Leaving the party: a grateful goodbye

Neither one of us is good at good-byes. Tom, who abhors leaving a party, prefers to remain until every other guest has departed, the host has passed out or gone to bed, and he’s holding forth to the household pets and/or appliances. That way, he knows he won’t miss out on any of the fun. […]

On Henry VIII and the mystery of the missing male heirs

“There are so many women in the world, so many fresh and young and virtuous women, so many good and kind women. Why have I been cursed with women who destroy the children in their own wombs?” So complains Hilary Mantel’s fictional version of Henry VIII – and this Sunday marks the date, 477 years […]

The Last Word on The Science Writers’ Handbook

LWON is a group blog run semi-anarchically by 12 science writers. If you think that sounds like a recipe for chaos, just contemplate SciLance, an even more anarchic group of 35 science writers. Usually, SciLance is just a discussion group, so the chaos is relatively subdued. But last week, the writers of SciLance published their […]

What happens when we can’t afford to be prepared?

The emergence of the H7N9 bird flu virus has rekindled memories of our last flu pandemic – just as the United States is debating whether it can afford to prepare for the next one. Remember the H1N1 flu scare of 2009? I always will, because pregnant women were vulnerable to becoming severely ill or dying […]

The Last Word

March 18 – 22 FOLWON* guest poster Brooke Borel introduces the world to the bed bug hockey stick graph. Read it and you will understand why data journalism is about to change the world. That’s highly relevant for Erika’s post, because as she tells us, you only have control over your data until you become […]

Uninformed consent, revisited

Early in my pregnancy, a research assistant sat down next to me in the waiting room of my doctor’s office, where I was scheduled to undergo a routine checkup. She asked me if I wanted to take part in a research study and described the study’s goals, risks and benefits. After I agreed to join […]