being born before the discovery of the subconscious mind and collective unconscious, O’Keeffe was already aware of these ideas, understanding them on a level that didn’t require words.

During her art classes, one of the initial exercises that Georgia O’Keeffe undertook was to sketch the figure of a man bending. She attempted to do a fine job but couldn’t seem to balance the drawing well. It appeared as though the man would topple over with a light breeze. She was not satisfied with it and kept fiddling with the sketch until she decided to turn it sideways. This solved the balancing issue, and it now seemed like a man lying on his back with his legs floating in the air. At that time, Georgia knew without a doubt that she wanted to become an artist.

When Georgia and her family moved to Virginia after her early teens, she was sent to a convent school for girls, where she stood out like a sore thumb. The other girls were all about feminine frills and ribbons, whereas Georgia was more focused on expressing her true nature. She was not threatened by their need to be pretty, for she knew she was female deep down – it was as natural as the sunrise. She kept it simple in plain jackets and skirts, and her thick Irish hair braided. Eventually, when she moved on to Chicago for art school, her appearance took on a more androgynous outlook. This did not dissuade the young men in any way – they looked up to and valued her.

On the academic front, Georgia was surpassing expectations – she won many prizes for her technical skills. The more she focused on art, the more she felt restricted, and her dream of becoming an artist was getting further away. Georgia’s mind was consumed with the thought – was she active or passive? Participating in art class typically required her to be passive in her response, but working on her pieces enabled her to be active. She knew by instinct that being in a romantic relationship would mean surrendering the creative spirit within her.

In Roxana Robinson’s biography, she describes a critical moment where Georgia realized that academic conventions and men were stifling her artistic growth. At Lake George, she had discovered a home away from home to paint landscapes by herself. However, one day, some male friends showed up and invited her to take a boat ride across the lake to purchase groceries. Knowing that both men had feelings for her, she accepted both invitations – they rowed together, but they were not happy. They returned to find that their boat had been stolen, which left them with no choice but to carry their groceries and walk around the lake to get back. During this walk, Georgia noticed something about the landscape that she had not seen before – it was gloomy, dark, and daunting. She realized that how she felt significantly determined what she saw. This insight helped her focus more on emotional content than technique. As Georgia famously said, "Nothing is less real than realism."

Georgia collected herself and read a book whose title she couldn’t recall, deemed as one of the first How-To manuals of the 20th century. It said that to have a fulfilling life, one must first discover what they want and learn the price to pay for it. She bought a notebook and dedicated daily efforts to self-discovery, writing "Yes" on the left page and "No" on the right. She continued painting, only teaching because she had to make a living. Her big break came in 1917 at the 291 Gallery, where her first one-woman show was displayed. Alfred Stieglitz, married and a father, fell deeply in love with her. Stieglitz earned the ire of art critics for bringing photography to the forefront of art. He promoted O’Keeffe throughout the ’20s and ’30s as a Woman Artist, emphasizing the feminine qualities of her work. Her landscapes’ earth and rocks looked like human flesh, and her flowers and plants resembled female genitalia. During the height of her affair with Stieglitz, he took scandalous photographs of her body. When Mrs. Stieglitz caught them in the act, she threw him out, and Georgia married him. She paid the price for their union until Alfred’s death. The ’20s in New York City were marked by the rise of Freudian theories of sexual symbolism, causing the intellectually challenged to look for subconscious sexual messages in art.

O’Keeffe found herself under constant attack and unable to defend herself. She was in a lose-lose situation where denying an accusation meant admitting guilt according to the Freudian doctrine. In her gentle way, O’Keeffe tried to explain that people were reading into her flowers what she had not intended. Some argued that the botanical facts were not her fault and that people should stop blaming her. It got so ridiculous that O’Keeffe refused to comment on it altogether.

