Stepping Off the Multi-Tasking Treadmill

Yesterday in the Washington Post, I wrote about how I wanted to love my treadmill desk, but I just don’t. I had high hopes. I’ve been a standing desk user for more than 10 years, long before they were a “thing.” I’m an active, restless person who already spends more than 80 percent of my […]

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. […]

The Case for Tracking Outcomes

Earlier this year, I installed a little program on my computer that tracks how I spend my time. At the end of the day, it can tell me how many minutes I spent editing a specific document, how long it took me to write a blog post and how much time I spent surfing the internet or […]

Dog Days

These are the dog days. Hot as a dog, lazy as a dog, wanting to curl up and take naps like a dog. Please, let us lie, sleeping like them, on these summer afternoons. But the phrase didn’t originate from the habits of our earthly canine companions. Instead, it came from Sirius, the dog star. […]

Slay a Monster—With Science!

  “There are monsters in my mind,” my daughter said at bedtime. “Oh, honey,” I said. “Monsters don’t exist.” She glared at me. “Yes, they do.” I sighed. “Have you ever heard of allometric scaling?” Well, it didn’t go exactly like that.

A Placebo a Day…

The other day I was walking home and I noticed that the local herbal remedy place in the neighborhood had closed down. It was a cheery place, with pictures of flowers on the windows, and often a pretty girl outside to lure in customers. It may have been a tad corporate-looking but I never really […]

The Ghosts in the Machines

Early one evening a couple of weeks ago I was sitting on a bed in a hotel room in Aspen, laptop in lap, when I started hearing voices. I raised my head, listening closely. At first I assumed the voices were coming from the street, but then I saw that the windows were closed. I got up and […]

Redux: The Knowledge

 This first ran on Nov. 18, 2011, before Sally took indefinite leave.  We just know you’re missing her so here’s the next best, the redux Sally. A transatlantic phone call ended badly the other day. “You can just turn left at the next light,” I heard my friend tell the New York cab driver over […]