What is a good death?

My beloved neighbor Joanne was 87 years old when her son found her dead in the hallway of her old farmhouse on Monday. They’d gone to a funeral together that morning — a younger relative had died of pancreatic cancer — and after lunch he’d dropped her off at home. When he returned later that […]

This week’s worst press release (so far)

I get a lot of ridiculous press releases, but the headline that made its way to my inbox today, “New Cancer-Fighting Game App Goes Global,” represented a new level of nonsense. The press release described a “ground-breaking” smartphone “cancer-fighting game app” that promised to “help young cancer patients fight their disease.” If you’re like me, […]

Snark Week: The Rooster and the Puppy

In 2006, a puppy came to live on a small farm in Colorado. His name was Oskar, and he was the runt of the litter. Oskar was a playful little guy, but on one fateful autumn day, he would learn that he was living in the dark shadow of a blood-thirsty assailant. In the days […]

I hate climbing, but love having climbed

I was about 50 feet up when I started to freak out. I had agreed to come to this Oregon forest and climb a very tall, very old tree with my mom, because it seemed like a nice mother-daughter bonding experience. Now I was approximately one-fifth of the way up a Douglas fir named Sophia, […]

The Godless Particle

Last July I ended a post on the Higgs boson with an admonition: “Just don’t get me started on this ‘God particle’ business.” But did Christie listen? “I’m sharing it with my husband,” she emailed me about the post. “This whole ‘god particle’ thing has been driving him completely crazy.” The term, at least in the […]

Returning to my roots

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of spending a few days at a place that nurtured my interest in science. The Mountain Research Station was where I conducted my first independent research project (funded by an REU grant from the NSF). As I’ve written previously, my experience studying the evolution of an alpine plant’s […]

The Last Word

June 17 – 21 “I think girls very much do want to be JASONs and they want to be in DARPA, they just don’t always know it, so we need to get them to read about it.”  This week, Ann asked defense journalism powerhouse Sharon Weinberger to add her two cents to the ongoing LWON […]