Thursday, July 24, 2008

Across the curious parallel

I've got a feature just out in PLoS Biology on the parallels between language change and biological evolution. It particularly tries to look at what the microevolutionary mechanisms might be that drive the macroevolutionary patterns seen in language.

For a different take on the same topic, see Emma Marris's recent feature in Nature. Mine's free, but you'll have to pay for hers.

Friday, July 18, 2008

TREE 2.0

The current Trends in Ecology and Evolution has an article on science blogging by John Wilkins, who is both a philosopher at the University of Queensland and author of the blog Evolving Thoughts.

The piece seems aimed more at people who don't write/read/comment on/know of the existence of blogs than those that do. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Review: coral books

And I've got a piece in the current London Review of Books on two recent books on coral: Steve Jones' Coral, and J. N. Veron's A reef in time, one of many, many books recently declared to be 'Silent Spring for climate change/coral/fisheries/etc.'

Here's the first par:
Tens of thousands of years ago, the arrival of people in the Americas, and in Australia and New Zealand, was followed by a wave of extinctions, particularly of the largest species, which made the most attractive game. More recently, rats, cats and goats have eaten their way through the native plants and animals of small and not so small islands; and California is home to four hundred introduced plant species, which have almost entirely displaced the native prairie. But in the next hundred years or so, we are likely to see something new, as human activities cause the disappearance of ecosystems on a global scale. Species living on mountain-tops are going to find their habitat disappearing, as warmer climates rise up to engulf them. And Steve Jones and J.E.N. Veron warn that climate change may well bring about the end of coral reefs – if overfishing, disease, invading species and pollution don’t get them first.

Where we're at

I've not been posting for a while mainly because I've been working on a proposal and sample chapter for a book. More details here soon, I hope. That's kept me out of action with regards to journalism, and generally swimming in the info-plankton.

But I did go to the Network Science meeting in Norwich last week, and had a very good time (partly because I used to go to university in Norwich). I was on Nature's shilling, so I wrote a couple of news stories for them, one about the relationship between social network structure and happiness and one about the influence of workplace social networks on productivity.

I also wrote a couple of blog posts for one of Nature's blogs, one general muse on the meeting, and one about an integrated network approach to studying disease.

Actually, you can give it away

So, I was googling my book, as you do, and I came across this, the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority Awards for Exceptional Achievement in Recycling. Looks like Mendham Books had a copy of ITBOAH gathering dust in a storeroom, and decided to devote it to a good cause.

Not as a prize, though - no one's that desperate. As a 'table favor', whatever one of those is. One stage up from a complimentary mint, I'm guessing.

Anyway, here's the lucky winner.

Doesn't she look whelmed?