Extinction Debt

There’s been a lot of road kill on my drive to work and back in Western Colorado, mostly prairie dogs and rabbits, and young magpies trying to learn how fast they have to fly to get out of the way. I find myself slowing and dodging for the live ones who continue shooting across my […]

Coming Home From Saudi Arabia

It was water that impressed me first when I got back to the U.S. I spent the month of June in Saudi Arabia, teaching teenage girls about writing and science. On the van ride home from the airport the other day, I couldn’t believe the trees. I’d forgotten about trees. The highways are lined with […]

The Secret Lives of Animals

A bear broke into my wife’s old teardrop trailer in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado. It must have been yearling by the bite marks in bean cans, and the smallness of its hips where it busted out the door-window and dragged itself inside. The bear didn’t find much, leaving […]

A stark introduction to geologic time

When I was a kid, my mom would measure time for me in units of Sesame Street. During a road trip when I’d inevitably ask, “Are we there yet?” she might answer, we’ll be there in two Sesame Streets. For a kid, two hours can seem like forever. We imagine the world through the lens of […]

Guest Post: Return to Laki

People say that writing a book is something of an obsession. It has to be. Why else would you turn over your life for several years to, say, the sex life of bedbugs or the dark energy driving the universe? In our case, it was 18th-century Iceland that did us in — more specifically, a […]

Climate Change: The Anti-Story?

The most recent report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) doesn’t pull any punches. The globe continues to warm, ice continues to melt at an alarming pace, and the seas continue to rise. Climate change isn’t some distant dilemma. It’s already happening. The science is solid, and the problem is urgent. “Nobody on this planet is […]

From the Edge of Beringia

In the Cold War, a U.S. Air Force telecommunications network was erected in Western Alaska, a series of gray metal radio-towers like obelisks on a hilltop over the town of Nome. Each points a different direction, meant to bounce tropospheric messages from the Russian border to the US. Last used in 1985, the network has […]