The Last Word

August 7-11, 2017 Ann has a hilarious exchange with Adam Rogers about ways in which we might strengthen the rigour of the social sciences, whose questionnaire-based conclusions Ann could shoot down “with a bow and arrow riding a fast horse in a high wind.” Those IPCC reports that represent the scientific consensus on climate change […]

The Gimli Glider

The iPad on my brother’s lap shows our plane as an icon moving across the landscape. Through our headsets, my brother explains that the circle surrounding the plane on the map represents our gliding range. Anything outside that circle would be too far for the single-engine Mooney to reach if all went suddenly silent. So […]

No Maps for These Territories

Camping and canoeing are all about self-sufficiency. The sensation of our own competence on the land lets us feel our own strength directly, rather than through oblique measures of success like social status or money. So it’s hard to accept when some trips are just so out of our realm that they require a guide. […]

The Last Word

July 24-28, 2017 This week LWON responds once again to the ludicrous alarmism of Shark Week. Our fifth annual Snark Week reveals the viciousness lurking in the most adorable of animals, if you’ll only lean in closely enough to hear their villainous scheming. Raccoons, for instance, have had it in for us since they first […]

The Last Word

July 3-7, 2017 Legendary artifact collector Forrest Fenn has hidden a bronze chest in the wilds. More than one treasure hunter has died looking for it, but Craig has seen its contents with his own eyes. “Where’s my jetpack?” is the ubiquitous complaint of disillusioned mid-century science fiction fans. “It’s right here,” says DARPA, “But […]

Tackling hunger from the root

In 2050, the global population is projected to stand at around 10 billion humans, and every one of them will need to eat. We already have more than 7 billion people on Earth, so perhaps another three seems like a step-wise challenge in global food security, but the scale of the problem turns out to […]

Redux: Ravens among us

My son and I have been reading Neil Gaiman’s new novelization of Norse Mythology, which includes glancing reference to Odin’s raven informants Huginn and Muninn. It reminded me of this post from March 2011, which featured the artwork of raven-obsessed Yukon artist Nicole Bauberger. Ten years ago I asked Bauberger why she spent years on painstaking […]

The Last Word

April 24-28, 2017 This week at the Last Word on Nothing: There is magic in the ambiguity of a number given in place of your identity, says Rose. Huge bureaucracies inadvertently set the stage for serendipitous mistakes. Cassie goes for a relaxing run only to witness a disturbing instance of littering. Plastic bags on the […]