Stop Underestimating Chickens

One of my favorite things about my usual writing beat (living things) is that we humans never stop learning new things about animals. We’re even still discovering species that are new to science. (Check out the glorious ruby sea dragon, previously known only from beach corpses, and Hoolock tianxing, a gibbon just determined to be its own […]

A Resolution For A New Year That Doesn’t Exist

Tomorrow is the last day of 2016. And good riddance. Boy, what a mess 2016 was. 2017 is bound to be better. Like 2015 maybe – man that was great year. Way better than that pile of crap 2014. No matter what our opinions of 2016 are, for most of us January 1st will feel […]

Looking Up

About seven years ago, a good friend of mine experienced an unthinkable tragedy. Her 38-year-old cousin—to whom she was extremely close—and the woman’s two young daughters were walking hand in hand to school when a driver, having passed out due to an illness, swerved into them. They were dragged to their deaths. Ever since, my friend […]

Drawing For My Nerves

I have a tendency to worry. When I’m stressed, I can worry pretty much any time of day, but my brain’s favorite time to worry is in the middle of the night. At 3 a.m., there is no problem that can’t be mulled over, chewed on, and puffed up until it seems like the biggest […]

Redux: Boobies Behaving Badly

In 2015, I wrote a post ostensibly about a funny-looking seabird called the booby. It’s about evolution and biology I suppose but in truth, it’s really about the forces of nature that drive at least some of our actions. And how those forces aren’t always good.  In my last post I made the case for why we […]

That Old Cafeteria Smell

I’ve spent a lot of time giving talks at elementary and middle schools recently, as I’m touring for my new book Unlikely Friendships DOGS (yes, that’s yet another shameless plug). Wandering those halls, with their shiny mopped floors and florescent lighting, draws up so many strange feelings—like that first-day flip-gut excitement (School! New books! Friends! […]

Experiment Regarding a Garage

I’ve been reading a history book, this one on a subject with so little documentation it needs to rely on eyewitnesses remembering what happened 10, 30, 50 years before.  Which, honest to God, why would you even bother? Science insists over and over and over, eyewitness testimony isn’t reliable – it’s influenced by stress, it […]