Behind the Curve

The Keeling Curve—the sawtoothed upward slope of atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations—may be the world’s most famous scatter plot. The data that form the curve have been accumulating since the 1950s, when scientist Charles David Keeling set up his instruments at a geophysical observatory high on Mauna Loa, one of the massive volcanoes that form the Big […]

Now We Rhyme The Science Times

  Dear friends! Forgive a change of form A deviation from the norm For on the feast of Saint Pat-rick A man who liked his Limerick We here present for all to see The science news from A to Z The facts from ‘cross the universe The Science Times, told in light verse Today above the […]

The Language of Change

The nature writer Robert Macfarlane is so skilled—so precise, so observant—that he can make an unsuspecting reader long for mudflats. This careful selector of words is also a collector of them: Macfarlane has just published a lovely essay (and a book) about his hoard of “place words,” terms gathered over years of travel in Britain […]

Aldo Explains it All

You may have heard that conservation biologists are arguing with each other. Some say nature should be protected for humans; others say it should be protected from humans; others say it’s possible to do both. This may sound like an academic debate—and in many ways it is—but it has become a very nasty one, and […]

Freelancing Sucks. Long Live Freelancing.

Last month, Fast Company senior editor Reyhan Harmanci published a column called “Freelancing Sucks.” She wrote: Everyone knows this: the freelancers, who are forced to beg for months-late checks; the editors, who surf on an endless sea of referrals, looking for unicorn writers who turn in copy clean and on time; the readers, who get the […]

Holiday Redux: The Pocket Guide to Bullshit Prevention

LWON is celebrating the holidays by re-running some of our favorite posts. This post originally appeared in April 2014, but its applications multiply.  Wishing you a very happy—and bullshit-free—2015. I am often wrong. I misunderstand; I misremember; I believe things I shouldn’t. I’m overly optimistic about the future quality of Downton Abbey, and inexact in my […]

The Long Legacy of a Good Deed

Two years ago this week, a well-known environmental organizer named Sombath Somphone was detained at a traffic stop in downtown Vientiane, Laos, and driven away in a white pickup. He has not been seen or heard from since. You can read a lot more about Somphone, his work in Laos, and his wife’s remarkable efforts to […]

Tesser Well

It was a dark and stormy night. In her attic bedroom Margaret Murry, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat on the foot of her bed and watched the trees tossing in the frenzied lashing of the wind. Behind the trees clouds scudded frantically across the sky. Every few moments the moon ripped through them, […]