Monday, December 31, 2012

Last articles of 2012

As 2012 draws to a close, all of my editors appear to be on vacation or on holiday, so the final four articles below should be my last published pieces for this calendar year. This brings my total for 2012 to 402 published articles, up slightly from 378 in 2011 (the only other year for which I kept a running count).

Although I doubt anything else will be published today, I do have quite a few articles (mostly magazine features) already written and pending publication in 2013.  And I already have about a dozen things on my plate to start writing as soon as the New Year's holiday is behind us. So yeah, I'm keeping busy.

Anyway, here are the links for you to click and and read over your celebratory glass of champagne.

Amazing Photos of Florida Panther and Cubs Bring a Bright Spot to a Deadly Year (Scientific American)

Los Angeles Considers Ban on Circus Elephants (Mother Nature Network)

Dystextia: Pregnant Woman's Garbled Text Messages were a Sign of a Stroke  (MNN)

Solved: The Mystery of the Biofuel-filled Train that Kept Crossing the Border  (MNN)

That's it for now. See you in the New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Nuclear engineering, toxic primates and inspiring kids

Hey, it's Monday and I'm glad to be here. Did you have a good weekend? Or are you not into small talk right now?

Last week had a few fewer publications than usual, but that doesn't mean I was slacking. I have at least three articles already queued up for publication this coming week -- heck, maybe all of them today -- and I'm working on several new features that won't appear for weeks if not months. I'm nothing if not busy.

Anyway, as we usually do here, let's start off the list of links with last week's Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Three New Slow Loris Species Discovered in Borneo; Rare Venomous Primates Threatened by Illegal Pet Trade

Newly Discovered Cave Weta Species Endangered by Coal Mining

By the way, I missed a milestone recently. Extinction Countdown passed the 1,000 article mark about two weeks ago. That's a lot of endangered species. Sadly, I could write about 10,000 more and not come close to running out of material.

Anyway, next up, my monthly career focus article for IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer:

Career Focus: Nuclear Engineering

And finally this week, here are two new articles for Mother Nature Network:

OMG letter-writing campaign seeks to save rhinos from extinction [This was also reprinted by the Huffington Post.]

Porcupine quills inspire new medical needles and adhesives  


That's it for this time around. More next week -- probably a lot more!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pygmy sloths, athletic angels, and PR mistakes

This week brought not just seven new articles by me, but also one kind of about me.

First up, this week's two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American. I'm really proud of these two. The first set the record straight on a story that most media outlets got wrong; the second is just a darn good story that embodies both the dangers that endangered species face but also the hope that they have for the future:

DNA Reveals the Last 20 Ethiopian Lions Are Genetically Distinct

Survey of Critically Endangered Pygmy Sloths Finds Just 79 Animals Remain


Next up, a big batch of stories for Mother Nature Network. The first two features were a lot of fun to pull together.

An athletic angel: Christian Jensen helps disabled people run marathons

Why are video games addictive?

Solar-powered plane can fly all day -- and all night

Is fracking making livestock sick?

A new holiday trend: Renting Christmas trees


And finally, here's that thing in which I am the focus. The PR-related organization Help a Reporter Out asked me to let them know my PR pet peeves and pointers when it comes to pitching. I also filled them in on my perceptions of the state of journalism today. Give it a read.


There's lots more coming up this week. Follow me on Twitter for links as they happen.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lions and Turbines and Blogs, Oh My!

Ah, November -- it is so good to have you behind us! What a month, huh?

Much of last week was spent A) being pretty sick, and B) finishing three magazine features that were all due on the same day. Silly me, not double-checking my calendar before accepting those deadlines.

Oh well, I still managed to write several new articles, and others that I finished the week before turned up online. Here's the list, starting with my two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American and then segueing into a nice batch of articles for Mother Nature Network:

African Lions Move Closer to US Endangered Species Act Protection [This was also reprinted by Mother Jones.]

Cane Toads, Blue Whales, Red Wolves and Other Updates from the Brink 

Marijuana legalization: Is it really legal?

Cape Wind gets OK for power purchase contract with NSTAR

Melting ice could release old viruses

Cyberslacking actually boosts workplace productivity

eFarmony: Connecting landowners with farmers


There's a whole lot more on the horizon. You keep reading 'em, I'll keep writing 'em!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Climate change, two kinds of bears, and even more

I think I must possess some sort of innate and unnatural immunity to tryptophan, because even with way too much turkey in my belly I still managed to get an awful lot of writing done this week.