In her later life, O’Keeffe discovered New Mexico and found her spiritual home in its vastness. She rejected modernity, urban life, and male oppression, as shown in her painting of skyscrapers towering over an innocent night sky. Her fascination with desert objects and the call of space and light drove her art, which grew in emotional content with age.

O’Keeffe was a legend by the time she turned 80 and 90, and she hoped to make it to 100. The prurient speculation into her supposed erotic field-force ceased, or so she believed, until a young man named John Hamilton came knocking on her door. Despite being sixty years her junior, Juan became O’Keeffe’s friend and helper, much to the dismay of scandal-mongers. Juan would sometimes respond to their speculations, but O’Keeffe never commented.

As an artist, O’Keeffe continued to paint well into her 80s and began sculpting due to failing eyesight. Her work became deeper and more ethereal, a far cry from the sexually explicit botanical adventures of her earlier years. Despite her detractors, O’Keeffe left an undeniable mark on the art world.

Greenberg had no idea how to approach O’Keeffe’s delicate dreams, but little did he know that she had another 40 years of private devotion ahead of her. Her influence on American culture is undeniable, but O’Keeffe remained humble about her impact. In a rare moment of expressive speech, she described her own world as something she plays in, always surprised that it holds significance for anyone else.

Thames & Hudson has published O’Keeffe’s O’Keeffes: The Artist’s Collection by Barbara Buhler Lynes & Russell Bowman, available for £29.95. For a special discounted price of £25.95, plus £1.99 for first-class postage and packaging, please call 0800 316 6102 to order a copy through freephone CultureShop.

The Unselfish Gene

Scientists on the hunt for genes linked to various complex traits, including heart disease, autism, schizophrenia, and even genius and criminality, are discovering that genes are far more complex and elusive than previously imagined. The true nature of genes has turned the field of biology upside down and may even undermine the entire gene-hunting effort.

The first indications were uncovered through the study of metabolic pathways in cells. These pathways are similar to Britain’s road networks, with raw materials (food) transported to enzymes (factories) to create the final products (molecules). The concept of the "rate-limiting step" became essential as a metabolic road under strict traffic control that orchestrated the whole network’s dynamics.

Attempts by biotechnologists to engineer cells frequently hit roadblocks, particularly because the key genes responsible for controlling the rate-limiting steps frequently reassert their own agendas. To counter this, scientists genetically engineered these genes to prevent them from taking control. Once reintroduced into the cells, an increase in the yield of the desired products was expected, but the metabolic pathways reverted to making more cells instead of the expected products.

Other geneticists were baffled by an abundance of genes with no apparent function, such as the "prion gene." This gene is transformed into a pathogenic brain-destroying protein in mad cow disease, but its normal function remained unclear. Geneticists who inhibited the mouse’s prion gene discovered that the mutant mice were perfectly normal, and the gene appeared to lack a purpose.

However, a gene that doesn’t serve a function is not a gene by definition. A "gene" must make a difference; otherwise, it remains invisible to natural selection. For over a century, the reductionist biology approach tracked genes back to Watson and Crick’s double helix and the billions of A, T, G, and C gene letters produced by DNA sequencers. However, it now seems that the genes at the DNA level do not correspond to genes at the functional level.

These mysteries are being unraveled through a novel approach to biology called systems biology. Instead of focusing on genetic units of heredity, like genes, systems biologists build mathematical models of entire cells’ systems. Rather than pinpointing specific control points, they examine the entire network’s system properties. Thus, genes are no longer seen as discreet nuggets of genetic information but rather as diffuse entities whose functional reality may spread across hundreds of interacting DNA segments.

This revolutionary concept of genes has vast implications for gene hunters. Despite years of investigation, few genes play a significant role in complex traits such as heart disease, autism, schizophrenia, or intelligence. One explanation for this may be that such genes do not exist as these traits may be the result of a network perturbation generated by almost undetectable changes in several genes.

