Modern Poisons – Alan Kolok

Modern Poisons: A Brief Introduction to Contemporary Toxicology by Alan Kolok

Book Description by Island Press

27837564Traditional toxicology textbooks tend to be doorstops: tomes filled with important but seemingly abstract chemistry and biology. Meanwhile, magazine and journal articles introduce students to timely topics such as BPA and endocrine disruption or the carcinogenic effects of pesticides, but don’t provide the fundamentals needed to understand the science of toxicity. Written by a longtime professor of toxicology, Modern Poisons bridges this gap.

This accessible book explains basic principles in plain language while illuminating the most important issues in contemporary toxicology. Kolok begins by exploring age-old precepts of the field such as the dose-response relationship and the concept, first introduced by Ambroise Paré in the sixteenth century, that a chemical’s particular action depends on its inherent chemical nature. The author goes on to show exactly how chemicals enter the body and elicit their toxic effect, as well as the body’s methods of defense.

With the fundamentals established, Kolok digs into advances in toxicology, tracing the field’s development from World War II to the present day. The book examines both technical discoveries and their impacts on public policy. Highlights include studies of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in toiletries and prescriptions, the emerging science on prions, and our growing understanding of epigenetics.

Readers learn not only how toxic exposure affects people and wildlife, but about the long-term social and environmental consequences of our chemicals. Whether studying toxicology itself, public health, or environmental science, readers will develop a core understanding of—and curiosity about—this fast-changing field.

My review

Toxicology brought to you in a simple, educative but thoroughly manner. A very enjoyable and informative read.
Everyone should read this book, which is scientific literature made accessible, in order to make responsible choices in our everyday lives concerning use of medication, toiletries, gardening products, etc. Because toxicology is no longer confined in highly secured laboratories but is everywhere around us: in the air we breathe and the water we drink.

This is toxicology for everyone! I hope it will be translated in several languages. A top read.


Via Netgalley: many thanks to Island Press for a ebook copy in exchange of an honest review.

Publisher: Island Press
ISBN: 9781610913829
Pub Date: May 2016

Umberto Eco’s semiotics on Trump’s ideology

The late Italian literary genius, Umberto Eco, was a semiotician. He was an expert on meaningful communication, scientifically known under the name of semiotics – a part of linguistics that studies meaning-making, thus the meaning of language.
In the following article, we can use some semiotic key elements to comprehend the essence of Trump’s ideology:

In a world where maths are more valued than linguistics, semiotics may help to untangle the core meaning in all the current speeches and presidential debates in order to understand the true mind of the people who give them and participate in them.

It’s a fact: maths will help you learn how to fly a plane, not how to vote.