Name that UFO (Unidentified Floating Object)

In which we ask our enlightened readers to solve a household mystery. Scene: The Check-Hayden kitchen. Erika (opens the refrigerator): Hm, this apple juice has been in here for a while. I should probably just finish it off.

Uninformed consent

Last year, after years of writing about research studies, I agreed to become a research subject myself. I agreed to allow a local medical center to use my tissue, health records, fluids, cells, and other “specimens” for research. Not only that – I also allowed the researchers to use the same types of information and […]

Happy Birthday to Us Yay

Happy Birthday to us, we’ve just turned two.  We’re bigger: we’ve added three new Persons of LWON.  And we’ve matured, that is, we stopped looking so much at our own bellybutton and are more aware of the intelligent, thoughtful Commenters of LWON.  So for our birthday celebration, we’ll look back at the year and not […]

Trust no one, and other lessons I learned from physics reporters

As I’ve been thinking about the challenges facing science journalism, a little voice in my head has been murmuring, “Yes, but isn’t all this navel-gazing a bit biology-centric?” Number one on my list of lessons from the “limits of DNA” story is that datasets are getting bigger, and few of us reporters are well-equipped to […]

Internal monologue: Mike Daisey and the predictability of lies

A lie told for good purposes is not inherently wrong. And besides, Mike Daisey didn’t lie. That’s been Daisey’s defense in the fallout of revelations that he fabricated key details of a now-retracted radio piece on working conditions at a Chinese Apple supplier. Can a person really lie and still believe that he’s telling the […]

The Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth

When is a sin a virtue? When the sinner is an assasin, and the sin is laziness. In cancer, however, it’s diffiult to know which tumors will be slothful and which will be aggressive. This is the dilemma behind the ongoing controversies in screening and treatment for conditions such as breast and prostate cancer.