Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Hooray for Neo-Organisms, I Guess...

Here's a link to an article that, if true, is pretty mind-blowing: a scientist with a good track record is creating "organisms" that convert CO2 into fuel--and, in theory, could eliminate the petroleum industry.

Here's the most interesting part of the article:

[Dr. Venter's] team is using synthetic chromosomes to modify organisms that already exist, not making new life, he said. Organisms already exist that produce octane, but not in amounts needed to be a fuel supply.

"If they could produce things on the scale we need, this would be a methane planet," Venter said. "The scale is what is critical; which is why we need to genetically design them."

The genetics of octane-producing organisms can be tinkered with to increase the amount of CO2 they eat and octane they excrete, according to Venter.

The limiting part of the equation isn't designing an organism, it's the difficulty of extracting high concentrations of CO2 from the air to feed the organisms, the scientist said in answer to a question from Page.

Scientists put "suicide genes" into their living creations so that if they escape the lab, they can be triggered to kill themselves.

The creepy thing about this is that they never really say what "organism" they're modifying. Is it bigger than a breadbox? Are there different kinds? Could you do it to cockroaches? Because I hate those things. And that's not even looking beyond the "suicide genes" sentence. (Is that ethical if it's a living creature? What if they design the organism with minimal sentience? The mind boggles.)

What I'm saying is, the sci-fi novel-and-movie inspired by this piece practically writes itself. In a nod to Shakespeare and Huxley, we could title it That Has Such Creatures In It.



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