The Loom

Archives for May, 2008

At last we come to the fifth winning question about Microcosm, from Ceph. Once again, thanks to the ~240 people who entered the contest. I hope my answers to these five questions give you a sense of what my book’s about and why I’m so excited by this little germ. If you want to learn…

Here’s the fourth winning question about Microcosm, from Sigmund: Creationists often point to the bacterial cell and say something to the effect of “the cell is so complicated it is highly improbable that it could have spontaneously formed – therefore God-did-it. Are there any particular features of E.coli that reveal simpler origins? The answer below…

Now we come to the third winning question about Microcosm. Kenatiod writes, Long ago, in bacteriology class, the teacher (an ex-nun at an ex-Catholic college) was telling us about the type “F” pili that are used to pass DNA so coli can have sex. One of the students asked “Why do they call them type…

Here’s the second winning question about Microcosm, from Kevin: E. coli is a bacteria commonly found in the intestines of some animals. What distinguishes the common and harmless strains from those that can cause illness and death? A lot of people asked this question in the contest. But my sense is that most people think…

If you’re just tuning in, on Tuesday I offered five free signed copies of my new book Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life to readers if they sent in a question. I was quite stoked to see the huge reaction. I can tell from the quality of the questions that the sheer…

Thanks to everyone who submitted the 240 or so questions about Microcosm, E. coli, and life in general. I’ll pick five of them tonight and answer them tomorrow and start signing copies for the winners. And if you didn’t enter, why not considering getting a copy anyway?

Relayed Without Comment

From the blog of Steven Johnson, author of The Ghost Map and Mind Wide Open Go Buy Microcosm Right Now Carl Zimmer may be my favorite science writer around today (others seem to agree), so I’m excited to report that his new book Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life hit the shelves…

Just a quick reminder–I’ll be keeping the contest for a free autographed copy of Microcosm till 5 pm this afternoon. Think of a question about E. coli (and what it can say about life itself), and get in the running for a signed book. I’ll post answers to the winning responses tomorrow by noon. (Thanks…

In case you missed it, there’s a great article in Smithsonian about hyena intelligence, focusing on the work of Kay Holekamp, the subject of my recent piece in the New York Times. The author, Steve Kemper, spent time with Holekamp in hyena country in Kenya, seeing just how brutal (and fascinating) life as a spotted…

by the old man of the blogs, Andrew Sullivan, and even the editorial page of the New York Times. Who knew a few clever flies could win so many friends?