Finally, the traditional concept of "selfish genes" introduced by Richard Dawkins, where some genes favor their proliferation over that of the host organism, has taken a gene-centric view of biology. While this view has proved influential, some biologists, like Steven Jay Gould, have argued that the individual human is the unit of biology, not their genes. Similarly, systems biology prioritizes the entire organism – the system – over the selfish behavior of any one of its components.

It is likely that there will be many individuals outside of the field of biology who will express a sense of vindication following recent revelations in the scientific community. However, it is worth noting that holistic methodologies have always been at the forefront of research in the humanities and social sciences. In Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, the initial eight chapters chronicle the experiences of the protagonist’s extended family and friends within the turbulent political climate of 20th-century India and Pakistan. The protagonist acknowledges that comprehending a single life requires an understanding of the world in its entirety; perhaps biologists would benefit from adopting a similar perspective.

For context, Johnjoe McFadden is a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Surrey and the author of Quantum Evolution. Contact him at

Populist Manifesto

A prominent academic has issued a warning that elite universities worldwide must abandon complacency, conservatism, and snobbery among their professors in order to flourish in the years to come. Dr. John Sexton, who is the president of New York University, is scheduled to publish a document advocating higher education reform that would resound on both sides of the Atlantic. This would entail that top institutions scrutinize their raison d’être to ensure they remain leaders, not followers, in the higher education jungle. Sexton’s challenge is aimed at the grand US Ivy League colleges, as well as Britain’s Oxford, Cambridge, and the rest of the Russell Group of leading universities.

In an interview with The Guardian, Sexton emphasized that some elite institutions have become satisfied with their success and highlighted the danger of complacency. Unless these institutions commit to reflecting on their purpose continuously, Sexton warns they risk losing their excellence status. The goal of elite universities should be to become the intellectual epicenter of society, promoting research and teaching while continually evaluating their impact on the world.

Sexton further warns that the risk-averse and stale mentality that universities exhibit is due to reaching or having always been at the top. Professors who lack passion for teaching, spend most of their time in the laboratory, or find pedagogy tedious, are, according to Sexton, acting like independent contractors, which he calls disloyal.

Sexton reserves his stinging remarks naming no names; however, they are targeted at the Ivy League group. He argues that this cluster of eight prestigious universities in America’s northeast, including the "Holy Trinity": Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, along with Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Penn, and Cornell, where top research professors teaching undergraduates’ records are considered inadequate, risk relying too much on their reputation instead of continually striving for progress.

Sexton’s manifesto calls for universities to subscribe to a mission statement of "common enterprise." This implies that universities should encourage cooperation rather than competitive attitudes among students and faculty members, foster frequent interaction, and interaction between departments to promote intellectual and pedagogic momentum.

He intends to present his manifesto in a public speech to the university and reject the idea of being too doctrinaire and insufficiently organic in June. Sexton emphasizes that universities must race not against each other but against their own vision and ideology, continuously rethinking the scope of how they discover, test, convey, and preserve knowledge through scrutinizing themselves rigorously continuously.

According to Sexton, if all students want is trophies, NYU is not for them. Other universities should also promote cultures where ideas are freely debated as they form – not guarded jealously. He believes that staff must be willing to engage with students, be passionate about teaching, and spend time in lecture halls, ensuring a dynamic learning experience.

NYU is known for its lack of institutional arrogance, ambitious outlook, and being a leader in innovation, attracting leading professors from around the globe. Sexton offers a decent salary, accommodation in downtown Manhattan, where NYU owns much of the properties, and a place at the "hottest" university in the country.

Historian Niall Ferguson, a former Oxford professor, says he loves the lack of institutional arrogance at NYU and admires the university’s refreshing atmosphere of ambition and looking forward. According to Ferguson, NYU has a lot to teach all British universities and is the most dynamic and least encumbered institution in the USA.

