The Loom

Archives for August, 2007

Everybody’s Doing It

I’ve been a bit of a slave to trends recently. Everybody else has a Facebook page, so I guess I need one too–even if I don’t quite know what to do with it. Myspace? Uh, okay… As with so many things in the human experience, great or small, we are not quite alone when it…

Here is a lovely little creature from Sri Lanka, Pettalus cf. cimiciformis, a member of the same lineage that includes the daddy longlegs we’re all familiar with. You could call it a daddy longlegs too, but its legs aren’t particularly long (plus it’s tiny–the size of a sesame seed.) It may not seem like much,…

As I’ve mentioned before, my brother Ben also blogs. An editor at Oxford American Dictionaries, he writes about words over at “From A to Zimmer.” Not surprisingly, our blogs usually don’t overlap. But Ben’s latest entry–on very, very long words, has prompted me to pose a question of my own here. In his post, “Hippopotomonstrosesquipedalianism!”,…

The Ink Keeps Spilling

Here’s the latest addition to the Loom’s science tattoo collection: from a food scientist, the molecule capsaicin, which makes chiles spicy. To see all the new tattoos, check out my Flickr set. And keep them coming–either in the comment thread here, or emailed directly to me. If you crave more science tattoos–not just on the…

Forecasting Extinction

I’ve got a story in the current issue of Science about the challenge of predicting how many species (and which) may become extinct due to global warming. You can read the article here on my web site. I blogged about some of the early material in the article back in 2004 here. For a good…

Voyage to Organism Island

My wife and I were following our children across Appledore Island, reaching a crest where we could see the mainland coast–Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine all stretched out in a single sweep–when a woman in bloody surgical gear stepped out into our path. She warned us that behind the old radar tower next to us…

Imagining My Homicidal Liver

Parasitoid wasps (or rather, one group of them called the Ichneumonidae) are the subject of one of Charles Darwin’s most famous quotations: “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars.” Scientists have learned a…

Dawn of the Science Writing Dead

I think that the next time I’m asked to talk about human evolution at 7:38 a.m. on a news show, I’m going to shave my head the night before. Nothing undermines the authority of a science writer like a serious case of bed head. See it here (or paste this address into Windows Media Player’s…

Science Gets Personal

Jessica Pikul writes: I am a Chemistry PhD student at University of Washington. My research is in bioinorganic chemistry, specifically modeling non-heme iron-sulfur metalloenzymes. I am also a Celiac (autoimmune disorder triggered by ingesting gluten). The tattoo on my leg is one of the segments of the gluten protein that I can not digest. The…

Bringing Order to Tattoo Chaos

I’m finding that my post on science tattoos is getting troublesome now that I’ve added in so many images. Slow to load, easily bugged. Update: Ignore the stuff below about Picaca. I’m going to Flickr. The home for the set, with comments, is here. And you can subscribe to an RSS feed of sciencetattoo tagged…