The original californica

Meet Aplysia californica, the sea slug whose starring role in the history of neuroscience was a revelation when I started reading about the brain. “Aplysia californica” is the first piece I published from The One You Get: Portrait of a Family Organism, the memoir I’ve been working on. The book is a portait of an artist as a biological and […]

The Fellowship of the Talon?

At first, I thought I was hearing routine chicken squabbling. The hens get loud when they tangle with each other. But Dave (my beloved partner in life and domesticity) seemed to know right away this was something else. Within seconds, the screech was unmistakable: it had something to do with life and death. “Run outside,” […]

What Does It Feel Like for an Electric Fish?

An electric fish swimming around the muddy bottom of the Amazon does something remarkable: it feels its world through tiny pulses of electricity, conducted and transmitted by its nervous system. It communicates by sending pulses into the water and navigates by registering electricity in its environment. I’d love to know what it feels like to […]

Is He Human, or Is He Dancer?

Ed Macfarlane can move. The Friendly Fires frontman can do things with his body most humans cannot. Surely Ed was the muse who inspired The Killers to write, “Are we human, or are we dancer?” And, yes, I’m on a first-name basis with Ed–ever since that first time his sweat danced off him and onto me. Exhibit […]

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