March 28, 2013 |
Innocence A Novel Louis B. Jones Counterpoint: 160 pp., $14.95 paper The plot of Louis B. Jones' new novel seems to promise an antic, postmodern free-for-all: A middle-aged former Episcopalian priest, now employed in Marin County real estate, takes a weekend tour of Sonoma wine country with his new girlfriend. Both have recently undergone surgeries to repair a cleft palate, both are sexually inexperienced, and both are grappling with issues of self-definition and identity.
October 18, 2012 |
Apparently, there just aren't enough genomes for Craig Venter to sequence here on Earth, so he's making plans to send a DNA sequencer to Mars. “There will be life forms there,” Venter said, with his usual confidence, at a Wired Health conference this week in New York. If he can build a machine to find it, the next steps would be to decode its DNA, beam it back to Earth, put those genetic instructions into a cell and then boot up a Martian life form in a biosecure lab. It may sound far-fetched, but assuming that there is DNA to be found on the Red Planet - a big assumption, to be sure - the notion of equipping a future Mars rover to sequence the DNA isn't so crazy.
December 16, 2010 |
The not-so-distant prospect that scientists will be able to create new forms of life in the lab raises ethical and safety challenges, but progress in the field should not be hobbled by premature restrictions, a panel appointed by President Obama said in a report to be released Thursday. The President's Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues acknowledged in its first report to the Obama White House that "do-it-yourselfers" ? individual scientists and small labs working without institutional backing or restraints ?
December 4, 2010
One of the better-known quotes from the original "Star Trek" series came from Mr. Spock, who, in describing a space colony, said "there is no life .... at least no life as we know it. " That quotation is echoed in the breathless descriptions by scientists of a newly found bacterium, one that can digest arsenic instead of the phosphorus processed by other life forms. The organism was found in California's Mono Lake. The discovery was important in itself, but scientists were quick to extrapolate from it to speculate about what it might mean for extraterrestrial life.
May 14, 2010
Woofing about Riordan Re "Unleashed," Opinion, May 8 Where was Hizzoner in taking on the unions when he was in a position to actually do something? If former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan had fought to reduce the pension promises to all new hires who started with the city during his eight years, we would not now be looking at the ballooning pension costs that may cripple the city's fiscal future. If Riordan, with tons of his own money to finance his political career, and ostensibly no further political ambitions, couldn't face down the powerful public unions, who can?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 3, 2009 |
On a recent weekday morning, Tom and Jo Heindel strode to the top of a hill at the edge of town and held hands, savoring the panoramic views below of elk grazing in alfalfa fields, strips of willows along streams and elm trees glistening with the remnants of rain. Then Tom, 73, and Jo, 71, got down to business. "A few dozen scaup, 10 eared grebes, 12 Clark's grebes, 20 canvasbacks and a Northern harrier gliding low and fast," Jo said, peering through a spotting scope. "Got it," said Tom, transcribing the information on a tally sheet spread across the hood of their aging white mini-pickup truck.