If you had a third parent, would you know?

On a quiet summer evening in Brighton, Alison Pike was reading to her 9-year-old son the Roald Dahl children’s classic, Danny, Champion of the World—perhaps the most flattering portrayal of fatherhood in literature. Harry turned thoughtfully to his mother. “Sometimes I wish I had a dad,” he said, then paused. “But I’d rather have two […]

Corvid Redux Week: Corvid Cousins

Ann, I see your crows and raise you ravens. With a beak like a Swiss army knife and an intellect to match, the raven is an icon, mascot and pest, as mysterious as it is ubiquitous. For me, as for most people up North, these winged scavengers hover just below my conscious radar. They steal balls from […]

The Last Word

August 21-25, 2017 Cast your mind all the way back to Monday and you may remember something special happened then. LWON had been gearing up for the eclipse with a week of related posts, and this week continued that theme, for an Eclipse Fortnight. Craig stayed home instead of driving the eight hours to the […]

Debunking Hollywood: Human hibernation

Debunking Hollywood is LWON’s very occasional series that takes a hard science look at common TV and movie tropes.  Nothing says interstellar travel like a hibernation pod. The heroes of the 2016 holiday blockbuster Passengers, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, embark on a century-long journey to an planet outside our solar system. Hibernation pods […]

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 […]