Counting Pistachios, Taxis and Great White Sharks

In this month’s issue of National Geographic, I lay out a simple question. How many great white sharks are there on Earth? It seems simple enough – we’ve found some 3,500 planets outside our solar system and 400,000 species of beetles on Earth. This is the modern world of crowdsourcing and big data. We can […]

Snark Week: A Lurking Threat That Wants To Eat Your Testicles

It was a sunny morning in Ton Sai Beach, Krabi, Thailand, 2003. The birds sang, the Andaman breeze blew its gentle perfumed air through the trees as I sat down to my morning banana pancake. Oblivious to the danger lurking above me. Watching. Waiting. My girlfriend and I were on a yearlong rock climbing trip and, as […]

A Pilgrimage for the Soul

On Friday, May 13, group of road bikers got together for the 44th annual Pacific Coast Century Ride. I guess that’s its name. Honestly, I have no idea what to call it. Ever since I was a kid, we just called it “The Ride.” It started back in the 70s with a guy named George Andrews, […]

The Last Word

April 18 – 22, 2016 Guest Veronique Greenwood starts the week with the first in a three-part series of posts about learning Chinese. (Look for the next installment on Monday.) Erik doesn’t like parenting books, except when he does. And he really likes The Informed Parent. (But he still doesn’t know how to set up […]

Book Review: The Informed Parent

Being a new parent is a lot like trying to land an airplane with an engine on fire: barely controlled chaos in which all kinds of people are yelling different ideas in your ears. None of it is all that helpful but no one is volunteering to take the controls either. How long should you breastfeed? How […]

The Placebo President

As I have occasionally mentioned on this blog, I am currently working on a book on the many ways that our own brains can deceive ourselves. Placebos, hucksters, healers, hypnotists, and con men – it’s all in there. It’s a fascinating subject and one that constantly reminds me to be careful about what I think I […]

Homeopathy Part One: Rebels of Medicine

Today’s post is the first of a two-part series on homeopathy. Look for another tomorrow by LWON’s own Sally Adee.  In 460 BCE, a rebel was born. Ruggedly handsome, fluffy hair that drove younger girls crazy and a gleaming bald pate that made the older ones swoon. His buddies called him “The Father of Medicine,” “Ἱπποκράτης” or […]

Debunking Hollywood: The Gordian Knot

I’ve often wondered who was the first person to tie a knot. Who was that ancient ancestor 10, 20, 100 thousand years ago who first wrapped a strip of animal skin – or maybe some fibrous vine – around itself and realized that it could hold itself together, even hold a person’s weight. Or hell, […]