Sexton has a vision of NYU becoming the most coveted university globally, not as assessed by league tables, but by other elite institutions emulating its unique style. In a recent poll conducted by The Princeton Review, US high school seniors and their parents were asked which university they would attend if cost wasn’t a factor and admissions were guaranteed. California’s Stanford ranked first, while NYU secured second place ahead of more prestigious institutions like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Duke, and Columbia.

Over the past two decades, NYU has raised vast sums of money from alumni and businesses and acquired professors from distinguished institutions like Ivies, Oxford, Australia, Germany, and China. Sexton’s objective was not only to lead a university campus but also to abolish cultural silos, implying American narrow-mindedness.

Peacock, an Oxford professor of Metaphysical Philosophy, relocated to NYU three years ago. Reflecting on his experience, he claimed that Oxford was investing too much of its meager resources in undergraduate education, leading to a dearth of investment in research. In contrast, leading Russell Group institutes such as Leeds, Manchester, London, Sheffield, Warwick, did a better job of managing the dichotomy between teaching and research. However, Peacock believed that many British students and teachers had become over-specialized and under-resourced. The lack of resources frequently left vice-chancellors unable to employ desired faculty members, who were being offered lucrative deals elsewhere.

Sexton expressed his admiration for Oxford and Cambridge but expressed deep concern for those institutions which were struggling to secure the funds to function effectively. Meanwhile, in his office on Washington Square, overlooking the Empire State Building, Sexton espoused the virtues of the urban varsity. NYU was founded in 1831, serving the immigrant merchants’ sons who were expected to continue building this illustrious city after university. Sexton strongly criticized the Oxbridge model followed by Ivy League schools, which educated the elites in the countryside, and believed that such systems could exacerbate complacency.

Unlike the American Dream, which aims to promote satisfaction and contentment, Sexton encouraged "an affirmative lack of contentment"; this aim is shared by NYU and the City of New York. Despite NYU’s significant achievements, Sexton is determined to keep striving for excellence and urges other educational institutions to take inspiration from NYU and never be complacent. The key, Sexton said, was that NYU would never reach its "golden age."

Schools In England Say Government Not Providing Enough Air Purifiers

A Midlands secondary school faced issues with inadequate air quality due to a scarcity of monitors to measure its levels. Demand outstripped supply due to poor ventilation, leading to inconsistent readings in certain classrooms that were alarmingly above the recommended clean air limit of 800 parts per million (ppm). The subsequent protest by the concerned staff, however, fell on deaf ears, resulting in the monitors being removed.

As the government identified the correlation between poor air quality and a higher risk of Covid transmission in schools, England was given 350,000 CO2 monitors. However, only 8,000 air purifiers were made available for classrooms. A survey by the National Association of Head Teachers discovered that the government had underestimated how many schools would require air purification systems. It found that 34% of the 9 in our 10 schools that received the monitors had consistently poor levels of ventilation in classrooms, despite actions to correct them. Even after remedial measures, over 53% continued to experience poor air quality.

According to the NAHT survey, only 2% of the schools used air filter devices recommended by the government, whereas 8% bought them themselves. A significant number of respondents said they could not afford them since the price of two filter units suitable for a classroom was expensive, ranging from £425 to £1,170 each, in addition to the cost of filters.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, believes that the demand for air filters would far outstrip the available stock. He insists that the government should pay attention to the issue and replenish the supply to ensure that all schools receive enough air filters to meet their needs. He added that sufficient ventilation should not be a matter of "first come, first served."

The Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, Munira Wilson, accused the DfE of failing in its responsibility towards the schools. According to her, the DFE’s criteria for the provision of free air filters were too high. The safe limit of 800 ppm was nearly twice the 1500 ppm level set by the DfE as the threshold.

In Bradford, a consortium of researchers is conducting a study to identify the best methods to achieve clean air in the classroom and investigate the link between Covid transmission rates and CO2 levels. They classified 800 ppm or below as healthy, while above 1500 ppm was problematic and needed immediate attention. The range between 800 and 1500 ppm is often inconclusive due to varying factors affecting the readings.

