Syllabus [HoST Fall 2008]

For the Week of 10/15/08

Assignment 7


First Exam and World Agriculture I



Male and female modern corn “flowers” (respectively)

As of Thursday, October 16, you should have done 3 homework assignments.

Project presentations will start in 2 weeks.

We will have a short exam on Wednesday the 15th.  This should take only about 40 minutes.

It will have some multiple choice, perhaps some fill-in-the-blank, maybe a picture analysis, maybe some number stuff, and a short essay.  You may bring in a cheet-sheet©, an 8.5”x11” sheet of paper, with anything you want on it.  I suggest the standard who, what, when, where,… some maps and diagrams of ideas we have covered, some cosmology, some physiology, some harmony, a timeline, etc….  It will cover everything up to and including all of Lucretius.

I have added some materials for review in the earlier Assignment pages, so check them for additions.  I’ll post them at the bottom and date when I posted them.  All review sheets have been posted.  Refresh you browser if you are not seeing links to review sheets at the bottom of Assignments 0-6. 

For Wed:


Read: pp. 168-172 and 185-199 in Lucretius, Book VI.  17pp  [This reading will be on the test.]

For Thursday:


Read this from 1491, Charles C. Mann’s book, pp. 212-227 [Mayan farming and corn] and Appendices C and D (pp. 399-407).

Mann_1491_Ch6_AppC-D-6.7MBa.pdf  ca.21pp

Read this from Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, pp. 15-31. [Corn]

Pollan_Omni-Dilem_Corn-Farm-6.9MB.pdf  15pp

Write a 1.5 +-, single-spaced essay relating to the readings.  Refer to the readings and if possible relate to previous readings and other things you know.  Always feel free to experiment or go off on a tangent, just make sure to refer to the readings some way.  Cite all sources.

Here are the citations for the above works:


Mann, Charles C. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. New York: Vintage Books, 2006.  This book very well written and fun to read.  It has a more journalistic feel to it than your standard history book.


Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore's Dilemma : A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin Press, 2006. This book is more journalistic than history.  It is perhaps the most interesting book I have read this year.  All of you environmentalists may be interested in reading the whole thing in your off time.

Images of Teosinte


Here is the Teosinte plant.  It looks somewhat like a corn plant, but without a tall stalk.


This is the male tassle of the teosinte “corn”.


The teosinte “cob” is quite a bit smaller than a cob of modern corn.

Notice how a tassle is connected to each kernel.  This is the same as for modern corn.



In the news…


Here is an article from 2.24.08 from the Health section of the NY Times: “Insurance Fears Lead Many to Shun DNA Tests”

How might this impact the implementation of universal health care in this country?

Do you think people will be more or less healthy as a result of this sort of DNA testing?

Do you think it is ethical for insurance companies to use genetic predispositions as a variable in determining their rates?

Where do you stop?  Gender, age, preexisting conditions, criminal record, IQ, income level, education, hair color, race?

Is this eugenics or related to eugenics?  

Need a point or two?  Write a letter to the editor (me) in response to this article.

Optional News of Interest:


Perhaps the scene of the crime is not worth venerating and it is actually seductive moral poison:

Frenkel – “Warring monks threaten destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre” – 10/15/08


Another interesting thing… and another…


You may find these interesting in relation to lines 800-840 or so in Book VI of Lucretius. You might find a homework essay in here somehow…  -  This site is rather stupid, but it tells the story in an engaging way.  It’s a really fascinating story and short.  I highly recommend reading this article. - This is the same story but written up Wiki-style.





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Me –

Posted: 12/5/08 1:17 PM

Review materials for Final Exam: