Posts Tagged ‘evolution’

Wherein Science Comedian Interviews Science Writer Carl Zimmer

I am guest host­ing Dr. Kiki’s Sci­ence Hour today while Dr. Kiki is on mater­ni­ty leave.  My guest this week is sci­ence writer Carl Zim­mer, whom I met at the ScienceOnline2011 con­fer­ence in Jan­u­ary.  Hm.  In fact, that’s where I met last week’s guest, Greg Gbur, as well.  Good thing I went to that.

Carl is an amaz­ing writer.  I’m cur­rent­ly read­ing his book Micro­cosm: E. coli and the New Sci­ence of Life.  It’s about life and evo­lu­tion, as seen through the lens of the most well-researched microor­gan­ism.

His lat­est book is Plan­et of Virus­es which will be out in hard­cov­er from Uni­ver­si­ty of Chicago Press on May 1.

Carl also has a book about sci­ence tat­toos com­ing out lat­er this year.  Here is a recent post about Sci­ence Ink: Tat­toos of the Sci­ence Obsessed.

His grow­ing col­lec­tion of sci­ence tat­toos resides at his Sci­ence Tat­too Empo­ri­um.

Vis­it his blog The Loom on Dis­cov­er Magazine’s web­site.

He’s also writ­ten on evo­lu­tion (Evo­lu­tion: Tri­umph of an Idea and the text­book The Tan­gled Bank: An Intro­duc­tion to Evo­lu­tion).  And I just received the brand new edi­tion of his ten-year-old book about par­a­sites:  Par­a­site Rex.

I also have his first book (which he says is his favorite):  At the Water’s Edge: Fish with Fin­gers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea

Here is a recent (Sept. 2010) arti­cle on con­scious­ness at the

A list of great sci­ence books for high school stu­dents.

Carl’s Slate arti­cle about the con­tro­ver­sy sur­round­ing the NASA study of arsenic-based life – “This Paper Should Not Have Been Pub­lished”

Fol­low me and Carl on Twit­ter:  @sciencecomedian and @carlzimmer.

My “Virus Walks Into A Bar” series of jokes on YouTube.

Dr. Richard Lenski’s Exper­i­men­tal Evo­lu­tion Lab at Michi­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty has an evo­lu­tion odome­ter on the front page, track­ing how many gen­er­a­tions of E.coli the lab has bred – over 50,000 gen­er­a­tions, so far!

Oh – and lis­ten for me on NPR’s Sci­ence Fri­day tomor­row.  The show streams live (and airs on your local pub­lic radio sta­tion, too, prob­a­bly) from 11am-1pm Pacific/2-4pm East­ern.  Lis­ten here.

Happy Birthday, Chuck and Abe!

Once again it’s time to cel­e­brate the births of Charles Dar­win and Abra­ham Lin­coln, who were both born Feb­ru­ary 12, 1809, mak­ing them 202 years old today.

Here’s the video I made for, in cel­e­bra­tion of their 200th birth­days.  Just like the new Sin­gu­lar­i­ty video – I wrote, Craig Duff pro­duced, and Jim Fields edit­ed.

Lin­coln and Dar­win: Birth­days and Evo­lu­tion

Science Comedian – the Heat in Arizona

I had a fan­tas­tic time per­form­ing at the Sacra­men­to Com­e­dy Spot this past Fri­day.  We had a packed house in an inti­mate room – and they were just the per­fect science-loving crowd.  Or, I should say, science-comedy-loving crowd.

The open­ing act was the hilar­i­ous­ly geeky Nick Pet­ti­grew (link is to a pre­vi­ous set of his), and I did a whop­ping hour and forty min­utes, includ­ing some Q&A.  I’ll be putting more clips online soon.  Here’s the first.

My fever-dream inspired by the unbear­able heat of an Ari­zona sum­mer.  Some might fan­ta­size of bikin­is and water sports; I can only imag­ine glob­al dev­as­ta­tion, muta­tion, human extinc­tion…

Link:  Sci­ence Come­di­an Bri­an Mal­ow – 125 Degrees

SkeptiCal 2010 Science & Skepticism Conference

I will be speak­ing at Skep­ti­Cal 2010, the North­ern Cal­i­for­nia Sci­ence & Skep­ti­cism Con­fer­ence in Berke­ley, April 24.

Oth­er speak­ers include Euge­nie Scott, Seth Shostak, Kirsten San­ford, Bri­an Dun­ning, and more.  See the list of speak­ers.

Lincoln and Darwin Sitting in a Tree…

It’s that time again!  Hap­py Birth­day, Abra­ham Lin­coln and Charles Dar­win!  This year they would have turned 201 years old.

Last year was the big year – 200th birth­day and the 150th anniver­sary of the pub­li­ca­tion of “The Orig­in of Species.”  This video essay was my first project for Time Magazine’s web­site.  Pro­duced by Craig Duff and edit­ed by Jim Fields:

Video:  Lin­coln and Dar­win: Birth­days and Evo­lu­tion

Stand Up for Evolution!

Con­tin­u­ing our cel­e­bra­tion of 2009 as The Year of Sci­ence, this is my sec­ond video for the COPUS Project.

Read the rest of this entry »

Science Comedian, Lincoln, and Darwin on

If you know me, you prob­a­bly know I’ve always had a thing about Abra­ham Lin­coln.  Noth­ing kinky.  It goes back as far as 2nd grade – at least that’s my old­est sur­viv­ing writ­ing about Abe.

Now, com­bine that with my obvi­ous respect for Charles Dar­win – who shares his birth­day with Lin­coln (Feb­ru­ary 12, 1809) – and you’ll know how excit­ed I am to have tied it all togeth­er in a video piece cel­e­brat­ing their birth­days – and also the 150th anniver­sary of the pub­li­ca­tion of Darwin’s “On the Orig­in of Species.”

I wrote the piece and it was pro­duced by Craig Duff – and today it’s fea­tured on the front page of – as a “Must See” video about Lin­coln and Dar­win.

“Lin­coln and Dar­win – Birth­days and Evo­lu­tion”

Check it out, let me know what you think – and please feel free to for­ward it to EVERYONE!

* Update 2/23/09: Although it was only a “Must See” video for a short time, now it’s dis­played as one of the most pop­u­lar videos!

Stand up straight!

My moth­er used to tell me to “stand up straight.” 

It was one of her favorite things to say: “Stand up straight!” 

Many oth­er peo­ple, I have dis­cov­ered, also grew up hear­ing that phrase. It’s near­ly uni­ver­sal. As if moth­ers were pro­grammed to say it. In fact, I believe moth­ers have been telling their chil­dren to “stand up straight” longer than we real­ize. Per­haps even to pre-human days. 

What if that were the dri­ving force behind the evo­lu­tion­ary trend to walk erect? 

Moth­ers nag­ging their chil­dren up the evo­lu­tion­ary lad­der:

“Stand up straight! 
“Don’t drag your knuck­les when you walk! 
“What’re ya born in a tree? 
“You want the oth­er fam­i­lies to think we’re not evolv­ing?”

“No, mom…”

Then: “How many times do I have to tell you?” 

And, there­in lies the orig­in of math­e­mat­ics:

“How many times?…well, if I put the three here and car­ry the one….”

Science Comedy Video

A mon­tage of some of my sci­ence com­e­dy rou­ti­nes, tak­en most­ly from two events at the Mar­i­an Koshland Sci­ence Muse­um of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences (in 2006 and 2007).

A cou­ple clips from my 2008 per­for­mance appear ear­lier in this blog (on cell phones and Kar­ma) and more are com­ing soon.