Trees Are Overrated

THE ATLANTIC Preserving the world’s great expanses of grass could be essential to combatting climate change. Once upon a time, not a blade of grass could be found on this planet we call home. There were no verdant meadows, no golden prairies, no sunbaked savannas, and certainly no lawns. Only in the past 80 million … More Trees Are Overrated


Synthesizing Ideas to Write with Authority

THE OPEN NOTEBOOK Sometimes, as a reader, you can feel when you’re in good hands and headed somewhere interesting. But how can writers bring this kind of authority to their own work? It requires taking charge of a story to prioritize selectiveness over comprehensiveness, momentum over excessive citation, and rigorous thinking over “balanced” circumspection. It … More Synthesizing Ideas to Write with Authority

Early Earth’s Slowing Rotation Helped Oxygen Build Up

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN The planet’s spin may have mediated critical atmospheric oxygen When Judith Klatt began studying the colorful mats of primitive microbes living in a sinkhole at the bottom of Lake Huron, she thought she might learn something about Earth’s early ecosystems. Instead Klatt, a biogeochemist at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in … More Early Earth’s Slowing Rotation Helped Oxygen Build Up

Pandemic upheaval offers a huge natural experiment

NATURE The disruption that the coronavirus has caused to daily life has created unique research opportunities for scientists. Soon after COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020, physicians in certain nations noticed something unexpected: the number of premature births seemed to plummet. Preliminary research in one region of Ireland documented a 73% decrease in very-low-birth-weight babies1. … More Pandemic upheaval offers a huge natural experiment

In Praise of Phases

THE LAST WORD ON NOTHING When I was sixteen, my voice teacher predicted I would become a Jack of all trades. It wasn’t a compliment: We were in the midst of a fight, squaring off across the shiny black battlefield of her baby grand piano. She wanted me to concentrate only on singing. But I … More In Praise of Phases