The Eternal Toil of the Motor Protein

A few days ago, I stumbled across this particularly arresting GIF while scrolling through my Facebook feed. The animation shows a stringy figure with huge feet lugging a rippling green sphere along a ribbed beam. “Look at that little guy plodding along,” I thought. “That looks like hard work.” Here’s the thing: That “little guy” is a […]

Baby Science

There is a wealth of research on child rearing, some of which I’ve read. But my 14-month-old daughter recently pointed out that many of my so-called “evidence-based” views are hopelessly outdated. So I asked her to write a post in which she shares the very latest findings. This is cutting-edge baby science, dear readers. I […]

Bomb the Bloodsuckers?

Two weeks ago, tomatoes began splitting on the vine. Days of hard rain had left them dangling plump and heavy, and their cellophane skin couldn’t hold together. I wanted to harvest them. I tried on several occasions. But each foray into the backyard brought forth swarms of mosquitoes. By the time I reached the edge of […]

The Appeal of Crackpot Television

Last summer, my husband and I began watching what we believed to be one of the worst shows on television. The series, Zoo, is based on a novel by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. Here’s the premise: The world’s animal population has turned against humanity. Lions are killing tourists, wolves are murdering prison inmates, even […]

Controlling Cancer with Evolution

In 2001, Dean Spath was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He had surgery to remove his prostate, and for nearly a decade, Spath appeared to be cancer free. Each year he would visit the doctor to have a blood test and a scan, and each year the tests came back clean. “They thought they got […]

Outmoded Diseases: Spermatorrhea

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. Gents, are you prone to fainting fits and epilepsy? […]

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, […]

Redux: Climate Change: The Anti-Story?

This interview with Radiolab’s senior editor (also my husband) focuses on why the show hasn’t done a story on climate change. It originally ran on May 22, 2014. Since then, Radiolab host Jad Abumrad has spoken the words “climate change” on air . . . as part of an episode on nihilism. Progress? (The show is actually one of my very […]