Nanoparticles, Sylvia Plath, Deathbed, Cults, Transgenderism
A weekly selection of fine writing from Conked.
BY RAND LEEB-DU TOIT – 13 NOV 2020
James Urton | Futurity | 6 NOV 2020
Nanoparticles are tiny particles that are able to bind to drugs to help them reach tumour cells without breaking down or impacting healthy tissue – a constant issue in cancer treatment. Researchers have announced promising results utilising chitin-based nanoparticles. Chitin is an organic polymer that makes up the outer shell of a shrimp, amongst many other things. The chitin-based drug delivery system has delivered a potent tumour-inhibiting drug through the bloodstream effectively in mice, and there were no bad side effects due to their naturally occurring polymer. There are positive signs that “the chitosan-derived nanoparticles could form the basis of a non-toxic drug delivery system for cancer that keeps therapeutics in the body longer to inhibit tumor growth and metastasis.” (781 words)
Emily Van Duyne | Literary Hub | 6 NOV 2020
Is it true that “there is no Sylvia Plath without Ted Hughes”? Writer Van Duyne has spent her life engrossed in the myth and magic of Sylvia Plath and her work, life and ultimate death. So much of the poet’s life is perceived as tied up with her complex relationship and marriage to Ted Hughes, and her ultimate grim suicide informs perspective and discussion of her poetry. How much did Hughes shape her memory with his own work or the posthumous publishing of her book, Ariel, with its shift in focus from life agonies to death? (4,435 words)
Rand Leeb-du Toit | Rand Research | 8 NOV 2020
Is it only when we believe we are on our deathbed that we can truly focus on our soul purpose and true goals in life? Author, poet and philosopher Rand understands this more than most, having survived death six times and ultimately having a heart transplant. In this article Rand shares his most recent health scare and how the prospect of imminent death helped shift his focus to what of his works were most meaningful to complete and have available, even if he did not survive the week. Ultimately, Rand realised his priority is his memoir in order to inspire others and offer a message of hope. (454 words)
Sophie Gilbert | The Atlantic | 8 NOV 2020
Two recent documentaries on the NXIVM cult have tried to explain how “intelligent, empathetic people” became entangled with this self-improvement organisation, and, for the inner sanctum, a sex cult. The Vow takes a docuseries approach, using footage shot by NXIVM member turned whistleblower Mark Vicente under the orders of the leader Raniere in order to ensure that his utterances were captured for posterity. Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult interviews past cult members and cult experts to try to understand Raniere’s tactics and how events were designed to enhance the emotional vulnerability of participants. Sometimes, it appears, the best people to tell the story of a cult are not the ones who have escaped. (2,700 words)
Abigail Shrier | Quillette | 7 NOV 2020
Journalist Abigail Shrier began investigating what seemed to her an odd cultural phenomenon – the number of teenage girls seeking gender reassignment surgery had quadrupled between 2016 and 2017. In writing her book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, she wanted to examine in depth the reason for these adolescent girls transitioning, the people and professionals involved who granted approval for their hormones and surgery and ultimately, were these teenage girls making the best decision for the rest of their lives? In this article she discusses the multitude of ways her book and marketing were blocked while pro-trans works were celebrated and lifted up. Are we all too afraid of ‘cancel culture’ to recognise intriguing questions to be answered? (1,970 words)
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“On the web the thinking of cults can spread very rapidly and suddenly a cult which was 12 people who had some deep personal issues suddenly find a formula which is very believable.”
― Tim Berners-Lee
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Rand Leeb-du Toit, Conkerer
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