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 […]

Redux: The story I won’t tell

This post first ran on Mar 12, 2014.  I was having lunch with a vegetarian friend recently, when I caught myself wanting to tell her the story. When you’re a vegetarian, a lot of people — friends, distant relatives, complete strangers — barrage you with the story. It starts like this: “Yeah, I tried going vegetarian […]

How Sexual Harassers Get Away With It

  Donald and Billy on the bus and the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, including at least 20 lawsuits accusing Trump of mistreating women, have left many people asking why more women don’t report sexual assault and harassment when it happens. I’ll tell you why: it’s a terrible burden to be forced into […]

Redux: Guns on the Brain

This post first ran on May 21, 2013. I wish it would stop being relevant to the news.  I recently witnessed one of the kindest, gentlest people I know fly into a momentary rage over a parking space. Such transformations used to baffle me, but after writing a Discover story about embodied cognition, I’m starting […]

Redux: Summer of Smoke

At three this afternoon, the sky above the mountains here was the kind of blue that signals a classic summer day. Thirty minutes later, we looked back toward the ridgeline to see a huge plume of orange-tinted smoke. As of tonight, the new Rey Fire has burned about 600 acres. Smoke is an unfortunate sign of […]

Redux: Go Occupy Those Forlorn Chairs

This post first ran on July 16, 2015, but it’s good advice for any summer day. It’s summer, and I’ve been thinking of what poet Billy Collins called those, “forlorn chairs/though at one time it must have seemed/a good place to stop and do nothing for a while.” Even situated, as they usually are, to […]

The Last Word

June 13-17, 2016 Christie thought she was from nowhere–until an internet quiz put her in her place. The novel Frankenstein, Michelle writes, “can be read a warning of the perils of human hubris and a brilliantly imaginative response to a global disaster.” Will we take its lessons and inspiration to heart in the face of our own monstrous creation, climate change? J-Shame: “It hits when your […]

Redux: How an internet quiz put me in my place

This post first ran on January 7, 2014. I am from nowhere. Until my husband told me this — stated it as a fact, like “it’s raining” or “the sky is blue” — I’d never had a truthful answer to a question that has always given me pause: where are you from? “You’re from nowhere,” Dave […]