My kids isolated the hemochromatosis genes.

Narcissism runs strong in most kids, so to teach them science, it helps to make it all about them. On a recent trip to The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, kids of all ages were excited to make a robot read their names, design their own roller coasters, create sound circles with their fingers, and see infrared shadow images of […]

ICYMI: “Everything you think you know about… leprosy is probably wrong.” Including one fact in this NYT article.

This article about leprosy in the New York Times earlier this month did a good job summing up the basic conundrums about the disease that have confounded researchers. But the writer got carried away in stating that most of the 200 cases of leprosy diagnosed annually in the US are thought to stem from contact with […]

A typical day in Yellowstone: melting roads, gushing geysers, and ‘gnarly, ancient cones.’

Over the weekend the U.S. Park Service closed Firehole Lake Road in Yellowstone because the underlying volcanic caldera coupled with the summer sun had turned it into a soupy mess. This is a common occurrence in the Lower Geyser Basin, which after all sits atop a “supervolcano.” But the roads were firm enough two weeks ago when my family was cruising this […]

Do marmots really like garlic bread?  

In Polly Horvath’s novel Mr. and Mrs. Bunny–Detectives Extraordinaire!, marmots love garlic bread. (Read that book–it’s funny!) I didn’t have garlic bread when I was hiking in the Grand Tetons and even if I did I wouldn’t have been allowed to feed them because the Grand Tetons is a national park and you’re not allowed to […]

Why you never see a flock of hummingbirds and five other things I learned about teeny hummers from Noah Strycker’s “The Thing With Feathers”

According to Strycker, whose entertaining new book I reviewed recently for ScienceNews, hummingbirds generally lead solitary lives and are “stubbornly unsociable.” And they sure don’t go in for any mushy mute-swan mating-for-life hooey. They dispense with copulation in a jiffy and then females and males occupy separate territories thereafter. Now that you think about it, […]

Bedeviled by unhealthy habits? “Disease Proof” offers a practicum to prevent chronic disease.

After sweating a monsoon in a cycling class at the gym I was wondering why the instructor looked so familiar when I suddenly realized that she was indeed an old friend named Stacey Colino, whom I hadn’t seen since journalism school. While we were catching up, she mentioned that she recently co-authored a book with David […]