Peter Pan Complex

Last month I published a story in Nature about the sad story of the axolotl. It’s a tragic tale of an incredibly bizarre creature looking at extinction in the wild. Of the many odd attributes of the axolotl – ability to regrow limbs, giant cells, laughably big genome – the one that always gets mentioned […]

A Plant’s Nightmare

There is a semi-annual ceremony in the Vance house. At some point – perhaps after a sudden trip to the nursery or an impulse stop at a roadside garden – I bring in a bunch of new plants to the house. Then I remove the carcasses of the ones who have not survived the twisted […]

Goodbye to the Friend I Never Met

Saturday was the day I finally gave up. The last hope for the vaquita marina, the world’s smallest and most endangered cetacean, is gone. On Saturday, biologists working in the Upper Gulf of California announced that the latest animal they had captured in an effort to save the species had died in captivity. For the first […]

Redux: Stranger in a Foreign Land

This story has little do with science. Unless you consider the science of empathy. We often think of empathy as a form of pity but in ethology that’s not what it is at all. It’s about seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. And nothing has help me more with that than living in Mexico. […]

Losing Control Every Day

You’ve never heard a kid scream until you’ve heard one who knows his daddy is no longer in control. When the earthquake struck, I had my headphones in. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t working, I was starting to zone out a bit. Some days I’m more productive than others and this was not a productive […]

Eclipse Week: Seen Through Every Lens

There’s been a lot in the media about eclipses this year. In fact, it’s fair to say that America has gotten a little eclipse crazy over the last couple months. (For those of you who just got back from a year stranded on a deserted island, we are expecting a total solar eclipse to cross […]

Eclipse Week: Welcome!

Hello readers of LWON. Your dutiful scribes would like to welcome you to LWON’s Eclipse Week. I know, you probably think you’ve heard as much as you want to about the eclipse. You have your eye gear, the family suburban is all gassed up and ready to go and there’s a better-than-average chance that you […]

Snark Week: Backyard Domestic Terrorists

Welcome to Snark Week at LWON. A number of years ago, when my wife was still in college, a prowler tried to break into her tiny bungalow in Berkeley, California. She heard him, first on the roof then at the door, furiously trying to get in. Normally she would rely on the dogs that lived […]