Tackling fiction with what he knows best

I was thumbing through my New Yorker magazine when the featured fiction story caught my eye. The accompanying graphic showed several silhouetted ants and the opening line of the story read: “The Trailhead Queen was dead.” I began reading and got pulled into the plight facing the colony, which was profoundly affected by the death of its long-lived queen.

Something about the fiction story was different though. While it kept my attention it also fed me detailed and fascinating facts (e.g. “…..ants are encased in an external skeleton; their soft tissues shrivel into dry threads and lumps, but their exoskeletons remain, a knight’s armor fully intact long after the knight is gone.”) Halfway through reading, it struck me that this was just the sort of story a biologist could write. I flipped back to check who authored the piece and was startled to see that it was a biologist.

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ESA Policy News: Feb 12

  Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy News by ESA’s Science Policy Analyst, Piper Corp.  Read the full Policy News here.    WHITE HOUSE BUDGET REQUEST FOR 2011 SHOWS STRONG COMMITMENT TO SCIENCE–President Obama’s $3.834 trillion 2011 budget request shows continued support for science, in spite of the three-year freeze on nondefense discretionary spending that he has proposed. The budget is now headed to Congress...

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Look out for Loners

This post contributed by Nadine Lymn, ESA Director of Public Affairs   Personality traits that lead an individual to want to avoid crowds could actually be playing a role in biological invasions, says a recent study that appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences.  Julien Cote and colleagues at the University of California at Davis looked at the personality traits of the mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis and...

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President’s budget reflects priorities in STEM, renewable energy, climate, and “bio-economy”

This post was contributed by Nadine Lymn, ESA Director of Public Affairs As is tradition on the first Monday in February, the President yesterday unveiled his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year of 2011.  All over Washington, DC, federal agencies held budget briefings, with more to come over the next several days. Although President Obama called for some fiscal belt-tightening, Administration officials presenting the budget...

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Iron-plated Snail

This post contributed by Nadine Lymn, ESA Director of Public Affairs  Another example of the ingenuity of nature: researchers are finding inspiration in the extraordinarily strong exoskeleton of a deep-sea snail, Crysomallon squamiferum.  The mollusk’s iron-plated shell is giving researchers insights that could lead to stronger materials for airplane hulls, cars, and military equipment. Researchers at the National Science Foundation...

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