Without further ado, here are links to all of my articles that went live last week while you were preparing and/or eating Thanksgiving dinner:

Was Lonesome George Not Really the Last of his Species?

Last 22 Gobi Bears Endangered by Climate Change in Mongolia

SeaWorld Orlando unveils upcoming Antarctica ride

Greenhouse gas emissions hit record levels in 2011

What do polar bears eat and how is their food threatened?

World Bank report warns of 'devastating' effects of climate change

Those were all for Scientific American and Mother Nature Network. I also spent the weekend (between eating leftovers) working on five new features for MNN and other magazines that are all due before the end of the month. As in Friday, tick, tock.

I already have several articles in the publication queue for this week, so make sure to follow me on the Tweeter for the links as they happen.

Now if you'll excuse me, there's one last slice of pumpkin pie waiting for me in the fridge. I need to fuel up before today's writing sessions, after all...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Clones, gay penguins, climate doubters and going off the grid

What a week! First, several of my long-in-the-works features finally appeared. Second, I got to write about some fantastic current news items.

I'll start this week's list with my two Extinction Countdown blogs for Scientific American, the second of which is a great follow-up on a story I originally did just over a year ago:

Brazil Plans to Clone Its Endangered Species

Controversial Toronto Zoo Penguins Not Gay after All?


Next up, a whole bunch of stories for Mother Nature Network, including two of those features I mentioned:

Going off the grid: Why more people are choosing to live life unplugged [This was probably my most popular article of the week]

What if climate-change doubters held a debate and nobody came? [This one earned me some nice hate mail.]

Undercover video depicts abuse at Butterball turkey farms

Galapagos to poison 180 million rats

Smartphone app could help save Australian Aboriginal language from extinction

Can you trust online product reviews and ratings?


And finally, here's this month's feature for Today's Engineer. I'll follow this up next month with a look at nuclear engineering careers outside of the power industry:

Career Focus: Careers in Nuclear Energy


That should give you enough to read for your next few lunch hours. More next week!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Whale discovery, bad news for coffee and a surprise appearance by Charles Darwin

What a week. The election and hurricane Sandy combined for a one-two punch of stress. Most of my friends and clients live in storm-ravaged areas, so I have spent a lot of time lately worrying about them, digging up information through my thankfully functioning Internet connection, and trying to stay connected. It hasn't always been easy. I still have one or two friends without heat and at least one client without email. What a modern society we have in this country!

Anyway, although a few of my articles didn't see print last week as planned, quite a few more still made their way into the world. Here's the list, starting with my Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Amazing: Rarest Whale Seen for First Time in History, but Not at Sea  [This was my most-read SciAm article of the past year!]

Last 500 Ethiopian Wolves Endangered by Lack of Genetic Diversity


Next up, a whole bunch of articles -- many of them climate-related -- for Mother Nature Network:

Charles Darwin gets 4,000 write-in votes in Georgia election

More researchers join effort to control stink bugs organically

Climate change threatens your morning cup of coffee

Satellites could help predict volcano eruptions

Staten Island desperately needs underwear

Climate change could have devastating effect on India's monsoon season


That's it for this time around. A few extra, storm-delayed articles should appear this coming week, along with my usual batch of stuff. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest links as they go live!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Species discoveries, glowing tides and inspirational spider webs

Monday morning again. It feels a bit odd that only one of my articles last week touched upon Hurricane Sandy, which devastated so much of the northeast and affected so many of my friends, family and co-workers. But even when one story dominates the news, other tales remain to be told. And there must have been a hunger for non-Sandy news because all of these stories had more than the usual number of readers.

We'll start this week's run-down with my two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

9 New Tree-Loving and Endangered Tarantula Species Discovered in Brazil

New Lizard Discovered in Australia, Threatened by Incoming Housing Development


Mother Nature Network kept me more than busy last week, and these articles touch upon at least six fields of science:

First all-carbon solar cell made with nanotubes and buckyballs instead of silicon

Will San Diego's tides glow blue again this year?

Michael Bloomberg endorses Barack Obama, 'a president to lead on climate change'

Europe's oldest prehistoric village found in Bulgaria

Vision evolved 700 million years ago, researchers find

Spider webs and gecko feet inspire potential pain-free bandage 

That last one was also reprinted by the Huffington Post.


