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 […]

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 […]