The Loom

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Farewell, Seymour Benzer

The great biologist Seymour Benzer passed away yesterday. If you know Benzer, it’s probably through Jonathan Weiner’s masterful book, Time, Love, Memory, which focused on how Benzer discovered the influence of genes on behavior in fruit flies. But Benzer was one of those rare scientists who had enough time in his life for more than…

A few days ago I

In case you were worrying that life on Earth would be wiped out by a catastrophic burst of gamma rays, rest easy. It turns out that our galaxy may not be a very good source of gamma ray bursts. I found this particularly interesting given recent speculation that gamma rays bursts might have triggered mass…

Nice Company

The nominees for the 2005 Koufax Awards: Best Expert Blog have been posted. Many thanks to whoever put the Loom on the list. The voting hasn’t started yet, but please keep this blog in mind when it does. I don’t hold out too much hope, since the list contains quite a lot of impressive bloggers.…

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, I need more stories about leeches. I want to find out what scientists are learning about how leeches evolved. And I know that’s not all you want. You want to watch a leech video. And you want a podcast about leech evolution. Well, you’re in luck. Here’s the…

Tree or Trellis–The Dope

For the information hounds out there, Alan Templeton’s paper, “Haplotype Trees and Modern Human Origins,” on which I based my previous post is now published.

Book News, Part Two

Following up on my earlier post, I wanted to relay one more piece of book news. I’ve been getting some emails over the past couple months inquiring about my book, Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea. I wrote it as a companion volume to the 2001 PBS television series, Evolution. Like the series, the book…

Part Human, Part Virus

A lot of people think of viruses and bacteria in our bodies as nothing more than pests. It’s certainly true that a lot of them do an excellent job of making us ill. But some viruses and bacteria merged with our ancestors over the course of billions of years, and if you were to have…

Ms. Schlafly, You Receive an F

Phyllis Schlafly has suddenly become interested in evolution! She has written the most staggering display of buffoonery on the subject that I’ve read in a long time. She can’t even tell the difference between Darwin and Lamarck–seriously. At least Steve Reuland at Panda’s Thumb can dismantle this ignorant nonsense while retaining his sense of humor.

On the radio

I’ll be talking about evolution on Tuesday at 12 pm PST/3 pm EST with Alan Stahler on KVMR in California. You can listen to the live webcast here. UPDATE: I’ll be on at about 20 minutes after the hour. Andy Knoll from Harvard is on first.