The Platypus, The 'Thunder' & The Swimsuit(s) Of The Future

(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
At first glance, the platypus looks more like a bad taxidermy project than a vibrant example of evolution gone right. In fact, when it was discovered in 1799, some people actually thought its Donald Duck-like bill had been surgically attached by a prankster. Well, the often lampooned platypus got its comeuppence this week when researchers at the University of Washington St. Louis announced they'd mapped the genome of the cartoonish creature. Their findings about the mammalian/reptile-esque platypus were rather surprising, and you can listen to one of the lead scientists, Wes Warren, in for my weekly CBS radio feed, SciEye. (I love how Warren describes the platypus.)

In gadget news, it seems the ranks of the iPhone "killers" are preparing to swell again. Word has leaked of RIM's latest Blackberry edition, the code-named "Thunder" (no word if it's from "Down Under," like the platypus). So, to recap, we've had offerings from Samsung, HTC, Verizon, and Nokia plus a few others, and no doubt more will follow. I'm just not convinced mimicking the touchscreen part of the iPhone is the way to compete again Apple in the overall cellphone market. But when has the herd mentality stopped tech companies before? I can't recall.

I'm working on a few stories for the coming days (yes, including the weekend) -- on CBS Sunday Morning I've got a story about new, high-tech swimsuit designs from companies like TYR and Speedo. The report includes interviews with two Olympic-calibre swimmers: Peter Marshall and Jessica Hardy. Plus me in a swimsuit! (Sort of.) Actually, be sure to watch this Sunday -- the whole show is about design (and annual tradition), and host Charles Osgood taped it from Berlin. On Sunday's Evening News there may be an encore presentation of our story about saving coral in Florida, and Monday morning on the CBS Early Show we're planning to demo Nintendo's Wii Fit live from Central Park. Gamers getting in shape -- NO WAY!!

Next week I'm off to a gaming conference in California for a few days and working on our commercial space story for a future Sunday Morning program. By the way, I hope you caught our reports on the Evening News with Katie Couric and the Early Show on the fate of the polar bear this week (being listed as "threatened" on the Endangered Species List), but you can click here if you missed it. Oh, and I'd hoped to attend the "Future of the Internet" conference at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society but I got stuck on business in New York. Some impressive minds gathered there though, and worth a look. Until next time, stay connected!

P.S. A little shameless self-promotion -- check out page 34 of the June issue of Fast Company magazine. (And I guess you can read the rest of it, too.)