Monday, March 23, 2015

Moving to the Beat of a Different Narwhal

Photo by Laine Trees (CC).
Hey folks, it's time for our regularly scheduled Monday morning like wrap-up. I've got quite an interesting collection of links for you this week, so let's get to it.

First up, two new wildlife-related articles for TakePart, notable for the fact that I finally got to write about narwhals:

Even the Unicorns of the Sea Can’t Escape Climate Change

Missing Lynx: Farmers Worry About Plan to Return Big Cats to Wild Lands

Next on the hit parade, a short bit of bad news for my "Extinction Countdown" column over at Scientific American:

With Just Six Delta Smelt Left, Controversial California Fish Species Faces Impending Extinction

Finally, here's my latest technology careers feature -- which was inspired by my own experience moving from Maine to Oregon last year:

Relocating for a New Job? Make the Most of It!

That's it for now. Expect a whole lot more this coming week. Follow me on Twitter for links as they happen!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tourism and Poop

I have to say, I'm pretty excited to share this week's articles with you. They represent some of my best writing lately. I swear, I was typing on all cylinders this week, and I hope you enjoy the results.

First up, this week's "Extinction Countdown" article for Scientific American, which tackles the oh-so-serious topic of bonobo poop:

If Apes Go Extinct, So Could Entire Forests

Next up, three new articles for TakePart, which all (in one of those unintentional twists of topic-oriented fate) deal with one aspect or another of wildlife tourism:

The Simple Thing You Can Do to Save Loveable but Endangered Manatees

Stay Off Elephants' Backs to Stop Killing Them

Save a Fearsome Predator by Swimming With It

That's it for this time around. Coming up this week: lots more like that, but also a few other goodies. Stay in the loop -- follow me on the Tweet machine for links as they happen.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Living fossils, geriatric orangutans and more

March has definitely started like a lion. The first full week of the month brought opportunities for me to write several cool articles and to appear on a panel at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference.

Regarding cool articles, let's start with this week's "Extinction Countdown" entry for Scientific American:

After 400 Million Years, Coelacanth at Risk of Extinction

Next up, several really great articles for TakePart:

Is That Wildlife Documentary Lying to You?

You Could Learn a Thing or Two About Living a Long Life From the World’s Oldest Orangutan

The Newest Comic Book Superheroes: The World’s Endangered Tigers

Finally, on a completely different note, here's my latest technology careers feature for IEEE's The Institute:

No Clear Path for Prospective Cybersecurity Specialists

That's it for now. Let's see if this lion-like month continues! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Heroes, Orphans, Apes and Flowers

Holy cow, it's March! How did that happen already? You'd think February was a short month or something...

Well, February sure didn't feel short while it was still here. I worked my widdle fingers to the bone this month, and boy did I turn in some great articles. I'm especially fond of the work that came out the final week of the month, which hit all the emotions.

And of course, that brings us to this week's headlines. I'll start this with my first article for Earth Touch Network, which will both warm your heart and inspire you (and maybe make you a bit mad at the same time):

Orangutan orphan named 'Lisa' in tribute to terminally ill veterinarian

Next on this hit parade, two "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

Amur Leopard Population Booms—to 57

Critically Endangered Plant with Brilliant Purple Flowers Discovered in Hawaii

Finally, here are three new articles for TakePart which will fill you with awe, dread, rage and maybe rage again:

Poachers Target Journalists Investigating Rhino Killing

The Surprising Secret Lives of Crocodiles Could Offer New Insights About Your Brain

Chinese Palm Oil Plantations Are Destroying the Home of Africa’s Great Apes

This coming week will be equally huge, if not more so. Follow me on Twitter for the headlines as they happen!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lemurs, Chubs and Other Goodies

You guys, I am swamped. Swamped, I say! I'm working on about 11 features for publication over the coming months while still moving along with timely news items. I gotta tell you, if I did not love what I do so very much, I would be completely exhausted.

Okay, I'm kinda exhausted. But it's a good exhausted. The kind you get when you know you're doing great work that matters and makes a difference. There's nothing better!

