How an internet quiz put me in my place

I am from nowhere. Until my husband told me this — stated it as a fact, like “it’s raining” or “the sky is blue” — I’d never had a truthful answer to a question that has always given me pause: where are you from? “You’re from nowhere,” Dave said. His words hit me like a […]

Holiday Review: Closed-System Sibling Knowledge

This post — a proposal which, like Erik’s, could solve a significant world problem if only anybody would listen — originally ran on March 12, 2012. A week or so ago, I commented on an Abstruse Goose cartoon about probabilities.  My brother-the-statistician commented on my comment, taking me apart – lovingly — for missing the […]

My love-hate relationship with e-books

Ever since I read a New York Times article about the possibility of bedbugs spreading through library books, I’ve been too paranoid to check out a book from my local library. (Yes, I know people have argued that the article was way overblown. What can I say? I have an irrational fear of the bedbug.) […]

Redux: Long, Tough Road to Stroke Recovery

This post originally appeared back in February 2011. If you’ve already read it, we apologize. Cassie is frantically packing in preparation for a cross-country move.  January 3rd was a bad day for Cee. That morning she had a colonoscopy. The procedure went smoothly. But afterward, Cee felt ill. Something wasn’t right. She had a bite […]

The mental health paradox

It’s a long-standing mystery in public health: despite the inarguably vast number of psychological and sociological stresses they face in the U.S., African Americans are mentally healthier than white people. The phenomenon is formally described as the “race paradox in mental health”. The paradox became apparent in the mid-1990s. Since then, an overwhelming majority of […]

Mapping the Infested Mind

Fear of insects is so common that it’s hardly worth remarking on. It’s those of us who don’t fear bugs who can seem a little odd. Science and nature illustrator Maayan Harel told us recently that while she’s acquired an appreciative fascination with her insect subjects, acquaintances still ask, with a shudder of disgust: “Are […]

Why the Debate over Abortion is Secretly Awesome

I woke up this morning, had a cup of English Breakfast tea, and thought to myself, “This seems like a good point in my career to alienate all of my readers.” So I sat down and wrote a blog post about abortion. If you are even a mildly thoughtful person, it’s a good chance you’re […]

Guest Post: Lost in Congo

Ever get the feeling that the whole world’s privy to a joke you just don’t get? That sort of approximates my life in the sprawl of Kinshasa. For the next year or so, my wife Anne-Claire and I will call this notorious behemoth of a failed state home. I couldn’t be happier – to live […]