Winter Solstice, darkest day of the year, is fast approaching. So once again I’m posting an edited version of a column I originally wrote for The New York Times more than a decade ago, when I was still married and living in a Hudson Valley hamlet...
I’ve been pondering my profession again lately, for several reasons: shifts in the Scientific American Blog Network; the launch of a science communication program at my school, Stevens Institute of Technology, which is closely allied with a new program in science, technology and society (STS); and finally a chat with editors at IEEE Spectrum, where [...]..
Personal feelings can complicate science journalism. I dislike some scientists whose views I admire, and like some whose views make me squirm.
Edward Wilson has earned the right to title his latest book The Meaning of Human Existence, which coming from almost any other author would sound laughably pretentious.
I love apostates, believers in or, better yet, conceivers of a theory who turn against it. They restore my faith in science, because they show that scientists can overcome attachment to their own brainchildren, a feat that is essential for progress and cannot be taken for granted...
Since September, I’ve posted three columns, including two written by others, on whether lethal chimpanzee raids–and by implication, human warfare—are adaptive and hence innate...
The approach of Thanksgiving, that quintessential American holiday, has me brooding once again over slanderous scientific portrayals of Native Americans as bellicose brutes.* When I was in grade school, my classmates and I wore paper Indian headdresses and Pilgrim hats and reenacted the "first Thanksgiving," in which supposedly friendly Native Americans joined Pilgrims for a [...]..
I’m writing this post for two reasons. One is to recommend a new book by Columbia astrobiologist Caleb Scharf (who also writes a terrific Scientific American blog, “Life, Unbounded“), and the other is to defend an old book of mine...
For a professional blowhard, there is no worse fate than being ignored. So I’m always—well, almost always—delighted when my posts get pushback, especially from people who are smart, well-informed and thoughtful...
In a previous post, I poked my nose into the debate over whether climate change will precipitate more conflict. I offered a half dozen objections to predictions that more warming means more war...
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