After a long stretch of quiet here on the Loom, I wanted to let you know what I’ve been up to, and what I’m going to be up to over the next couple years. I’ve got some new projects afoot.
1. Each week I’ve continued to write my “Matter” column for the New York Times, about subjects ranging from vaccines to the Cambrian Explosion. I won’t break down the whole list of recent columns here, but if you ever feel the urge to catch up, you can go to the Matter archive.
2. Two of my books are coming out as second editions. A Planet of Viruses will be out on October 6. It will include updates on Ebola, MERS, and other viruses in the news. Evolution: Making Sense of Life, a college textbook about evolution I co-authored with biologist Doug Emlen, came out in its second edition in July.
3. Assorted other stuff happened this summer: Speaking of viruses, Radiolab podcasted a long talk I had with hosts Jad Abumbrad and Robert Krulwich about their place in life (the viruses, not Jad and Robert). I wrote for the Open Notebook about how to explain science. I was the subject of a profile along with my brother Ben in the New York Observer. And I interviewed writer Steve Silberman for Wired I interviewed writer Steve Silberman for Wired about his book on autism, Neurotribes.
4. I am starting a new book. It will be about heredity, from its baffling past to its increasingly manipulated future. I got the idea in the spring, and over the summer my old friend and editor Stephen Morrow at Dutton (who edited three of my first books) agreed to take it on. It’s been wonderful to start visiting people for my research. But I confess the enormous stack of research books covering my desk daunts me each morning. (No publication date set yet.)
5. I am also starting a new gig. I’m very excited to begin contributing to a new online publication about medicine and the life sciences called Stat, as a national correspondent. Stat was founded by Boston Globe Media and is now led by Rick Berke, who previously worked as executive editor at Politico and assistant managing editor at the New York Times. He has assembled a great team at Stat, which will have its official launch next month. I will be doing a mix of things for them each month (some writing, some other stuff) in which I’ll explore medical research. Details to come. (A note to fellow science writers: I’ll be participating in a panel about Stat’s launch at MIT next month in conjunction with Science Writers 2015. Details about when and where are here.)
—As I continue writing my column each week for the Times, embark on my new book, and gear up for Stat, it’s clear that these three things are going to gobble up pretty much all my free time for at least a year (and probably also my un-free time as well…). So I’ll need to take a break from the Loom until things loosen up again. National Geographic will continue to archive the Loom’s twelve (!!) years’ worth of posts. The science tattoo emporium is going nowhere. Eventually, I’ll be back.
If you’d like to keep posted on stories I publish and other misadventures, please sign up for my email newsletter, Friday’s Elk, which I will continue to send out. (Technical note: over the summer I switched from MailChimp to TinyLetter. I transferred my mailing list, but it’s possible that a few people fell through the cracks. If you didn’t get my first TinyLetter-hosted issue of Friday’s Elk on August 23 and would like to continue receiving it, please sign up at TinyLetter.)
As always, I’m deeply grateful to all of you for reading my stories in whatever form they take, and for joining me on this endless dive into the strange world that science reveals to us.