April 28, 2017

Friday's Elk, April 27, 2017

A few days ago I reached the end of my manuscript for my upcoming book about heredity, which I've tentatively called She Has Her Mother's Laugh. Of course, I'm not quite done: there are still a few [Fill in really complicated stuff here] markers that I'm going to have to attend to. Nevertheless, it is a huge relief to type those three letters. In future emails, I'll send updates on the book: the cover, the official publication date next year, talks, reviews, Instagrams of uses as doorstops and paperweights, etc.

Since the last Friday's Elk, I've written a few columns for the New York Times:

1. This week, some scientists made a pretty bold claim: humans were in California 130,000 years ago. That's extreme for a few reasons, such as the fact that they'd probably have to be Neanderthals or some other population of humans not around today. In my column, I lay out the evidence, and the objections from other scientists. (And here's a Q & A I did for "California Today," a newsletter from the Times.)

2. Different species make for different parents. For the first time, scientists have been able to cross-breed two species (mice in this case) and discover a genetic difference that helps make parents either doting or absentee.

3. The Industrial Age has altered the planet in many ways. It has changed the chemistry of the atmosphere, acidified the ocean, and raised the average surface temperature by about 2 degrees F since 1880. A new study shows that by pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, we've also accelerated the photosynthesis of plants worldwide.

--On the talk front, last week I joined a panel of scientists and journalists at Yale for an event called "Truth in the Internet Age: Science Under Siege.” You can watch the video here.

I've got a few more talks falling into place in the next few months. Details to come for all of these...

June 25-28, Aspen Ideas Festival

October 11, Stony Brook University, New York: Provost's Lecture

October 27-29, San Francisco: World Conference of Science Journalists

November 15, University of Oxford: Twelfth Annual Baruch Blumberg Lecture

January 3-7, 2018, San Francisco: Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting, Plenary Lecture

Finally, I wanted to send out another reminder about "Thread," a four-day storytelling workshop in June at Yale. I'll be joining a pretty great crew of journalists, podcasters, and multimedia machers. Join us!

The End
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Best wishes, Carl