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The Primate Diaries

The Primate Diaries

Notes on science, politics, and history from a primate in the human zoo.

Male Chauvinist Chimps or the Meat Market of Public Opinion?

Author's Note: The following originally appeared at Nature Network. It was subsequently selected as a PLoS ONE Pick of the Month, as a Finalist in the 2009 Quark Prize in Science and appeared in the 2009 edition of The Open Laboratory: The Best Science Writing on the Web (buy it here)...

September 2, 2011 — Eric Michael Johnson

Chemical Romance: The Loves of Dmitri Mendeleev, Part 1

The scientist who systematized all the known elements in the universe was about to throw everything away for love. In April, 1881 Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev was internationally renowned for his creation of the periodic table that revealed the simple, yet elegant structure underlying all matter, but he was prepared to kill himself unless the woman he loved agreed to marry him.Anna Ivanovna Petrova, a twenty-year-old art student from the small Cossack village of Uryupinskaya in Southern Russia, had already turned him down twice in the last three years...

August 2, 2011 — Eric Michael Johnson

Stressing Motherhood: How Biology and Social Inequality Foster Maternal Infanticide

Chicago’s nineteenth ward reeked of overripe fruit and kerosene the day Mary Stastch killed her baby. According to the Chicago Tribune on July 29, 1911 the unemployed single mother and recent immigrant from Austria left Cook County Hospital earlier that week and “wandered about Chicago for two days with the baby in her arms, looking for work.” But with the growing labor crisis leaving nearly 250,000 people jobless her search would have been difficult even without a newborn in tow.As if that wasn’t enough, the following day more than three hundred police descended on the largely immigrant neighborhood around Maxwell Street in what was described as “a day of rioting and wild disorder such has not been seen in Chicago since the garment workers’ strike” the previous year...

July 22, 2011 — Eric Michael Johnson

Throwing Rocks From the Shores of the Cosmic Ocean

I’m teaching my son to think like a scientist. He is two years old. We frequently go for walks together through the woods and along the coastlines of British Columbia where I allow his curiosity to run free...

July 5, 2011 — Eric Michael Johnson

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