The Loom

Archives for August, 2004

Channel Surfing For The Inner Chimp

While doing some research on human evolution, I stumbled across the web site for a wonderful meeting that was held in March at San Diego to celebrate the sequencing of the chimpanzee genome. You can watch the lectures here. By comparing the chimp genome to the human genome, scientists are discovering exactly how we evolved…

Takes One to Know One

Is Intelligent Design the same thing as creationism? The people who back Intelligent Design have spilled an awful lot of ink saying they’re different. Even self-proclaimed creationists have tried to claim a difference. Somehow, both of these camps think that any confusion between the two is evidence of the lazy arrogance of evolutionists. In fact,…

If you took a census of life on Earth, you’d probably find that the majority of life forms looked like this. It’s a virus known as a bacteriophage, which lives exclusively in bacteria. There are about 10 million phages in every milliliter of coastal sea water. All told, scientists put the total number of bacteriophages…

Spite in a Petri Dish

Spiteful bacteria. Two words you probably haven’t heard together. Then again, you probably haven’t heard of altruistic bacteria either, but both sorts of microbes are out there–and in many cases in you. Bacteria lead marvelously complicated social lives. As a group of University of Edinburgh biologists reported today in Nature, a nasty bug called Pseudomonas…

Adam and His Eves

Marriage, we’re told by the president and a lot of other people, can only be between one man and one woman. Anything else would go against thousands of years of tradition and nature itself. If the president’s DNA could talk, I think it might disagree. In the 1980s, geneticists began to study variations in human…

Blog Revived

After a couple months of merciless story deadlines, hard disk crashes, and strange viruses that you only find out about once you have kids, the Loom is creaking back to life. Expect several postings this week. For now, let me direct you to a review I wrote a couple weeks ago for The New York…