In addition to the above, I turned in my next feature for Today's Engineer (and I'm deep into my next one for them), I have three features pending at Mother Nature Network,  Monday's SciAm article is already queued up waiting for an embargo to lift, and I am plugging away on two new features for Lion magazine. I'm so busy that my fingers have worn the letters off of seven keys on my keyboard. I guess it's a good things I'm not a hunt-and-peck typist!

More next week -- or follow me on Twitter for the latest headlines as they happen.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Komodo dragons and five other new articles

Well, it's Monday morning and most of the East Coast is embroiled in Frankenstorm Sandy. Or at least, I presume they are. I'm typing this up on Sunday afternoon in anticipation of Monday-morning posting.

So, if you haven't lost power and found yourself under a foot and a half of water, here are this week's six new articles for Scientific American and Mother Nature Network. (If you are without power, well then, that's the big problem with online publishing, innit?)

Female Komodo Dragons Die Young, Housework to Blame

Habitat Loss, Misinformation Spur Chimpanzee Aggression

Amtrak promises high-speed trains in Midwest after successful test run

Who goes there? Rare Yosemite owls studied via sound

Smoking apps promote cigarettes to kids, say researchers

Doctor-assisted suicide goes to ballot in Massachusetts

For all I know, I'll be without power myself before too long. That's why I spent all weekend working away, making sure that several assignments were awaiting my editors in their in-boxes on Monday morning. Of course, now I have to hope that they have power, too.

This is all climate change's fault, of course, which is why I keep writing about environmental stuff.

Anyway, more next week...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rhino poaching, Apple controversy and Russia's bad smoking habit

Wow, after last week's long list of publications, this week's five new articles almost feels like a letdown. But all of these articles attracted huge numbers of readers, generated discussion and had an impact. For a journalist, things don't get much better than that.

So, first up in this week's link parade are my two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Rhino Poaching: An Extinction Crisis

Cost to Prevent All Future Extinctions: $11 per Person?

The "cost to prevent" article was also reprinted by Mother Jones.


The rest of this week's articles all appeared at Mother Nature Network, where my editor always finds a wide range of topics for me to cover:

Panda: It's what used to be for dinner in prehistoric China?

New Apple MacBook gets EPEAT Gold certification, but critics cry foul

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev vows smoking ban by 2015


That's it for this week, but I already have at least seven new articles in various stages of completion and lots more on the horizon. So stay tuned, there's lots more ahead.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rediscovered species, Engineering careers, Ocean crusaders, French weirdness and more

Wow. It's almost hard to believe how many articles I published last week. This was one of those weeks when working on a combination of breaking news stories and features resulted in a whole bunch of stories coming out at the same time.

Meanwhile, readership on all of this articles was way above average. It helps when the world gives you interesting stories to tell!

So without further ado, here are this week's articles, starting with my two Extinction Countdown posts for Scientific American:

Solenodon: ‘Extinct’ Venomous Mammal Rediscovered in Cuba after 10-Year Search

(This was also reprinted by the Huffington Post.)

Last Wild Siamese Crocodile in Vietnam Found Strangled to Death


Two long-in-the-works engineer-related features came out this week, the first of which appeared in the IEEE publication, The Institute:

IEEE Trains Preuniversity Teachers in India 

...and the second of which appeared in IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer:

Career Focus: Defense Industry STEM Jobs


Wrapping it up, here are this week's articles for Mother Nature Network, a mix of interesting environmental and science stories:

Plastic power: Aviator plans intercontinental trip using plastics for fuel

Scientists dash hopes for dinosaur cloning

Why are French bees producing blue and green honey?

TerraMar Project launches to celebrate and protect the world's oceans

New Mexico and other states face a new crime trend: Grass thefts

Ketamine could rapidly treat depression, study finds


Well, that's it for this time around. I'm sure this coming week won't be quite so publication-heavy, but I'm working on a huge batch of new articles that will probably all see publication in one big clump again some time in the next month. We'll just have to wait and see how it goes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Life-saving dung, MacArthur geniuses and other goodies

Happy Monday! It's time for my weekly compendium of the previous week's articles. Just in time for you to delay the start of your work week!

Last week brought five new articles, plus one reprint. Let's start, as I usually do, with my Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:


Italy Faces Invasion of American Killer Squirrels

Dung from Critically Endangered Kakapo Parrots Could Save Endangered Plant

In addition, my recent Extinction Countdown article on Conservation Drones was reprinted by Mother Jones.


Mother Nature Network had my write about a few innovators this week, including two geniuses and one, um...

