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, […]

Happy Lady Ada Day

I’m not, in general, huge on holidays. I often wish that those of us in the U.S. would observe the weeks between Halloween and Martin Luther King, Jr., Day with a nice long nationwide nap. But I feel differently about Ada Lovelace Day, founded by British digital-rights activist Suw Charman-Anderson in 2009. Now, every year in mid-October, the world has a chance […]

The Legacy of Lonesome Larry

This story has a happy ending. I promise. Every year before the turn of the last century, some 150,000 sockeye salmon made an epic journey: They traveled from the Pacific Ocean up the Columbia River, hung a right into the Snake, a left into the Salmon, and finally, after swimming upstream for 900 miles, arrived in the clear, icy waters […]

More Energy, Less Freedom

The writer and filmmaker Swain Wolfe spent his earliest years at a tuberculosis sanatarium near Colorado Springs, Colorado, where his father was the director. After World War II, the sanatarium closed, his parents divorced, and his mother moved Wolfe and his sister to a ranch in western Colorado and then, when Wolfe was a teenager, to Montana. […]