Where is here; here is where

Isaiah grins at me across the dining room table and more than 1,000 miles. In my nephew’s small, pale hand is an outsized Crayola marker, to match the pencil in my more gnarled fingers. We both lean over rectangles of paper—his in Colorado, mine in Oregon, now occupying the same virtual space, thanks to a […]

Guest Post: Scientists Come in All Sizes

I spent part of our recent snow day in New England on the phone talking to Richard Primack, an ecologist who studies how climate change affects seasonal events such as budburst and bird migration. I was interviewing him for another story, but as we talked, a new one came to light. He told me that […]

Potted

I’m in love with a houseplant. It’s a maidenhair fern, its frilly little leaves dangling from willowy stems. There’s something about it that just makes me incredibly happy. It’s true, my heart even flutters a bit when I see it. This is my first adult relationship with a houseplant. As a kid, we had plants […]

Creating With Nature: Ice Ornaments

If it is still freezing hard during the night where you live, you can try this easy and fun art project. Find some paper plates, cups, tupperware containers, anything with an interesting shape that you can get ice out of in one piece pretty easily. I like the paper plates because you can kind of […]

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. […]