Cannibal Carbonado

Props to this guy who survived the first Starving Time in Jamestown, Virginia, with his gallows humor intact: “Nay, so great was our famine, that ….one amongst the rest did kill his wife, powdered her, and had eaten part of her before it was knowne; for which hee was executed, as hee well deserved: now […]

April Fools, Yellow Jacket Queens

Mother Nature pulled a lethal April Fools joke on 2016’s yellow jacket queens. My son found a dead V. maculifrons, or Eastern Yellow Jacket, on his hoodie this weekend. A series of black dots on the yellow bands of the abdomen revealed its royal status. But why was it dead? The wasps mate in fall, […]

I Google-image searched this moth pic. Could it be the elusive “Moustiquaire”? And what does that have to do with oxpeckers?

Silly me. “Moustiquaire” is French for mosquito netting. I suppose this search result is a testament to the power of nature’s camouflage in that either my iPhone camera or Google image couldn’t detect this winged creature of the night but instead focused on the screen where it had alighted last summer. Not being a lepidopterist, I’m […]

All the pretty boxes: Upcycling hacks for electronics packaging–the Tribbles in your closet!

Over the better part of a decade my husband and I had accumulated stacks of handsome, sturdy die-cut boxes for MacBooks and MacBook Airs, ChromeBooks and Surface tablets, iPhones and iPads and iPods. Long after some of those gizmos had died or passed into obsolescence, we hung onto the Original Packaging as if it were some kind of totem. […]

Thank you, Casey Trees for planting 2,104 trees in 2014 including these two Shagbark Hickories in my yard!

There are few things more thrilling on a fall day than having a couple of cheerful, hunky guys show up at your house with shovels and burlap-wrapped root balls, and then proceed to sink a couple of tree seedlings in the yard in less time than it takes me to find my gardening gloves.  A huge shout out to […]

How Betty Crocker duped generations of youngsters with the obesity-inducing breakfast of chocolate milk & “tiny doughnuts” cereal aka Cheerios.

As greenwashing describes bogus eco-friendly claims of products, is there a neologism for fake health food? For their prefab PB&J sandwiches, Smucker’s already coined Uncrustables, which are probably as barfy as they sound.  Bisquackery perhaps? Or Wonderbreading? I’ve been pondering this ever since I came across these oh-so-wrong images on my box of Wheaties. As it turns out, the clever marketing department at General […]

A conversation with “Fantastic Lab” author Arthur Allen about typhus, “thought collectives,” and his odyssey through obscure medical archives and the Nazi claptrap.

On a recent Sunday morning, I sat down with Arthur Allen over coffee at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC, to talk about his latest book, The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis. (Read my brief review in Science News.) The two scientists in the […]