August 23, 2015

Friday's Elk: A break from summer break


I hope your summer has unfolded well. The picture here is from a trip I took to the Galapagos Islands in July. After writing for years about this special place, it was fabulous to finally see it in person.

The last time I sent out a Friday's Elk, before my trip, I said I'd be taking off the rest of the summer. I'm breaking my summer silence (briefly) primarily to let you know about some housekeeping matters at Friday's Elk.

For the past two years, I've been sending out Friday's Elk through Mail Chimp. It's a great service, but once you go over 2,000 subscribers, it gets pricey. In the past couple weeks, a bunch of people have signed up (thanks!), bringing me extremely close to the magic 2,000 threshold.

That's why I'm switching over to another service, Tiny Letter, to send out Friday's Elk from now on. If you liked it in the past, you don't need to do anything. If you want to unsubscribe, you can go to the link at the bottom of this email. If you want to tell your friends about the newsletter, give them this new link: Mail Chimp keeps some previous editions of Friday's Elk here

Aside from traveling to the Galapagos, here's a quick recap of what I've been up to:

1. I wrote some more columns for the New York Times--on a new Ebola vaccine, the diets of our distant ancestors, and more. You can find all my Matter columns here.

2. The second edition of my textbook with biologist Doug Emlen, Evolution: Making Sense of Life went on sale. We put a lot of work into it--improving on what we did in the first edition and incorporating lots of new research that has come out in the past couple years. The new edition is also loaded with great new artwork and photographs. You can find more information on the publisher's pageAmazon or Barnes and Noble's.

3. RadioLab released the raw tape of a very long talk I had with Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich about giant viruses and how life gets both more complicated and simpler over evolutionary time. It's very different from RadioLab's typical shows, with their fiendishly tight editing. But I hope you enjoy our palaver nonentheless.

4. I interviewed science writer Steven Silberman for Wired about his landmark new book on the history of autism, NeuroTribes

5. I started another book! I've only been researching it intensively for a month or so, but it definitely feels good to get back in the longform saddle again. I'll let you know when it's ready for reading. (In the meantime...)

6. I'm getting ready to give some more talks. I'll be at Appalachian State on September 16 (details to come) and Iowa State on September 17. On October 24, I'll be talking about the future of DNA editing at the annual conference of the National Society of Genetics Counselors. And on November 13, I'll be speaking at the National Association of Biology Teachers, where I'll have the honor of receiving their Distinguished Service Award. 

That's it. I'll start emailing again regularly in September. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, LInkedIn, and Google+. And there's always

Best wishes,