The Last Word

February 1-5, 2016 After digging out from Snowzilla, Ann recalled the last time her Baltimore neighborhood was buried under unreasonable quantities of snow, and how outraged she was at her poorly behaved neighbors. What are the chances of a giant supernova happened nearby? Slim. Or the chances of a Voyager-like probe from somewhere else coming […]

Nobody Likes Sad Futures

On Tuesday, the podcast that I host and produce started its second season. The show is called Flash Forward, and it’s weird and fun and surprising. Every episode takes on a possible future, from the terrifying likely (antibiotic resistance) to the completely absurd (space pirates drag a second moon to earth). Every episode starts with […]

Getting Out of the Jail of Time

Time is a jail that we’ve built for ourselves, I think as I look at the clock and realize this post is due by some daunting hour of the morning. How could this day have been contained by a big hand and little hand on the face of a clock? Sometimes, or some places, the clock […]

Redux: Below the Snow

Right now, the meteorological event that some are calling Winter Storm Kayla is on its way across the U.S. While people may be curled up inside with a quilt by the fire, another group of creatures is finding shelter outside, under a cold, white blanket. This post about that unique below-the-snow spot, called the subnivium, originally ran in […]

The Last Word

As we creep up on Valentine’s Day (yes, still a couple of weeks away–don’t panic), we found ourselves writing about subjects having nothing whatsoever to do with love. Instead, it was a week about crimes, population, medicine, and lichens. Oh my. Rose Eveleth discusses what makes a copycat crime, and why defining that term matters. I […]

Medicine in the Fourth Dimension

In the early fifteenth century, a new artistic tool spread rapidly throughout Western Europe. Single-point linear perspective – a geometric technique that involves a rectangular grid stretching toward a central vanishing point – was a coup in the quest to represent three-dimensional objects on two-dimensional surfaces. Art had never looked so realistic, and the technique was ubiquitous for […]

The Elephant in the Bedroom

Just recently, the Chinese government ended its one-child policy, telling married couples they could reuse their nurseries one more time. It wasn’t out of the goodness of officials’ hearts. The original policy, put into effect in the late 1970s, was about demographics, an attempt to control the pull on the flailing economy. The change is still about […]

The Last Word

January 18 – 22, 2016 Pity the eastern LWONians, in fact the whole American eastern coast, tunnelling through the snow in a direction they hope is up, looking for some blue sky, some sun again. I thought maybe, yes maybe, I could do my bit for STEM education and connect up that kid who’s so […]