The Loom

Archives for February, 2008

On the Path Towards Leviathan

It’s time to add a new chapter to the Whale Chronicles…. …more below the fold…

The Natural History of the Only Child

Why are modern families so small? Could it have something in common with peacock tails? A fascinating essay in the new issue of Science is the basis of my newest column for Wired. And man oh man, are the commenters freaking out. Judge for yourself. The Natural History of the Only Child

Heading North

I’ve got some more information about my upcoming talks. On February 27, I’ll be in Ottawa, delivering the Discovery Lecture at Carleton University. It will be called “The Darwin Beat: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Evolution.” Here’s the link to the lecture page. More updates to come–I’ll post them here, over at carlzimmer.com, and on…

Farewell, Joshua Lederberg

Via Tara Smith, I learned of the passing of Joshua Lederberg. I came to appreciate the full scope of Lederberg’s work while working on my book Microcosm; by discovering the secret sex life of E. coli, he helped build the science of molecular biology. It’s sad to observe the passing of this scientific cohort who…

I’ve got some more talks coming up that I want to let you know about–especially those of you around Lincoln, Nebraska or Sarasota, Florida–as well as those of you who like to go to meetings about parasites… 1. DARWIN DAY: I’ll be doing my part to celebrate, at the University of Nebraska. My talk will…

Needed: Quotes

A quick favor from anyone who has read any of my books. If there’s a passage–sentence to paragraph range–that you’re fond of, can you let me know? I’m working on a project that requires a bunch of them. You can leave them in this post’s comment thread or over on a discussion thread I set…

University of Washington paleontologist Peter Ward and I are talking again on bloggingheads–this time about aliens. Ward explains why science fiction writers hate him, and why we need to breed tiny astronauts if we ever want to get out of our solar system. Check it out. Poster from Wikimedia Commons, Headline Defiled From Shelley

I’m always learning something from the readers of the Loom. Yesterday, I wrote about how scientists had inserted their names into a synthetic genome, and how such signatures would erode away like graffiti inside real organisms. But how about the opposite case–what if evolution has produced sequences of DNA that happen to form words? In…