The Last Word: October 27 – 31, 2014

In the beginning: The week started with Part IV of guest Colin Norman’s every-Monday series on undergoing heart surgery. (Spoiler alert: He lives to write another day.) Next: Craig went looking for a creature from an extinct species—and saw one, sort of. Then: Christie got her gun and went looking for creatures from non-extinct species—and saw them, for real. And: Jessa […]

La Vie Souterraine

At Lisgar Collegiate, my old public high school in Ottawa, whenever I had gym class, band or strings, law or – as I vaguely recall – accounting class, I had two choices. I could either pack my books away, pin my sleeves over my hands and charge out the door, through 15 seconds of -20C […]

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. […]