How losing my smart phone made me smarter

A few weekends ago, I hiked a deep canyon with a couple of friends. As has become my habit, I toted my smart phone along. I set it to mute so that I’d remain undisturbed by pings and rings, and I pulled it out of my pack only to take a few photos. After the […]

Why I’ve Become a Distracted Driving Bore

Lately, I’ve become a nag. I reprimanded my husband for fiddling with the navigation on his smartphone while he was driving. I chastised a friend who said she talked on her speakerphone on the road and another who admitted to texting while “only going 30 miles an hour.” Last weekend, I looked up a bunch […]

I Regret the Error

Happy 2014, the year after The Year We Broke the Internet. Last week, in a gloomy essay in Esquire, Luke O’Neil wrote that publications old and new have abandoned basic reporting—and worse, their basic concern for the truth—for the sake of speed and splash. “Big Viral, a Lovecraftian nightmare … has tightened its thousand-tentacled grip on […]

My love-hate relationship with e-books

Ever since I read a New York Times article about the possibility of bedbugs spreading through library books, I’ve been too paranoid to check out a book from my local library. (Yes, I know people have argued that the article was way overblown. What can I say? I have an irrational fear of the bedbug.) […]

The Rime of the Ancient Astronomers

I received an email the other day from Nicholas Suntzeff, the director of the Astronomy Program at Texas A&M as well as a friend. (Readers might remember that he has published two guest posts with LWON.) His email was in fact a series of emails that he thought I might enjoy. It started with a […]

Big Brother Science

I’m eager to read Dave Eggers’ new book, The Circle. In this novel, a mega-tech company seeks to make the world as “transparent” as possible by encouraging people to place cameras everywhere and share the details of their private lives. The company declares that “ALL THAT HAPPENS MUST BE KNOWN” and “SECRETS ARE LIES.” In […]

En Garde..Touche

“So, this goes…under the bra?” I stare dubiously at the hard plastic bowls. “Yup,” says the 27-year-old Black Irish firefighter who somehow strikes me as unlikely to know, even though it is he who handed them to me in a sealed package upon which he has printed my name. The trouble is I already have […]

Guest Post: A new love for the very old

When I was young, my brother and sister and I caught salamanders in my grandparents’ garage and chased cats through the barn. The family farm was a big private playground, where we could poke at tadpoles in Nelson Lake (more like a large pond) and occasionally ride around on a giant lawnmower. More often than […]