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 […]

Guest Post: The Lords of Yesterday

As my husband and I drove into Ouray, Colorado recently, we both gasped. The red-grey cliffs of 14,000-foot mountains cradle the old mining town, with waterfall lacework tracing down the mountainsides — one of the most gorgeous spots on Earth. But it was the stream tumbling through the valley we were gasping at: It was […]

I’ll Miss You Summer

My son’s new school supplies shine too brightly in the corner of my office. It’s the standard fare: glue sticks, soon to be dried out felt pens, a rainbow of highlighters, a cheap pencil sharpener made in China. The exercise books lay crisp and waiting to be filled with vocabulary tests and paragraphs about summer […]

Story, History, Story

Ann:   Some time ago, I got interested in why European languages so often use the same word for “story” and “history.”  Every English speaker knows that having one word for two such different things — fiction and truth, respectively — is anathema.  But my thinking didn’t go much farther than that, it rarely does.  So […]

Guest Post: Postcard from El Salvador

Agricultural engineer Irene Varela is a compelling presence. Six farmers are gathered on the patio of a church library in Santiago Texacuangos in El Salvador, about an hour outside the country’s capital for a workshop she’s leading. “What’s the soil like when you have worms?” Varela asks in Spanish. “Moist,” says one famer. “Rich,” says […]

Guest Post: How to Stop a Tsunami in Three Easy Steps

Right now, parents newly versed in the vocabulary of doom are discussing the Cascadia subduction in Seattle backyards, in Portland parks. They’ve read the recent New Yorker article about the devastating earthquake overdue in the Pacific Northwest. Maybe they’ve also read the stories in Outside and Discover. They know that three thousand schools around the […]

Guest Post: I Had a Hamster. I’m Pretty Sure He Killed Himself.

This week, while working on a little story for Science about hamster emotions, I decided to do some hard-hitting journalism, so I called my mother. “Mom, I want to know what happened to Hamlet,” I said over the phone, interrupting her dinner party in California. A pause. “Really?” Hamlet was my childhood hamster. He looked […]

Guest Post: On Being Pro-Frog

When my first daughter started getting teased for her obsession with sharks I comforted her by lying that everyone had an animal they especially loved. When pressed I randomly choose frogs (I was hung over and just wanted quiet), which started a pro-frog avalanche: Walls filled with frog paintings, desks with frog playdoh figurines, and […]