What's the point of the humanities? I mean, in addition to supplying jobs for humanities teachers? I am a faculty member within the College of Arts & Letters, a.k.a.
I just started teaching my spring classes, and on the first day a student asked me if my work as a science journalist had taken me to any cool places.
Driving through my hometown recently, I passed half a dozen neighbors holding antiwar signs. One declared, "BRING ALL OUR TROOPS HOME," with "ALL" underlined.
In 1995, I critiqued evolutionary psychology in "The New Social Darwinists," an article in the December issue of Scientific American. Afterwards I got a scathing letter from Robert Trivers, whose work on altruism, parent-offspring conflict and other tendencies helped lay the foundations for evolutionary psychology, which like its precursor sociobiology attempts to explain human thought and behavior in Darwinian terms.
Environmentalism, like politics in general, is depressingly polarized these days. On one side, alarmists like the activist Bill McKibben, climatologist James Hansen and blogger Joe Romm warn that if we don't cut way back on fossil fuels—now!—civilization may collapse.
I just realized today is Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. To celebrate it, I'm posting the following column, adapted from something I wrote for The New York Times nine years ago: Three years ago, my wife, who is a pagan, decided that our family should celebrate Winter Solstice.
What does it say about particle physics that the Higgs boson has generated so much hullaballoo lately? Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland have reportedly glimpsed "tantalizing hints" of the Higgs, which might confer mass to quarks, electrons and other building blocks of our world.
All science writers, especially those of us who cover particle physics and other fields that purport to reveal ultimate reality, hear from cranks. Pre-email, I got envelopes stuffed with manuscripts, sometimes hundreds of pages long, from people unaffiliated with any research institution known to me.
I've been brooding over Buddhism lately, for several reasons. First, I read that Steve Jobs was a long-time dabbler in Buddhism and was even married in a Buddhist ceremony.
The biologist Lynn Margulis died on November 22 at the age of 73. I adapted the following essay about her from my 1996 book The End of Science.
As an adolescent, I was sometimes so glum that my mom called me Eeyore. I wallowed in The Waste Land , 1984 , Brave New World and other gloomy classics.
Last summer, I wrote about my run-in with a rabid skunk, which reinforced my disbelief in a benign, all-powerful God. If such a God exists, why does He allow some people to suffer so much, through no fault of their own?
We are facing an epidemic in this country, a threat to our health caused not by pathogens, environmental toxins or lousy diets but by medical tests. Over the past couple of years, we've learned that two popular tests for cancer—mammograms and the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test for prostate cancer—are less than useless for many people.
I was going to let the demise of Muammar Gaddafi pass without comment—after all, what does the murder of this tyrant have to do with science, right?
These are tough times for science and technology journalists, who, if they still have jobs, rarely have the time and travel budgets required for in-depth reporting.
I'm upset with Barack Obama for his soft treatment of bankers and other potential campaign donors and his callous treatment of civilians killed in U.S
"Eat the rich, feed the hungry." "Occupy Wall Street, Not Afghanistan." "The Left Never Left." "Take the Bull by the Horns." "The Beginning Is Near." "The Empire Has No Clothes." "Frack Me, Frack You." "I am a revolting citizen." "Jesus was a Marxist." "Auto-plants fill the Earth with Machines Designed for Death." "I love this goddamn country, and we're gonna take it back." "We are the 99%." These were some of the signs I saw on Saturday when I visited New York City's Zuccotti Park, the base camp of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which boasts a kitchen, clothing dispensary, health clinic, media center and lots of cool music.
A lot of my liberal friends are bitterly disappointed with President Barack Obama's performance in the past three years. They complain that via action and inaction, he is perpetuating many of the policies of his predecessor.
There are times when I'm ashamed for my country. Last Wednesday, for example, when officials in a Georgia prison injected lethal poison into the veins of Troy Davis, a black man convicted of murdering a white police officer, Mark MacPhail, in 1989.
One of my guilty pleasures in this run-up to the next U.S. presidential election is watching proudly ignorant Republican wannabes like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann lashing out at each other instead of Obama.