Forward by Failure

A few years ago, I decided to take up hunting. This was kind of a big deal, because I’d spent the first decade-plus of my adult life as vegetarian. I became a big game hunter for the same reason I raise chickens — to know where my food comes from and ensure that it’s raised […]

Seeing Mammoths

Seeing a mammoth is not the same as looking over a zoo wall at a modern elephant, or even standing next to a live, gray, wrinkled wall of flesh with scant, coarse hairs. Watching the flexible, prehensile reach of an elephant’s trunk and the slow cross-wise chewing of hay, I’ve found it hard to see […]

The Last Word

October 20-24, 2014 In his third post, Colin Norman faces a daunting prospect: heart surgery. “The operation isn’t as simple as snipping out the piece of aorta that includes the aneurysm and sewing in the Dacron tube. Because my aneurysm is right at the root of the aorta, the surgery would involve the left ventricle […]

Bad Science Poet

Time for another visit from Bad Science Poet. Remember: “It’s not the science that’s bad—it’s the poetry!”™ A LESSON IN HUMILITY FOR SCIENTISTS Bunsen had a burner. Ike had Tina Turner. And which became president?  

The Last Word

October 13-17, 2014 Colin Norman continues his exploration of the medical system through his own familial cardiovascular condition, and Cameron finds a universe in a small window pane. Michelle celebrates the day now dedicated to Ada Lovelace, patron saint of gifted women. A midnight encounter with a beaver leaves Chris Arnade in a standoff between […]

Few Words with Much Meaning

  In 1972, Chief Jimmy Bruneau of the Tłı̨chǫ First Nation attended the opening of the school that would bear his name. As part of the ceremony, many dignitaries got up to the microphone before him and gave long-winded speeches. Bruneau was an old man and very ill (he would die three years later), so […]

Happy Lady Ada Day

I’m not, in general, huge on holidays. I often wish that those of us in the U.S. would observe the weeks between Halloween and Martin Luther King, Jr., Day with a nice long nationwide nap. But I feel differently about Ada Lovelace Day, founded by British digital-rights activist Suw Charman-Anderson in 2009. Now, every year in mid-October, the world has a chance […]

The Last Word

October 6 – 10 This week was devoted to being Off Our Meds, looking calmly and as rationally as possible at scary issues in medicine. Ebola is about as bad as it gets, and no vaccines or drugs. Guest Robin Mejia suggest we learn some R numbers: “for each day that we’re not effectively isolating […]