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Release date: April 19, 2000
Contact: Elaine Justice, Assistant Director, 404-727-0643, or

Hybrid Vigor . . . Because You Never Know When You'll Need a Little Science

A group of students in Emory's Science and Society Program didn't exactly say they wanted to make science sexier-they just went out and did it. Their new on-line publication, called Hybrid Vigor (because "mutts are healthier than pure breeds") takes on as its first theme-big surprise-"The Science of Sex." Articles in the premiere issue range from "The Science of Attraction," which of course includes a lot of smart talk about pheromones, to an interview with Tom Insel ("Mr. Monogamy"), director of Yerkes Primate Research Center, and indeed an expert on animal magnetism.

Believing "that science and science understanding is strongest when viewed from a variety of perspectives," Hybrid Vigor aims to look at science through the lens of biology, anthropology, ethics, sociology, chemistry, history, physics-and even childhood. The site includes a page chronicling "Kids' Views on Love" with answers to questions such as: How can a stranger tell if two people are married? One answer from Sherron, age 10: "Holding hands, walking . . . that's just a guess." The second issue deals with another of humankind's major preoccupations, "The Science of Food." Articles range from a run-down on foods cherished through the ages for their libido enhancing properties (ahem), to an encouraging look at the mysteries of morning sickness during pregnancy. On a more serious note is a summary of the current debate on foods that may prevent cancer. There's also a discussion on genetically modified foods; it turns out some of these items already may be on your grocer's shelves or in your kitchen. And Emory's own food experts, anthropologists George Armelagos and Neil Smith, weigh in on the burning question: If we [humans] are so smart, why don't we eat right? To oversimplify, it has something to do with Paleolithic diets, the industrialization of the food system-and cheeseburgers. Just call it food for thought. (And yes, the editors said that too.)

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