Redux: Ann Remembers Jim’s Camera

That’s Jim Gunn up there, concentrating on his camera.  Jim’s camera shouldn’t really qualify for a week of posts celebrating uncelebrated technology because it was famous for quite a while.  It was inventive and perfectly made and did something no camera had ever done: it digitized the sky. But like most new and wonderful technologies, the […]

Anastomosing Rabbit Holes

I’m having trouble with a story.  First I went down one rabbit hole (the effects, on both sides of the Atlantic, of the Irish Potato Famine) until it branched into two (now-dead towns, one in Maryland, one in Ireland), and then I went down both.  You can picture me heading down one, scrambling back up, […]

Science Metaphors (cont.): Secular Evolution

This is the latest in a series in which science’s metaphors offer the explanations of and guidance for the most cryptic of life’s problems. A few weeks ago I was at a conference about galaxy evolution.  In the titles of many talks was the puzzling phrase, “secular evolution.”  Secular? as opposed to religious? so secular […]

Pictures with an 8-Year Old: A Failure of Citizen Science

I’ll start this at the beginning.  Recently Friend of LWON, Chris Arnade, posted a picture of himself — which itself was not unusual because Chris is, among other things, a photographer and posts pictures of himself right along with pictures of other people. But the picture was unusual.  Chris is a very serious guy and always […]

Outmoded Diseases: Neurasthenia

Have you ever read a book where someone had pleurisy, or gout, or hysteria, and wondered…how come I never hear about anybody getting that anymore? Well, you’re in luck: It’s Outmoded Diseases Week at LWON, and we’re going to tell you. About some of them, anyway.  We’re starting off with neurasthenia, a disease suffered by […]

Kill the Sprickets, Kill Them All

HELEN: I like bugs. I started a Ph.D. in ants (and quit, but still think ants are awesome). I have blogged in this space about butterflies. I think the coming of the 17-year-cicadas is one of the most exciting things that happens in the world. My record is quite clear on this: me and bugs, […]

What Happened Next

My husband died.  He wasn’t young any more and was sick and weak but we weren’t expecting his death to come as quickly as it did, within a few days, almost overnight.  He just went away.  Maybe there are worse things than a quick, quiet death. Here’s what happened next. My brother and sister-in-law (who […]

Redux: Snowbound and Murderous

The Great East Coast Snowstorm of January 2016 That Singled Out Baltimore left around 30 inches of snow, turning cars into snowhills and pausing civilized life as we know it.  In the last big snowstorm, the the worst incivility was perpetrated by the neighbors themselves, this time it was by outsiders: two different jackasses parked for […]