Innovative astronomer Olivier Guyon named a 2012 MacArthur 'genius' fellow

Marine ecologist Nancy Rabalais receives $500,000 MacArthur 'genius' grant

'Algae Opera': Singer grows edible algae with her breath


I have a bunch of new long-in-the-works articles pending publication this month -- maybe even this week -- so stay tuned to my Twitter feed for announcements as they go live.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Conservation drones, an amazing fish, and methane surprises

September's close brought a bunch of new articles by me, and tons of deadlines to finish up work that will be appearing over the coming weeks and months. Here are this week's links...

It was unofficially "primate week" for my Extinction Countdown blog at Scientific American:

Eye in the Sky: Drones Help Conserve Sumatran Orangutans and Other Wildlife

Guerrilla Marketing to Save Mountain Gorillas: Renewable Energy to the Rescue


Most of my publications this week were for Mother Nature Network, which had me writing about all kinds of interesting topics:

Amazing underwater 'crop circles' spun by Japanese puffer fish

Algae clogs newly renovated Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in D.C.

Carmageddon 2 looms over Los Angeles this weekend

What is methane and why should you care?

6 surprising sources of methane

Bicycle commuting: How does your state (and gender) compare? 


And that's it for this time around. There's lots more coming, so stay tuned!

Monday, September 24, 2012

World Cup mascot, biomimicry and more

Well last week was kind of light on the publication side, which feels strange since I have so many articles pending publication in so many places.

Oh well, here's last week's linkage -- the first two are from Scientific American, while the next two are from Mother Nature Network:



Tiny, Critically Endangered and Controversial Nevada Fish Experiences Dramatic Population Increase

World Cup Picks Endangered Armadillo as 2014 Mascot

Did GMO corn give these mice giant tumors?

Biomimicry: Science inspired by nature could feed the hungry, reduce impact of technology

(That last one was also reprinted by the Huffington Post.)


Well, that's it for this time around. Next week's list should be much longer!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cayman Islands, Rhinos, Wolves and Engineers

What do the Cayman Islands, rhinos, wolves and engineers have in common? Well, since you're reading this blog, you know that they're all the subjects of my articles from last week.

Let's start with my Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American, which kicked off some discussion about hunting and responsibility:

Endangered Cayman Islands Parrots and Iguanas Could Use More Shelters and Havens

23,000 People from 33 States Apply for Minnesota Wolf Hunting Permits; Unrestricted Hunting Starts Soon in Wyoming

Meanwhile, one of my earlier Extinction Countdown articles, on bison embryo washing, was reprinted by Mother Jones.



Sticking with endangered species, my latest article for Conservation Magazine appears in their September 2012 print issue and online:

Spiked - Could poisoning rhino horns undermine their medicinal reputation?


Mother Nature Network is keeping me busy. I have at least four articles pending publication there, but here's what appeared last week:

Is Amazon Prime eco-friendly or wasteful?

Portland's vote to add fluoride to water looms

Drought sending more wildlife into towns looking for food


And finally, my latest article for IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer covers a career path that many people don't even realize exists:

Career Focus: Contract Engineering Jobs


This week I'm heads-down on my next articles for Today's Engineer, Lion, Scientific American, Mother Nature Network and several other places, but expect plenty of links to new articles all week long. Follow me on Twitter to see them as they go live.

Monday, September 10, 2012

An otter extinction, NFL head injuries, and an award

I have so many articles in the works or pending publication that it almost seems anticlimactic to post this list of last week's published articles. But here goes:

First up, this week's two articles for Scientific American:

Japanese River Otter Declared Extinct

First Purebred Bison Calf Born after Disease-Washing Embryo Transfer

Next, three diverse news stories for Mother Nature Network:

From Starbucks croissants to succinic acid: Baked goods could become bioplastics

Hurricane Isaac deposits oil, possibly from Deepwater Horizon, on Louisiana beaches

Study finds NFL players three times as likely to die of brain disorders

In other news, I'm happy to share that The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction -- for which I have been very, very slowing writing the comics-related entries, won a Hugo Award last week. The editors have embraced a massive undertaking to create this incredible resource and they fully deserve this great honor.

More next week!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pre-Labor Day Labors

It being the final week of the summer season, last week didn't see a heck of a lot of new articles by me, a situation I'm sure we'll see repeated during this, the short first week of the post-summer season. But here are the new headlines from all things Platt:

Scientific American:

Chimps Infected with Human Diseases Pose Possible Risk to Reintroduction Efforts [This was also reprinted by Mother Jones.]

