Montana’s Buffalo Conundrum

Yellowstone National Park spans three states and nearly 3,500 square miles, making it one of the largest parks in the US. So when I read that Montana officials are searching for a home for 135 Yellowstone bison living on Ted Turner’s sprawling private ranch, I was bewildered. Why not just put them back in the park? […]

Guest Post: The Year of the Flood

Until last Sunday, the Colorado River ended in Yuma, Arizona, backed up against an unremarkable span of concrete called the Morelos Dam on the Mexican border. Every drop of water above the dam was already spoken for -– supplying water to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Denver as well as irrigating farm fields in […]

A Bookseller And His Well

In the May issue of the Rotarian Magazine next month – for those of you who can find it – you will be able to read the full version of a story I did last year on toxic mine runoff in highland Bolivia. It’s a nice story of a tiny valley high in the mountains […]

The Long Now of the Tiburón Bighorn

In the spring of 2012, botanist and graduate student Benjamin Wilder was camping on Tiburón Island, a large island in the Gulf of California whose flora he has studied for most of a decade. Wilder wanted to find out more about the evolutionary history of the plants on Tiburón, so he was looking for fossil […]

Guest Post: I Walked Across the Hudson River

Several times a week, I drive over a Hudson River bridge to pick up my daughter from her school in Troy, NY, and bring her back home to the Albany side. Back and forth I go, and every time my eye wanders to the frozen surface below. Even when it’s dark and there’s nothing to […]

A tiny cave creature, eyeless and deadly

Joey Pakes was swimming in a cave in Mexico on July 4, 2008 when she spotted her first remipede. Pakes, a graduate student in biology at UC Berkeley, had seen pictures of these aquatic centipede-like creatures before. But when she encountered one in the wild, the experience was completely different. “They’re such graceful animals,” she recalls. “It […]

Cable Companies’ Hidden Scam

Your cable company is screwing you. You already knew that, of course. You’ve seen your cable bill. But I want to tell you about a less obvious way that they’re sucking your bank account dry. They’re doing it through the cable box. I don’t have cable, but I used to. And what I miss most […]

A Lungful of Quiet

I’m writing to you from inside an artificial lung. Really. I’m sitting at a desk in a cylindrical, windowless room, 180 feet across. The floor and walls are concrete, and the ceiling, several stories above, is rimmed with an enormous black rubber gasket which sighs gently—up, then down—every time somebody opens the door. No one […]