Bookstores in Oklahoma look like what you would expect bookstores in Oklahoma to look like. Even the chains (ie Barnes and Noble) have row after row after row of Christian/Astrology/Natural Medicine/Diet shit, and seem to only begrudgingly allocate a column of shelves for science books (which includes DI shit).
So last Sunday morning I went to Barnes and Noble with only a slim hope of finding Craig Venters autobiography, 'A Life Decoded.' After last weeks announcement, I couldnt take it anymore. WANT. Plus I had a coupon for 25% off an item, and I always fantasize about walking into B&N to find another lost soul in the science 'section', lecturing a helpless B&N employee on why O'Learys book should not be in the 'neurology' section (yes, its there. Neat fact: it was proof-read by a lolcat.) on a Sunday morning.
Alas, the science shelf was void of human life, save a lone dude who appeared to by studying at a nearby table (and not appreciating my LOLing at 'Spiritual Brain').
BUT they did have 'Life Decoded', and it was accidentally still on holiday sale-- so I ended up getting it for like $12!! WHOO!
'A Life' also made for an unexpected opportunity at sciencevangelism:
Older fellow at the register: "Hey do you listen to NPR?"I hate it when people are scared of science. Especially cool and helpful science. Like were gonna screw up the planet any worse than where we are already heading...
Me: "I only listen to the radio in the car, and I dont drive much, but sometimes!"
Dude: "Well they have this segment called 'Science Friday'..."
Me: "Yeah yeah!"
Dude: "They said last week that this guy... created artificial life? Created life?"
Me: lol! "Sorta :) They recreated life, from scratch I guess you could say."
Dude: "Man... *shakes head* Its scary..."
Me: "NONONONONONO!!! Its not scary! Theyre hoping to one day figure out how to use 'artificial' bacteria to eat all this plastic were generating and how to help with global warming and alternative fuel sources-- They have the approval of the government and numerous religious organizations. This is all in a controlled environment. Its not scary, theyre trying to save the world, and this is the first step. Its a good thing!"
Dude: "Wow, what a brave new world we live in!"
Oh, and an open note to WIRED: Its their goddamn science project, they can watermark whatever the hell they want in it. And, as Carl Zimmer notes, the message is fleeting anyway. When *you* build a genome, you can sign it any way you want... within the confines of the amino acid alphabet.