Redux: Survivor Woman

Heather posted this on July 16, 2010, a time when we had probably 13 readers so apologies to all 13. She’s referring to a post Ann wrote about being dead wrong about some science. She also testifies to the physically horrifying life of an archeology writer. Yesterday, my colleague Ann Finkbeiner fessed up to one […]

The Adventures of Dr. Watson, Science Writer

Sherlock Holmes is having another cultural moment, and as usual, I’m all in. I was raised on the original stories — thanks to a family friend who was a Baker Street Irregular — and this winter, I’ve treated myself to another trip through the canon. This time, though, my sympathies aren’t so much with Sherlock […]

Not Every Day Is A Good Day

On the best days, journalism is a roller coaster of excitement and possibility – a front row seat to the entire human endeavor. Science journalism, on a good day, is especially so. You never know if you will be interviewing a Nobel laureate about the universe’s stretch marks, inspecting boxes of lethal scorpions, or strapping […]

TGIPF Guest Post: Upstairs, Downstairs

This week on LWON’s occasional series Thank God It’s Penis Friday, we bring you wisdom from not one but two authors of newly released books about private parts. (Count your blessings, people.) Florence Williams is the author of BREASTS: A Natural and Unnatural History; Jesse Bering is the author of Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? And […]

Redux: Scientists’ Slippage

This post is a re-run from 7/15/2010.  The situation hasn’t improved. I grew up noticing what a writer notices — stories and how things are said — and educated myself accordingly.  So I never learned much science and now, after I’ve unexpectedly turned into a science writer, my questions to scientists are generally English-major questions. […]

Trust no one, and other lessons I learned from physics reporters

As I’ve been thinking about the challenges facing science journalism, a little voice in my head has been murmuring, “Yes, but isn’t all this navel-gazing a bit biology-centric?” Number one on my list of lessons from the “limits of DNA” story is that datasets are getting bigger, and few of us reporters are well-equipped to […]

It’s Not (Always) About the Lorax

I’ve spent a lot of time this past year thinking and writing about extinction, which means I’ve also spent a lot of time drinking thinking about the tragic narrative in environmental journalism. There’s a lot of genuine tragedy on the environmental beat, and it doesn’t take a partisan to see it. There’s not a whole […]

What Would John McPhee Do?

When I’m thrashing through the brambles of a first draft, no story in sight, I have one reliable lifeline. WWJMD? What would John McPhee do to get himself out of this #%&! mess? This, after all, is the guy who found fascinating stories in citrus cultivation. And geology. And Switzerland! Some of his writing is […]