The Loom

Archives for March, 2008

Me and E

Greg left a comment: You know, Carl, if you don’t have one of these yet, you might consider picking one up to accompany you on your (hoped for) book tour. Greg, I always try to find a plush toy related to my latest book. I think it’s part of the late-stage madness that sets in…

My recent piece on Slate about E. coli, evolution, and germ warfare is now on their podcast. You can listen to it with this embedded player below, or grab the mp3 file. It is very weird to hear someone else read my words. I feel like a teacher is using me as an example of…

Fingerprints on Life

My latest Dissection column for Wired.com takes on the old tug-of-war between Nature and Artifice. As I write in my new book Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life, scientists began to manufacture strange versions of the microbe in the early 1970s. In 1974, for example, scientists engineered E. coli carrying DNA from…

Having just written a book all about E. coli, including its evolution, I came to wonder what Darwin thought about microbes. I’ve searched far and wide. I’ve looked in biographies, for example, and the awesome site Darwin Online. I have found only one reference–to viruses: A particle of small-pox matter, so minute as to be…

Well, we’re down now to seven weeks till Microcosm hits the book stores. Here and elsewhere I’m going to discuss some of the fascinating things I discovered about E. coli–and life in general–while working on the book. For instance, I came to have a grudging respect for the vicious strain of E. coli known as…

Synthetic Biology Infects DC

A few weeks ago I moderated a discussion about synthetic biology down in Washington. Excerpts from the talk (including the one above) are now posted here.

Language Evolution Live Blogging

Science writer Edmund Blair Bolles is in Barcelona at the Evolution of Language conference, and he’s live-blogging like crazy. Fascinating stuff well worth checking out. [Link fixed-cz]

If you’re a scientist mysteried by the media, AAAS has set up a nice site to help. Included are a series of interviews with members of that dubious profession, including Science Friday’s Ira Flatow talking about radio, and the New York Times’s environment writer Andrew Revkin on newspaper reporting. I talk> about life as a…

I’m heading to Sarasota, Florida, to talk tonight about the evolution of whales. If anybody bearing oranges gives me a hard time, I’ll let you know. The talk will be part of Mote Marine Laboratory’s public lecture series. Here are the details. If you’re in the neighborhood, come on by.

How old is the Grand Canyon? One answer is easy: a lot older than a few thousand years. A more precise answer is harder to get at, however. You have to climb into the caves of the Grand Canyon and read the geological clocks hidden there. For more, read my latest “Dissection” commentary at Wired.…