I’m going to be a guest during the second hour of Science Friday on National Public Radio tomorrow. Host Ira Flatow and I will be discussing the latest twist in the ever-intriguing arsenic life saga, and, more broadly, the rough-and-tumble way in which science corrects itself. If you miss the live show, you can listen to it here.
Recently I stopped by the offices of PBS Newshour to talk with correspondent Hari Sreenivasan about viruses–from the bird flu that’s in the news today to the viruses that swarm the oceans. Here’s the video, and here’s their story about our conversation.
It’s hard to believe that the World Science Festival is now in its fifth year. What started out feeling like an experiment is now a New York institution. I’m looking forward to participating yet again, and hope you’ll be able to join me.
On Friday I’ll be moderating an event called “Illuminating Resilience.” Four experts will discuss how people withstand life’s hardest shocks, and manage to bounce back.
When: Friday, June 1 10 to 11:30 AM
Where: NYU Global Center, Grand Hall. 238 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012. Map
More details and ticket ordering information here.
On Saturday afternoon, The World Science Festival will be holding a free event called, “Meet the Authors: Conversations with Best-Selling Science Writers”
I’ll be kicking things off at 1 pm with a talk about Science Ink. We’ll have temporary tattoos, special guests, and other surprises. And then stick around for other writers, including Lawrence Krauss and E. O. Wilson.
Where: NYU Kimmel Center, Commuter Lounge, 60 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012 (2nd Floor, Room 203) Map
Gothamites: please join Florence Williams and myself at the bookstore McNally Jackson in New York on Thursday May 17. Williams is the author of the new book, Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, a smart, wry synthesis of evolution, physiology, microbiology, environmental science, and even biomechanics.
Where: McNally Jackson, 52 Prince St., New York, NY (Phone: 212.274.1160)
When: May 17, 7 pm.
More details are here.
I recently sat down for two stimulating conversations which are now in print. One was with Ben Lillie for Story Collider, the new magazine that Lillie has launched to complement his wonderful storytelling series. The other was with Ben Goldfarb of Sage, a student-run environmental arts and journalism publication of the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Ben L. and Ben G. asked lots of thoughtful questions about the art of science writing, and the place of the science writer in society. It’s a little painful to read my ramblings taken down verbatim–I want to reach out and edit away the extra verbiage–but you may still find them interesting.
Ed Yong and I may live on either side of the Atlantic, but our minds are in the same place: that strange realm where fungi take over the minds of ants, where dinosaurs sprout feathers, and where ducks shatter glass with their genitals. In other words, Earth.
We don’t get to see each other in person more than once a year, if that, but we always have a good time when we do. Which is why I’m looking forward to having an online conversation with Ed on May 14. And you’re invited.
This event is brought to you by Shindig, a new company that’s set up a web site for video chat events. The design of the site is quite elegant: the speakers appear on the top of the event page, where everyone can watch them talk. Audience members appear in their own screens on the page as well, and when speakers ask for questions, they can hit a “raise hand” button. The audience member asking a question then zooms up to the top of the screen, where he or she can have a conversation with the speaker. (You’ll obviously need a video camera and mic on your computer to take advantage of this feature.)
There are lots of things for us to talk about, such as the controversy over manmade strains of bird flu. But we’ll be happy to talk about other things biological that are on your minds, too. So bring your questions (or offer some suggestions in the comment thread below.)
We will be talking on Monday May 14 from 5 to 6 pm ET. To join us, please RSVP at this eventbrite page. The talk is free, of course, but after you RSVP you’ll then get instructions for logging into the Shindig page on May 14.
This is 100% experimental, but I expect it to be fun. It reminds of Bloggingheads, but without the creationism.
I’m heading south to give a series of talks about everything from evolution to science tattoos, the future of journalism, and the mutant bird flu saga. Most of these talks are open to the public. Here’s the rundown, with the public talks noted:
Thursday 11 am: Bethesda, MD: “Telling the Stories of Science in Words and Images.”
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Fellows Scientific Retreat.
Thursday 3 pm: Arlington VA: “The Darwin Beat.”
National Science Foundation
Friday 9:30 am: US Science Engineering Festival, Washington DC Convention Center:
I’m part of the festival’s “Nifty Fifty”–speakers who talk to high school students about science. In room 146A, I’ll be giving a sneak peek of my Science Ink talk to a group of students, in advance of the festival, which officially starts on Saturday.
Saturday: US Science and Engineering Festival, Washington DC Convention Center: open to the public
I’ll be speaking twice about Science Ink –both talks are open to the public
10:55 AM-11:40 AM Stage Meeting Room Number: 147AB
Noon to 1: Book signing Expo Hall B
2-2:30 PM National Academy of Sciences Booth 603
Monday noon: Radio Times, WHYY in Philadelphia
I’ll be talking with Marty Moss-Coane. You can listen live via the show web page.
Tuesday: Washington DC and Internetlandia: 8:30 to 5 pm: National Academy of Sciences meeting on the mutant bird flu controversy. Open to the public
The official name of this meeting is, “Issues Raised, Lessons Learned, and Potential Strategies for Dual-Use Research in the Life Sciences: The H5N1 Controversy.” Leading scientists and ethicists will be talking about the surreal saga of the bird flu viruses that have been transformed into mammal-infecting pathogens. (For those foggy on the history, I’ve written about it in Slate, the New York Times, and here on the Loom.) I’ll be talking on a panel at 1:15 about the relationship between scientists and the public when it comes to this sort of research, offering some perspective from the media.
The whole meeting is open to the public, but you have to register. I’m also told it’s going to be livestreamed. The link should appear on the meeting page, and I’ll try to post it here on Tuesday.
Whew! That’s it. Fortunately, I’ll have enough time in Philadelphia to take in a visit to the Mutter Museum. If you don’t know what it is, and don’t mind getting deeply unsettled by the sight of soap cadavers and Einstein’s brain, you really owe it to yourself to go. It is an experience like no other. I hope to blog about my visit upon my return.
Yesterday my Fresh Air interview was broadcast. You can listen to it here. I’ve been lots of emails with follow-up questions, and it occurred to me that I really ought to gather up some links to more information about the topics I discussed.
If I haven’t addressed a question you had listening to the show, leave a comment to this post and I’ll add a link.
The “virome”–the viruses that live in our body:
A Loom post about the swarms of viruses in the mouth, where they kill off bacteria
An article in Nature about a study of the viruses in identical twins
My article in the New York Times
My essay on the Loom about medical ecology
My Wired atlas of the human ecosystem
An example of microbiome research: extreme navel gazing
Maryn McKenna’s story in Scientific American on the struggle to mainstream fecal transplants to treat deadly infections
Ed Yong’s oeuvre on the microbiome at Not Exactly Rocket Science
Mayrn McKenna on her blog at Wired writing on the link between beneficial bacteria and protection from asthma, obesity, and other ills.