The DfE stated that 99% of education settings had CO2 monitors. They only require air cleaning units where ventilation is poor and cannot be easily improved. Based on the feedback received from schools, the government is providing up to 8,000 air cleaning units next week.

Educational institutions such as schools, nurseries, and colleges are given until 17th January to submit their applications for the acquisition of 7,000 state-of-the-art air purification units. As a supplemental effort, 1,000 units are already extended to special schools and other alternative provision settings.

Assuring an optimized classroom environment for students, a spokesperson affirms the effectiveness of their measures. Mass testing, the provision of supply staff, and the dedicated efforts of schools and teachers are expected to bring forth positive results.

Arts Universities Oppose Unpaid Internships

If you’re a student in the arts, chances are you’ve encountered unpaid internships. However, universities are stepping up to address the issue. According to Katie Mills, responsible for student enterprise and employability at the University of the Arts London (UAL), "unpaid internships are a huge problem in the creative industries and have been for a long time." The UAL, along with several other arts universities, including Falmouth, Kingston, the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), and Goldsmiths, have stopped advertising for unpaid work, in line with national minimum wage legislation that entitles interns doing real work during set hours to payment.

At UAL, the careers department stopped advertising unpaid work altogether in April 2020, after discovering loopholes in the system, such as students continuing to work unpaid after eight weeks had elapsed. At UCA, according to its careers and employability adviser, John Watts, the policy change was motivated by pressure from the student union.

Although not advertising unpaid internships may be a step in the right direction, it has created tension with some employers who believe that students benefit from them. Mills said, "We get employers phoning up saying ‘well I did an unpaid internship and it didn’t do me any harm’ and ‘my company can’t afford to pay someone but this is a really good opportunity.’" However, she added, "legally you have to pay them if they’re coming in for set hours and you’re expecting them to do set tasks. Many employers don’t know that." In some cases, companies stopped advertising internship positions when they learned they would have to pay.

Despite these efforts, some university staff members, including tutors and teaching staff, still believe that unpaid internships are beneficial. Mills said, "Some tutors have very longstanding fantastic relationships with certain businesses. Tutors will refer students to these businesses, hoping they will have the opportunity to work for that brand." Even if universities don’t advertise unpaid work, individual lecturers encouraging students to work for free could be detrimental to students’ progress.

Ultimately, the issue of unpaid internships is multifaceted and requires collaboration from all stakeholders. While universities are taking steps to combat the problem, it’s essential to educate employers and hold discussions with industry organizations.

Media students at Middlesex University, as part of a campaign unit in their syllabus, collaborated with Intern Aware to gather an impressive amount of 1,600 signatures within three days in support of paid internships. As a positive outcome, UAL will launch a graduate internship scheme, with the university agreeing to cover half of the cost of a graduate salary at the London living wage, meaning companies will only be responsible for half of the payment.

Falmouth students have the opportunity to undertake paid placements at their own institution, and many arts courses have work placements included within their syllabus as a viable alternative to unpaid internships during vacations. In fact, Freeman argues that implementing placements into the curriculum can provide students with valuable work experience without being exploited in the same way that unpaid internships do. The work undertaken by students during these term-time placements usually focuses on a specific project, and they produce a report which counts towards their final grade.

Arts universities acknowledge the pivotal issue of unpaid internships faced by many students and are eager to support their requests to terminate the practice. Watts stresses that inclusivity is vital, as not all students can afford to take on long-term unpaid work, particularly in London. Campaign manager of Intern Aware, Chris Hares, praises the universities’ commitment to promoting the employability of their students, and the fact that they are taking positive action to ensure that internships are about skill and effort rather than the ability to work for no remuneration.

