The Loom

Archives for July, 2007

Picking Up the Dog

Last update of the day: Tomorrow’s New York Times has a profile I wrote about Martin Nowak, a mathematical biologist at Harvard. Nowak uses games to understand how cooperation evolved–whether that cooperation is between people or between cells or between genes. I’ve written about Nowak in passing before–his work on language evolution turns up in…

Reading on the Brain

The article I wrote for Scientific American in 2005 on the self has been anthologized in a new book: The Best of the Brain from Scientific American: Mind, Matter, and Tomorrows’ Brain. Check out the book’s line-up, which Oliver Sacks calls, “an irresistible guide to this new territory.”

So You Want to Visit Mars

Today is a day for short updates, rather than deep essays. Update number 1: if you’re interested in going to Mars, check out this podcast from Popular Mechanics in which I discuss the challenges astronauts would face living and working on Mars. The magazine will be running a series of articles on the future space…

Old Fourlegs Revisited

Last week the world press took note of a fish hauled up off the coast of Zanzibar. (AP, Reuters). Why did they care? Because the animal was one of the most celebrated fish of the sea: it was a coelacanth.

A Handsome Brain

Larry Moran passes on the rules of the game: go to the Wellcome Library’s new image bank and find your favorite scientific image. Here’s my pick: the first good picture of the brain, drawn by Christopher Wren in 1664 for Thomas Willis, the first neurologist. (More on Willis and Wren here.) [Credit: Wellcome Institute, Creative…

Weird Life Goes Legit

Over the past few years, more and more scientists have been talking about the possibility that life exists, or can theoretically exist, in exotic forms that lack DNA, or perhaps even carbon or water. I’ve been keeping up with the conversation, and writing articles about it in the New York Times, Discover, Popular Mechanics, and,…