Wild-Animal Painting in the Jungle

It’s not obvious how to draw a snake. Here, let Isabel Cooper tell you about it, in a 1924 article she wrote for The Atlantic Monthly. For instance, there’s no such thing as a school of snake artists, so when the problem of making a portrait of a snake presented itself I had to think […]

Bat Facts

Last week was National Pollinator Week. Did you eat your pollinator cake and enjoy pin-the-tail-on-the-pollinator games at your neighborhood pollinator party? Yeah, me neither. But, thanks to an observant friend who’s on a lot of e-mail lists, I did get to celebrate with a bat walk. Some bats are pollinators. None of them happen to […]

Redux: U2 Gets Onto People’s Skin

U2 is touring again, and I saw them last week for the 12th time, so I thought now would be a good time to rerun this post from 2015 about a research project on U2-themed tattoos. Get your concert tickets here.  Once upon a time, I was a fan of bands that gave me some […]

The Cicadas Come, on Little Hook Feet

  One evening this month I was coming back from the library. The pollen was at its worst, but I was sick of being indoors and thought I’d sit down on the grass in front of my building for a few minutes. I opened up one of my books, then felt guilty about choosing the […]

Sketches of Panels

Every year, Johns Hopkins Medicine runs a boot camp for science writers in Washington, D.C. They cover some topic in science. For science writers, it’s a free introduction to a hot area of science (with breakfast, lunch, and tasty snacks). For Hopkins, there’s a chance someone will decide to use one of their experts in […]

Cherry Blossoms, Close By

Here in Washington, D.C., we love our cherry trees. The cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin, near the Jefferson Memorial, get all the attention. And they deserve it–they’re lovely. This year, peak bloom was an elusive creature. February was so unseasonably warm that the Park Service predicted peak bloom would come March 14 or 15, one of […]

Moby Peep: A Peeps Diorama

I have a bit of a thing about whales. The shelf above my desk at home is full of whale art, and a National Geographic whale poster hangs in a frame above that. Along with that, I have a thing about Moby Dick, which is a book about whales. So when it was time for […]

Concert Bug

Sunday afternoon I sang a concert of madrigals and other choral music of the last few centuries. It was in the pleasant modern chapel at a retirement home. Between sets, the music director introduced the next group of songs. A set of Elizabethan madrigals, with plenty of fa-la-las. (They don’t mean anything, but they’re joyful.) Some […]