Report from the Solutions Summit

Back in early 2013, an email discussion among friends turned into a realization. We were having the same tired discussions about gender bias, over and over. The details might vary slightly, but it was the same story, again and again, and nothing was changing. It was time to go public and start looking for solutions. […]

Repeat After Us

I was reading the end-of-semester student essays in the Science as Narrative course I teach when one phrase stopped me. Stopped me as in, I didn’t go on: “Darwin was happy to be tasked with telling a fire by its ashes.” Was it an actual thing, I wondered, this “telling a fire by its ashes”? I […]

Climate Change: The Anti-Story?

The most recent report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) doesn’t pull any punches. The globe continues to warm, ice continues to melt at an alarming pace, and the seas continue to rise. Climate change isn’t some distant dilemma. It’s already happening. The science is solid, and the problem is urgent. “Nobody on this planet is […]

Beauty & Truth in Writing about Science

  A little while ago I was on a panel for the local science writing association, and each panel member was assigned to talk briefly about writing about science in a way that’s both literary and beautiful. I gave my talk and a few days later, it was posted on the association’s website.  Much social […]

The Pocket Guide to Bullshit Prevention

I am often wrong. I misunderstand; I misremember; I believe things I shouldn’t. I’m overly optimistic about the future quality of Downton Abbey, and inexact in my recall of rock-star shenanigans. But I am not often—knock wood—wrong in print, and that’s because, as a journalist, I’ve had advanced training in Bullshit Prevention Protocol (BPP). Lately, […]

Interview with Will Storr: Disputable Sources

Ann:  Will Storr is a phenomenon.*  His specialty is writing good stories about people in bad places.  He’s got a story in Matter about an extremely unpleasant disease called Morgellons.  People with Morgellons have terrible itches, then tiny fibers creep out of their skin and make oozy sores.  The disease sounds like a horror story out […]

Love Song for the Capital Weather Gang

The latest snowstorm was only somewhere around 5 inches, depending where in the yard I stuck my ruler, and as usual the Capital Weather Gang had nailed it.  I’d written them asking if I could interview them for this post, but at the time they didn’t answer, so intent they were on predicting the upcoming […]

The Last Word(s)

February 24 – 28, 2014 Cameron, trains, and writing: “I watched until it grew so dark that the only things that seemed to exist were the fire and the man’s illuminated hands.” Christie, death, and grief:  “Such platitudes offered me no comfort. The truth is, Pia died far too young, and I wish she hadn’t.” […]