The Loom

Archives for August, 2005

Updates

Those interested in my upcoming talks may want to visit my main web site. I’ve started to post information about the talks, as well as bringing the archive of my articles up to date. Nothing more depressing than a stale web site.

Ghosts in the E. coli machine

In today’s New York Times I have an article about the quest to create a virtual organism—a sort of digital Frankenstein accurate down to every molecular detail. The creature that the scientists I write about want to reproduce is that familiar denizen of our gut, Escherichia coli. There are two things about this enterprise I…

Meet Your Inner Mole Rat

Mole rats are a pretty ugly, obscure bunch of creatures. They live underground in Africa, where they use their giant teeth to gnaw at roots. Those of you who know anything about mole rats most likely know about naked mole rats, which have evolved a remarkable society that is more insect than mammalian, complete with…

A Dog and the Mind of Newton

It’s bad enough to see basic scientific misinformation about evolution getting tossed around these days. USA Today apparently has no qualms about publishing an op-ed by a state senator from Utah (who wants to have students be taught about something called “divine design”) claiming there is no empirical evidence in the fossil evidence that humans…

Sickness All Around

I’ve got two stories in tomorrow’s New York Times about getting sick. One is about malaria. I’ve always been fascinated by how parasites can manipulate their hosts for their own ends, and much of my book Parasite Rex is dedicated to explaining how this creepy remote control works. I’ve come across many new examples from…

I’ll close the week with an open letter to President Bush just released by the American Astronomical Society’s president, Prof. Robert Kirschner, to express disappointment with his comments on bringing intelligent design into the classroom. Astronomers may not deal with natural selection or fossils, but as a general principle, they don’t like seeing non-science and…

A statement from the National Science Teachers’ Association on Bush’s remarks about Intelligent Design: NSTA Disappointed About Intelligent Design Comments Made by President Bush 2005-08-03 – NSTA The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the world’s largest organization of science educators, is stunned and disappointed that President Bush is endorsing the teaching of intelligent design –…

The American Geophysical Union just issued a press release in response to Bush’s comments about intelligent design. It’s not online at their web site yet, so I’ve posted it here. (Update: It’s on line now.) This is not the first time that the 43,000 members of the AGU have spoken out against creationism. They protested…

A Question For The President

After a day-long road trip from Ohio, I finally had the chance to read the news that President Bush thinks that schools should discuss Intelligent Design alongside evolution, so that students can “understand what the debate is about.” As Bush himself said, this is pretty much the same attitude he had towards creationism when he…

I’ve been on hiatus for quite a while, in part because of some surgery (more on that later), but I just wanted to write a quick post to point you to my latest article in tomorrow’s New York Times, about how birds can sing like cricket. It’s a wonderful example of how sexual selection can…