The trouble with abundance

There are several things you’re likely to notice if you fly over Southeast Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago on a clear day. If you’re an alpine junky like me, the first will be the snowcapped mountains that stretch seemingly without end from near the coast to the eastern horizon somewhere in Canada, their white-and-gray-tongued glaciers pouring all […]

Truth + Beauty

A couple of Harvard astronomers just wrote an essay in a new journal called Nature Astronomy.  That’s not the most riveting opening sentence you’ve ever read; I apologize. But the essay was odd, a kind of rumination-with-examples about how things in astronomy on vastly different scales nevertheless have similar structures.  That is, electrons orbit atomic […]

The Precarious Life and Untimely Death of Whooper 4-11

The Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, a patch of restored prairie and wetland in southwestern Indiana, is a a favorite stopover for migratory birds and itinerant birders. On January 3, while driving the grid of ruler-straight county roads around the wetland, a birder saw an unmistakable large, white shape: it was a whooping crane, one of the most endangered birds […]

The Freshwater Bullies of Gatun Lake

The crocodiles should not be a problem. Yes, the population has spiked after being placed under protection, and there have been some attacks recently. But those attacks tend to happen when somebody steps right into the water. The crocs all hang out in the shallows. Stay out of the water and you should be fine. […]

Reason for Hope

I joined a film crew several years ago in Chilean Patagonia where we put together a  flick opposing dams along the turquoise rivers of the Aysén region. At the time, stopping the advance of some of the biggest investors in the world seemed impossible. But soon more films were made, protests ignited across the country to save […]

On These Long and Softly Lit Nights

Winter Solstice passed last week. I think of how far the Northern Hemisphere has pitched us into space this time of year, tipping us away from the sun’s light. This is when middle latitudes in the north get 9 hours and 30 minutes of daylight out of a 24 hour day. The North Pole sees […]

Goodbye, Home

I close on a house this week. I’ve never done this before, not quite sure how the paperwork is supposed to happen. It’s not much of a place really, almost a thousand square feet and a loft with spaces between the planks where my older boy pressed his eye, watching his brother being born on the […]