Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My last articles for 2013

Here they are...my final handful of articles for 2013. There weren't many, mainly because I finally took a few days (kinda) off.

First up, my latest print piece for Scientific American, which is based on one of my regular online "Extinction Countdown" articles:

Frog from Dwindling Haitian Forest Thriving in U.S. Zoo 

Next up, two new "Extinction Countdown" articles:

Fish Found: The Greatest Conservation Success Story of 2013?

Sunday Species Snapshot: Visayan Warty Pig

And finally, one new article for Mother Nature Network:

What happens inside a battery?


And there we go! I have lots of completed articles already pending publication in January and what feels like hundreds in various stages of writing and research. I'll get back to them in a few days.

For now, though, have a great New Year and thanks for reading all of my work in 2013!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Parasites, Lemurs and Talking about Technology

The year may be rapidly drawing to a close, but I still have a few things left to accomplish this year. That includes a whole bunch of new articles, which covered a wide range of topics this week.

First up, as usual, my three "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

Good News for One of the World’s Rarest Monkeys

Parasites that Cause Chagas Disease in Humans May Also Be Killing Tiny Australian Marsupials

Sunday Species Snapshot: Alaotran Gentle Lemur


Next up, my latest feature for IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer, which I enjoyed researching and writing:

Talking Technology with Non-Technical Audiences


This past week also saw the publication of my first article for Engineering News-Record, a look at the past year for the communications construction industry for their Global 2013 Sourcebook. It's behind a subscriber paywall, but if you happen to be a subscriber you can read it here.


Finally this week, here are a whole bunch of news articles for Mother Nature Network:

Bananas: Famous fruit faces fatal fungus

Mark Zuckerberg and other tech billionaires create $3 million mathematics prize

Are there diamonds in Antarctica? It's possible, scientists say

Do you 'like' nonprofits? Now you can donate right through Facebook

Tiny 'micromotors' could clean polluted water


That's it for this week. Join my next week for my final list of articles for the year. I may wait until after Monday to post it, if just to include the last links for 2013. Don't forget, you can always follow me on Twitter for the latest links as they go live.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Iguana poop, Superman's lies and comedy for a cause

It's the last Monday in autumn and I'm snowed in. Ah, Maine...

Anyway, the piles of snow and the frigid temperatures mean I just get to stay inside and write. For you, maybe it means you get to stay in and read some of my articles. Here are the ones that saw print last week.

I'll start this list, as usual, with my Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Lawsuit to Remove Plant from Endangered Species List Completely Backfires

Tourists Are Giving Endangered Iguanas Diarrhea and High Cholesterol

Sunday Species Snapshot: Cuban Crocodile


Sticking with the endangered species theme, here's my latest brief for Conservation magazine, which appears in their new issue:

A Blobfish Walks into a Bar


And finally, here's a history article, an explainer and a news brief for Mother Nature Network:

Who invented the idea of organic farming and organic food?

Do diamonds really come from coal?

Spill: A new play about the people affected by the Gulf oil spill


Oh, in addition to the stuff that I wrote, the Allegheny Front turned the tables and interviewed me  about the Endangered Species Act. You can read/listen to it here.



That's it for this week. Follow me on Twitter for more links as they go live.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Extinction, Time Travel and a History Lesson

It's cold out. All the more reason to stay inside and write.

Last week brought forth eight new articles -- at least, eight published pieces. Some of those were turned in last week. Other pieces I turned in this week won't appear for a few weeks more. I'm also working on some big assignments that won't see print until maybe next Summer. Yup, I have lots of plates in the air and I love every minute of it.

Anyway, let's start this week's link list with three new Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Tiny Ohio Catfish Species, Last Seen in 1957, Declared Extinct

Can You Guess Which Country Has the Most Endangered Species?

Sunday Species Snapshot: Fijian Monkey-Faced Bat


The rest of this week's publications all came from Mother Nature Network, where I'm writing a nice mix of news articles, history pieces and explainers. Here are this week's links:

Stephen Hawking invites you to a party for time travelers (that may have already happened)

What we learned from the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history

Should chimpanzees have human rights?

Enneagram: The personality test you've never heard of

Could this easy-to-make material help replace gasoline?


And that's it for this time around. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for more links as they happen, or come back here next Monday for another list.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Okapi, robotics and a horrible history

If it's Monday morning, it must be time for my weekly look back at the articles of the previous seven days. Of course, it was a short week, marked by the Thanksgiving holiday (I hope yours went well; I had pie), so there were fewer articles than usual.

