logo

nikki

  • Lymphocyte

    All Cells Bulletin: How Fame Powers Your Immune System

    When talking about our health, we tend to refer breezily to “the immune system,” as if it were as simple as an electric fence keeping out invaders. And there’s certainly an electric fence component: The innate immune response is an ancient, relatively nonspecific kind of defense that triggers inflammation and the deployment of attack cells […]

  • placeholder

    Far From Home Is Where the Heart Is

    Travels Looking at Mt. Fuji, by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806) It doesn’t take advanced technology to prove that we live relatively circumscribed lives. Like tiny planets, we process along a certain orbit, from home, the office, the grocery store, the kids’ school, and back home again, except for the occasional vacation. But thanks to the numerous […]

  • ostrich feet

    The Problematic, Newfangled Hack That Is the Human Leg

    If you were to design a leg for a bipedal animal from scratch, what would it look like? Don’t bother looking down at your own body for inspiration—you won’t find a good model there.  If you want to make a really good bipedal leg, you should make one a lot like an ostrich’s, and nothing like […]

  • sperm entrance

    The Feminine Smells That Get Sperm Moving

    Sperm are the cheetahs of the microscopic world: Made of little more than molecular muscle and batteries, tipped with a payload of genetic information, they are optimized for speed. But to orient themselves before their epic, seven-inch sprint (it’s more impressive if you’re less than one three-thousandth that size), they first need to sniff out […]