Manifesto of a Wasp Scientist

The following was inspired by my recent purchase of the clever and entertaining book, The Bees, by Laline Paull. All characters are fictional and should not be confused with real scientists. I especially ask that no bee researcher take offense, as 80 percent of science writers would shrivel up and die if you stopped talking […]

The Top 20 Things I Learned from Lucha Libre

Today, I’d like to take a small diversion from oceans, placebos and other sciencey stuff to address something far more critical to our future here on Earth. Lucha Libre. That’s right, that crazy sport that inspired so much of American pro wrestling and has been shown by researchers to be 5.78 times more awesome. Since moving to […]

The Amazing Lives of Fan Li and Xi Shi

Gather round, my children and allow me to regale you with the wonderful tale of the adventures of Fan Li and Xi Shi – military strategist, femme fatale, and all-around badasses. Fan Li was born in a town called Yuan Sanhu sometime in the late 6th Century BCE in a kingdom called Yue, near the modern […]

Science Needs Cool Kids

I was not cool in high school. I think it would be a stretch to say I was a nerd, but I wasn’t cool and I certainly wasn’t getting laid. No, like so many scientists and science writers in the world, I mostly kept my head down and waited for college. You see, it’s in […]

Of Cops and Shots

The room is plain and cloaked in shadow, save the single pool of light draped over a hardened criminal. Facing the her is a meaty lug of a detective with a ketchup-stained tie and hairy knuckles. “This doesn’t have to go bad for you, Jenny,” the larger man growls. “You work with us and I can […]

The Greatest Athlete in the World

On Wednesday, at 3:25 Pacific Standard Time, two scruffy, skinny men embraced atop Yosemite’s El Capitan. To the casual observer, just a couple dudes in a national park trying to get off the mountain before sunset. Yet, these men had accomplished something so amazing that the sitting US president would call and congratulate them. So difficult […]

Debunking Hollywood: Falling!!!

Debunking Hollywood is LWON’s very occasional series that takes a hard science look at common TV and movie tropes.  Our hero is in dire trouble yet again. He stands on the rooftop, a villain in front of him, his feet inches from a seven-story fall. Sweat glistens on his brow as he fearlessly throws a punch but […]

Holiday Redux: A Bookseller And His Well

 LWON is celebrating the holidays by re-running some of our favorite posts. This post originally appeared in March 2014. In the May issue of the Rotarian Magazine next month you will be able to read the full version of a story I did last year on toxic mine runoff in highland Bolivia. It’s a nice […]