Working Holiday

After a month-long strike, educators at Leicester College in England plan to return to work, still in disagreement with management but recognizing that talks won’t continue while they’re outside the building. During the strike, picketers have acted gratefully, engaging in no shouting, verbal abuse, or violent behaviour towards colleagues who crossed picket lines. UK lecturer Isabel Pepperill-Clarke reiterated this peaceful resistance when interviewed, stating explicitly that she and her colleagues never resorted to any harassment. Approximately 20 picketers would gather every day on campus, distributing leaflets and standing in the winter cold for their "just" cause, which is not related to pay. While their colleagues in other regions were offered only 3.5% pay increases, which some rejected, Leicester tutors were offered a pay hike they did not refuse. The issue at hand is the college’s demand for educators to train and retrain for four unpaid days, and a perceived threat to their free time. College management has repeatedly claimed that the number of striking full-time tutors was "103," while strikers maintained that only "four" educators had returned to work out of 156 who initially walked out. College management further claims that tutors have 60 days of holiday per year, including public holidays, while the union asserts that the real figure is 48 days. There are currently 900 staff at Leicester College, with approximately 400 on full-time contracts. Throughout the strike, some courses have been covered by non-teaching staff, such as a librarian teaching photography and a university student with no teaching experience leading media studies classes. Management declares that 95% of courses are ongoing, but the union strongly contradicts this figure. The strike has been detrimental to students, forcing them to face delayed coursework and reconsider their academic goals.

Bhutt expressed his dissatisfaction towards the help he’s been receiving for his upcoming exams. He revealed that a university student with no prior teaching experience seems to be his only source of aid, which makes him feel bitter. He believes that both parties need to meet halfway to resolve the issue.

Marianne Harris-Bridge, the director of corporate affairs at Leicester College, stated that the management has already given in to some demands by reducing the retraining period from eight days to four. Additionally, she emphasized that the new contracts are voluntary for existing staff members. Only newcomers will be required to take a four-day cut in their holiday entitlement.

Harris-Bridge pointed out that the college must adapt to new educational developments brought upon by central government initiatives for 14-19-year-olds and the industry’s pressure to upskill and keep up with technological advancements. She added that some lecturers have not improved their skills in a while, and with 60 days of annual vacation, it is difficult to keep up with the changes and meet the standards required for these initiatives.

Despite the strike’s conclusion, it’s apparent that there is still much negotiating to do between the two parties.

Bad Dog Or Bad Owner?

Discovering that their beloved pet could pose a danger to their family is a nightmare for most dog owners. However, recent evidence shows that dangerous dogs are increasingly being used as tools for criminal activities. In fact, some men view pit bull terriers as status symbols that can reinforce their macho image, and they train these dogs to take part in illegal fights. In contrast, celebrity dog owners like Geri Halliwell and Paris Hilton flaunt their miniature puppies in public.

A lesson on responsible pet ownership and the Dangerous Dogs Act provides an opportunity for students to ponder on the relationship between humans and their dogs. It also allows them to examine the nature-nurture debate from a new perspective.

An amnesty is suggested to reduce the threat posed by dangerous dogs following the death of five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson earlier this month and last week’s arrest of men suspected of keeping pit bulls for fighting on Merseyside. Discussing these circumstances can help students understand why dangerous dogs receive much media attention. Then ask students to give their opinion whether an amnesty is the proper response to the Lawrenson attack.

It is believed that some pit bulls receive fitness and fight training before being sold to owners who plan to use them for criminal purposes. This leads to a debate on whether dogs could ever be considered as criminal weapons. Additionally, students can read about how pit bulls became fashionable pets and investigate what makes some dogs more dangerous than others from a biological perspective.

The 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act was created to reduce the risk posed by dogs to the general public. You can further explore this law and its impact on pit bull owners. The law highlights four breeds of dogs, including the American pit bull terrier, as "dangerous". Because of this, the Kennel Club does not recognize the American pit bull as a breed.

Students can investigate the history of pit bulls, specifically the argument that these dogs were bred to be aggressive and dangerous. You can then compare these claims with the experiences of pit bull owners. Students can debate whether the dogs or their owners are responsible for their violent behavior. If a dog owner agrees to follow a code of conduct, such as the one mentioned, should pit bull ownership be decriminalized?

