Sexist for All I Know

Last night I ran through quotes in my new book manuscript, making sure they were all amply annotated, meaning I spelled the names right. There were a lot of women in this run. For a book on the Ice Age and paleo sciences, mostly archaeology and paleontology, I’d had no trouble finding female researchers to write […]

Jewish TMI

In my family, we talk an awful lot about bowel movements. If. When. Consistency. Pain level. I call my Aunt Judy. “How are you?” I ask. “Terrible,” she says. “All I do is schlep back and forth to the bathroom. Sometimes I sit on the toilet and cry.” I call my Dad and his lady […]

No Rings, Pops, or Bells

I don’t know what to do with my phone. It makes noises that I don’t understand. Sometimes it sounds like a jackpot machine and I want to throw it as far as I can. The last few days I found myself out of range while driving across southern Utah, trying to call my boys to […]

Stop Underestimating Chickens

One of my favorite things about my usual writing beat (living things) is that we humans never stop learning new things about animals. We’re even still discovering species that are new to science. (Check out the glorious ruby sea dragon, previously known only from beach corpses, and Hoolock tianxing, a gibbon just determined to be its own […]

What Should We Do About Comments?

I have a policy: never read the comments. This rule applies to most of the publications where my work appears online, such as FiveThirtyEight, Slate and The Washington Post. (LWON is the exception. Comments left here require approval before they’re posted, and I read them all.) It might seem unfriendly to ignore people who are […]

The POOS Personality Matrix

I’ve got a confession to make. Despite living in the age of the BuzzFeed quiz, I’m not one for personality tests. I don’t know what Harry Potter house I would be in, what Myers-Briggs type I am, what “Big 5” personality type I have, or what Disney Princess I would be. But recently I have […]

Redux: Boobies Behaving Badly

In 2015, I wrote a post ostensibly about a funny-looking seabird called the booby. It’s about evolution and biology I suppose but in truth, it’s really about the forces of nature that drive at least some of our actions. And how those forces aren’t always good.  In my last post I made the case for why we […]