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, […]

Guest Post: Farewell Invertebrates, We Hardly Knew You

The first thing I saw when I walked into the National Zoo’s Invertebrate Exhibit on Saturday was a glass tank filled with corals. And the first thought I had was, oh my god, they’re so beautiful. In the tank, an explosion of star-shaped mouths opened and closed in time to some inaudible rhythm. Nearby a […]

Report from the Solutions Summit

Back in early 2013, an email discussion among friends turned into a realization. We were having the same tired discussions about gender bias, over and over. The details might vary slightly, but it was the same story, again and again, and nothing was changing. It was time to go public and start looking for solutions. […]

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 […]

The value of collegiate sports

As I’ve followed the NCAA basketball tournament (join me and some folks from Radiolab tonight, as we live tweet the final game), I’ve been thinking about the value of collegiate sports. My first experience with sports in college came as an NCAA division I cross-country runner. I lettered in cross-country at the University of Colorado […]

My Dirty Stream

You’ve probably heard a lot of Pete Seeger songs in the last couple of days. And no wonder: When Seeger died on Monday, he left behind a very long lifetime’s worth of beautiful, cheeky, unforgettable songs. But what he left me — and the millions of other kids who grew up along the Hudson River […]

Can’t We All Just … ?

Recently, based on the well-established if-Netflix-made-it-then-it-must-be-awesome principle, I have been watching the show Lillehammer. (This principle is firmly based in the orange-is-the-new-black correlate, the house-of-cards theorem, and the Derek postulate). Like all the Netflix shows, it’s pretty good. But unlike some, it’s only pretty good. It’s about a New York wise guy who ends up […]

The First Hero: A Girl

A couple of weeks ago, Michelle subverted the established cultural order by adopting her five-year old’s suggestion that Bilbo Baggins was a girl.  Most people applauded but some gnashed their teeth: don’t second-guess literature, they said, and if Bilbo is a hero and heroes are boys, then so be it.  But I have prior and […]