Redux: Draw Me a Picture of Nature

The literary critic Raymond Williams once wrote that “Nature is perhaps the most complex word in the language.” It’s a head-scratcher right up there with love, or goodness: We depend on it for survival, but we’re often not quite sure where it is, what it is, or whether we’re a part of it. Jessica Mikels-Carrasco, […]

All the Chinese You Need to Take a Shower

This is the third and final post in a series about learning a foreign language long past the age when it comes naturally (if you missed the earlier posts, you can find them here: part 1, part 2) .  Guest Veronique Greenwood begins at the pro level, with Chinese. On Monday evenings, I ride my bike into the […]

Shop Owner! Bring Me a Sheet of Table!

This is the second in a series of posts about learning a foreign language long past the age when it comes naturally (if you missed it, here is part 1 ).  Guest Veronique Greenwood begins at the pro level, with Chinese. A month into learning Mandarin, I notice that something has changed. When I am out riding my […]

Learning to Talk All Over Again

This is the first in a series of posts about learning a foreign language long past the age when it comes naturally.  Guest Veronique Greenwood begins at the pro level, with Chinese. I slide into a desk at the back of the dim classroom, and the Thai girl in front of me turns around. What’s your […]

Redux: Is passion for science a heritable trait?

This post first ran on August 24, 2011. My dad and I share an obsession with endurance sports. We don’t just love to get outside and ride our bikes, we actually feel antsy and anxious if we go too many days without working up a sweat. As I’ve written elsewhere, our compulsion for exercise has a genetic […]

I Take Up STEM, I Drop It Again.

STEM is acronymic jargon for the education of kindergarteners through college seniors in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math.  Apparently the education is inadequate and uneven and seen as appropriate for nerdy boys but not girls or persons of color – something like that.  It’s discussed in hushed and worried tones and if you’re interested in science […]

Conversation with Michael Balter: On Not Teaching

Michael:  Hi Ann! After six years of teaching in NYU’s science journalism program (SHERP), and a year before that teaching at Boston University, I have decided to take a break and hand over my beginning writing, research and reporting class to someone else. What a tough decision. I love my students–so many of whom have […]

Guest Post: Science Fail

When I was in 4th grade, my teacher gave everyone in class an ice cube. Our task, she said, was to keep it from melting for as long as possible. In a room full of 10 year olds, that task turned into a heated competition. But I wasn’t worried. I’d had a stroke of insight: […]