Anyway, let's get to this week's headlines, starting with two "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

Look Out Lemurs: Climate Change Is Taking Your Land

Species Snapshot: Sunda Pangolin [This was a short piece timed to run on World Pangolin Day]

And here are two articles for TakePart:

The Tiny Fish That Is Beating Extinction

China Is Eating Less Shark Fin, but Its Appetite for Another Endangered Ocean Creature Is Growing

On a completely different note, here's an article not by me but quoting me:

Should You File Your Taxes Yourself or Call in a Tax Expert?

That's it for now. Expect lots and lots (and lots?) more over the coming weeks. Follow me on Twitter for the headlines as they happen!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

From the Archives: 'Ziggy' Artist Draws Fight Against Cancer

(Originally published October 12, 2009, on

There are two ways to look at the comic-strip character Ziggy: either as a perpetual loser, or as someone who maintains a positive attitude no matter what life throws his way.

Cartoonist Tom Wilson, Jr., definitely embodies the second viewpoint. Even in the face of terrible tragedy, he is working hard to create positive change in the world.

Wilson's wife, Susan, died nine years ago from breast cancer at the young age of 44. Earlier this year, Wilson recounted the experience in the book Zig-Zagging: Loving Madly, Losing Badly…How Ziggy Saved My Life, a memoir about dealing with his wife's untimely death, her strength and courage in the face of her own cancer, and how the comic strip character created by his father helped to keep him going.

Now, a new chapter has been added: Wilson has announced an ambitious plan to raise up to $1 million to fight cancer through sales of his book. It's a legacy to his wife's memory, and to his attitude toward life.

"You go through the worst possible things in your life and you carry them around with you," says Wilson. "But you have to ask, how can you make something good of this? The book was like that for me. It's a chance to make something positive out of a negative."

Even though he has published close to 75 books of 'Ziggy' cartoons, Wilson didn't set out to create a book about his grief. He started writing a journal in the months after his wife's passing, and "it turned into a book on its own," says Wilson.

"It came from an unexpected place. It was a long process, and the book was the end result. It was cathartic to me, just going through the process."

Shortly after Zig-Zagging's publication, Wilson got a surprise call from Doug Ulman, president of Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG foundation.

"He had read the book and invited me to come down to Austin to talk to their leadership at their offices. Of course, I had to do that, because I've always admired them and what they do."

Wilson traveled to the LIVESTRONG offices this fall, and then threw out an idea: "I've got this book. Is there anything I can do? I want to do more."

The result: Wilson pledged to donate 100% of his Zig-Zagging royalties between November 18, 2009 -- the anniversary of Susan's death -- through January 19, 2010 -- her birthday. "My fondest wish is that we'll raise $1 million for LIVESTRONG," says Wilson.

"One of the things I love about how this has taken place is because I didn't plan it at all," says Wilson. "It's like cartooning: You do your work and send it out there, and you don't know whose life has been touched. It's part of the mystique. You don't know where it will land."

Wilson says he is glad that Zig-Zagging has already touch a number of people's lives. "Readers have sent letters telling me they found something in the book they weren't able to get anywhere else. I'm glad it turned out to be a friend to a lot of people."

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cute (but doomed) lemurs and other heart-wrenching stories

Happy Presidents' Day! This week's articles have absolutely nothing to do with stovepipe hats or cherry trees, but they are all worth your time -- probably more so than the holiday mattress sale at your friendly neighborhood retailer.

This was actually a light week for publications, with just three news articles hitting the interwebs. It wasn't a light work week, though. I have about a dozen features (plus more news articles) in various stages of completion. You can expect a whole heck of a lot of articles coming your way in March.

Until then, though, here's some holiday reading for you -- two articles for Scientific American and one for TakePart:

Gorgeous Blue-Eyed Lemur Faces Extinction in 11 Years

Critically Endangered Tarantula Links India and Sri Lanka

Saving Africa's Elephants--In the United States

That's it for today. You may now resume your presidential deal-shopping. More next week!