Updates from the Brink: Dying Devils, Disappearing Vultures and a $473,000 Fish

In addition to the new web articles, my Extinction Countdown article on cougars has been adapted for the September print issue of SciAm:


(Don't pull out the magnifying glass. You can read the online version of this article here.)


Mother Nature Network:

Six Flags turns Wild Safari into off-road adventure

Follow me on Twitter for more articles throughout the week!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Political conventions, using the tongue to see and polar bears with herpes

What an epic week! Not only did I write a whole bunch of new articles, but several pieces I have been working on over the past few weeks (or months) all ended up online as well.

Let's get to the linkage. First up, my Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Recently Discovered Lizard Species Down to 3 Remaining Females

How Did Zebras Give 2 Polar Bears Herpes?

In addition to these two new articles, Salon reprinted my recent Elephant birth control article.


Next up, two new features for IEEE's The Institute, a great publication for people working in advanced technologies:

Romanian Teen Wins IEEE Presidents' Scholarship - this cool kid developed a system to help blind people see with their tongues!

Teacher In-Service Program Celebrates 10th Year


Mother Nature Network sure has been keeping me busy lately. Here's the latest batch, including one that's super-relevant this week:


How eco-friendly are political conventions?

Study: Cleaner cars have reduced some Los Angeles air pollution levels by 98%

Creation of 11,000-acre Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge approved

Six Flags to close the gates on drive-through Wild Safari [this one includes two of my photos -- from 1990!)

Amelia Earhart's plane reportedly found (well, pieces of it)

How does a holiday become a holiday?


And finally, rather than something by me, here's something about me: a nice profile of me on the Society of Environmental Journalists website.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Conservation heroes, canoes for a cause, Google discoveries and more

What a week...heck, what a month! I have been lucky to interview some truly inspiring people lately, and now you get the benefit of reading some of the articles that have resulted from those conversations.

First up, this week's two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American. If you only read one of my articles this week, make sure it's the first of these:

Okapi Conservation Center Recovering after Deadly Militia Attack

South Africa Invests in Elephant Birth Control [Video]


Next up, four new articles for Mother Nature Network:

Canoes for a Cause brings awareness to the troubled state of the Midwest's rivers

Artificial retina could restore vision in the blind

Lost Egyptian pyramids found ... by Google? [This was the #1 story on MNN for several days]

Poisoned trees in Alabama receive major pruning, thumbs up for football celebrations [The latest in a story I've been covering for a year and a half!]


I should have two more features online this week, along with another batch of the usual goodness. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for links as they happen!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Singing Penguins, Giant Butterflies and Green Engineering

As Monday morning's sun rises over coastal Maine, I'm already hunkered down in front of the PC working on -- let me see here -- one, two, three...seven new articles. About half of those will see "print" this coming week, while the rest won't appear for a month or more, but let me give you a little tease: you're going to want to read them all. I have interviewed some truly incredible, inspirational people in the past week and I can't wait to share what they had to say.

But for now, let's take a look at last week's articles, which should also serve to entertain and illuminate you.

First up, my two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

World's Largest Butterfly Threatened by Shrinking Habitat and Deforestation

Fishing Nets, Climate Change Threaten Yellow-Eyed Penguins in New Zealand

Mother Jones also reprinted the above penguin story under their slightly more click-worthy headline: VIDEO: Adorable Singing Penguin Threatened by Climate Change, Nets


Next up, my latest career feature for IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer. I enjoyed putting this one together and I think you'll learn something from it no matter what profession you are in:

Every Engineer is a Green Engineer


And now, the usual wide range of stories for Mother Nature Network, only one of which was specifically eco-themed:

Oyster industry struggles to adapt to climate change

Study: Weight training may reduce diabetes risk in men

Google Street View lets you tour the Kennedy Space Center 


That's it for now. Follow me on Twitter for more links as they happen!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Milestone week

Things sure do add up over time. Last week I wrote my 400th Extinction Countdown article for Scientific American, and in the next few months I expect to write my 1,000th article about endangered species. People often ask me, "doesn't writing about endangered species depress you?" Sure, it can be a burden at time. But it's a burden I'm willing to carry for a long time to come.

