It’s Raining Baby Oak Trees

These early fall days have been especially musical here, in my house under the trees. The mornings ding and clink and the afternoons ping and donk and the nights are broken up by knocks, clangs, and cymbal crashes that startle me awake. (Part of my roof is metal.) It’s the acorns falling, but in a […]

The Last Word

Greetings, Gentle LWON Readers, Here’s what happened this week on your favorite science blog: Guest blogger Elizabeth Svoboda made us a little woozy (in a good way) in her post about seasickness. In her essay she dives into the psychology of her own gut-wrenching experiences. Then Rose rolled her eyes at the shock many men […]

Speaking of the Trees

The fires, the fires. When I started writing this some weeks back there were 137 of them torching forests across the American West. There are many fewer now—thank firefighters and weather—but so far they’ve consumed some 8.5 million acres of trees, some of them old growth, many of them on parkland filled with wildlife. British […]

The Last Word

And how did we entertain our gentle audience this week? Hopefully with great aplomb, Oxford commas, and the finest of verbs. You be the judges: Rose kicked off the week explaining why talking about online harassment to people who get harassed, rather than to harassers (who don’t bother showing up to listen), seems pretty damn pointless. […]

Redux: Marine Iguanas Don’t Want to Cuddle With You

So, summer is coming to an end again (damn you, ephemeral summer!) and I’ve been thinking about past summers’ best adventures. For me, a best adventure is always going to include wild animals. In this case, it was the funny-faced marine iguanas I met in the Galapagos. They didn’t give a shit about me, but […]

The Last Word

Well, folks, we’ve just completed Corvid Redux Week, and you know what that means. Or maybe you don’t. It means we had a whole week of posts about the antics of some noisy and spooky looking but truly amazing birds. Our offerings went like this: Sarah celebrated “scatter hoarding,” a wonderful seed-saving thing that smaller […]

Mourning the Dove

There’s great dignity in the mourning dove. Rarely does one demand attention. A pair’s gentle cooing is a pleasure, the whisper of parents trying not to wake the baby. The whir of their wings in flight (called sonation) recalls a wind-up toy. A couple of them, in velvety gray-brown with daubs of black low on […]

Snark Week: My Dog Would Definitely Eat My Corpse

Were I to fall and die in my kitchen some unfortunate morning, my youngest dog, Geddy, would definitely eat my corpse. Maybe not that very minute, but pretty soon after I slumped to the floor he’d be nosing around, checking my pulse. He’d probably give me a couple of hours to rise up from my […]