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The Artful Amoeba

The Artful Amoeba


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Thank You, Domain Archaea …

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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The Midway Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park, teeming with colorful archaea and bacteria. Creative Commons Wing-Chi Poon. Click image for license and source.

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… and thank you to the late, great Carl Woese, for my post about both — Archaea Are More Wonderful Than You Know — was a finalist in the Best Biology Post category in this year’s ScienceSeeker Blog Awards.

If you are interested in learning more about Woese and Archaea, I encourage you to listen to this Woese-themed This Week in Microbiology podcast featuring Vincent Racaniello, Michael Schmidt, and Stanley Maloy (start listening about 3:55 to skip the San Diego weather report). They discuss Woese’s life, struggles, and work in fascinating detail. Woese’s story is as much about humans as it is about microbes, and both parts of the tale are surprising and gripping in their own way.

The ScienceSeeker Blog Awards are “a way to feature several of the most outstanding blog posts, podcasts, or videos from the past year,” according to the science blog aggregator and filter ScienceSeeker, a project of the annual conference ScienceOnline. Fellow Sci Am blogger Hannah Waters won the Best Biology Post category — congrats to her! And congrats to the other Sci Am finalists, which Bora has listed here, and to all the other finalists and winners. The finalists include my friend Bob Henson at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, whose finalist post explained why the storm surge warnings before Hurricane Sandy were so poorly absorbed by the public. Also, don’t miss the Post of the Year – Re-Awakenings, by Virginia Hughes. It’s top-notch. Thanks to those of you who “recommended” my post back in March. Finally, thanks to the judges — Fraser Cain, Maggie Koerth-Baker, and Maryn McKenna — for the gracious donation of their time and energy.

I don’t say it enough, so I’ll say it now: I’m so lucky to be given this soapbox here at Scientific American to tell you about all the living things that light up my heart and head. Thanks to Bora for giving me the opportunity, and to all you readers for indulging me. I hope you have as much fun here as I do.

It’s been quiet here lately, but I’ve got a whole lot of good stuff lined up for the next few days. Stay tuned.

Jennifer Frazer About the Author: Jennifer Frazer is a AAAS Science Journalism Award-winning science writer. She has degrees in biology, plant pathology/mycology, and science writing, and has spent many happy hours studying life in situ.
Nature Blog Network
Follow on Twitter @JenniferFrazer.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. squidboy6 1:05 pm 05/16/2013

    Dear Jennifer, I’ve enjoyed reading your column but when I read other Sci Am articles concerning Climate Change and the comments I get pretty disturbed – the comments are primarily rants from a half dozen folks who present no arguments or they use distorted facts to try and weaken the public perception that Climate Change is happening.

    I’ve written to the links provided for contact to Sci Am but I doubt if they have been noticed. There isn’t any other way so I’ve decided to send this message to people like you.

    I’ve removed my bookmarks for Sci Am from my computer. I can get science news from many sites like Science Daily for example. There is no point in engaging the deniers on your site, they’re not rational and they’re not scientists. I skip a lot of sites because of trolls but I’m pretty disappointed that Sci Am doesn’t screen its comments the way Nature does. The New York Times isn’t bias-free but it does a good job of screening their comments. The same four or five people are pretty much the only people commenting on articles on Climate Change which just shows how bad the problem is.

    Anyway, I have better things to do other than rant, as I’m sure you have better things to do, so I’m going to be using other sources for news from now on. My business is supplying biologists so I don’t do this lightly but I cannot abide a science-based source that allows so many irrational comments to be made without doing something about them, even if only on a temporary basis. After all, I never see climate scientists commenting on these articles so I’m not the only one who avoids your sites. Goodbye and good luck, I’m sure plenty of folks will read your posts but I can get the news and analysis elsewhere and I will be doing so from now on.

    P.S. I don’t use an alias on other sites because I don’t need to.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Hollisjeanne 9:42 pm 05/16/2013

    Congrats! … you deserve it.

    Link to this
  3. 3. Jennifer Frazer in reply to Jennifer Frazer 11:19 pm 05/16/2013

    squidboy — I hear you and I’ve passed your concerns along to the relevant people. I’m really sorry to see you go.

    Jeanne — Thank you!

    Link to this

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