Guest Post: Postcard from El Salvador

Agricultural engineer Irene Varela is a compelling presence. Six farmers are gathered on the patio of a church library in Santiago Texacuangos in El Salvador, about an hour outside the country’s capital for a workshop she’s leading. “What’s the soil like when you have worms?” Varela asks in Spanish. “Moist,” says one famer. “Rich,” says […]

Off Our Meds: Guest Post: The Ebola Numbers

Welcome to “Off Our Meds,” a weeklong series in which LWON examines some scary issues in medicine. We won’t resort to fear mongering, because we don’t have to. Medicine is scary enough as it is.  Last week, over at The Atlantic, Jacoba Urist wrote about a truism in journalism: deaths closer to home matter more. This sounds […]

Guest Post: Me vs Myers-Briggs

“Can you talk to a stranger for an hour?” Despite coming from a computer, the question felt almost aggressive.  Of course I can talk to a stranger for an hour.  I was a reporter for over a decade; you can’t do that job without learning to talk to almost anyone for an hour. Still, I […]

Guest Post: Estimating Deaths

Last month, the UN announced that the conflict in Syria has killed at least 92,901 people.  The number has been widely picked up.  Yet many reports miss how crucial the “at least” really is. 92,901 is the number of confirmed deaths – that is, a count.  Mostly likely, considerably more people have died.  Soon, the […]

Guest Post: Becoming a Statistician

  As you know, we are now one month into the International Year of Statistics. What, you didn’t know that? Yeah, statisticians aren’t really all that great at promotion.  Which is too bad, since they work on interesting problems in just about every field of science and engineering. The first time I went to the Joint […]