Yoga & the Bullshit Prevention Protocol

I did not want to join yoga class.  I hated those soft-spoken, beatific instructors. I worried that the people in the class could fold up like origami and I’d fold up a bread stick. I understood the need for stretchy clothes but not for total anatomical disclosure.  But my hip joints hurt and so did my […]

Thankful? Oh, Really?

Ann:  It’s been a fairly dreadful year, personally and nationally, and giving thanks is going to be a stretch.  But even when I was a kid, I was thankless.  When my grandfather said grace at Sunday dinners — “Bless, oh Lord, this food to our use and us to thy service” — I thought the […]

Experiment Regarding a Garage

I’ve been reading a history book, this one on a subject with so little documentation it needs to rely on eyewitnesses remembering what happened 10, 30, 50 years before.  Which, honest to God, why would you even bother? Science insists over and over and over, eyewitness testimony isn’t reliable – it’s influenced by stress, it […]

Conversation: James Gleick in the Fourth Dimension

May I introduce James Gleick?  He’s been on staff at the New York Times, and has written seven books, including Chaos and Genius (a biography of Richard Feynman), for which he’s won impressive prizes.  And he’s just published Time Travel, which Joyce Carol Oates called “another of [his] superb, unclassifiable books.”  It’s a compendium of […]

Scientist in the Field: The Mosquitoes of Two Towns

I must tell you up front that Kathleen R. Walker, second author on “Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) Longevity and Differential Emergence of Dengue Fever in Two Cities in Sonora, Mexico,” published recently in the Journal of Medical Entomology, is my stepdaughter.  She’s an entomologist, she studies bugs; I occasionally have a bug question.  I asked […]

I Know What the Fox Says

Across the street are two houses with two small yards, connected so they look like one, shaded by trees, one of which has a rope looped in it. The little kids come out of both houses, run through the shade into the dapple-spots of sunlight, disappear back into the shade, grab the rope and swing, […]

Helen and I Smack Down Unhappiness

Oh my but it was hot.  The sun stayed out, the humidity kept climbing, the air was flat-white and dense, walking through it took more effort than it was worth.  The temperature was in the upper 90’s, heat index in the upper 110’s, and they stayed that way for days.  A cardinal sat in the […]

A Concatenation of Extraterrestrials

The past few days have been a cosmic convergence of opinions about extraterrestrial life.  First, I’ve been interviewing scientists and engineers who think that funding searches for planets that might support life isn’t unreasonable.  Second, a neighbor told me he’d read in the New York Times that extraterrestrial life almost certainly had evolved somewhere, some […]