Guest Post: The Non-Simplicity of Mental Illness

ONE OCTOBER DAY in the fall of my junior year of college, I found myself sitting in a chair across from a small blond woman with a look of deep concern on her face as she stared into mine. She had something to tell me, she said, and it was clear she knew that the […]

Guest Post: The Baby Equinox and Charles Darwin

On this year’s summer solstice, the longest day, my daughter is about to reach her own personal equinox. She has lived outside of me for nine and a half months, almost as long as she spent swimming in my belly. The milestone means she now belongs to the world more than to me. In a […]

Redux Because This Is Better Than What I Was Going to Write

I had dinner the other night with, among others, a graphic designer.  He said he liked looking at contemporary photographs but to be honest, he didn’t know why he liked looking at them.  He knew they were better than snapshots, he said, but he didn’t know why they were. I’m certainly the last person to […]

Guest Post: The Descent of the Testes

  I did not plan to write about testicles this week. And I do not recommend plugging the phrase “elephant testicles” into Google’s image search engine. But I had a nagging question about the fierce little mammal sketched above, and one literature search led to another. Before I knew it I was  — forgive me gentle […]

Guest Post: Math Movie Music

Let’s be real: Watching someone doing math is only slightly more exciting than watching metal corrode. That may be why we’ve never seen a naturalistic depiction of math in the movies; such a snoozer would show someone hunched over a desk or a computer for hours, maybe with a few coffee refills and bathroom breaks. […]

Guest Post: Scientists Come in All Sizes

I spent part of our recent snow day in New England on the phone talking to Richard Primack, an ecologist who studies how climate change affects seasonal events such as budburst and bird migration. I was interviewing him for another story, but as we talked, a new one came to light. He told me that […]

Guest Post: The Philosopher’s Table

In the summer of 1968, my thirty-something parents bought a 48-inch-diameter round oak pedestal table from an antique furniture dealer in Union, N.J. The moment the table assumed its new position in the kitchen of Solomon and Sylvia’s Victorian home in nearby South Orange, it asserted itself as the center of gravity of the house. […]

Guest Post: Filippiada, Faneromeni, Softex

I am in Greece right now, working on a series of stories about mental health in refugee camps. Yesterday I visited Softex, a military-run refugee camp outside Thessaloniki in Northern Greece where about 950 people are living in tents inside an abandoned paper factory. There were no electric lights, just sunlight filtering through a few peripheral […]