HIV Vaccine Origins: New Insight Into League of Extraordinary Immune Cells

[Portrait of an HIV virus by Dominic Alves via Creative Commons & Flickr] Y’know that feeling when you stumble across a study that makes you think, “Holy s***! Scientists actually did this!!!!”? And then like two weeks later, another team of scientists manages to kind of upstage the first team’s finding? It’s been that sort …

We Need Investigative Science Journalism But Learning to Investigate Science is Hard–Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about why many pieces about the need for investigative science journalism don’t acknowledge the factors behind its scarcity.  Conversations about investigations in science journalism often seem to assume that reporters don’t see critiquing science as important, but journalists’ individual interests don’t set the tone for journalistic coverage  all by themselves. In journalism, …

We Need Investigative Science Journalism But Learning to Investigate Science is Hard-Part 1

[^^”How do you know?”: The question that science journalists must not forget to ask.] One night about a month ago, I was at a friend’s birthday party, knocking back tequila and rum with assorted MIT-affiliated twentysomethings. Somehow I ended up talking about tardigrades with a post-doc from an  uber-spiffy genetics institute. [This is what a …

Help me find standout “short-form” science writing

Today is a big day for me, and not just because my 1st byline for The Atlantic went live today. Although seriously, go check it out. It’s also special because I just went on record announcing my intention to compile a quarterly “Best Shortform Science Writing” roundup, so that us science writing whippersnappers can see …

Oceans in the Anthropocene: Forever changed but still awesome [Recap of talk ft. Jeremy Jackson]

The Talk: Uncharted Waters: Novel Ecosystems in the Marine Environment (part of the Ecological Systems in the Anthropocene series) In Plain English: Humans have messed up the ocean, so Harvard asks marine biologists, “What are you excited about?!” The Speaker(s): Mary O’Connor of University of British Columbia, Jeremy Jackson of Scripps Institute for Oceanography, Trevor …

The Unfinished Recap: Why I Didn’t Post About Jason Lieb’s Science

A year and a half ago, during the height of my brown-bag lunch crashing & recapping phase, I caught a talk by a young, charismatic Princeton researcher named Jason Lieb. His talk was awesome. He made gene regulation, a topic that very few people can discuss for an hour without lapsing into what sounds like …

Splice of Life: 3 Examples of How Nature Edits Its Own Genes

About the “Under the Radar” series: Some scientific concepts come up again and again in interviews with scientists but never find their way into newspaper headlines. Each post in this series follows one of those biology “bogeys” that fly under journalism’s radar through 3 different mini-stories. Story #1: Scientists splice up a CRISPR chicken…and find …