We Humans Know Nothing About Sharks

Next week is Shark Week, which means that we at the Last Word will be spending the week specifically not talking about sharks. Instead, we will scour the globe for far more dangerous and adorable critters in a yearly tradition called Snark Week. And while I might argue that Snark Week is a far bigger […]

The Placebo Test

Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to a number of groups about the power of belief in medicine as a part of promoting my book, Suggestible You. It’s been a fascinating process and I’ve loved hearing about people’s individual experience with placebos, self-healing and alternative medicine. But I often asked a simple question: what […]

In Defense of the Antivaxxer

I am a man of science. Okay, perhaps not of science, but certainly near it. I’m science adjacent. But regardless, I consider myself to be bound, in the end, by logic and facts. As such, I like to think that I eschew my beliefs for what the facts tell me. As a very young man, I was […]

Tropical Science

A few months ago I found myself south of the border working on a story for Scientific American about the glories of really small brains. When I say south of the border, I mean south of the Mexican border and when I say small brains I mean really really small brains. Like those of a […]

Dirty Norwegians

Having a child changes a man. Perhaps not as much as it changes a woman but a fair bit. A friend of mine recently had his first kid and decided to take up hunting. He’s a successful nurse in a big-time hospital but somewhere deep inside him, he wanted to know he could provide meat […]

Drugs, Trials and a Little Bit of History Repeating

I can’t help but notice that placebos have crept into the political news in recent weeks. Okay, maybe they aren’t in the headlines but they’re there, just below the surface. That’s because when you see a headline about the Food and Drug Administration, you should immediately start thinking of placebos. The Trump administration hasn’t named […]

Redux: So Hard Core

When I first met Brian Fisher, I was still a young science writer cutting my teeth in the Bay Area. I desperately wanted to write a feature about him but could never sell the story. So, finally, I wrote about him here on LWON and again in a sequel, here. Sigh. I could have done […]