Experiment Regarding a Garage

I’ve been reading a history book, this one on a subject with so little documentation it needs to rely on eyewitnesses remembering what happened 10, 30, 50 years before.  Which, honest to God, why would you even bother? Science insists over and over and over, eyewitness testimony isn’t reliable – it’s influenced by stress, it […]

Fast Journalism and Senseless Acts of Violence

On September 11, 2001, I was visiting a teacher in a one-room school in Kikijana, Bolivia, a tiny community nestled high in the mountains. After school let out, the teacher switched on a battery-operated radio. The broadcast was in Quechua, a language I don’t really speak, so I tuned out. But the teacher was listening. […]

Secret Satans: Archaeology

“Is it the mummies?” Tom asked. When I confessed my fear of archaeology to the LWON crew, Thomas Hayden immediately blamed the undead. Or long dead. Which was quite reasonable, really. But I’m a lapsed biologist; I like decay. I like a lot of other things about archaeology, too. I like its stories about people […]

Supplements: Something Smells Fishy

In 2010, I wrote an article for ScienceNow titled “Fish Oil Fights Inflammation.” The article focused on new research showing that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil block inflammation in cells and fight diabetes in mice. Jerrold Olefsky, who led the research, even had an explanation for how they do this. This whole process […]

Motherhood: Yes We Did (Twice)

Cassie, when you proposed this series of posts—well, the truth is, I was worried.  There’s nothing that seems to make a comments section ignite like someone pontificating on motherhood. And I’m embarrassed to say, I’m not quite sure if my—our—decision to have kids had much to do with science, beyond that biology might have conquered […]

Motherhood: Indecison 2012

When my grandma got married, the question of whether to have children wasn’t something that one pondered. If you could have kids, you did. My grandma had eight. Luckily she loves children. When my mom got pregnant at 17, she decided to keep me even though she had to drop out of high school. She […]

This Is Not About Climate Change

I read a nice essay saying that scientists make their advice to politicians too simple.  What scientists over-simplify, said the essay’s author, is their uncertainties.  I thought the author might be right: surely politicians don’t believe flat statements like, say, “climate change is making the world warmer and we’re all going to die.”  Not that […]