For the August issue of Men’s Journal, I volunteered as an early guinea pig for a genome scanning service offered by the California-based company Navigenics. My genetic proclivity towards any of a couple dozen diseases was less than depressing but mildly alarming — and perhaps also completely unreliable. Here’s a .pdf of the story. Navigenics [...] Read more – ‘My genetic future’.
In the latest May issue of Outside, I have a feature-length profile of Garrett Lisi, a physicist who came up with a potential unifying theory of physics while living in a van on Maui. (The piece is out on newsstands but not yet online.) The very bare bones of his theory, which he first published [...] Read more – ‘The life of a surf bum physicist, PhD’.
I made a rare foray into daily news over the weekend, with a story posted at Wired online about the discovery of a dinosaur “mummy.” (In quotes as it’s a naturally preserved dino, not mummified in the sense of ancient Egypt; so don’t get excited you old-earth creationist folks.) The short piece was actually many [...] Read more – ‘Saga of a dinosaur CAT scan’.
A little late posting this, but I made a pair of appearances on National Public Radio recently, both times discussing the ins and outs of cellulosic ethanol based on my Wired piece. Both shows are archived for your listening pleasure: First off, “Talk of the Nation Science Friday,” on October 5. Followed by “Fair Game,” [...] Read more – ‘The NPR double’.
My latest feature for Wired, about the science of cellulosic ethanol, begins its run on newsstands this week. The full story is also online, here. That’s a stalk of switchgrass adorning the cover, but the cellulosic ethanol described in the story actually involves making fuel from a wide variety of different plants—e.g. poplar trees, wood [...] Read more – ‘Pipe dream to tailpipe?’.
In Science this week, MIT neuroscientist Susumu Tonegawa and colleagues describe their recent research illuminating the biological mechanisms behind the sensation of déjà vu. (The journal paper is locked up, but there’s a good Scientific American account of the research.) The authors conclude that a set of neurons located in the hippocampus — specifically in [...] Read more – ‘New research on the brain mechanisms for déjà vu’.
Nathan Wolfe, the subject of my recent Wired profile, has a new paper out in Nature this week — co-authored with Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel — outlining some of the ideas from the story in greater scientific depth. The abstract is here. Some further coverage at MSNBC here. Wolfe and Diamond, [...] Read more – ‘More on the mystery of emerging viruses’.
My latest piece for Wired, about UCLA biologist Nathan Wolfe‘s efforts to detect and study viruses as they cross over from wild animals to humans in remote corners of the world, is out in the May issue. It’s on newsstands now, and also available online here. Some additional photos from my reporting trip to Cameroon [...] Read more – ‘Bushmeat and the next pandemic’.