The Loom

Archives for March, 2004

Light Blogging

I’m in Cambridge at the MIT/Harvard Brain Boot Camp this week, so blogging will be light for a few days.

The Panda’s Thumb

A great blog is born: The Panda’s Thumb is a multi-authored blog that blasts a firehose of reason at distortions of evolution.

Chew On This

Our ancestors branched off from those of chimpanzees some six million years ago. Since then, our lineage became human–and distinctly unlike other apes. Figuring out how that difference evolved is one of the grand challenges of biology. Until now, scientists have gotten most of their clues by looking at the fossils of extinct hominids. These…

Getting Closer to the Brain Implant

In February I wrote an article in Popular Science about a project to implant electrodes in a monkey’s brain allowing the monkey to control a robot arm with its mind. The goal of this work is to let paralyzed people operate prosthetic limbs by thought alone. Now the research team has announced another big step…

Soul of the South

Attention Virginian readers of the Loom: I’ll be heading to warmer climes later this week to speak in Charlottesville at the Virginia Festival of the Book. On Thursday at 4 I’ll be speaking on a panel about science and society. On Friday at 4 I’ll be speaking again on scientific discoveries and how they change…

The Reviews

I’ve posted a new batch of reviews for Soul Made Flesh on my web site. The newest is from Ross King, the author of Brunelleschi’s Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling. His review in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times is a rare sort–he likes the book (which he calls "thrilling") for what the book really…

Last week I wrote about an important new study showing that three very different groups of species–plants, butterflies, and birds–have all been declining at the same alarming rate for over 40 years in Great Britain. The authors concluded that if the pattern is global, it may mean that we are entering one of the biggest…

Angels and Extinctions

When I ask scientists what’s the biggest misunderstanding people have about their work, they often talk about how they know what they know. People tend to think that a scientist’s job is to gather every single datum about something in nature–a mountain, a species of jellyfish, a neutron star–and then, simply by looking at all…

Fire Up The Tivo

Three weeks ago, I gave a talk at Stanford University about my new book Soul Made Flesh. A wonderful crowd turned out and peppered me with excellent questions afterwards, each of which could have become new talks of their own. CSPAN was there to film it, and they’ll be broadcasting the talk this Saturday, March…

Literature Check

In one of the weirdest attempts to pretend that creationism is a real science, a student at Harvard Law School wrote a favorable review in the Harvard Law Review of a book about Intelligent Design. You’d think that this would be so irrelevant that it would vanish off the cultural radar in a flash. But…