Let's start with my Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American

'Forest Giraffe' Now Endangered: Okapi Populations Drop 50 Percent in 18 Years

Sunday Species Snapshot: Daggernose Shark


Next up, two newsy items for Mother Nature Network:

Extremely tiny robot floats through the air — like a jellyfish

Why the FDA told genetic testing company 23andMe to cease marketing


And finally this week, a horrifying slice of history that was written for MNN but which fit better at their sister site, Treehugger:

Thomas Edison: Inventor, genius ... elephant killer?


In non-article news, the fourth edition of LORE -- the horror-SF-fantasy anthology series for which I serve as contributing editor -- is now available. I hope you'll check it out.

By the way, this weekend marked my seventh anniversary as a freelance writer. I wonder what will happen in year # 8?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Deformed frogs, Asian unicorns and a sex-changing snail

What a great week. I signed the contract for a huge new freelance assignment, moved forward on several others, and wrote some pretty darned good articles. Let's go to the links.

Most of last week's publications appeared in Scientific American, where they hit on three fronts. First there was my usual three Extinction Countdown articles, which covered a wide range of endangered species:

Conservation's Holy Grail: "Asian Unicorn" Sighted in Vietnam

The Incredible Mr./Mrs. Limpet: The Endangered, Sex-Changing Sea Snail

Sunday Species Snapshot: Rothschild’s Giraffe

Then there was my latest article for the print magazine, which is a consolidation of two of my previous Extinction Countdown pieces:

An Endangered Species Act Success: California’s Santa Cruz Cypress

Finally, here's my first non-Extinction article for the SciAm website, a story I am glad that I had the opportunity to cover:

The Good and Bad News about Frog Abnormalities


This week's two other publications came from Mother Nature Network:

New York named America's most walkable city

Puerto Rico's famous bioluminescent lagoon stops glowing


Beyond that published work I have a ton on my plate, including several more articles for SciAm and MNN as well as my usual monthly feature for Today's Engineer and a new piece for Lion magazine. I also just signed the contract for what could be my biggest magazine assignment to date, but I probably won't be able to talk about that publicly for several months yet.

I don't know how many articles will appear online this week, what with the Thanksgiving holiday and all, but you can follow me on Twitter for links as they happen.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How Frustration Led to Last Week's Most Popular Story

Writing about endangered species for a living almost guarantees that I remain in a state of constant frustration. This week that frustration gave birth to one of my most popular articles in recent months. It wasn't the fact that the western black rhino had gone extinct that caused that frustration or my reaction. The western black rhino went extinct years ago but most people in the media -- and the world in general -- didn't seem to notice until this past month. This has led to some truly awful reporting from too many news sites that should have known better. I decided to set the record straight with one of this week's Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

How the Western Black Rhino Went Extinct

That article got tens of thousands of readers, more than I ever expected. Hopefully it will continue to dispel some of the misinformation that has been spread about this extinction.

In other news, here are this week's other two Extinction Countdown articles. The first is feature-length, while the second is a weekend quickie:

Jamaican Iguana Conservation Program Marks 20 Years of Success, Faces Worries about Next 20 Years

Sunday Species Snapshot: Jackass Penguin


This week also saw publication of my latest feature for Today's Engineer. I think this is a particularly important piece and I enjoyed working on it:

Federally Funded Research: The Key to Unexpected (and Valuable) Discoveries


Finally, here are two new articles for Mother Nature Network:

Global warming isn't on 'hiatus'

Scientists invent not 1, not 2, but 3 new 'invisibility cloaks' [This was my favorite headline of the week]


What will this coming week bring? Hopefully it won't involve too much frustration, but we'll see. If it does, maybe I'll turn that into something useful like I did this past week.  Wish me luck!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rare Cats, Melting Starfish and a Man with Wings

Well, this past week didn't see all that many new publications, but that's only because I have so many in the pipeline. I have more articles in process or pending publication than I can count, so expect a lot more soon.

Meanwhile, here are this week's articles, starting with one article and one shorter post for "Extinction Countdown" over at Scientific American:

Beautiful but Rarely Seen Cat Species Photographed in Borneo

Sunday Species Snapshot: Sociable Lapwing


And here are three short pieces for Mother Nature Network:

Mysterious wasting syndrome is turning West Coast starfish into goo

Bill Gates: Prioritizing worldwide Internet access over human health is 'a joke'

Jetman ascendant: How Yves Rossy learned to fly with four jet engines strapped to his back


This coming week should be a big one. Follow me on Twitter for headlines as they happen and come back here next Monday for another list of links.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Post-Halloween Article Goodies

We don't get many (okay, any) trick-or-treaters in my rural neck of the Maine woods, which may explain my productivity: too much sugar from 50%-off post-Halloween candy.