Anyway, last week brought that milestone article (the first one in the link list below) as well as two more Extinction Countdown articles and two pieces for Mother Nature Network. Check 'em out:

Rare Success: Critically Endangered Gharial Crocodiles Have Record Hatching Year

DNA Test Could Help Save Scottish Wildcat from Extinction—If It Still Exists

O'Reilly Animals Enlists Technology Community to Help Save Endangered Species from Extinction

NFL linebacker Will Witherspoon speaks to Congress about livestock and antibiotics

Israel has enough natural gas to last 150 years, but getting it will be costly

Oh yeah, and my article on how horses got to the Olympics was reprinted by the Huffington Post

I'll have at least one new feature online by the end of the week, maybe two, along with other new articles for SciAm and MNN. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for the links as they go live or come back here in seven days for the latest list of links.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Five new eco-themed articles

Computer problems this past week slowed me down quite a bit, but I'm quickly catching up now that my new computer is up and running. Yeah, the old PC was on its way out and it turned out it was better to just go ahead and replace it. I had hoped to make it last another six months, but I figured keeping a dying PC on life support would just slow my productivity down. A computer is a writer's second-most important tool (other than the brain, of course), so it's an important investment.

Anyway, technical problems aside, this week brought five new articles, one for SciAm (with another one pending publication today after some delays) and four for Mother Nature Network:

Elephants at Los Angeles Zoo not happy or healthy, judge rules

Environmental groups announce plan to sue over emissions at Colstrip plant in Montana

Bear Bile Industry Reportedly Shrinking in South Korea, but China Market Stays Strong

Amelia Earhart expedition finds no conclusive evidence she survived after disappearance

Report: 31% of seafood in South Florida is mislabeled

I already have lots more in the queue for this week, so stay tuned for another batch of links in seven days or follow me on Twitter for the latest links as they happen!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Snow leopards, equine Olympians, a world-changing contest and more


I'm about to utter the two scariest words for freelance writers: computer problems.

Yup, my trusty workhorse PC decided to not get out of bed on Friday morning, which resulted in a panicked switch to the laptop to make a few deadlines that day. In between finishing up assignments, I took the computer to the local Best Buy to see what their Geek Squad techs can do. Cross your fingers.

Of course, this was already a busy week before the computer snafu, with six new news articles in between the ongoing feature work.

As I usually do, I'll start with this week's two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Hong Kong Imported 10 Million Kilograms of Shark Fins Last Year (this was reprinted by Mother Jones)

Snow Leopard News: Climate Change, Radio Collars, Heart Troubles and a Video First 



I also wrote several new articles for Mother Nature Network:

In Kuwait, 88% overweight and stomach stapling becoming the norm 

How do horses travel overseas to the London Olympics? (This took weeks to pull together and it was worth the effort.)

Musical glove could improve mobility in people with spinal injuries 

California bans foie gras, but some restaurants keep serving it 


And finally, here's my latest feature for IEEE's The Institute. I didn't realize this was online until just now, so you're the first to know!

Challenge to Students: Help Make the World a Better Place


That's it for now. Follow me on Twitter for more links as articles go live!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Prosthetics, Wombats and Wedding Disasters

Last week saw publication of a wide range of new work, including two new features.

As I usually do here, I'll start off with my two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

An Invasive Plant Is Killing Wombats in Australia

Little Time Left for the Tamaraw? Philippine Buffalo Species Down to Last 300 Animals


Next up, my latest feature for Today's Engineer magazine. I spent about two months researching this one and it's about as good an article as I've ever done. The folks I interviewed were amazing people who do good in the world every single day:

Prosthetics: A Career That Changes Lives


Mother Nature Network gave me a couple of odd stories this week:

Do you have a wedding disaster plan? CDC offers tips for surviving the season of love

Brits sing the praises of cheddar cheese


And finally, here's another new feature, this time for IEEE's The Institute. While this is written for engineers, I think it's good advice for just about anybody:

Sales Skills for Engineers 


Enjoy the latest reads and check back next week for another batch of links!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Needy seals and zero-g bubbles

This was an odd week. I don't remember the last time a major holiday like the Fourth of July fell on a Wednesday. Of course, as a freelancer I was working pretty much the entire week, but most of my editors (not to mention my readers) were in vacation mode.

But there were still four new articles this week. Here are the links:

Citizen Scientists, Funding Needed for Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Project

Greening the fleet: Republicans criticize $26 a gallon biofuel being tested by the Navy

Animal-borne diseases cause 2.7 million human deaths per year

European Space Agency and Nestle study bubbles in zero gravity

This coming week should put things back to normal. I'll have my usual posts for Scientific American and Mother Nature Network, plus I should have at least two features (maybe three) pop up online. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for the links as they go live!

Monday, July 2, 2012

A species dies, ivory burns and a technology emerges

Last week brought just three new articles, but hey, it's the start of summer and a lot of folks are already on vacation. Don't worry, there's tons more in the works.

