Lily Huang

Stories by Lily Huang

  • Healthy Competition Advances the Field of Biology

    About 10 years ago, biology entered betting season. An upstart scientist named J. Craig Venter jolted the genetics establishment by launching his own gene-sequencing outfit, funded by commercial investment, and setting off toward biology's holy grail—the human genome—on his own. It was Venter versus the old guard—old because of where they got their money (governments and trusts) and the sequencing technique they wanted to hold onto. Venter won that race, and not because he got there first. By combining the freedom of academic inquiry and commercial capital, he came up with a new way of doing science so effective that it forced the old institutions to either ramp up or play second fiddle.With Venter's momentum, biology has continued to surge into new territory, but now he's not alone in pushing the pace. In fact, with his staff of hundreds at the J. Craig Venter Institute, he is looking dangerously like the establishment he raced past almost a decade ago. Another maverick in the...
  • Lack of Biodiversity May Make Us Sicker

    The most important question not raised during the swine-flu panic could have been asked by a 6-year-old: where do viruses come from? The answer, it turns out, is simple, and scary: viruses come from a giant wellspring of diseases—also known as the environment—that grown-ups should be very careful not to disturb. Pathogens—viruses, bacteria and a wide variety of other parasites—appear in nature as unpredictable, minimalist terrors equipped with little genetic material of their own but the ability to make things up as they go. A bird-flu virus can rest coolly in pigs, then flare up in humans, scrambling genes from all three species in ways impossible to fully anticipate with vaccines. The SARS virus bided its time among palm civets (a kind of mongoose) and horseshoe bats before killing humans in 2002. And possibly the most diminutive of all, the retrovirus HIV emerged from the blood of wild monkeys to become the most efficient destroyer of the human immune system. With strong enough...
  • What About Ijunk?

    With the right design, a manufactured good can be broken down into a number of universal, toxin-free components.
  • Power To The Bottom

    Social enterprise has a soulmate in Web 2.0, a powerful new tool for bottom-up, collaborative innovation.
  • A Tool Of Revolution

    The failure of a Facebook protest in Egypt common to new technologies that seem ready to change the world, but not yet.
  • Autos: A Car That Crouches Like A Cat

    The new BMW M1 Hommage is like the special-edition "Star Wars Trilogy": an eye-popping, 21st- century package for an old soul. The concept car, unveiled at the Concorso d'Eleganza in Como, Italy, last week, commemorates the 30th anniversary of the original mid-engine supercar. Aside from the increase in size—the Hommage is significantly wider than the old M1—the new visual evolution is made up of countless subtle flourishes spun off from the original. Exaggerating the contours of the M1 with fluid strokes, the Hommage transforms the old turbo box into a crouching cat. The rear window is still louvered, though, and the wheels are an elegant caricature of the old signature. None will doubt that this car is in love with itself. As a concept car, the Hommage is just a modernized shell of its former self; in fact, the designers didn't even bother to build an interior at all. Still, the new design is a chance to look forward as well as backward: rumor has it that BMW is working on a real...
  • Roses Are Not Always Red

    A rose is always a rose, and this spring they'll be on lots of garments and accessories. For chilly days, Anthropologie puts a golden vine of roses on a silk and wool scarf ($88). They garnish Prada's satin clutch ($695; bergdorfgoodman.com). Jean-Michel Cazabat covers a black silk shoe with a blossoming vine ($495, available in June; barneys .com). Rosettes accent a sterling-silver Tiffany bangle ($395), and hang with cultured pearls on a necklace ($850; tiffany.com). Fendi's short lemon-chiffon dress is flush with cascading silk rose petals ($1,710; bergdorfgoodman .com). And Judith Leiber's Precious Rose purse features a tiered mosaic of 1,169 pink sapphires, 800 tourmalines and 1,016 diamonds—more than 42 carats' worth (about $92,000, dependent on the market; 212-223-2999). Don't say we never promised you a rose garden.
  • Watch Out for the Bees

    A rose is a rose is a dress is a purse is a … shoe? This spring, roses can be found on all sorts of garments and accessories, and still look awfully sweet. They garnish Prada's satin clutch, their folds echoed on the pleated front ($695; bergdorfgoodman .com). Jean-Michel Cazabat covers a black silk shoe with a blossoming vine ($495, available in June; barneys.com). Rosettes accent a sterling-silver Tiffany bangle ($395), and hang with cultured freshwater pearls on an elegant necklace ($850; tiffany.com). Fendi's short lemon-chiffon dress is flush with cascading silk rose petals ($1,710; bergdorfgood man.com). And no bouquet was ever more dazzling to carry than Judith Leiber's Precious Rose purse, a handmade, tiered mosaic of 1,169 pink sapphires, 800 tourmalines and 1,016 diamonds—more than 42 carats' worth (price upon request; contact store for information: 212-223-2999). Don't say we never promised you a rose garden.
  • Protect the Willfully Ignorant

    People can't make informed decisions about privacy in online networks if they don't know what the trade-offs are.
  • Wildlife: The Art of Falconry

    The art of falconry—in essence, "flying a hawk"—dates back to 2000 B.C. Today it's practiced by a growing number of licensed falconers around the world who teach the basics of raising, training and flying raptors. The five-star Ashford Castle (from €360 per night; ashford.ie) is home to Ireland's School of Falconry, whose birds will accompany guests on instructive walks (from €65) or as VIPs at cocktail hour (€185; falconry.ie). In Sutherland, Scotland, Highland Hawking Holidays offers an intensive six-day course for beginners (£400; highland hawking.co.uk). Dartmoor Hawking in Devon, England, lets visitors fly owls and walk with the sociable Harris hawks (£115). For practiced falconers, the school offers a two-day course on training the fastest, most temperamental bird of all: the falcon (£225; dartmoor hawking. co.uk).
  • Q&A: Sarkozy's Religion

    Sarkozy's religion may not be a throwback to the past so much as a look to Europe's future, argues religious scholar Alan Wolfe.