Guest Post: The Deep Roots of Boko Haram

Nearly a year ago last May, the mercurial leader of Boko Haram announced the fate of 276 schoolgirls that he and his men kidnapped from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria.  Standing in front of a video camera and tugging at a red hat, Abubakar Shekau laughed as he read from a prepared statement.  “I […]

Guest Post: The Top 5 May 20ths Ever

Five years ago today, The Last Word On Nothing was born. I’ve been Googling around, trying to figure out why anniversaries are a thing, but most of what pops up is drivel from couples counselors. Wikipedia offers some facts about Latin names. But what I’m really looking for is why we celebrate anniversaries, why they make us feel so many […]

Guest Post: A Litany of Posts Not Written

As of tomorrow, May 20, LWON will have been alive for five years. LWON is a little surprised at this and entirely pleased with itself.  In celebration, two of our brilliant alumni have agreed to write guest posts listing the Top Five Things They Want to List the Top Five Of.  We are, and always […]

Guest Post: The Fairy Tale of the Fairy Godmother

Once upon a time, a beautiful girl lived in a not-so-faraway land. She was dreadfully abused by her mother, who was wicked as well as mentally ill. She was abandoned by her father, who was also wicked and mentally ill, and who had no job and nine cats. She had a wicked brother, but that […]

Guest Post: Young Astronomer Looks Back

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched aboard the aptly named Space Shuttle Discovery, 25 years ago this month. This past week (past month, past year) there have been gobs of events to mark the occasion: special talks, videos, a re-released IMAX movie, panel discussions, banquets, art exhibits, and a video contest. There was even an […]

The Last Word

April 13-17 Ann on a recent Nature study linking dragons and climate change: “The authors recommend the obvious — increasing research in consumer-friendly fire-resistent clothing — and further suggest that monarchs desist from running around conferring knighthoods.” A sharp-eyed commenter notes publication date. Michelle on a disease affecting couples living in tipis and other small, off-the-grid […]

Guest Post: We Gaze at Dogs, Dogs Gaze at Us, Is It Love?

Yesterday, scientists reported that dogs have found an unusual way to steal our hearts. When we stare at our human infants and they stare back, we both experience a rise in the hormone oxytocin, which has been linked to trust and maternal bonding. Now it appears that dogs have hijacked this hormonal response, causing our […]

Guest Post: Brontosaurus and Me

The biggest science story this week was really, really big. Brontosaurus, weighing in at about 16 metric tons, is a taxonomic contender once again, thanks to a 300 page long cladistic analysis in the online journal PeerJ.  (Spoiler alert: Yes, the rest of this piece will include puns, jokes and allusions to classic films just […]