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Reading

Fall 2004

As you read this, thank your ion channels

When Mike Varnum, assistant professor, Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Physiology, visits the aquarium, he looks at the sea creatures a bit differently than the rest of us. What interests him most about a creature is not its bright color or odd shape, but whether it makes a toxin that blocks an ion channel. Oddly, many of the creatures do.

Many toxins, in fact, block specific ion channels, though Varnum uses different agents in his work. Ion channels are pores in the membranes of many different types of cells-highly selective, gated pores-that permit the passage of specific charged particles, or ions, into or out … » More …

Winter 2008

Everybody reads

When Mary Roach was researching her book on human cadavers, she attended a seminar where plastic surgeons practiced techniques on severed human heads. She also visited a body farm in Tennessee to see remains in various states of decay. And she stood at an operating table to witness an organ harvest from a brain-dead patient whose heart was still beating.

While doing all these things, Roach simply followed her curiosity as it led her into some extraordinary places.

The author came to Pullman this fall in conjunction with the selection of her bestseller Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers for Washington State University’s Common … » More …

Fall 2002

A common reader: Overcoming inertia

I’d like you to meet someone. He’s a vulnerable fellow, rather too open to the joys and despairs of deep remembering. His life, therefore, is disordered but rich, evocative but dangerously reflective. He gets along, he thinks too well, he cuts corners, he sighs great sighs. Wisteria blooms and withers while he gouges his summer with indolent harrow thrusts. He regrets memory’s hold on him, yet memory, a vast overgrown archive, secrets vital news. He has a hunger there to lose himself, and a trough of youth to do it in. The luxuriant foliage thins with the approach of life’s winter, clarity trumps extremes and, … » More …