Guest Post: Praised Be

“I have an idea,” said my friend Chris. We often walk and talk briskly together in the California beach town where we live. Not long before, we’d talked about how the Earth’s huge population is a major contributor to global warming. So I was only slightly amazed when she followed up with, “I think we […]

Guest Post: The Deep Roots of Boko Haram

Nearly a year ago last May, the mercurial leader of Boko Haram announced the fate of 276 schoolgirls that he and his men kidnapped from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria.  Standing in front of a video camera and tugging at a red hat, Abubakar Shekau laughed as he read from a prepared statement.  “I […]

Science Needs Cool Kids

I was not cool in high school. I think it would be a stretch to say I was a nerd, but I wasn’t cool and I certainly wasn’t getting laid. No, like so many scientists and science writers in the world, I mostly kept my head down and waited for college. You see, it’s in […]

Of Cops and Shots

The room is plain and cloaked in shadow, save the single pool of light draped over a hardened criminal. Facing the her is a meaty lug of a detective with a ketchup-stained tie and hairy knuckles. “This doesn’t have to go bad for you, Jenny,” the larger man growls. “You work with us and I can […]

Holiday Redux: A Bookseller And His Well

 LWON is celebrating the holidays by re-running some of our favorite posts. This post originally appeared in March 2014. In the May issue of the Rotarian Magazine next month 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 […]

Marvin Goldberger, Always Called “Murph”: Part 2

Part 1 is here. While Murph was still at Princeton, in his first years there, he was spending summers consulting, sometimes for defense contractors, sometimes for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.  (A lot of physicists did this: academic scientists’ salaries run for nine months; they needed summer money.)  Then a little later, during the post-Sputnik years, […]

Gotta Have Faith

I’ve been traveling a lot recently. I spent the month of August in China and Vienam, I went to Sweden in October, and of course I’ve been bouncing between my home in Mexico City and the good ol’ US of A. And you know what all this travel has gotten me thinking about? Institutions. I assume […]

Guest Post: Planning to Sprawl

I’ve been teaching undergraduates for a while now, various takes on the general theme of the environment and society.  Here are some things I’ve noticed. The students often believe that they have discovered the environment and all the bad things we are doing in it.  Up to now, they suppose, we have been unaware, self-centered […]