Recent Notepad:

Category 'Science'

Autumn, Trees

Of all the insights contained in the genomes of these trees, the feel of a fall day is not among them. Continue reading

September 11, Fall Migration and Occupy Wall Street

On my way to Ground Zero on the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, I stopped for a slice a pizza and to clear my head. The previous week had been a somber one; every anniversary recalls the past, but some make you reflect on what’s happened since, and a cloud hung over the intervening years. The nation felt like a different, far darker place than before that fateful morning. Continue reading

A Parrot Nests in Brooklyn

Escaped from an ornithologists’ crate that fell to the tarmac at JFK, refugees from pet owners, released by a guerilla naturalist in Greenwood Cemetery: Continue reading

Alton Bog

Alton Bog

At the bottom of Alton Bog is an ancient silt seabed; atop that, ten thousand years of vegetal remains, raising the bog’s center above the surrounding wetlands. The soil is acidic, infertile, hypoxic; plants receive only what nourishment falls from the sky, and trees standing a few feet tall can be hundreds of years old. Continue reading

On Waldman’s Pond

“The water,” said John Waldman, “varies between green and shockingly green.”

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Notable Mice In My Life

The first was a gerbil named Herbie. I was about ten years old. He came with another male gerbil, who turned out not to be male; many more gerbils followed. They had names, too, but Herbie is the only one that survives in memory. Some of their great-grandchildren escaped into a hospital office building; I like to think they established a permanent colony. Mice aren’t gerbils, I know, but really. Close enough. Herbie I considered a friend. I cried when he died, and dug him a grave with a headstone. Continue reading

Notes on Science Writing

Science writer J.R. Minkel recently asked journalists “how you handle the pressures of the job and what motivates you to get up in the morning.” Below is my response, originally posted in my outtakes catchment. Though I try to keep this blog separate from my work, I’m making an exception here, because the answer touches on issues that are deeply important to me. Continue reading