Resistance Begins at Home

On the evening of November 29, 1944, in the small town of Hood River, Oregon, the members of American Legion Post 22 performed what they later described as a patriotic act: They went to the county courthouse and blacked out sixteen names on the plaques honoring local soldiers. All sixteen men were still overseas, fighting on behalf of the United […]

Honest to God, DARPA & Jet Belts

Dear Reader:  the above is a sketch of an Individual Mobility System (IMS) proposed by a very special agency in the Department of Defense. The sketch was unearthed by my friend and much-admired colleague, Sharon Weinberger, who generously shared it on Twitter.  You could call this an IMS.  Or you could call it a jet […]

Dirty Norwegians

Having a child changes a man. Perhaps not as much as it changes a woman but a fair bit. A friend of mine recently had his first kid and decided to take up hunting. He’s a successful nurse in a big-time hospital but somewhere deep inside him, he wanted to know he could provide meat […]

Drugs, Trials and a Little Bit of History Repeating

I can’t help but notice that placebos have crept into the political news in recent weeks. Okay, maybe they aren’t in the headlines but they’re there, just below the surface. That’s because when you see a headline about the Food and Drug Administration, you should immediately start thinking of placebos. The Trump administration hasn’t named […]

Why Rachel Carson Still Matters

On Monday, the Trump administration instructed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency staffers to freeze all of the agency’s grants and contracts—cutting off financial support for many state and tribal environmental protection programs. (Staffers were also told not to discuss the freeze with anyone outside the agency, but the news was quickly leaked to both ProPublica and the Huffington […]

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. […]

Redux: Storia

If you know a non-English European language, you probably know that “history” and “story” are often the same word.  I don’t know how this happened but it seems deeply wrong.  I was outraged. At the least, it seems to undermine the authority and credibility that history claims, as opposed to the making-shit-up that stories do. […]

Sid Drell, 1926 – 2016, Whom We Still Needed

Last Wednesday, December 21, Sidney Drell died.  I can’t imagine anyone called him anything except “Sid.”  He was 90.  He was a particle physicist who for a while was deputy director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator.  He had a persistent South Jersey accent which somehow seemed to go with his attitude that nothing was too […]