Tag Archives: Carl Zimmer

Friday finds

I’m thrilled right down to the soles of my Buster Browns at the thought of the screenwriters behind the Olsen Twins movie New York Minute doing an adaptation of Moby-Dick. Aren’t you?

I’m even more thrilled at the thought of realizing my long-held ambition to see fungi firing their spores to the tune of the “Anvil Chorus” from Il Trovatore. Click here and let Carl Zimmer show you how to make that dream come true.

But at the end of the day, the biggest and best thrill comes from contemplating which of the warrior-theme bath gels I’ll take into the tub with me tomorrow morning. Jeff says the Charlemagne gel, which “offers the natural astringency of chestnut seed, totally conquers the citrusy, skin-softening properties of Caesar,” but he’s prejudiced — for an obvious reason.

Chris Offutt offers a handy guide to literary terms, such as “chick lit,” defined as “A patriarchal term of oppression for heterosexual female writing; also, a marketing means to phenomenal readership and prominent bookstore space.”

You might want to cover your ears — or, at the very least, hold your nose — as Scott McLemee sticks a long pin into a methane-pumped dirigible named Bernard-Henri Levy.  

Tim Lucas pays long and eloquent tribute to These Are the Damned, an overlooked science fiction film from the early Sixties that ought to be much better known. Lucas goes into great detail about the film’s thematic ambition and dark social commentary. I saw the film ages ago, when a hacked-up cut appeared from time to time on late-night television, and I can still remember the impact of its deeply disturbing conclusion. (Bird-dogged by Glenn Kenny.) 

On a related note, John Scalzi lists science fiction films that were made immortal by their music. Of course he lists 2001: A Space Odyssey, and while none of his other choices surprise, his arguments are sound.

Geoff doesn’t have to watch The Wire. He lives it. The fourth season, to be exact.

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Travels with E.coli

Science writer Carl Zimmer returns from the west coast leg of his tour to promote Microcosm:

Portland had a cloudy, melancholy charm, and at Powell’s I gave a reading in front of a collection of hand-made black velvet paintings from the nearby Velveteria. When the audience’s eyes drifted off of me, I couldn’t tell if they were lost in thought or distracted by Jimi Hendrix or a smoking clown.

The next day I headed for San Francisco, where I talked to Moira Gunn for her show Tech Nation (link to come). Then I had lunch with Kirsten Sanford, who will be interviewing me on tomorrow’s edition of This Week In Science. Then off to Santa Cruz, to talk to Robert Pollie at KUSP for his show Talk of the Bay (link to come). Finally I made my way over to Kepler’s in Menlo Park. I spoke there a few years ago, and since then they closed and were saved by the community. I was glad to be able to come back.

In the morning I flew to Seattle. I headed for Microsoft Research to give a talk, which I’m told will be online before long. I was a little spooked by the experience, because, in addition to the lunchtime crowd in the room, there were lots of people watching online elsewhere–in some cases in other countries. I had to resist the instinct to talk very loudly so that people over in China could hear me.

Then I made a quick appearance on KOMO, the ABC affiliate in Seattle. The anchor started talking about E. coli in hamburger and spinach, and I responded by describing the billions of E. coli in her. I saw her eyes widen a little in what I’m guessing was supressed horror, but she handled it like a pro.

Finally I went to Town Hall and waited for intrepid souls to wade through the downpours to hear me talk. It was great to see familiar faces (like this mug). I met blogger Geoff Arnold, who showed me Microcosm on Kindle, and since I couldn’t autograph his screen, he took a picture. (I think Town Hall will also be posting my talk–will update.)

Now there’s a drawback nobody thought of — how do you inscribe a Kindle book?

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