Countering Iniquity

The world is full of iniquity.  Guys shoot up college classes; they also shoot up churches, malls, and elementary schools.  Little kids get shot playing on their front porches.  A hospital gets bombed and its doctors die.  Drug companies raise prices of drugs for sick people by obscene amounts. Gun advocates keep the country locked […]

Coffeeshop Science

Somewhere in the deep pits of my mind, I still think of “scientists” as remote people whose sentences I won’t understand, and of “science” as an incomprehensible body of knowledge I have to memorize.  This is probably also the public’s image of science.  But if 1000 years as a science writer have taught me nothing […]

Hummingbirds Are Such Jerks

The two of us, my husband and I, took our breakfast toast, melon, and coffee out to the porch last Sunday morning, with late summer hanging on by its teeth.  It was early, so the neighbors’ ACs were still off, and nobody was out yet.  “It’s so quiet,” my husband said. Traffic out on Charles […]

Story, History, Story

Ann:   Some time ago, I got interested in why European languages so often use the same word for “story” and “history.”  Every English speaker knows that having one word for two such different things — fiction and truth, respectively — is anathema.  But my thinking didn’t go much farther than that, it rarely does.  So […]

Petty Larceny, Vegetable

I may have stolen my neighbor’s tiny cherry tomatoes right off the vine. They were so glowingly red, so warm, how could I help myself? Maybe “stolen” is a little harsh because I didn’t have to go onto her property to get the tomatoes, we share-crop them in pots in my back driveway.  And after […]

Mocking Tricks

Caveat: I’m possibly having something like a Cassie-Willyard-Hubble-Moment here – in this case, I learn something new, don’t quite understand it but get all excited about it, and it’s, you know, wrong.  Never mind because I’m all excited anyway because science has found a new way of being confident that what you know is right.  […]

Truth vs. Beauty, Again

I haven’t got much on my mind today that I want to think about so I distract myself with pictures. This one, as science pictures often do, conflates beauty and truth and let me repeat, beauty.  It’s a result of letting the Hubble Space Telescope take repeated pictures of a single cluster of galaxies.  Clusters […]


Sometimes friends will be over, everybody talking, and one of the little kids will get antsy so I’ll pick up a book and start reading, quietly so as not to disturb conversation. But pretty soon nobody is talking any more, everybody’s listening to Winnie the Pooh and Piglet track the Heffalump.  I’ll bet you can […]