The Loom

Archives for September, 2005

The Bumpy Road to an Upgrade

Just a technical note: Corante has been upgrading to a new version of Movable Type, and they’re still working out a few glitches. Some readers have already reported trouble posting comments. You can vent any other sort of frustration in my direction, and I’ll let the powers that be know. I assume everything will be…

Swarthmore Evolving

This Wednesday, I’ll be coming to Swarthmore College to give a public lecture about human evolution. I had originally planned to focus on some of the cutting-edge discoveries I include in my upcoming book, from brain genes to enigmatic hobbits. But now that the big creationism trial is scheduled to get underway a couple hours…

The National Academy of Sciences just announced its 2005 Communications Awards. Gareth Cook, Pulitzer prizewinner from the Boston Globe, won the Newspaper/Magazine/Internet category for his must-read series of articles on stem cells. I was named one of two finalists, for a group of pieces about evolution that appeared during 2005 in Discover, The New York…

The Steps of the Puzzle

My brother Ben is now a respectable consultant for the Oxford English Dictionary, but when he was a kid, he was a puzzle freak, pure and simple. In fourth grade he’d spend hours paging through a big unabridged Webster’s, looking for obscure words that he could use to create a fiendish rebus. Little did I…

A Trip to the Museum

Last year I was contacted by a team of scientists and museum exhibit designers to help put together a show about evolution. The result is Exploring Evolution, which is now opening at a string of state science museums in the midwest. (The list of participating museums is here.) The exhibit may not have a laser…

Part Human, Part Virus

A lot of people think of viruses and bacteria in our bodies as nothing more than pests. It’s certainly true that a lot of them do an excellent job of making us ill. But some viruses and bacteria merged with our ancestors over the course of billions of years, and if you were to have…

Traditional Norms, Animal-style

"March of the Penguins," the conservative film critic and radio host Michael Medved said in an interview, is "the motion picture this summer that most passionately affirms traditional norms like monogamy, sacrifice and child rearing." –from an article describing how some religious leaders and conservative magazines are embracing the blockbuster documentary. Well, it’s 2010, and…

Text Versus Subtext

(Warning: this post contains some journalistic/blogging inside-baseball material.) Back in the dark ages (otherwise known as the 1990s), writing about science felt a bit like putting messages in a bottle. I’d write an article, a few weeks or months later it would appear in a magazine, and a few weeks or months later I might…

Monday Morning Buffet

I’m back from a computer-free vacation, and of course I have returned to mountains of emails and a long chain of fascinating new links. In place of any original thoughts of my own, let me just point you to a few things that look interesting (if you have any mental space not presently occupied by…