Yoga & the Bullshit Prevention Protocol

I did not want to join yoga class.  I hated those soft-spoken, beatific instructors. I worried that the people in the class could fold up like origami and I’d fold up a bread stick. I understood the need for stretchy clothes but not for total anatomical disclosure.  But my hip joints hurt and so did my […]

Forcing the Issue

One of the best free diversions in London is the Wellcome Collection, the medical museum operated by the Wellcome Trust and supported by the posthumous generosity of Sir Henry Wellcome, the American frontier kid who became a British pharmaceutical tycoon. “Medicine Man,” one of the permanent exhibitions, is drawn from Sir Henry’s own extraordinary collection of memorabilia related to […]

Looking Up

About seven years ago, a good friend of mine experienced an unthinkable tragedy. Her 38-year-old cousin—to whom she was extremely close—and the woman’s two young daughters were walking hand in hand to school when a driver, having passed out due to an illness, swerved into them. They were dragged to their deaths. Ever since, my friend […]

Where should research chimps grow old?

In 2015, the National Institutes of Health announced the end of invasive chimpanzee research in the US. The agency had dramatically scaled back the program in 2013, and NIH director Francis Collins reported that due to lack of demand, he had decided to allow the remaining animals to retire as well. “It is clear that we’ve reached a tipping […]

Fear and Loathing in Elections

After months of promising, cajoling, negotiating, threatening, inspiring, inciting, confusing, shaming, glorifying, fibbing, flubbing, blustering and exulting, the election is over and we have a winner. Donald J Trump. This was truly an historic election for a lot of reasons that no doubt my colleagues in the political media have, and continue to thrum on about […]

Guest Post: Wax Work

I took my place at the gray table in the gray, poorly-lit room, meeting the gaze of the eyeless skull staked upright before me. A stiff rectangular block of white wax was my only material, and a simple metal implement, sharp like a scalpel on one end and rounded like a spoon on the other, my only tool—other […]

Scientist in the Field: The Mosquitoes of Two Towns

I must tell you up front that Kathleen R. Walker, second author on “Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) Longevity and Differential Emergence of Dengue Fever in Two Cities in Sonora, Mexico,” published recently in the Journal of Medical Entomology, is my stepdaughter.  She’s an entomologist, she studies bugs; I occasionally have a bug question.  I asked […]

Guest Post: Swimming in the Charles

The hot, thick summer air in Cambridge, Massachusetts, can make you feel like you’re sitting in a sauna, wrapped in a soaking-wet wool blanket. As a recent, temporary transplant, staying in a house without air conditioning, I needed a place to cool off. I’ve gotten to know all my favorite places by immersing myself in their water—the lakes […]