Escaping the new media cargo cult

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Ignore the Metrics

Letters to Newtown: digitally archiving sympathy cards sent to town after school shooting massacre

Digitally archiving half million cards, letters, and drawings sent to the town of Newtown, CT after the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Download the Universe: Reviews of science e-books and apps

I'm really happy to be a part of Download the Universe, a new group blog dedicated to reviewing science e-books and apps. No dead trees allowed. It fills a long-ignored niche, helping readers find high-quality science writing in the digital realm, and my partners in this little side project are all top-notch. Download the Universe will feature reviews written by best-selling authors like Sean Carroll and Deborah Blum, new media gods like i09's Annalee Newitz and Not Exactly Rocket Science's Ed Yong, and some of the best science journalists at work today.

The whole thing was organized by Carl Zimmer, who also wrote the most recent review on the site—all about Controlling Cancer: A Powerful Plan for Taking On the World's Most Daunting Disease, by Paul Ewald.

Ewald's basic thesis: What if cancer is really a virus? We know that viruses do cause some cancers. For instance, most cervical cancer is pretty definitively caused by the human papillomavirus. But Ewald theorizes that this virus-cancer connection could be a lot further reaching than we now think—and it could have profound impacts on how we treat and prevent cancer in the future. The document is published by TED Books, and Zimmer says it bears the pretty obvious imprint of the TED brand—really provocative ideas that may or may not be correct, but are definitely fascinating.

[Ewald] has long been an advocate for putting medicine on a solid foundation of evolutionary biology. In the 1990s, for example, he came to fame for his ideas about domesticating infectious diseases.

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