The Loom

Archives for October, 2005

Blog Notes

I’m back from Pittsburgh, where the blogging-meet-science writing workshop went very well. Science writers are definitely curious, although you could hear some moans about the end of dead-tree publishing (a bit premature, in my opinion). Amy Gahran, my fellow panelist, is going to post a podcast on her blog, Contentious. I will update the post…

My blog, your microphone

I’m going to be part of two workshops in the space of a couple weeks that will deal with the intersection of blogging and science writing. The first will be this Saturday at the annual meeting of the National Association of Science Writers in Pittsburgh, and the second will be hosted Tuesday November 1 by…

What’s A Gene For?

There was a time not that long ago when sequencing a single gene would be hailed as a scientific milestone. But then came a series of breakthroughs that sped up the process: clever ideas for how to cut up genes and rapidly identify the fragments, the design of robots that could do this work twenty-four…

Of zoos and polls

My post on the cognitive dissonance in Florida about evolution brought a lot of comments, including one from David. Although he seems to be attacking other commenters rather than post itself as far as I can tell, he makes three points that are worth addressing. 1. "…most of you have no clue as to what…

Finally, more brains. On Tuesday I wrote about how the second batch of Homo floresiensis bones had at last seen the scientific light of day. Today the critics who don’t think the Hobbit is a new species are making their way into scientific journals as well. They’re saying that the Hobbit brain looks an awful…

Hobbits again

Finally: more bones. Last October the world marveled at the announcement of the discovery of a new species of hominid, Homo floresiensis, in a cave called Liang Bua on the Indonesian island of Flores. One conclusion was more shocking than the next. First, this hominid stood only three feet high, earning it the nickname The…

I’ve got a piece in tomorrow’s New York Times on new research into the evolution of penguins. There’s new work going on with penguin DNA and penguin fossils, such as this lovely 60-million-year old critter from New Zealand. It stood upright like living penguins, but still had wings it could bend at the elbow. In…

When it comes to evolution, the nation’s attention is focused these days on Dover, Pennsylvania, where parents are suing the local board of education for introducing creationism into the classroom. It’s certainly an important case, but if you really want to get a sense of what’s at stake in the struggle over evolution, I suggest…

The Book Stack

I’ve got a stack of new books that I want to get to this fall, although it’s not going to be easy. If your interests run in the same currents, you may be interested in some of them… Us and Them, by David Berreby. Berreby takes a look at how we put ourselves in groups,…

Attention Nutmeggers

If you live in the New Haven area, I hope you’ll consider joining me tomorrow at 5 pm for a talk at the Yale Medical School about my book Soul Made Flesh. The talk will be at 5 pm, Thursday October 6, in the Beaumont Room at the Sterling Hall of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street.…