Redux: A Dead World at Sunset

This was first published in March of 2011. As winter descends upon the sub-Arctic once more, I revisit these moments of awe on a frozen lake. “It may not strike you as a marvel; it would not, perhaps, unless you were standing in the middle of a dead world at sunset, but that was where […]

The Berger Inquiry

The normal course of action would have been to collect reports from biologists, anthropologists and sociologists – all hired by the gas company – to assess the environmental, economic and social impacts of the pipeline. But this was to be the largest project ever undertaken anywhere by private enterprise, in the history of the world. […]

The Last Word

August 4 – 8, 2014 Richard and Ann disagree informatively about the nature of a science writer’s duty toward truth and its embellishments. There is a glimmer of hope when Richard strikes on the thought that science writers share subjective truths, whereas scientists have a duty to be objective. Ann disagrees. The debate rages on in […]

Give Me a Heroine Who Invents

It’s been a while since we had a roundup of children’s books. So long, in fact, that the last time we had one, I wasn’t yet interested in children’s books. Now, it’s situation critical. My town has one little bookstore, and our library is accessed through several flights of dingy staircase at the back of a […]

Astronaut, Heal Thyself

The manned craft negotiates entry into the thin Martian atmosphere and lands in some sort of ingenious fashion in the three-eighths gravity. This is it. My generation’s very own “One small step for a human” moment. Real live people are inside, ready to hop out and get to work. The fifteen-minutes-delayed camera feed zooms in […]

The Last Word

March 10 – 14 This week, Christie told us that story she doesn’t tell. Then lots of other people flocked to the comments to tell theirs. Guest poster Daniel O’Connell asked if there’s gold in them thar evolutionary hills. Cameron wondered if deep-sea species will be soon be forced to have their own reality show. […]

We Are All Both Ant and Grasshopper

When we deposit our money at the bank, when we drop our kids off at school, when we prepay for a future service, we are exercising the trust that has been encouraged in human nature by thousands of years of fruitful cooperation. But not every human we encounter will be trustworthy. According to The Truth […]

The G-out Room

It would start with tapping fingers on my bar, as the house music blared its inane, sometimes nonsensical, lyrics. The hands would be fidgety, the muscles straining for something to press against. Then his legs would start bopping and his face would start working and he’d launch into a violent dance. The shirt would come […]