Guest Post: The Lizards of Hastings-on-Hudson

The legend begins thus: In 1967 — or maybe it was ’66 — a pet store truck overturned in Long Island, sending a few dozen finger-length Italian wall lizards scampering into the bushes of Garden City. There Podarcis siculus thrived, slurping up arthropods along rock walls and sidewalks, dodging beaks and claws and tires. Over the decades, […]

Guest Post: How to Navigate a Rising Sea

When Alson Kelen was young, he used to lie at night against his father’s arm, on an island where there were no lights and no cars. He listened to waves slapping against wet sand, the breeze shaking the palm fronds, the delicate crackling of a coconut shell fire. As the purple-blue evening gave way to night, […]

Guest Post: A Mathematical Mastermind Gets His Head Examined

On a December day a few years ago, John Horton Conway settled in for an interview at the office of neuroscientist Sandra Witelson. Conway wasn’t there for an appointment proper, but rather to provide fodder for Witelson’s ongoing research on scientifically minded brains. All the same, he’d braced himself for an arsenal of standard neuropsychological […]

Guest Post: Why humans suck at earthquake preparedness

Driving through my hometown in Kentucky, I admire the old-growth oaks, the spires and stained glass of Victorian era homes, and the tall brick chimneys. Then I think about how they would crumble in an earthquake. Ever since moving to the west coast, I size up the earthquake safety of every place I go: I […]

Guest Post: Science Fail

When I was in 4th grade, my teacher gave everyone in class an ice cube. Our task, she said, was to keep it from melting for as long as possible. In a room full of 10 year olds, that task turned into a heated competition. But I wasn’t worried. I’d had a stroke of insight: […]

Guest Post: How the Bolivian Navy Became Landlocked

Cassandra wrote a post about the landlocked Bolivian navy in which she explained, in passing, that Bolivia once had a coast but lost it to Chile in the War of the Pacific.  One of the comments on that post, by guest poster Nick Suntzeff, was a post in itself and we thought you’d like to […]

Guest Post: the Grandmother Hypothesis

Recently I’ve started seeing examples of those much-mocked New York Times trend stories that are not about Millennials, the way the trendiest trend stories usually are. In the articles I’ve been noticing, the trend-setters are Baby Boomers — who are, according to the Times, relocating to New York City to help raise the grandkids. Now […]

Guest post: Water Unbound

It has been raining for three days now, really raining, the kind of rain that can only occur in a place that receives upwards of 7 meters of rain a year. Three days ago, water began pouring out of the sky the way it might during a tropical afternoon storm or a monsoon — a […]