A week ago today, the lead stories in the Chicago Tribune included President Clinton's visit to India and the demonstrations in Taiwan by supporters of the Nationalist Party, defeated the day before at the polls. These and dozens of others stories, international and local, tragic and ridiculous, made up the usual crazy quilt of The News. Some days, though, in this seeming hodgepodge, there is a hidden plot of sorts: a network of connections that constitutes a story nowhere explicitly told. On the front page of the Tribune for March 20, below the political news, a headline read: "Darwin reaches final frontier." (Connoisseurs of Darwinism in the news will note the recourse to personification, with its burden of purpose and intent, so hard for humans making sense of things to avoid, even when describing a process that is supposed to be directionless, purposeless.) "Molecular evolution revealing its secrets," the subhead proclaimed, next to a photo of Chung-I Wu, chairman of the University of Chicago's department of ecology and evolution, standing in front of a board scribbled with graphs and equations and scratching his head thoughtfully.The article that follows, by Tribune staff writer Jeremy Manier, provides the necessary context, describing "evolution on the molecular level" as "an astoundingly complex drama that has only recently begun to reveal its deepest secrets to biologists armed with gene sequencers and supercomputers." They are reading the history that is "burned directly into the human genome." And Manier explains how scientists hope to use this new knowledge as a weapon against disease—AIDS, for example.Next to the Business.Technology section, where the front page for March 20 featured a story of Stephen Wolfram, ...1
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I Read the News Today
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