Anyway, I published a metric tonne of articles last week, so here are the links before I go try to burn off a few thousand calories. We'll start with this week's Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Halloween Scares: A Graveyard for Extinct Species

How Much Did the U.S. Spend on the Endangered Species Act in 2012?

Sunday Species Snapshot: White-Cheeked Gibbon


Next up, several news items for Mother Nature Network:

Hunting group auctioning off the right to kill an endangered black rhino

Olympic oops: Russia's games aren't as 'zero-waste' as promised

United Nations takes aim at asteroids

New system could predict how climate change will affect future fishing conditions


And finally this time around, the new annual report from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences contains 10 articles by me, all about their latest research. This was in the works for a long time and finally came out last week. Cool stuff.

Okay, that's it for now. Follow me on Twitter for the latest article links as they go live!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Frog Week, Fulgurites and Freebies

Hello Monday, how have you been? Did you have a good weekend? How's the wife and kids? Does everyone hate you as much as they used to? Well don't worry about it, some of us still like you, Monday. After all, it's a great chance to look back at the week that was.

Which is what I'm doing now, as a matter of fact. Yup, it's time for my weekly Monday linkfest. This time around I've got nine new articles for your reading pleasure.

I'll start with my Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American, which covered two critically endangered frogs and one spectacular (and also critically endangered) bird:

Good Dads Help Rare Haitian Frogs Breed in Captivity

Squeaking By: Frog Species Rediscovered in Ghana, but Invasive Devil Weed Threatens Its Survival

Sunday Species Snapshot: Bali Myna


Next up, my latest for IEEE's The Institute. Although geared toward engineers, these lessons are good for just about anybody:

Learn Effective Communication Skills With Free Online Lessons


And finally, here's a wide mix of science and technology articles for Mother Nature Network, including two explainer-type articles:

Art that sucks: Dutch artist proposes 'vacuum' to clear Beijing of smog

New studies provide clues into colony collapse disorder and other bee deaths

Sweetening the bottom line: Tobacco farmers switching to stevia

Electrical safety: How electrical current affects the human body

Fulgurites: When lightning strikes sand, magic is formed


That's it for this week. I already have several items for this coming week turned in and working their way through the editorial process, so make sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest links as they happen.

See you in seven days, Monday!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Stimulating, Solving and Faking

Monday rolls around again, like it does almost every week, and that means it's time for me to once again present to you, dear reader, my list of the previous week's publications.

We'll start our journalistic journey with my two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American, both of which cover critically endangered birds:

Century-Old Egg Answers Mystery about Critically Endangered Bird

Soon the Only Place to See This Nearly Extinct Bird May Be on Samoan Currency

I also added one extra weekend quickie to this week's Extinction Countdown, something I may continue in the weeks ahead:

Sunday Species Snapshot: Tasmanian Devil


Next up, my latest feature for IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer, which took a timelier turn than expected:

Six Ways Electric Vehicles Are Stimulating the Economy


Finally, here are three new articles on a variety of subjects for Mother Nature Network:

Air pollution causes cancer, says World Health Organization

157 science journals accept fake cancer study

Iran prepares to launch new monkey in space


This coming week should see publication of, well, more like that. But what exactly shall they cover? I'll leave that mystery to be revealed seven days from now...

(Of course, you can always follow me on Twitter for links as they happen if you just can't wait that long.)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mountain gorillas, dead hemlocks and environmental disasters

Hello Monday, did you miss me?

I normally post these article link compendiums on a weekly basis, but October brought a few changes in my regular patterns. For one thing, I left the house. That's right, I actually went somewhere -- that "somewhere" being Chattanooga, Tenn., host city for the annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists. It's a great city and the conference was fantastic. It has already inspired one article (which you'll find below) and will no doubt result in many more.

But travel meant an unusual slowdown in articles coming out of my keyboard. And travel delays -- hello broken airplane! -- meant I wasn't home last Monday to post this regular update. So let's catch you up on what you missed over the past two weeks. (Don't worry, there weren't that many articles, so this won't take long.)

I'll start this list, as I often do, with my Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

How Will Climate Change Affect Mountain Gorillas?

Endangered Species Success Stories: How Many More Are We Likely to See?

Hemlock Extinction Looms over Tennessee Forests


Next up, a history article, an explainer and a news post for Mother Nature Network:

The Great Sparrow Campaign was the start of the greatest mass starvation in history

CO2 101: Why is carbon dioxide bad?

Who (and where) is boson namesake Peter Higgs?


