Guest Post: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s a beautiful spring day here in the Canadian Rockies, and inside my head I’m a slightly less perky Julie Andrews running through the fields singing The hilllls are alive, with the soouund of muusiiiiiic. I’m feeling much more upbeat than I was a couple of months ago. Sixteen hours of daylight stretch gloriously before […]

Unwelcome Worm

I’m not the kind of girl who ordinarily irons her underwear. But two weeks ago I found myself hunched over a flimsy wooden board doing just that. I was visiting friends in Mozambique, and they assured me that everything must be ironed—shirts, pants, sheets, towels, and, yes, even underwear. It’s not about aesthetics. You need the […]

Guest Post: Learning to Appreciate the Untracked Life

In the weeks after I bought a Fitbit, I noticed I was acting bizarre. I started carrying bags with my left arm so my right arm – the one with the Fitbit – could swing freely to ensure the Fitbit’s accelerometer would count my every step. In the evening, I would pace around my apartment […]

Redux Baltimore: Drugs, Guns, and Real Life

This was originally published 8/23/2011.  More should have changed by now.  This is a sort of permanent redux.Today is my birthday, a good time to reflect. And one of the things I have found myself brooding over lately is my love of Baltimore. As fans of The Wire know, the city has more than its […]

Watkins’ Lethal Elixir

On September 27, 1937, Susie Mae DeLoach caught her leg on a strip of barbed wire. The wound festered, and the infection spread, eventually reaching her heart. None of the remedies DeLoach’s doctor recommended seemed to have any effect. And by the time her family called Dr. Johnston Peeples for a second opinion, she was gravely […]

Losing Control

When you’re carrying a child, you make certain sacrifices. I knew I’d have to give up Tanqueray and the occasional guilty cigarette. I was even prepared to forgo sushi. But I soon learned that the list was far longer than I imagined. No hot tubs, the experts advised. No queso fresco. No Advil. No deli meat. […]

Plan UVB

You may have read last week that you should start wearing sunscreen at night. This was bad news for me: I’m already a hopeless victim of sunscreen marketing, slathering the stuff in rain or shine, in London fog, at dusk. I just can’t stop, despite mounting evidence that regular sunscreen may be less protective than […]

Behind the Steel Door

In 2011, Yoshihiro Kawaoka reported that his team had engineered a pandemic form of the bird flu virus. Bird flu, also known as H5N1, has infected infected nearly 700 people worldwide and killed more than 400. But it hasn’t yet gained the ability to jump easily from human to human. Kawaoka’s research suggested that capability might be closer […]