Does Your Messy Desk Make You a Bad Person?

My desk is a disaster. Let’s see…there’s a pile of notebooks. An extension cord. A Christmas card from Switzerland and a postcard from Oklahoma. Index cards with poems by Wordsworth and Blake. A folder with the notes for a paper I wrote in 11th grade. And the only reason there’s no stack of unread and […]

The (Un)Happiness Project

My husband and I have been in the same apartment for more than four years. It’s a truly lovely place — spacious (for New York) with high ceilings, stained glass, and parquet wood floors. Each room has the appropriate furniture and many of the walls have been painted a color of my own choosing. We […]

Brave New Worlds

I remember the day the horses arrived. It had been raining, and for two kids cooped up inside, the afternoon seemed to stretch into years . And then there were horses. Some were dark as thunderclouds, some roan, some palomino. There were wild mustangs and Icelandic horses with manes like clouds. My best friend and […]

From Freud to Feynman: Curious Thoughts of Curious Minds

I wonder why. I wonder why. I wonder why I wonder. I wonder why I wonder why I wonder why I wonder!  The poet: Richard P. Feynman. The occasion: an undergraduate philosophy term paper at MIT. A great work of poetry? Perhaps not. An example of profound thinking and the ability to render a complex […]

How Not to Be Blown to Smithereens

Last week a British treasure-hunter, Ian Snook, barely escaped a rather unpleasant end when his metal detector began clicking madly on a beach in Dorset, England. Answering the siren call of potential loot, Snook began digging furiously, only to find a battered metal sign. It read “Precaution–bombs fire instantly on breaking in air. Stringent precautions must […]