Countering a Science Communications Failure

The decisions of Associate Professor R. A. Pyron, to write a perspective piece on extinction and biodiversity, and The Washington Post editors, to publish him, with the headline, "We don’t need to save endangered species. Extinction is part of evolution", have produced what I would label, as a rather large failure of science communication. Geological […]

Continue reading


Read It and Weep: Fungal Guttation

by Jan ThornhillYoung Red-Belted Polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola) with guttation dropsSome fungi are prone to exhibiting a curious phenomenon—they exude beads of moisture, called guttation. In several polypores, such as Fomitopsis pinicola, the liquid produced can look so much like tears that you'd swear the fungus was weeping. Or maybe sweating. Other species produce pigmented drops that can look like milk, or tar, or even blood.Guttation is more well-known in some vascular plants. During the night, when the…

Continue reading


Best Science Books 2017: OODA LOOP: Best Security, Business and Technology books of 2017

As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. And here we are in 2017! As in previous years, my definition of "science books" is pretty inclusive, including books on technology, engineering, nature, the environment, science…

Continue reading


Best Science Books 2017: OODA LOOP: Best Security, Business and Technology books of 2017

As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. And here we are in 2017! As in previous years, my definition of "science books" is pretty inclusive, including books on technology, engineering, nature, the environment, science…

Continue reading


Researching women botanists in 19th century Ontario brought footnotes back into my life

Investigator-driven research is often highly serendipitous. In high school, I liked history as much as biology, but I'm a fidget, and biology, which is much more action-oriented, allowed me to move more. Also, references were much easier to type for science lab reports and essays, than those fussy footnotes required in history and philosophy. Nearly 40 […]

Continue reading


#452 Face Recognition and Identity

This week we deep dive into the science of how we recognize faces and why some of us are better -- or worse -- at this than others. We talk with Brad Duchaine, Professor of Psychology at Dartmouth College, about both super recognizers and face blindness. And we speak with Matteo Martini, Psychology Lecturer at the University of East London, about a study looking at twins who have difficulty telling which one of them a…

Continue reading