Guest Post: Moire in the Wild

My first sighting of one of life’s everyday astonishments was as a little fellow in the 1960s, sitting unbuckled in the back seat of my family’s ’57 Chevy. Whenever we hit the highway on our way to the Jersey shore or the Lower East Side of Manhattan where my grandparents lived, we would approach and […]

This is what it sounds (looks) like

I’m a recent convert to Instagram as my main form of social media. After spending a lot of the day reading and writing, listening and talking, sometimes I just can’t take any more words. Facebook sometimes seems too complicated, Twitter too fast—but looking at images feels restful. I’ll follow most anything—photos of kids, vacation scenery, […]

How I Won the Internet and Brought Joy to Peepdom

Last week, I was famous on the internet…for dressing colorful marshmallow bunnies in cravats and spreading them to the enthusiastic fans of a hit Broadway musical. My friends and I made Hamilpeep. Perhaps your cousin shared it with you? Hamilpeep was our entry into the Washington Post’s annual Peeps diorama contest, in which readers are […]

Drawings of Drawings of Lions

Early in the 17th century, two lions lived in the zoo in Ghent. Their names were Flandria and Brabantia. There were probably other lions nearby. Archduke Albert and his wife, Isabella, ruled the region, now in Belgium, and they had a menagerie at their palace. Having a menagerie was the sort of thing extremely wealthy […]

Give a Science Writer a Stage

The Devil had two tattooed women in tight skirts holding a rope taut on stage. One he told to stand on her toes while the other crouched slightly. The rope between them showed a slight angle downward, which the Devil said expressed global mean temperature decreasing slightly from 1998 till now. The Devil’s data was cherry picked […]

Redux: Donald Trump Is the World’s Greatest Performance Artist

Since I wrote this post one year ago, “The Donald” has only grown in the public consciousness and is now the GOP frontrunner. I can’t understand why the rest of the media ignores the obvious fact that he never existed. “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” […]

The Lady and Le Guin

Late last month, I got to camp with a group of ecologists at the base of Mt. St. Helens, in southwestern Washington state. Some of the scientists had been studying the mountain since shortly after it erupted on May 18, 1980, and they were full of stories about the changes they’d seen over the past thirty-five […]

U2 Gets Onto People’s Skin

Once upon a time, I was a fan of bands that gave me some kind of alternative cred. I have been to a ton of They Might Be Giants concerts, which places me solidly in the ranks of the nerds. I spent many years in love with R.E.M. and have listened to all of their […]