Redux: Draw Me a Picture of Nature

The literary critic Raymond Williams once wrote that “Nature is perhaps the most complex word in the language.” It’s a head-scratcher right up there with love, or goodness: We depend on it for survival, but we’re often not quite sure where it is, what it is, or whether we’re a part of it. Jessica Mikels-Carrasco, […]

Redux: Where the Wind Has No Name

Of all the evocative place words humans have come up with, the words for local winds may be the most varied and most charming. There’s the Albrohos of Portugal, the Gilavar and the Khazri of Azerbaijan, and the Shamal of Iraq. There’s the Cape Doctor of South Africa, the Hawk of Chicago, and the Wreckhouse winds of Newfoundland. […]

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.” […]