Biology

Category archives for Biology

Universe Book Club: Incognito

The history of science can be read as a series of brusque reality checks. Once, we thought the sun revolved around the Earth, but modern astronomy relegated our real estate, incrementally, from the┬ácenter of everything┬áto a hum-drum corner of an unimportant galaxy in a handful of generations. The theory of Evolution turned us from mini-gods…

The Shadow Biosphere

Let’s define alien. Definition number one: unfamiliar. By that description alone, a good 99% of life on this planet is alien. Breathing water, living nestled in thermal vents, stalking prey on the veldt, growing out of the Earth and eating sunlight, without eyes, without legs, with extra legs, color-blind, carapaced, marsupial, with exoskeletons, with jelly…

Eyes to the Future

My grandmother suffered in her old age from macular degeneration, a common age-related eye disease that causes the center of your visual field (the macula) to gradually fritz out. As it affected her more and more, the font size in her emails ballooned to cartoonish sizes. She began walking with a cane, and needed a…

Synthetic Life Lives

What do these three quotations have in common? Hint: it lives in a petri dish. “To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, and to recreate life out of life.” — James Joyce “What I cannot build, I cannot understand.” — Richard Feynman “See things not as they are, but as they might be.” —…