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 […]

Hell Is Murky

A woman with red hair was charging up the stairs towards me. I stepped aside to let her pass, and then, because she wasn’t wearing a mask, I reversed course and followed her. Good choice on my part: She turned out to be Lady Macbeth. For more than an hour I had been wandering the […]

Guest Post: Are You Still Drawing Those Bugs?

My studies and work in science were limited to the physical until last year, staying far away from those messy life sciences. When I started studying science illustration, a field which has traditionally accompanied biology, it became clear that nausea was something I had better put aside fast. In fact one could consider my year […]

Dolphins: Largely Unexceptional

When John Lilly first suggested dolphins were super-intelligent, the context was clearer. The neurophysiologist was injecting his dolphins with LSD, masturbating them to encourage cooperation and hanging out with Timothy Leary. Before understanding that dolphins were conscious breathers, Lilly accidentally asphyxiated his subjects by fully anaesthetizing them for brain studies, but as they died they […]

Lies, Damned Lies, and Memories

When I was about four years old, a squirrel found its way into our house. My dad and his brother pursued it while my mom and I cowered in the bathtub with the shower curtain drawn. Eventually one of the men killed it with a hammer. I don’t remember seeing the corpse, but I have […]

Guest Post: Me vs Myers-Briggs

“Can you talk to a stranger for an hour?” Despite coming from a computer, the question felt almost aggressive.  Of course I can talk to a stranger for an hour.  I was a reporter for over a decade; you can’t do that job without learning to talk to almost anyone for an hour. Still, I […]

Something Up His Sleeve, Part 2

Yesterday I confessed my fear of magicians. Today I confront that fear by going to the source: Alex Stone, a magician I met at a party who, at my prompting, was kind enough to perform an impromptu set that thrilled me but that also, on the walk home, left me feeling uneasy. I later learned […]

Something Up His Sleeve, Part 1

Magicians scare me. Not magic. Magic is cool. I was at a party recently when I asked someone what he did and he said he was a magician and I said I hope he didn’t mind but would he possibly—and even before the request was out of my mouth he had produced a deck of […]