And finally, an article for IEEE's The Institute:

IEEE Certificate Program Expands Its Reach


This coming week should bring a new feature for Today's Engineer, another Institute article, two or three more for SciAm, and a bunch for MNN. Or more. Or less. We'll see.

I'm back on my regular schedule now, so come on back next Monday for another batch of article links. Can't wait that long? Follow me on Twitter. I'll post the headlines as they happen.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Climate change, conservation and comic books

Monday brings the end of another month and another list of links to my articles. Last week saw just five new articles, but they're good ones. Meanwhile I have dozens more (well, it feels that way) pending publication in the coming weeks.

First up this time around, my latest feature for Lion magazine, published by Lions Clubs International:

Helen Keller Reimagined


Next, my latest "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

Piping Plovers in Migration: Foraging for their Lives

Dig This: Decline of Australian Digging Mammals Impacts Entire Ecosystems


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

New map identifies ecosystems most vulnerable to climate change

Yes, Vermont has a leaf forecaster


I won't be writing much this week -- I'll be traveling to the annual Society of Environmental Journalists conference -- but I do have several articles queued up with editors, so we'll see which ones appear. Follow me on the Tweeter for links as they happen (or, at least, as I know they happen).

Monday, September 23, 2013

Condors, rhinos, ear wax (yup) and religion

Busy weeks bring lots of headlines, so let's get to them.

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

The 5 Biggest Myths about the Endangered Species Act

Banned Pesticide DDT Is Still Killing California Condors

22 Links for World Rhino Day as Poaching Levels Shoot Past 2012's Deadly Record


One of my earlier Extinction Countdown articles also got picked up for the new print issue of SA:

Climate Change Threatens Madagascar’s Towering Baobab Trees


And Mother Nature Network kept me busy writing about a whole bunch of eco-related topics, most of which stem from some pretty interesting new research:

Whale ear wax (you heard that right) carries a lifetime of ocean pollutants

How much methane leaks out during fracking?

Is religion a good way to help preserve biodiversity?

Explore the Galapagos Islands from the comfort of home with Google Street View


I'm also working on or have turned in several other pieces that will work their way into the world over the coming weeks. Stay tuned for links.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Atomic bats, missing vipers, mutant lobsters and giant salamanders

Good lord, I published a lot of articles last week!

Freelancing often is a game of scheduling. You balance your workload by day, week and month. You balance your income, with the jobs that will pay quickly against the jobs that will pay eventually. You plan out when you can conduct interviews and when you can write and when you can promote yourself and your work. And once in a while you can pencil in a few hours to have fun.

One think freelancers often don't have control over is when their articles will actually appear. This past week ended up being a case in point, as several long-in-the-works articles all appeared at the same time.

What does that mean? Nothing, other than the fact that you have a lot of reading ahead of you!

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

Viper Collectors Nearly Wiped Out This Rare Turkish Snake; Saint Louis Zoo Helps to Save It

U.S. to Destroy 6 Tons of Confiscated Ivory, Sending Message to Poachers


Next up, another endangered species article, this time for the new issue of Conservation Magazine. This article is up online ahead of the print issue, which should be hitting mailboxes any moment now:

To the Bat Bunker!


Meanwhile, my cover article for SEJournal, the magazine of the Society of Environmental Journalists, is now online, a month or so after the release of the print issue:

The Endangered Species Act at 40: Forty Things Journalists Should Know


Switching gears for a moment, here's my latest technology careers article for IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer:

Where are the Tech Jobs?


And finally, here's a whole bunch of new stories for Mother Nature Network (including, yup, one more about an endangered species):

Giant hellbender salamanders benefit from water temperature fluctuations

Canoes for a Cause: A brewer inspires volunteers to help clean America's waterways

Pollution in Florida's Lake Okeechobee swells to near-disaster levels

Amazing 6-clawed lobster gets reprieve from the dinner table

Global warming? Some say Arctic is actually cooling [Spoiler alert: it's not]

Fears mount at Mount Fuji



Boy, I'm tired just typing all of that! There will lots more this coming week. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest headlines as they go live!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Killer fungi and sunburned whales

Last week was the short, post-Labor Day work week and while it feels as if I did about six days worth of work, it only resulted in four published articles. But lots of the stuff I worked on last week won't turn up online until later this month, next month or even later. Such is the life of a freelance journalist.

