The Loom

Archives for March, 2006

The Sixty-Million-Year Virus

How do we know that we are kin to chimpanzees and howler monkeys and the other primates? For one thing, it’s by far the best explanation for the fossil record. For another, our DNA shows signs of kinship to other primates, much like the genetic markers that are shared by people from a particular ethnic…

A Retraction and a Deletion

In trying to navigate the new ethical territory of blogging, I’ve decided to delete part of

I take a look at two new books on global warming in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review. The International Herald Tribune has already posted it on their site (which has no subscription wall to boot). (Update: NYTBR link.) The books are The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery and Field Notes From a Catastrophe by…

Lemonick Blogs

Mike Lemonick, Time’s excellent senior writer on science, has started a blog. I can’t think off the top of my head of another staff science writer at a big magazine or newspaper who has a blog (as opposed to us itinerant science scribes). So welcome to Mike. One quibble: why no comments? A journalist who…

Loyal readers need no introduction to this bit of entomological “Faces of Death.” Others who think this must be some sort of hoax, read

Cockroach Zombies Go Cable

The Discovery Channel picked up my

Where There’s Liquid Water…

Enceladus, a tiny moon of Saturn, suddenly gets interesting. It may be spewing liquid water. And since the only life we know of needs liquid water–and since Enceladus may now be the second place we know of in the solar system with liquid water–I want to buy a ticket there. Details and pictures here.

Wrist Walkers Revisited

I’ve revisited the wrist walker story after a scientist involved accused me of spreading “empty gossip.” I don’t agree with that charge, but I do think I should retract some of what I wrote. But I’ve still got some nagging questions about the whole affair.

This Week in Human Evolution

I’ve been in low-blogging mode for a few days as I try to fire off a few dead-tree articles. But I wanted to write up a quick post to draw your attention to threetwo very interesting pieces of human evolution in the news. 1. Modern evolution. A new paper presents the results of a systematic…

Tree of Life, c. 2006

Scientists are probably centuries away from drawing the full tree of life. For one thing, they have only discovered a small fraction of the species on Earth–perhaps only ten percent. They are also grappling with the relationships between the species they have discovered. Systematists (scientists who study the tree of life) rely mainly on DNA…