As usual, this week brought two new Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Sigh...
RIP Lonesome George, the Last-of-His-Kind Galapagos Tortoise

Massive Ivory Burn in Gabon Sends Message to Elephant Poachers

As not usual, this week also brought a long-in-the-works feature for Earthzine, a journal dedicated to satellite technology:

Remote Sensing Emerges as an Important Tool for Habitat and Species Conservation

And that's it! But I already have at least five more articles pending publication and a dozen others in the works, so stay tuned for more updates!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Flying kiwis, purring monkeys, a blind elephant and tiny horses

What a week... I am deep, deep, deep into several new features, but the weekly news stories continue.

First up, this week's two new Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Rarest Kiwi Species Takes Flight

Critically Endangered Purring Monkey and 1,900 Other Species Added to IUCN Red List


And here's my latest batch of articles for Mother Nature Network, which definitely gave me odd stories to write about this week:

Neigh-sayer: Utah congressman seeks to be ban miniature horses from restaurants

Auburn tree poisoning trial update: Jury selection begins [I can't believe I've been covering this story for a year and a half!]

How clean is the air? Your smartphone has the answer [This was reprinted by Forbes.]

Swarming bees keep New York City on alert

Surgery prepares elephant for possible contact lenses

That's it! More next week!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Platypus in peril, the wisdom of crowds, history mysteries and more

Wow, this is my 200th post here at the John Platt Library. That's a lot of articles and other goodies. I'm scared to actually go back and count the number of items that I have linked to over the years.

Anyway, here are this week's new articles. I'm going to start the links with this week with my latest feature article for IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer:

Crowdfunding: A New Opportunity for Science and Innovation


Next up, this week's two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

100 Amazon Bird Species Are at Greater Risk of Extinction Due to Deforestation


Platypus Populations on Small Australian Islands Show Lack of Genetic Diversity

Meanwhile, last week's saiga article was reprinted by Mother Jones, linked to by io9 and a bunch of others, and ripped off by more than a few sites. It's good to be loved.


Moving on, here are four new articles for Mother Nature Network:

2,000 former NFL players file lawsuit over brain injury risks


New web site offers landowners interactive tools for managing woodlands


Lost for 147 years: First doctor's report from Abraham Lincoln's assassination unearthed


Amelia Earhart: Anti-freckle cream and forgotten distress calls may hold clues to her disappearance


And finally, the new annual report for Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences contains 5 articles by me. They're not bylined (I got a credit at the end), but that's fine. Bigelow does phenomenal work and I had a lot of fun working with them on this.

More next week!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Blame the spaceman, Chagas disease, Creativity and more

Last week, the week after Memorial Day, may have only lasted four work days, but my productivity didn't suffer: I had 6 new articles and a few reprints appear during those 96 hours.

First up, my coverage of endangered species for Scientific American:

3rd Annual Antelope Die-Off in Kazakhstan—Was a Spacecraft to Blame? [This was also reprinted by the Huffington Post.]

Researchers Capture Fleeting Images of Incredibly Rare Sumatran Rabbit [Video]

Meanwhile, Mother Jones reprinted last week's article on California Condors.


Next up, four new articles for Mother Nature Network, some of which were in the queue as the week began:

Chagas disease called 'the new HIV/AIDS of the Americas'

Kalamazoo ospreys get safe new roost thanks to enterprising filmmaker

Study: Nature inspires more creative minds [This was also reprinted by CNN's HLN]

New ParkScore website ranks 40 largest American cities 


In other news, the IFAW posted a short video from their Animal Action Awards. Give it a watch for a few brief comments from me:



 
I have at least four new features pending publication this month. One or two might be online as early as this week. Keep watching my Twitter feed for updates.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Asiatic lions, floating cities, starving dolphins and an award for me

It's the Tuesday after Memorial Day which means it's more like Monday for most people which means it's time for my weekly Monday morning compendium of the prior week's articles. Except it's actually been two weeks since my last post so this is a double dose of articles.

Why two weeks? Well, last week was an amazing change of pace as I trekked out to Cape Cod, where the International Foundation for Animal Welfare honored me as one of this year's recipients of its Animal Action Awards for my work writing about endangered species, wildlife trafficking, climate change and related topics.

It was a great thrill to meet the folks from IFAW and the other honorees. I'm proud of the writing I do and I am glad it is making a difference. Thanks, IFAW. This award means a lot to me.

