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October 14, 2013
Woodlands: 76 Years of a Powerful Little Magazine - Woodlands Fall 2011 cover

On Friday night, October 18, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., I will present the history of Connecticut Woodlands magazine, which I have edited since 2001, and its contribution to the Connecticut environmental canon, with highlights of especially great/memorable articles published since its start in 1936...

September 30, 2013

Town planners know they can't avoid dealing with sea-level rise.

I am writing an article about how coastal Connecticut's municipal leaders are changing the way they manage roads, emergency services, zoning, and building permits. Sea level has risen to within inches of billions of...

August 22, 2013
Desk work, late summer - PICT0065

It's been a heck of a busy summer, and next week I'll be taking some time off with my daughters and husband. Then from September 1-11 I'll be on a writing retreat in northern New Hampshire. But I won't be out of touch.

In these last busy days before vacation, I've been...

August 15, 2013
Little Libertarians on the Prairie - Little Libertarians Globe illustration

Was a beloved children's series written as an anti-New Deal fable? The Wilder family papers suggest yes.

A FEW MONTHS AFTER the stock market crash, in the winter of 1930, Laura Ingalls Wilder sat at a small desk in Mansfield, Mo., and began...

August 9, 2013
Watch for my story about Little House books in Boston Globe - Rose Wilder Lane testifying

Watch this Sunday's "Ideas" section in the Boston Globe for my story about the recasting of the pioneers as individualistic heroes in the "Little House" books. More to come! 

July 15, 2013
Mountains, a place to find what matters - whites trip with chris July 2013 017

Last week I climbed five mountains, mostly in fog and mist. The White Mountains of New Hampshire always take me back to myself. There, I meet writers and aspiring writers. But most important, I meet, again, myself.

 

I remembered another trip I'd made in 2003, ten years...

June 9, 2013
Metcalf Institute science immersion fellowship marks 15 years - metcalf_fellows_1999_thumb

I was in the first class of fellows at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography, in 1999. This weeklong experience sends about a dozen journalists into the field with scientists, learning about water...

May 8, 2013
Fan mail - scaled.Stream_DSCF4004

I received a fan letter today—a card, with a painting of Lady's slippers or a similar wildflower on the front, handwritten, mailed via the U.S. Postal Service— from a writer whose work I admire. She was reacting to my...

The Power of Narrative - power of narrative

From my notebook, at the Power of Narrative conference this weekend at Boston University:

Straight narrative approach doesn't always work in science writing. (Ellen Ruppel Shell)

Amy Ellis Nutt's first big science series asked...

March 25, 2013

Willa Cather, the author of the pioneer classic O Pioneers!, did not want her personal letters released to the public. But her extended family, in complying with this request, actually contributed to a climate of misinterpretation in the scholarly world. That will change this month with the...

March 10, 2013

If you ever wonder how America ended up with the artificial turning-ahead of clocks that we call Daylight Saving Time, my article, from Appalachia journal, will interest you. 

 

Daylight saving time...

February 28, 2013
Communication blackout 3: the submerged cell phone - WetPhone

Cell phones have become the major link to the outside world. In another generation, land lines will be unusual tools only used in remote areas or hospitals. Most cell phones are smooth-edged and very difficult to hold. The buttons are slippery, the cases even more so, and it's very easy to...

January 25, 2013

In 1960, 21 percent of Americans had no telephone. Today, the same proportion of Americans have no internet. Try calling the phone company or ordering something by telephone or buying stamps at the post office? You find that they funnel you to the Web! Even the U.S. Postal Service wants us to...

January 20, 2013

Technology actually keeps many smart people from reaching each other. I believe that, and I'm going to show you how. Trey Popp's article on the downside of online job-hiring software proves the point. In late 2012, the federal government reported 3.6 million job openings remained...

January 3, 2013

I have decided that time isn't dialing backwards, so this is the year I will try to run a marathon-distance in the woods. Why not? What's the worst that happens? I could stop and not make it the whole way. I could get hurt and have to stop. I could walk some and keep going. 

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