Where should research chimps grow old?

In 2015, the National Institutes of Health announced the end of invasive chimpanzee research in the US. The agency had dramatically scaled back the program in 2013, and NIH director Francis Collins reported that due to lack of demand, he had decided to allow the remaining animals to retire as well. “It is clear that we’ve reached a tipping […]

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 But my 14-month-old daughter recently pointed out that many of my so-called “evidence-based” views are hopelessly outdated.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, […]