Garwin: the Movie (UPDATED)

Garwin: the Movie opens with an old, steady, precise hand on a computer keyboard, scrolling through now-declassified* documents.  Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower make announcements, and newspapers flash headlines about our splendid new hydrogen bomb.  Then the blossom of a mushroom cloud unfolds; and John F. Kennedy talks about Russian missiles in Cuba; and the […]

It’s Time to Evolve. Yes, You Too.

A few years ago, I was driving back exhausted from a rock climbing trip in the mountains. My buddy Bryan Fong, was bored and feeling a little punchy. When he gets like this, he tends to bring up politically sensitive topics and starts looking for buttons to press. In this case, he honed in on […]

A Bookseller And His Well

In the May issue of the Rotarian Magazine next month – for those of you who can find it – you will be able to read the full version of a story I did last year on toxic mine runoff in highland Bolivia. It’s a nice story of a tiny valley high in the mountains […]

Abstruse Goose: NSA Surveillance, Solved

I just don’t have anything to add to this.  Though I’m pretty sure if the NSA put their massive minds to it, they could figure out how to hear us thinking, let alone typity-typing on our computers without an internet in sight.  Did you know that NSA is the country’s largest employer of mathematicians?  It […]

Can’t We All Just … ?

Recently, based on the well-established if-Netflix-made-it-then-it-must-be-awesome principle, I have been watching the show Lillehammer. (This principle is firmly based in the orange-is-the-new-black correlate, the house-of-cards theorem, and the Derek postulate). Like all the Netflix shows, it’s pretty good. But unlike some, it’s only pretty good. It’s about a New York wise guy who ends up […]

Growing the Science Writing Pie

Several weeks ago I was invited to sit in on a fascinating workshop on journalism. Hosted by the Mexican Society for Science and Technology Communication (SOMEDICYT), it was a collection of science writers from Mexico and abroad gathered together to discuss the definition of science journalism. It was the kind of philosophical dialogue that you don’t […]

Canada’s lost generation of scientists

The first major warning sign came in 2006, shortly after Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper first ascended to power. The office of the National Science Advisor was to be phased out. It was a blunt and open declaration of what would come to be called, in environmental writer Chris Turner’s new book, Canada’s War on […]

Strange Times in Washington

The first I knew of it was about 11:00 Monday night. The Capital Weather Gang, a brilliant blog that was snapped up by the Washington Post a few years ago, posted on Facebook: “Have seen some reports of a fireball (large meteor) in DC area around 8:25 pm. Anyone see it?” Comments came in. A […]