A Baffling Curio

Investigative journalists seem awfully glamorous – delving into mysteries and catching those liars at their game. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of the aptitudes involved, so I steer clear of it. But recently I’ve had the thrill of that hunt in miniature. It all began when an editor sent me a link to the check above, […]

A Singular Data Point Is A Datum, You Idiots!

There’s a moment when you realize that you’ve become the person you hate. For me, it happened at the dinner table. I was telling (ok, ranting to) my husband about how my employer, FiveThirtyEight, has chosen to adopt as its house style the usage of the word data as a singular noun. “So you’ve become […]

Prescription for Tragedy

  Not long ago my father, who is 84, had a great fall. Great meaning bad. He doesn’t remember tripping on anything, just that suddenly he was on the floor of his bathroom. He’d hit his head on the corner of the sink. There was a lot of blood. A long hospital stay followed after surgery to […]

Guest Post: Postcard from El Salvador

Agricultural engineer Irene Varela is a compelling presence. Six farmers are gathered on the patio of a church library in Santiago Texacuangos in El Salvador, about an hour outside the country’s capital for a workshop she’s leading. “What’s the soil like when you have worms?” Varela asks in Spanish. “Moist,” says one famer. “Rich,” says […]

The Last Word

August 17 – 21, 2015 It was a week of people changing their minds.  Except for Cameron’s kids, they didn’t budge. Magical thinking works, says guest Heather Abel.  For decades, she was able to stop tsunamis before they hit her. Now, though, the grand and calming ocean stops them for her. Even out in the […]

Gathering String

I often buy presents for my kids that are really for me. This time, it was a special string for doing Cat’s Cradle. (Of course, it’s funny that I even bought a string, instead of tying a piece of yarn into a loop like I once did.) When they unwrapped it, they saw a rainbow […]

Talking Across Time

On a journey into the Kenai Mountains of South Central Alaska between snow-swollen peaks and cornices curling above glaciers, we carried a satellite phone. I usually don’t take any form of outside communication into the wilderness, so this device was nagging on me. For whatever reason I was fine with headlamps and ropes, various pieces […]

The Last Word

August 10–14, 2015 It was redux week here at LWON, in which some People of LWON chose posts that Other People of LWON and our guests wrote. Ann on Michelle’s post about using bourbon as mouthwash: “This post is one of LWON’s public services unto humankind. . . By re-running it here and now, we […]