How to Name a Caribou

Few species are more frustrating to taxonomists than the North American caribou. Ranging from the Canadian Arctic to the Great Lakes, caribou vary enormously in size, color, antler shape, habitat, and behavior. Some aren’t much bigger than domestic dogs; others are almost big enough to rub shoulders with a moose. For more than two centuries, […]

The Mathematical Elegance of the Grand Canyon

  I leave today for a backpack with my two kids off the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Per our usual, we are going without maps, compass, gps, or a trail. This is how we do it together, traveling by line of sight, letting geography show us the way out and back. I used […]

The Last Word: Inanimate Object Appreciation Week

This week on LWON we dug into the archives and appreciated things. Things. Stuff. The material objects that surround us and give us something to look at, or use, or remember people by. We kicked off the week with Former Person of LWoN Tom Hayden singing the praises of all sorts of not-very-impressive-technology that gets […]

The Last Word

July 11 – 15, 2016 Jessa updates a post about the Berger Inquiry, the time that the Canadian government actually asked the people who were here first what they wanted to do with the land that belonged to them in the first place. Rose’s backyard in Brooklyn is full of squirrels fighting, not just the […]

Counting Pistachios, Taxis and Great White Sharks

In this month’s issue of National Geographic, I lay out a simple question. How many great white sharks are there on Earth? It seems simple enough – we’ve found some 3,500 planets outside our solar system and 400,000 species of beetles on Earth. This is the modern world of crowdsourcing and big data. We can […]

My Science Fair Project Was Better Than Yours

I remember my 7th grade science fair project pretty clearly. You may think you aren’t interested in what it was, but you should be—because it was fabulous. It was truly unique. I didn’t grow plants under different colored lights and I didn’t build a lame volcano using paper maché and some sticky baking soda and Sprite mixture (or whatever). […]

The Last Word

July 4 – 8, 2016 What do you do when, as usual in America, people get shot? Only this time you’re first on the scene? And you’re in charge? And years afterward, you still see the scene, over and over? Craig’s friend tells stories to little kids, over and over. Michelle writes about little kids […]