Ethical Quandaries

Last weekend, nerds from across the US and the world gathered in Cambridge Massachusetts to discuss the media coverage of other, often bigger nerds. It is known as the National Association of Science Writers annual meeting and it’s one of the highlights of my year. This year I thought it might be fun to participate […]

What’s Your Word?

Living in a foreign country can be exhilarating. Every time you step out your front door you are exploring a strange and exciting land. It’s like you are always on vacation. Likewise, reporting in a foreign country can be amazing as you get to dig into another culture in a way that no one else […]

Redux: Donald Trump Is the World’s Greatest Performance Artist

Since I wrote this post one year ago, “The Donald” has only grown in the public consciousness and is now the GOP frontrunner. I can’t understand why the rest of the media ignores the obvious fact that he never existed. “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” […]

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 […]