To help younger students understand the various breeds of dogs, you can visit the Kennel Club website and compare the variations in appearance and temperament between different dog breeds.

Your assignment is to have students create a set of questions tailored to young individuals contemplating purchasing a new pet. Encourage them to seek inspiration from reputable sources such as Ensure that the language used is unique and in natural English.

No Hope Or Humanity

A recent exhibition of photography by Brazilian artist Sebastião Salgado at London’s Barbican Gallery, titled Exodus, captured the desperate plight of migrants and refugees across the world. From Africa to the Balkans, the Middle East, Latin America, Afghanistan and the Far East, Salgado’s work documented the human cost of globalisation, namely war, terror, famine and exploitation. His work of epic proportions showcased the dispossessed amid cruel and beautiful landscapes, while his intimate portraits of migrant and refugee children are by far the most compelling.

Salgado’s work poses a poignant question: "what is to be done?" The wealthy world, which enjoys free-market globalisation, must inevitably deal with the fallout of its human casualties. But universities, once mighty bastions of development studies and liberation movements, have shown little concern for these issues. Instead, universities have succumbed to the new race to increase their market share of the global knowledge economy, with far less attention placed on the needs of struggling nations. Consequently, universities have failed the Third World, failing to offer meaningful research and deep understanding into economic development in Africa or Latin America.

Furthermore, universities have been unable to provide an honest narrative on globalisation and its consequences. Instead, they promote a partial discourse on globalisation, focused solely on the advantages and threats to the Western world. This narrow-minded approach fails to address the human costs of globalisation and the many global solidarities and resistances that have emerged in response. Finally, universities must rekindle their unique role as social critics, using their intellectual might and insight to conjure new visions and worlds and promote real change.

Peter Scott holds the esteemed position of Vice-Chancellor at Kingston University.

Up With The Larks, To Bed With The Owls

Professor Charalambos Kyriacou, from the University of Leicester, has identified a mutant gene that can drastically change the dynamics of a dinner party. While one gene may put guests to sleep before dessert, another could keep them chatting until the early hours of the morning. This is due to the fact that circadian rhythms, which regulate the sleep-wake cycle and other body functions, can be affected by abnormal genes. Chronobiologists have defined these different sleep patterns as "advanced sleep phase syndrome" or the "lark phenotype" for those who are early to bed and rise early and "delayed sleep phase syndrome" or the "owl phenotype" for those who rarely go to bed before the small hours of the morning but struggle with early mornings.

Studies have shown that circadian rhythms are organised by cells known as the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), located in the hypothalamus, which regulate basic body drives such as hunger, thirst, and sexual desire. Our internal clocks tend to lose track of time, and as a result, the cells use external cues to reset twice a day. However, in the absence of external cues, "free-running" cell experiments have revealed a 25-hour rhythm, gradually drifting out of sync with the natural environment.

The molecular clock involves three teams of genes. The first two initiate each cycle, and these involve a combination of genes known as clock, cycle, cry, and per. These proteins interact to influence the period of each cycle. The tug of war between cry and per creates a period, with the per protein activating the next cycle. The final team interacts with the cycle to create other effects. These include the doubletime gene, which reduces the period, and the timeless gene, which resets the clock at dawn and dusk.

The sequencing of the human genome has led to the discovery of clock genes in humans, with three per genes, one more cry gene, and additional genes resembling doubletime present. Various mutations in these genes have been linked to the "lark" and "owl" phenotypes. The knowledge gained from this research has many applications, including chronotherapy for conditions such as jet lag and shift work. With a greater understanding of these genes and other associated factors, treatments can be developed that have broad applications, including the prevention of transport disasters and surgical malpractice and the slowing down of the ageing processes that impact peripheral clocks in other organs.