Okay, on to the articles from the last two weeks. Sticking with the endangered species theme, here are the last several Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Photo (c) Kishore Kotecha. Used with permission.
The Last 400 Asiatic Lions Need More Room to Grow–but Where Will They Go?

China Feeds Extra Fish to Finless Porpoises to Save Them from Starvation

California Condor Populations Hit Important Milestone, but Still Face Threats

Sanctuaries Established to Help Save Spectacular Kashmiri Goat


On a different note, here's my latest feature for IEEE's The Institute:

Online Magazine to Spark Engineering Interest in Teens


And finally, here's a big batch of environmentally-themed articles for Mother Nature Network:


Airlines see profits in shipping animals

Battle of the climate-change billboards rages on

PayPal co-founder funds floating city for entrepreneurs

Maine man to be buried in coffin made from the tree he protected for 52 years

Want the freshest fruit? New sensor improves upon the human nose

Scientists generate electricity from viruses


That's it for this time around. I already have several articles pending publication this week and next. Stay tuned for the latest updates!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gorillas, Innovation, Aviation and Some Icky Stuff

Monday comes along but once a week, but I seem to have new articles appear just about every day. This week was particularly satisfying, as two long-gestating features appeared and my other articles did extremely well.


Let's start with this week's two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Photo courtesy Wildlife Conservation Society
Amazing Video: First Camera Trap Footage of Critically Endangered Cross River Gorillas [This was my most popular Extinction Countdown article in the last year!]

New Polar Bear Counting Method Creates Confusion [Boy did this one get the climate skeptics in a huff.]


Next up, my latest feature for Today's Engineer:

Career Focus: Aerospace Engineering Careers Still Flying High 


And here's another new feature, for IEEE's The Institute:

Get Creative with Free E-book on Innovation


And let's finish the week with this batch of articles for Mother Nature Network -- two of which you'd better not read while eating:

Necrotizing fasciitis claims woman's leg after zip line accident

Houston doctors live-tweet patient's brain surgery

Rio de Janeiro beautifying famous beach by removing billboards 

It'll probably be two weeks before my next list, for reasons I can't disclose quite yet, but make sure to follow me over on Twitter for the latest links as they happen!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rhino sex, horse racing, volunteering and climate change

Okay, so the more controversial or sensational the topic you write about, the more readers you attract. Got it.


Guess which one of this week's Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American got about six times the normal number of readers:

The Most Eagerly Awaited Rhino Porn of All Time [Yup, it was this one.]

New Conservation Plan Will Protect Endangered Zebra Species


Meanwhile, this feature for Mother Nature Network was the most-read story on their site for a few days, during which time it generated a pretty good number of comments. It probably didn't hurt that CNN linked to this story from their home page:

Horse racing: An industry in crisis


Meanwhile, these other stories for MNN were fun to research and write:

Where do urban chickens go to retire? Portland

IKEA introduces disposable cardboard camera

Wind turbines contribute to global warming? Media outlets say they do

Oh, and an earlier MNN story was reprinted by the Huffington Post last week.


Finally this week, my latest feature for LION magazine appears in their May 2012 issue. I can't link directly to the article, but you can flip through the whole thing online here. My story --First Responders Since 1951 -- appears on page 38.


This week should see two new features, if not three, and a whole bunch more of the usual environmental reporting. Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Rhinos, Squirrels, Poisons and more

Another week gone by, another few thousand words typed and online. I like it.

My two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American covered some good news for two critically endangered species:
160 Video Cameras to Help Monitor Last 35 Javan Rhinos [This was also reprinted by the Huffington Post.]

(Oh, and you can read all of my recent articles on rhinos here.)

Critically Endangered Colombian Parrot Doubles Its Protected Habitat


Mother Nature Network kept me delightfully busy this week:
Whistleblower exposes tree poisoning in billboard industry

Is California's famous Salton Sea doomed?

#Squirrel! Craigslist founder uses social media to raise money for wildlife

Frida Kahlo's mysterious infertility diagnosed through her paintings


And here are two new "green living" blog posts for Green Hands USA:

Save an Orangutan: Don't Buy Palm Oil

Portland (Oregon and Maine) Named Two of America's Greenest Cities


This coming week will see more at SciAm and MNN. Some time this week, my latest feature for Lion magazine should be online. (I received my print copy in the mail on Saturday.) Depending on publication schedules, I'll also have three new technology features coming out this week or next. And then there's all of the other stuff I'm working on!


Make sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest links as they go live!