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January 24, 2017

One of the biggest intellectual potholes in thinking about the origins of life is the idea of irreducible complexity.

This is the conceit that that there's no way a complex system like, for example, the mammalian hormone, aka endocrine, system, could have evolved throug...

January 20, 2017


This week I moved my fax machine and Rolodex out of my office.

I was filming a promotional video in my office and it was only in seeing them in the video footage--as if with another viewer's eyes--that mad...

January 17, 2017

Evolutionary biologists are stuck thinking inside the cellular box

Last year, several hundred evolutionary biologists gathered at the Royal Academy in London for a tie-and-jacket PowerPoint showdown.

As Carl Zimmer reported, the conference "New Trends in Evolutionary Bio...

January 12, 2017

An author is visited briefly by the ghost of books past and future                                                          

One S...

January 10, 2017

How an American astronomer's scientific conversion set the foundation for bridging Darwin's gap.

In science, it's remarkable how often the expression of the idea that something is impossible to achieve simultaneously plants the slow-germinating seed for its discovery.


January 3, 2017


   After the 1859 publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species a scientific friend wrote asking about Darwin's thoughts on a missing link in his treatise: The origin not just of species of animals a...

January 2, 2017

A discarded Stone Age tool cuts through time to join hearts and history

In August, 2016 I went to Denmark with my mother on a family pilgrimage to see her octogenarian brother Kjeld Nyegaard. We travelled with the emotional weight that this would be a final visit. Kjeld...

December 27, 2016

You don't need ET to arrive to have the kinds of alien politics depicted in Arrival.

Sometimes a Hollywood movie presciently captures the broader social and political zeitgeist, and the sci-fi alien thriller Arrival landed in theatres just on cue as another outsider inv...

December 23, 2016

The story of Leonard Cohen's immigrant ancestral roots in rural eastern Ontario, a modern Jewish back-to-the-land echo, and newcomers from darkness to light.

Of all the facts and feelings shared by friends in response to Leonard Cohen's death in November, one struck me...

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