Archive for October 22nd, 2007

Every Species Needs a Hero

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | October 22, 2007 12:08 pm

sea_cucumber_300_196.jpgAs someone who’s spent a heck of a lot of time studying sea cucumbers, I’m the first to know when these critters make the news. It’s not because I follow the literature, but rather that everyone who does feels the desire to forward me related articles. Despite that this is an extremely charismatic animal, I’m not sure I’m completely comfortable with the association. I’ve definitely waded into many other (arguably as interesting) areas since my early days with echinoderms. Still, I’m beginning to recognize the reputation will follow me regardless.

Well, every species needs a hero and I’ve been a denialist long enough. Friday, this article hit my inbox a total of 28 times.

Sea cucumbers will probably provide us with the key to deciphering how to regenerate our tissues, or at least find out what is needed to do this.

Now sea cucumbers have long been involved in eastern medicine touted as ‘Ginseng of the Sea‘ and among other uses, have purported aphrodisiac qualities. I have no basis for comment and am admittedly skeptical – particularly of the latter. However, their curious regenerative abilities are undoubtedly real and understanding the mechanisms responsible provides tremendous potential in medicine. Perhaps ‘Stem Cells of the Sea’ would be a more apt title. Thus, today I embrace my roots in sea cucumber-ology and encourage everyone to learn more about the wonderful world of this stimulating holothurian.


My Big News: Moving to Los Angeles

By Chris Mooney | October 22, 2007 10:00 am

250px-Silver_Lake_Sign.JPGI don’t know how many readers of “the Intersection” remember the blog’s very earliest days. So let us reminisce: It was mid 2003, and I was living in California at the time, in Berkeley and later in Palo Alto. I’m not sure exactly when “The Intersection” launched, but I remember posting constantly during 2003 about a decidedly non-scientific subject–the California recall. Back then I opposed Schwarzenegger, unaware that he would later become a leader on climate change.

Heck, back then I didn’t even really write about climate change.

In any event, the move to California didn’t work out and after those six months (and three in-between months in New Orleans) I headed back to Washington, D.C. It was during this fairly tumultuous period of time–multiple moves in a matter of months–that I successfully secured a book contract to write what would become The Republican War on Science. And then beginning in early 2004 I settled in in D.C. to spend about a year preparing the manuscript, and blogging constantly about the subject matter.

And I’ve been in D.C. ever since. In total, if you combine the years I spent in D.C. working for the American Prospect and then as a freelancer (roughly summer of 2001-summer of 2003) with the years spent in D.C. writing and then promoting my first two books (roughly 2004-2007) then I’ve easily been in the town for five years. Maybe six.

Note that I say “been,” because this is changing. I have greatly enjoyed my time in our Capitol, but like so many people who’ve lived there, I haven’t ever been able to convince myself that it felt quite permanent. And now, just as I turned 30, an opportunity has arisen to do something extraordinarily different.

Recently my girlfriend Molly got offered a job in Los Angeles, and I encouraged her to take it. And now I’m heading out there with her.

We’ve secured a place in Silver Lake, a really awesome neighborhood that kind of reminds me of Adams Morgan in D.C. (though what’s up with all the Vegans?). I have found myself driving a car again. I own sunglasses. It is really quite different, and pretty exciting.

Not that I’ve fully moved yet: In essence, I am back and forth between coasts for a bit longer. Indeed, I’m blogging from D.C. at the moment. But I plan to be settled in California by the end of the year–and, perhaps, at work on a new book project.

Inevitably, the change of location will trigger a change in perspective and I will most assuredly find myself writing about and pursuing new things–though I’ll hardly be dropping the core issues of concern at this blog. Rather, I hope I will diversify the range of subjects I’m writing about. In other words, we won’t move into celeb gossip and rock music criticism right away. Don’t worry.

And that’s the big news. Wish me luck with the transition…and, please, not too many jeers from those of you who don’t like LA culture, okay?


Blue Man Group on Global Warming

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | October 22, 2007 7:30 am

Their unusual style made an impression on me in Vegas. Readers can decide if the Blue fellas are as memorable here.


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