From the Edge of Beringia

In the Cold War, a U.S. Air Force telecommunications network was erected in Western Alaska, a series of gray metal radio-towers like obelisks on a hilltop over the town of Nome. Each points a different direction, meant to bounce tropospheric messages from the Russian border to the US. Last used in 1985, the network has […]

The Long Now of the Tiburón Bighorn

In the spring of 2012, botanist and graduate student Benjamin Wilder was camping on Tiburón Island, a large island in the Gulf of California whose flora he has studied for most of a decade. Wilder wanted to find out more about the evolutionary history of the plants on Tiburón, so he was looking for fossil […]

Seattle: Land of Amazon, Boeing, and Ancient Mammoths

On February 16, 1961, the Seattle Times reported that geologists had dug out the roughly 10,000-year-old bones of a giant sloth from a peat bog near the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Two years later, alongside an article about Boeing’s plans for a supersonic jet and an ad for “Ladies’ Days” bargains on bedspreads and cribs, the newspaper […]

What Luis Alvarez Did

Ben:  OK, everyone. Forget Tesla. It’s time to start obsessing about Luis Alvarez. [That's Luis Alvarez in the photo, standing in front of the Great Artiste. This post began, as so much in life does, with a Twitter conversation.  Ben Lillie, a physicist and writer, began it; other people added to it.  One of those […]

Guest Post: Interspecies Dating Tips for Neanderthal Men

We are obsessed with the idea that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals interbred. But really, would the two species be compatible? Homo sapiens are flaky artists; Neanderthals are all business. Nevertheless maybe a Neanderthal guy found himself falling for a Homo sapiens gal. Here’s some belated advice: 1. A well-tailored set of animal skins is certainly a turn-on, […]

Redux: What to Wear on an Ice-Age Sea Voyage?

  If you were one of the 14 (a made-up number) people who read this back when LWON was publishing wonderful posts but was otherwise just a baby staggering around on inept little feet, we apologize for repeating ourselves.  Anyway, you probably weren’t.  One of the 14. Several superb posts on one of my favorite […]

Guest Post: Sun, Sea, & Sauropods

I grew up in L.A., but 25 years ago I sold my car and moved to Paris. I’ve had few regrets since, although I do return every year to see my old friends. Each visit reminds me that Angelenos don’t have much to be proud of, especially when they have to sit in traffic for […]