A Resolution For A New Year That Doesn’t Exist

Tomorrow is the last day of 2016. And good riddance. Boy, what a mess 2016 was. 2017 is bound to be better. Like 2015 maybe – man that was great year. Way better than that pile of crap 2014. No matter what our opinions of 2016 are, for most of us January 1st will feel […]

A Science Journalist After the Election

Well, there it is. The people have spoken and now the Electoral College has spoken and we have our new president, Donald J Trump. I strongly believe in the importance of an unbiased media – even if it’s just an ideal that we strive for and never really achieve. As journalists, I believe it’s crucial that […]

Fear and Loathing in Elections

After months of promising, cajoling, negotiating, threatening, inspiring, inciting, confusing, shaming, glorifying, fibbing, flubbing, blustering and exulting, the election is over and we have a winner. Donald J Trump. This was truly an historic election for a lot of reasons that no doubt my colleagues in the political media have, and continue to thrum on about […]

Redux: Boobies Behaving Badly

In 2015, I wrote a post ostensibly about a funny-looking seabird called the booby. It’s about evolution and biology I suppose but in truth, it’s really about the forces of nature that drive at least some of our actions. And how those forces aren’t always good.  In my last post I made the case for why we […]

The End of the Line

A few years ago, while working on a story on the shark fin trade, I found myself freezing in the back of a panga 25 miles out from the Baja shoreline wishing I was dead. Partly it was tossing seas that pitched the skiff from side to side and slapped over the gunwales. Partly it […]

How to Read Ancient Mayan

In this month’s issue of National Geographic, I tell a story of an ancient dynasty of Maya kings who made perhaps the region’s best attempt at creating what we might call an empire. It’s a twisting tale of political maneuvering and ambition unlike any other in the Pre-Columbian world. It’s actually kind of incredible that […]

Sliding Baselines

Most days we here at the Last Word on Nothing write engaging non-fiction about the scientific questions of our age that vex us and inspire us. Most days we blend excellent reporting with excellent writing told with heart, guts, and a dash of humanity. Most days, you the reader get to the end of one of […]

Stranger in a Foreign Land

I know this guy. He’s a good guy – hard working, wants to do right by his wife and kid – but somehow he’s found himself in an unusual position in the debate over US/Mexico immigration. This fellow adores his home country but also has a healthy sense of wanderlust. Yes he loves his countrymen and his family […]