Painting Fire With Fire

The Carlton Complex, the largest wildfire in the history of Washington state, started on July 14, 2014 in the foothills of the North Cascades. When it was finally extinguished, almost 40 days later, it had burned more than 250 homes and disrupted thousands of lives in Okanogan County, a rural county on the northern edge of the […]

The Amazing Lives of Fan Li and Xi Shi

Gather round, my children and allow me to regale you with the wonderful tale of the adventures of Fan Li and Xi Shi – military strategist, femme fatale, and all-around badasses. Fan Li was born in a town called Yuan Sanhu sometime in the late 6th Century BCE in a kingdom called Yue, near the modern […]

Gotta Have Faith

I’ve been traveling a lot recently. I spent the month of August in China and Vienam, I went to Sweden in October, and of course I’ve been bouncing between my home in Mexico City and the good ol’ US of A. And you know what all this travel has gotten me thinking about? Institutions. I assume […]

Damn You, Predictive-Text Typewriter!

I don’t care if they’re real. I’m just grateful for the texting fails collected on DamnYouAutocorrect. Maybe a guy really did offer to cook his girlfriend “chicken vaginas” instead of chicken fajitas; maybe a mom described her toddlers as having “pornstaches” instead of milkstaches in their Christmas photos; maybe a dad told his kids that […]

The Baijiu Bender

During a recent reporting trip to central China, I went to a banquet honoring a group of visiting foreign scientists. I’d heard about these banquets: red tablecloths, elaborate dinnerware, a procession of courses long enough to turn eating into an athletic event. But what were these miniature wineglasses, filled so deftly with clear liquid? The […]

Censorship at the Great Firewall

If you were sitting in front of a computer in China right now, you wouldn’t be reading this. Nor would you have seen Cameron’s post about a snail invasion on Monday or Michelle’s piece yesterday on a poem inspired by Marie Curie. In fact, when you tried to open our website, your computer would have […]