Tag Archives: viruses

Carl Zimmer LIFE’S EDGE: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive

In addition to writing for The New York Times, Discover, National Geographic, the Atlantic, Wired and others, Carl Zimmer is the author of 14 books on science, from his first in 1998: AT THE WATER’S EDGE: FISH WITH FINGERS, WHALES WITH LEGS, AND HOW LIFE CAME ASHORE AND THEN WENT BACK TO SEA to his latest book, which we discuss today, LIFE’S EDGE: THE SEARCH FOR WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ALIVE, just published by Dutton.

He claims to be the only writer after whom a species of tapeworm has been named, Acanthobothrium zimmeri. We spoke with him on March 15, 2021.

We end with poems read by San Francisco poet, publisher and founder of City Lights Books, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He died just two months shy of his 102nd birthday on February 22, 2021.

A Tapeworm To Call My Own https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/a-tapeworm-to-call-my-own

What Is Life? Its Vast Diversity Defies Easy Definition. https://www.quantamagazine.org/what-is-life-its-vast-diversity-defies-easy-definition-20210309/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

The Surprising Origins of Life’s Complexity https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-surprising-origins-of-lifes-complexity-20130716

Meet the Sea Slugs That Chop Off Their Heads and Grow New Bodies https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/08/science/decapitated-sea-slugs.html?surface=home-discovery-vi-prg&fellback=false&req_id=1216872&algo=identity&variant=no-exp&imp_id=659601079&action=click&module=Science%20%20Technology&pgtype=Homepage

The Earth’s first breathable atmosphere https://earthsky.org/earth/the-earths-first-breathable-atmosphere

Tardigrades: nature’s great survivors https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/mar/20/tardigrades-natures-great-survivors

David Quammen- Spillover: Animal Infections & the Next Human Pandemic



In this edition of Forthright Radio, originally broadcast on May 1, 2013, intrepid journalist, David Quammen, discusses his book, SPILLOVER: ANIMAL INFECTIONS& THE NEXT HUMAN PANDEMIC,  in which he tracks down the animal origins of such diseases we humans are now susceptible to, including viruses such as HIV-AIDS, SARS, EBOLA, HENDRA, MARBURG, and INFLUENZA, and bacteria such as LYME DISEASE and Q FEVER.

h_research_global-emerging-infectious-diseases-map.jpgAmong the questions he investigates are: Why do new diseases emerge when they do, where they do, as they do, and not elsewhere, other ways, at other times? Is it happening more now than in the past? And perhaps the biggest question: What sort of deadly bug, with what unforeseen origins and what inexorable impacts, will emerge next?


David Quammen is the author of four books of fiction, and seven acclaimed books of nonfiction, including THE RELUCTANT MR. DARWIN and THE SONG OF THE DODO. He served as the Wallace Stegner Chair of Western American Studies at Montana State University from 2007 – 2009. He is a contributing writer for National Geographic magazine. SPILLOVER: ANIMAL INFECTIONS AND THE NEXT HUMAN PANDEMIC is more than a page turner about how microbes cross from animal species into humans and evolve into infectious diseases, it is also a chronicle of the many far flung journeys David Quammen has taken to some of the most remote parts of the globe, to interview the scientists in the field, who search for the animal reservoirs from which they come.



Articles pertinent to this interview:

Infection of Wildlife Biologist Highlights Risks of Virus Hunting https://theintercept.com/2022/07/02/virus-infection-bat-biosafety/

As Covid recedes in US a new worry emerges: wildlife passing on the virus https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/11/us-covid-wildlife-virus