Guest Post: Ode to a Gay Bar

Let me tell you a story. In the summer of 1991, when I was 21 years old, I worked in a genetics lab at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. I wasn’t yet out, but had heard about a popular gay bar called Heaven in the city’s Montrose neighborhood. When a new friend asked me to […]

Guest Post: A Mathy Mechanism for Solving a Problem Like The Donald

Over the last several years, Harvard economist Eric Maskin has been delivering a talk asking: “How Should We Elect Presidents?” Should the candidate with the most votes win? Not necessarily, according to Maskin. Maskin blames the U.S. system of plurality voting—whereby each voter casts their vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most […]

Guest Post: When Everything Good Is Also Beautiful

For the better part of 30 years, my head was firmly stuck in English. But when I moved to Italy three years ago, I also started my first genuine effort at picking up a second language. My barely remembered high school Spanish prepared me for some things about Italian, like the gendered nouns and overwhelming […]

Guest Post: Moire in the Wild

My first sighting of one of life’s everyday astonishments was as a little fellow in the 1960s, sitting unbuckled in the back seat of my family’s ’57 Chevy. Whenever we hit the highway on our way to the Jersey shore or the Lower East Side of Manhattan where my grandparents lived, we would approach and […]

Guest Post: Pip, Part Two

(Pip too big for jar) One year ago I rescued a one-eyed tiny frog, a spring peeper, from my pool.  Since then I have gone to lengths to not only keep it alive, but also to try and make it happy, as if that is something that is doable, rational, or admirable. I have long […]

Guest Post: Water in Yomibato

Last November, I went to the Peruvian Amazon on assignment for National Geographic. (The story is out today). I focused on a group of indigenous people, the Matsiguenka, living inside Manu National Park. One of these people is Alejo Machipango, a hunter, farmer, and member of the water committee for the village of Yomibato. Alejo […]

All the Chinese You Need to Take a Shower

This is the third and final post in a series about learning a foreign language long past the age when it comes naturally (if you missed the earlier posts, you can find them here: part 1, part 2) .  Guest Veronique Greenwood begins at the pro level, with Chinese. On Monday evenings, I ride my bike into the […]

Shop Owner! Bring Me a Sheet of Table!

This is the second in a series of posts about learning a foreign language long past the age when it comes naturally (if you missed it, here is part 1 ).  Guest Veronique Greenwood begins at the pro level, with Chinese. A month into learning Mandarin, I notice that something has changed. When I am out riding my […]