The Loom

Archives for October, 2005

The Semiotics of a Leaf

A new autumn has brought another burst of red and yellow leaves. And it has also brought an interesting new idea about why trees put on this show every year. In recent years, scientists have been roughly divided into two camps when it comes to autumn leaves. One camp holds that autumn colors are just…

More from Brown on Hobbits

Peter Brown, anthropologist on the hobbit team, jumps into the comment fray himself on the nature of the fossils he discovered.

Be heard!

I’ll be talking to science writers about blogging on Tuesday in New York. If you’d like to participate in the discussion, leave your comments here. Thanks.

Monkey Business

A Bronx cheer for the four-legged hobbit from one of its discoverers. See my updated post.

Hobbit As Monkey?

Well, here’s an idea I haven’t heard of before… Last year scientists found the bones of what they recognized as a new species of hominid that lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. They named it Homo floresiensis, and its three foot stature earned it the nickname the Hobbit. All of the reconstructions I’ve seen…

A Rough Grunt Dictionary

There have been some interesting new developments in the study of the evolution of language. The idea that human language emerged from hand gestures rather than sounds has been getting very popular in recent years. Some scientists think that certain neurons in the brain played a crucial role in this gestural prehistory. Known as mirror…

Where Is Your I?

Back in the 1600s, when neurology was born, it wasn’t scientists who were looking at brains. The word scientist didn’t exist. Instead, those visionary folks would have called themselves natural philosophers. As I researched this chapter of scientific history for my book Soul Made Flesh, I was struck by the way philosophers–and philosophical questions–are now…

The Loom: The Podcast Edition

The science writer/blogging panel I was on over the weekend is now available on Contentious.

Attention Nutmeggers Again

Tomorrow I’ll be giving a talk in Westport, Connecticut, based in part on my new book on human origins. I’ll be talking about Hobbits, natural selection in our own time, and more (accompanied by visuals). The talk is part of the Westport Library’s excellent lecture series. It will be at 7:30 and is free. Hope…

Now That’s A Petition

You may have heard about a petition that was being signed by scientists earlier this month against the teaching of intelligent design. The inspiration came from another petition drafted by the Discovery Institute opposing evolution. It garnered 400 signatures of scientists in four years. R. Joe Brandon, an archaeologist, decided to see how many signatures…