The Loom

Archives for March, 2007

Before I head for Utah, let me direct your attention to two articles of mine in tomorrow’s New York Times. They don’t have a whole lot in common except they are examples of cool biology… 1. Virus traps. Here’s a case where ecology, evolution, and medicine all come together in an intriguing mix. You can…

Scientists often stick genes into organism in order to create something new. Remote-controlled flies, for example, or photographic E. coli. But by creating new kinds of life, scientists can also learn about the history of life. Give a mouse human vision, for example, and you may learn something important about how our own eyes evolved.

Next Week: A Double-Header In Utah

Next week I’ll be heading to Utah. Southern Utah University asked me to be their Visiting Eccles Scholar, which means that I’ll be spending a couple days talking with students and faculty. I’ll also be giving two talks that are open to the public. The first, Wednesday evening, will be on global warming and extinctions,…

Science moves forward by flow. One experiment leads to another. Observations accrue. What seem like side trips or even dead ends may bring a fuzzy picture further into focus. Yet science often seems as if it moves forward one bombshell at a time, marked by scientific papers and press conferences. I can’t think of a…

Never Mind Those Kangaroo Fossils

Perhaps the notion of conservatives building an alternative to Wikipedia that includes many “scientific” entries based on creationist books aimed at seventh graders sounds like some bizarre hoax. For those who doubt, there’s now audio evidence. National Public Radio ran a segment yesterday in which they interviewed the founder of Conservapedia, Andrew Schlalfly. The interviewer,…

Big Dinosaur, Little Genome

Dinosaurs had small genomes. At least some of them did–the ones that gave rise to birds. If you have access to Science, you can read my News Focus article on the new field of “dinogenomics.” As I mentioned last week, my web site carlzimmer.com is in serious overhaul, so as soon as it’s ready, I’ll…

If pubic lice are not the sort of thing you want to be seen reading about, let me give you the opportunity to close your browser window right now. But if you’re at all curious about the secret that pubic lice have been keeping for over three million years, the tale of a mysterious liaison…

New Species For the Picking

Josh at Thoughts from Kansas makes some good points today about the need for more systematists (scientists who describe new species), launching his musings from an article in today’s New York Times about the remarkable Eastern Arc mountains by…d’oh! That was by me. Man, I have got to do a better job of staying ahead…

You and Your Genes: Who Wins?

Forbes.com contacted me a few weeks ago to write a piece for a special report they were putting together on the theme of achievement. They asked me if I’d write something about “reproductive achievement.” As the father of two children–who will merely replace me and my wife in the human species count–I didn’t think I…

Host Shift: Web Site Evolution

Just a quick note: I’m in the process of changing hosts for my web site, carlzimmer.com. Once the transfer is done, you should be able to get to the article archive, book pages, and all the rest once more. The down time shouldn’t last too long. The site will also be going through some long…