The Loom

Archives for June, 2007

Hither and Yon

For the past few days I’ve been rushing around, first to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to talk to some people at the Marine Biological Laboratory about the E. coli book, and then on an infinite chain of connecting flights to come out to Aspen to participate in a science-media summit. It’s a relief to be finally…

If you want to know how a new word gets into Oxford dictionaries, or are interested more generally in the bubbling cauldron of modern English, check out the the first post of new blog from Oxford University Press, From A to Zimmer. That’s Zimmer as in Ben Zimmer, lexicographer, editor at Oxford University Press, and…

A Feast of Bugs

In the past few months, the New York Times science section has been putting together some special packages of articles, and this week’s bundle is on the topic of evolution. You can read John Noble Wilford on hominids, Nicholas Wade on recent human evolution, Carol Kaesuk Yoon on the evolution of animal development, and more.…

Starts with L, Rhymes with Rife

If you sometimes look around and ask yourself, “So what is life, anyway?”–even if you haven’t ingested some illegal substance–you may be interested in a story I’ve written for Seed magazine. “The Meaning of Life” is the cover story for the August issue, which just turned up at my doorstep. The story isn’t online yet,…

Last November, scientists announced they had revived a virus that had been dead for millions of years. The virus belongs to a special class that multiply by inserting their genetic code into the genome of their host cell. When the cell divides, it makes a new copy of the virus’s genes along with its own…

Over at Aetiology, Tara Smith launched an interesting discussion by talking about why her heart doesn’t automatically leap when a reporter wants to talk to her. That post was followed by a lot of scientists swearing up and down about the awful treatment they’ve experienced at the hands of reporters. Chris Mooney, a reporter, thinks…

Today I jump sections at the New York Times. In the Week In Review, I take a look at the news of a bowhead whale that carried a harpoon tip for 115 years. It’s a cool discovery, but 115 years is actually not extraordinarily long for a bowhead whale–or a rockeye rockfish. Both those animals…

The Hidden Herds

Nine years ago I had the opportunity to visit southern Sudan. With a few other reporters, I flew from Nairobi to Lokichokio in northern Kenya, where we prepared to cross the border. A man took our passports and told us he’d hold onto them till we got back. We climbed into another plane loaded with…

A Year Abuzz In the Hive Mind

Whoosh. A year has passed since I got my passport stamped with a scienceblogs.com visa. Thanks to all who have come this way and shared your thoughts. May the next year bring more of life’s surprises.

New Life, New Patent

For the past few years, Craig Venter, the human genome pioneer, has been trying to build an organism from scratch. While Venter is no shrinking wallflower (see, for example, a recent interview in Newsweek), he has been keeping his synthetic-life cards pretty close to his vest. I spoke to Venter in 2003, shortly after he…