All entries by this author

Ebola Thrives on Poverty and Disparity

Oct 1st, 2014 | By | Category: Featured Articles, Lead Article, Public Health

Ebola–like many viruses, including the recently popular enterovirus 68–is spread by filth. Ebola thrives on poverty and disparity. Decency for the poorest is what makes a developed country a developed country: a place where one does not die from easily prevented diseases (among other things). Decency isn’t our long suit.

The Apollo Guidance Computer

Jul 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Space

Let’s say you’re a NASA engineer in the 1960s, wearing your snazzy black plastic glasses, thinking of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. You start thinking navigation. Getting into the right orbits is going to take a fair bit of computation–plus some fine control of rocket engines and […]

Making the Hard Choices for Energy

Mar 19th, 2009 | By | Category: Environmental, Nukes

We’re well past the point of being able to consider only the most pleasant energy sources. Looking at the number of people on the planet, and the increasingly dire reports of damage caused by the burning of fossil fuels, we need to be realistic. These steps, by the scientific community and the Obama administration, are heartening steps in what seems the right direction.

The Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Mar 13th, 2009 | By | Category: Embryonic Stem Cell Research

What happens when a part of our body gets injured–or just wears out? The ideal response would be to replace the tissue and cells lost with new, full-functional replacements–regeneration. For the parts of our body that are constantly turning over–skin, blood, and to a lesser extent bone for examples–this is exactly what happens. Since the […]

The Carbon Impact of Reading On Paper or Online

Feb 13th, 2009 | By | Category: Dear Science Column, Environmental, Featured Articles

Is reading The Stranger online actually any greener than reading the printed-in-Yakima hard copy? It was time to roll up my sleeves and do some real, primary, research on the question. Allow me to show my work.

Mark Roth, Spontaneous Combustion and Hibernation

Dec 3rd, 2008 | By | Category: Lit Round-up

In this month’s Esquire meet Mark Roth—certified genius, a fellow Seattleite and one of the more innovative scientists on the planet. Back when I was a fresh and new graduate student, I took a course co-chaired by him and fellow Hutch professor Dan Gottschling—on the chromosome—that propelled me forward to my thesis project. At the […]

General Motor’s Interesting New Tech

Nov 10th, 2008 | By | Category: Transit

General Motors is nearing death–a breathtaking fall in a dizzily short amount of time. And here’s what might be most shocking–despite being saddled with the costs and responsibilities of being the largest private pension and health insurance provider in the world, GM has made clever and key investments that deserve fulfillment. Yes, I’m talking about […]

The Complement Cooperative

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By | Category: Economics, Featured Articles, Lead Article

Well, that was a lot of money chasing nothing. A vast pool of money, and a growing list of problems–why wasn’t the connection ever made? Why didn’t at least some of this wealth go to solving even a few of these problems?

We need to try something new, to start a new engine behind our economy.

McCain’s Record on Financial Regulation

Sep 8th, 2008 | By | Category: 2008, Featured Articles, Lead Article

If you aren’t concerned about the massive bailout of Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae by the US taxpayers, you should be.

The next president, who in turn will set the regulatory environment, really matters.

McCain’s record is terrible.

What Bush Got Wrong on Stem Cells

Jul 17th, 2008 | By | Category: Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Featured Articles