Uncategorized

The ScienceBlogs Book Club

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Jessica asked if I think viruses are alive. John has given his opinion. I will waffle, but I hope in an interesting way. The hard thing about answering that question is that we’d have to agree on what it means to be alive. We all have a sense that we know what’s alive and what’s…

What is Life?

It has been suggested that the first posts of this book club be devoted to the Universal Rules of Life. So… What is life? Jessica asks, Carl, twice in the book you refer to viruses as “creatures.” Perhaps you used the word metaphorically. In any case I’d love to know whether you think viruses qualify…

A model organism…for life

Everything you need to know about biology is in E. coli. Sure, there are some apparent differences between us and a bacterium, but it’s all details … lots and lots of details. That sweet humming core of life — metabolism, replication, communication, evolution — it’s all whirling away in the tiniest of us all, and…

No Nucleus, No Problem!

I knew I’d love Carl’s Microcosm for the delicious irony of using a mere “germ” to illustrate the mysteries of life itself. Well, I’m also partial to bacteria and their multicellular abilities, which Carl describes wonderfully. . First, as the other science writer on the panel, I’d like to express my appreciation for Carl’s way…