Rowan Hooper on Muck Rack

Rowan Hooper Verified

As seen in:  New Scientist, Wired, Slate

I'm managing editor @NewScientist. Former Tokyoite & entomologist. Columnist for @japantimes.

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.

What kind of life could live in the clouds?

japantimes.co.jp — Do you remember seeing clouds from an airplane for the first time? Even if that first time was as an adult, you were probably struck by the appearance of solidity. Seen from above, a cloudscape looks like a landscape - it looks like a place where things might live.

Cycling is a drag act in virtual wind tunnel

newscientist.com — IF YOU'RE a keen cyclist, chances are your helmet and bike have been designed to reduce drag. If you're a professional racer, you - or your team - will want to know the aerodynamic impact of everything, from the frame to the quick-release nuts on the front wheel.
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Apr 27, 2015

Stephen Hawking: “One day there may be proof of multiple universes - and in that universe Zayn is still in One Direction” cc @journeytospace

Apr 26, 2015

The awesome Cold Dark Matter: an exploded view (Cornelia Parker). @whitworthart pic.twitter.com/i56tcNYolj

Apr 26, 2015

Love this. Drawing made with rattlesnake venom (black ink) and antidote (white). Cornelia Parker @whitworthart pic.twitter.com/aqHR00dRAl

Apr 24, 2015

@jjaron @m_c_marshall @FQXi isn't City of Death the one with multiple copies of the Mona Lisa? Isn't that the Douglas Adams one?!

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