The Last Word

April 20 – 24, 2015 Jennifer buys bespoke draperies with a beguiling floral pattern. In a flash of perceptual ambiguity, the flowers turn into baseballs, and now she can’t unsee them. Erik outlines best practices for your next Lucha Libre bout, and Cameron interviews a former co-worker who has just published a book all about […]

With This Ring

Before World War II, the Roman wedding ritual only blessed the bride’s ring. The male wedding band’s popularity didn’t take off until the 1950s, a combination of jewelry industry marketing and the growing association of masculine domesticity with national prosperity. Suddenly, men could be identified as single or ‘taken’ at a glance. Folklore has it that […]

The Top 20 Things I Learned from Lucha Libre

Today, I’d like to take a small diversion from oceans, placebos and other sciencey stuff to address something far more critical to our future here on Earth. Lucha Libre. That’s right, that crazy sport that inspired so much of American pro wrestling and has been shown by researchers to be 5.78 times more awesome. Since moving to […]

Rust, Beer and Burritos: Interview with Jonathan Waldman

I met Jonathan Waldman when we were both magazine interns. We had a lot in common–we both got really into working on the magazine’s science column, and we were both really big fans of burritos. (He later sold me a shirt that featured a burrito-powered bike). When I ran into him at a conference a few […]

The Last Word

April 13-17 Ann on a recent Nature study linking dragons and climate change: “The authors recommend the obvious — increasing research in consumer-friendly fire-resistent clothing — and further suggest that monarchs desist from running around conferring knighthoods.” A sharp-eyed commenter notes publication date. Michelle on a disease affecting couples living in tipis and other small, off-the-grid […]

A Sense of Many Places

In the past half year, I’ve traveled a lot. I’ve always traveled a lot. Until recently there’s been a heavy emphasis on longer trips: going to live in a foreign country or hang out on a ship for a few weeks or months. In the five and a half years I was freelancing, time was […]

The Last Word

April 6 – 10 Have you ever had to endure the smug cocktail party contention that “biology is just chemistry, chemistry is just physics, and physics is just math” (and so all of life is reducible to math)? Abstruse Goose demolishes that glib noise with a thought experiment that reverses the formula. Michael Balter’s brontosaurus story […]

Remnant of Eden

A summer not long ago I went for a grueling 3-day backpack through GMO cornfields in Iowa, camping among walls of waxy green leaves that sawed against each other in the breeze. I wanted to see what besides corn and soybeans lived out here. Not much, I found. Spiders and ants were few and only […]