No Rings, Pops, or Bells

I don’t know what to do with my phone. It makes noises that I don’t understand. Sometimes it sounds like a jackpot machine and I want to throw it as far as I can. The last few days I found myself out of range while driving across southern Utah, trying to call my boys to […]

In Defense of Private Projects

It’s January, which means we’re still in the throes of people announcing and performing their resolutions. In a few weeks many of those resolutions will likely slip into guilty obscurity. By March people will mercifully stop asking you about that resolution. And by June you’ll be blissfully free of any memory of the resolution in the first […]

My Latest Bad Business Idea: 3D Printed Custom Menstrual Cups

Friends of mine know that I’m full of weird, mostly bad business ideas. There was the science tattoo consultant service, to help fact check your tattoo before you put the wrong DNA sequence on your body. There was the Brooklyn dog running company, that would go for runs with your dog. There was the proposal […]

Forcing the Issue

One of the best free diversions in London is the Wellcome Collection, the medical museum operated by the Wellcome Trust and supported by the posthumous generosity of Sir Henry Wellcome, the American frontier kid who became a British pharmaceutical tycoon. “Medicine Man,” one of the permanent exhibitions, is drawn from Sir Henry’s own extraordinary collection of memorabilia related to […]

How To Be A Good Online Friend

For better or for worse, I have a lot of experience dealing with online harassment. I also have a lot of experience with friends who are kind and caring and largely oblivious to what online harassment looks for feels like. Which is good! I hope they never have to experience it. It is not fun. […]

This is the Sound of a Forest Changing

The Alexander Archipelago, a 300-mile-long sweep of islands off the southeastern coast of Alaska, is known for its isolation, its heavy rain, and its thick, ancient forests of hemlock, pine, spruce and yellow-cedar. Yellow-cedar, which John Muir called a “truly noble tree,” has long been prized for its fine-grained, butter-colored wood. But over the past century, as average temperatures have risen, […]

The Four Stages of Twitter Grief

2016 has been ruthless. Yesterday, Gene Wilder died. In July it was Elie Wiesel and Miss Cleo. In June it was Muhammad Ali. In April it was Chyna and Prince. In January it was David Bowie and Alan Rickman. In 2016 we grieve in public, on social media. When Prince died people wrote millions of Tweets […]

Flying on Sunlight

In the winter of 2013, I went on a not-very-successful reporting trip to Switzerland. I was writing about a solar airplane, the Solar Impulse, and got way less access to the project than I had expected. But there was one highlight. After my odd tour of the hangar where the plane was being built, outside […]