Rowan Hooper on Muck Rack

Rowan Hooper Verified

As seen in:  New Scientist, Wired, Slate

I'm managing editor @NewScientist. PhD in evolutionary biology. Former Tokyoite & entomologist. Columnist for @japantimes.

Medaka: the fish that helps us understand gender

japantimes.co.jp — The diminutive medaka (Japanese rice fish) have been kept as pets since the Edo Period (1603-1868). They are hardy animals, an important quality for a pet, and they naturally occur in a variety of colors, including gold. They have distinctive, some say attractive, eyes (for a fish) - indeed, medaka in Japanese means "with high eyes."

I, robot, am looking forward to a very bright future

On the pleasing violence of fairy tales

japantimes.co.jp — Traditional fairy tales are so steeped in blood it's astonishing that children didn't all grow up to become deranged in days gone by. Take, for example, the popular Japanese fable "Shita-kiri Suzume" (literally, "Tongue-Cut Sparrow"), which tells the tale of a kind old man, his avaricious wife and an injured sparrow.

When nature evolves to be awesome

japantimes.co.jp — A few years ago, an anthropologist told me an amazing story about a wild chimpanzee she had observed in Senegal. A bushfire had ignited in the summer heat, and she saw a chimp stand upright on its hind legs, face the fire and perform "a really exaggerated slow-motion display."

Japanese are quick to embrace robots

japantimes.co.jp — "H ello and welcome. I can tell you about money exchange, ATMs, opening a bank account or overseas remittance. Which one would you like?" This greeting is not uttered by a human employee but, instead, a diminutive robot named Nao.

Polonium, peacocks -- and a dead spy

japantimes.co.jp — It's one of the biggest stories of the year - and certainly the most unusual. I'm talking about the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy living in London who was poisoned with a radioactive isotope last month. Nothing like this has been seen for nearly 20 years, back when the Cold War was raging.

Longevity, genetics and the whale

japantimes.co.jp — The oldest person in the world - and the oldest ever Japanese person - is Misao Okawa. She lives in Osaka and is 116. She'll be 117 in March. Okawa is the last living Japanese person to have experienced the 19th century. Not that she can remember much about it: She was born in 1898.

Love of robots may pave way for better treatment of animals

japantimes.co.jp — If chimps had history books, a few individuals would have important chapters devoted to them. One would be David Greybeard, the chimp who in 1960 was observed by Jane Goodall using a piece of grass as a tool. Another would be Ai, the female chimp currently living at the Primate Research Institute in Kyoto.

Eels face the slippery slope to extinction

japantimes.co.jp — Last week I was crossing the River Thames on the way to work in London, and I happened to see a cormorant emerge from the water with a thrashing eel in its mouth. The bird juggled the fish, skillfully managing to position it so it could swallow the wriggling animal headfirst.

Avast! It's a gas-filled blob with a sting in the tail

newscientist.com — APART from its wondrously alien look, the coolest thing about the Portuguese man-of-war is that it is not an individual animal at all. Nor is it a jellyfish. It is a siphonophore - an entity formed of a colony of tiny animals called zooids.
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Jun 26, 2015

I have something in common with Pres Obama: we both interviewed David #Attenborough me: ow.ly/OPkR8 @POTUS bbc.in/1NfYoZN

Jun 25, 2015

#abswawards many congrats to best newcomer Maria Delaney. Also congrats to shortlisted awsm @realavivahr

Jun 25, 2015

RT @GMMace: To strengthen economic (like ecological) networks look at whole dynamics, not just one node #ecology #grexit @rowhoop newscientist.com/article/dn2778…

Jun 25, 2015

@byMJWalker they usually get filtered out and don't end up in shops. Perfectly OK to eat, they get used in cakes and stuff.

Jun 25, 2015

@byMJWalker from the Last Word: It's to do with the hen being under stress when the egg is laid. It happens a lot but ...

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