Megadrought in the Southwest: LA Times vs NYT

Let me point out how different the same study can look to different reporters in different arenas. Bettina Boxall, the Pulitzer Prize-winning LA Times reporter, looks at California in her big front-page story a week ago about long-term drought in California and SoCal, and finds little change in rainfall but substantial change in human behaviorContinue reading “Megadrought in the Southwest: LA Times vs NYT”

On the lying of the President, by Robert Bly, in 1973

The ministers lie, the professors lie, the television lies, the priests lie. . . . These lies mean that the country wants to die. Lie after lie starts out into the prairie grass, like enormous caravans of Conestoga wagons. . . . And a long desire for death flows out, guiding the enormous caravans fromContinue reading “On the lying of the President, by Robert Bly, in 1973”

“Now the Chief Executive enters, the press conference begins” — Robert Bly on Presidential Liars

From Robert Bly‘s The Teeth Mother Naked At Last Now the Chief Executive enters; the press conference begins: First the President lies about the date the Appalachian Mountains rose. Then he lies about the population of Chicago, then he lies about the weight of the adult eagle, then about the acreage of the Everglades HeContinue reading ““Now the Chief Executive enters, the press conference begins” — Robert Bly on Presidential Liars”

How humanity fought infectious disease before vaccination

Siddartha Mukherjee, who won the Pulitzer Prize for the magisterial “The Emperor of All Maladies,” a history of cancer, wrote in The New Yorker last month about the history of our ability to control infectious disease. The answer for one plague came came from the East, from an era before doctors and medical science. It’sContinue reading “How humanity fought infectious disease before vaccination”

Ishmael, meet Queequeg: the estranged genius of Melville

In a dazzling essay on the true story behind “Moby Dick,” Carl Safina reminds us of the opening of that great novel, in which the seafarer Ishmael meets Queequeg, a sailor of “cannibalistic” heritage. They are thrown into bed together, much to Ishmael’s discomfort, but he ends up respecting Queequeg all the more, after sleepingContinue reading “Ishmael, meet Queequeg: the estranged genius of Melville”

Fauci leads: Trump flails

From Michael Spector in The New Yorker, How Anthony Fauci became America’s Doctor, three weeks ago today: “Just before midnight on March 22nd, the President of the United States prepared to tweet. Millions of Americans, in the hope of safeguarding their health and fighting the rapidly escalating spread of covid-19, had already begun to follow theContinue reading “Fauci leads: Trump flails”

“Hello, Walls” — the song of the pandemic

Willie Nelson’s first-ever hit, now a classic country song. Performed here by Willie himself on Colbert, with his sons Micah and Lukas. Finale slightly rewritten for the moment: We got to all stick together Or else we’ll lose our minds I got a feeling — we’re going to be here A long long time.

The Grim Reaper on the Florida beach

Inspired apparently by a 2017 anti-drowning public health campaign in New Zealand, an attorney and comic in Florida has launched a campaign for social distancing on Florida beaches. The particular and phenomenal work of living art above comes from the New Zealand campaign, but the similarly themed Grim Reaper tour is on now in Florida,Continue reading “The Grim Reaper on the Florida beach”

Another way to slice the county Covid data in CA

Yesterday I posted an interesting chart showing Ventura County at the bottom of a list of top 20 or so California counties for COVID-19 incidence and fatality rate. Today as a reporter I had the opportunity to speak to the designer of the web app, Dr. Chris Barker of UC Davis, about these numbers. HeContinue reading “Another way to slice the county Covid data in CA”