Quiz Time

The utterance, “There will be a quiz on this” is notorious for striking panic into a roomful of students, but for me it holds the key to my strongest motivation. I am so much more likely to read a textbook chapter that will be followed by a pat on the back in the form of […]

Lost in the Woods

Somewhere within walking distance of me, there is a dead human body, unburied, in the woods, and it will likely never be found. Psychiatrist Atsumi Yoshikubo arrived in Yellowknife from Uto, Japan last October 17, one of hundreds of tourists who come to see the Northern Lights every year. She checked into our nicest hotel […]

Sam Sells Seashells By the Seashore

There’s a popular myth about Dutch last names that goes like this: When Napoleon occupied the Netherlands and instituted a family name registry, only the upper classes had such names already in use. A significant subset took the opportunity to protest foreign rule by registering under silly names like “Born Naked,” “The Criminal” and “Little […]

The Last Battle

For every year since 1840, life expectancy in the Western world has lengthened by three months. Many more of us can look forward to a full retirement and, in the Commonwealth countries, a letter from the Queen on our 100th birthdays. It’s worth asking, though, whether large-scale longevity is worth pursuing if more than half […]

Holiday Redux: I Can’t Put It Down

LWON is celebrating the holidays by re-running some of our favorite posts. This post originally appeared in July 2012. Alarmist reporting about addictions to sex, to the internet or to exercise can suggest that new syndromes are being invented every day, that human existence is pathologized out of proportion. But some compulsive behaviors that caused […]

The Last Word

December 14-19, 2014 In the second half of Ann’s reflections on Marvin “Murph” Goldberger, the subject turns from academic life to Jason, the group of physicists who advised the US government on science, including tactics to be used in the Vietnam War. As before, she lets Murph do the talking. Press release-driven science journalism is […]

Gasp. Pant. Brr.

“Go on, get ‘em!” is what I could have sworn he said to his dog. And get us he did. I don’t remember what kind of dog it was, but the key factor here is that the dog was heavy. I was on assignment, the second year in my job for Up Here magazine, and I […]

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 […]