Anywho, here are this week's links, two "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American and two science/news posts for Mother Nature Network:

Fire Salamanders in the Netherlands Wiped Out by Newly Discovered Fungus

Rare Tree, Dependent on Fire, to Leave Endangered Species List

Taking a nap may actually help heal your brain

Whales tan to avoid sunburn


Expect lots more soon!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hellbenders, Winter Chills, History and Hurricanes

Hey folks,

It's Monday, and even if it's Labor Day I'm still here with my usual weekly list of the previous week's articles. I'm just that dedicated to my readers.

Anyway, I took it slightly easy last week, so this ended up being another fairly light week of publications, but there are some pieces here for you to enjoy on the last day of your three-day weekend.

Here are the links -- one article for Scientific American and five for Mother Nature Network:

Hellbender Head Start: Raising Giant Salamanders in the Bronx

Uh-oh: Farmers' Almanac predicts a nasty 2013-2014 winter

Who was Typhoid Mary?

What is valley fever?

Migraines may be altering brain structure

Hurricane Michele Bachmann? Viral video endorses name change


That's it for this time around. I'm taking the rest of the day off (what? freelancers get days off, too), except for the article I have scheduled to publish at 3pm today. It's an important one. Watch my Twitter feed for the link as it goes live.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Owls and Sea Monsters

Ah, the last weeks of summer. August is already turning to Autumn (at least here in Maine, where the leaves already have the slightest hint of color) and everyone seems desperate to squeeze in a few last moments of fun and relaxation before the season comes to a close. Me, I'm enjoying the cool breeze through the open window and writing, writing, writing.

This past week only brought four newly published articles -- far fewer than average, I know -- but I worked on quite a few others, some of which may see publication this coming week, others of which could take another month or two to turn up. By then, I'll probably have taken some days off myself, enjoying the best Maine has to offer during its most pleasant months.

That's the future, though. As the man said, we're interested in the future because that's where we'll spend the rest of our lives. But this blog is about the recent past, providing links to my most recent articles, not talking about days yet to come, so let's get to it and start with the linkage.

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

World's Largest Owl Needs Equally Large Trees and Forests (But it's More Complex Than That)

Egg Swap for Operatic New Zealand Birds a Success, but Invasive Predators Create Discord


Next (and last), two new posts for Mother Nature Network:

White House goes solar (Third time's the charm?)

Mysterious dead sea creature washes ashore in Spain, world gasps (I may have had too much fun writing this one)


That's it for this time around. For more, make sure to follow me on Twitter. I'll announce the latest links as they happen, so we can all live in the present and not the past or future.

Monday, August 19, 2013

An amazing teen inventor, tortoise symbiosis and New Zealand irony

Another Monday, another batch of the previous week's article links!

First up, here are my two Extinction Countdown articles for the week for Scientific American. Yes, I wrote about baobab trees and giant tortoises again!

Giant Tortoises and Baobab Trees: Imperfect Apart

Rare Monkey Population up 50 Percent in China and Tibet


Next, I hope you'll check out my latest feature for IEEE's The Institute. I have profiled most of the IEEE President's Scholarship winners over the last few years and it's always one of my favorite gigs. This young man is a real inspiration.

Communication Device for Deaf and Blind Wins IEEE President’s Scholarship


And finally, here are several science, health and eco-activism stories for Mother Nature Network:

Why do bacteria become virulent? It's all about the signal

Dislike: Facebook makes you sad, says study

New Zealand, the world's third-most obese country, threatens to deport obese chef

Author and activist Wendell Berry, called a modern-day Thoreau, receives prestigious prize


I'm working on something like five hundred and eighty-seven new articles right now. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for links as they go live!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Shark Week, Upskilling and Learning to be a Leader

Welcome to another Monday compendium of links to the articles I published in the previous week. I'll start this week's list with my Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American, both of which were extremely popular:

Film Fakery: Does Shark Week Harm Conservation Efforts?

Pangolins in Peril: All 8 Species of Spiny Anteaters Endangered by Illegal Trade


Next up, my latest engineering careers article for IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer (which contains important advice for people in any career):

Upskilling for Career Advancement


Next, a bunch of newsy items for Mother Nature Network:

Costa Rica may close 2 government-run zoos

Amazon's Jeff Bezos spending $42 million to build a 10,000-year clock

Shh! Settlement bans two kids from talking about fracking – for life

Warren Buffett could soon own the largest energy holding company in the U.S.


And finally, my latest engineering-related article for IEEE's The Institute (again, there's some great stuff in here no matter your profession):

IEEE eLearning Library Offers New Courses on Leadership and Electric Vehicles


That's it for this week. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for more links as they go live.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Giant tortoises, clean air and nakedness

Well that was weird. Using the words "naked ladies" in one of my headlines last week actually brought in a ton of readers. Go figure. Who would have expected that?

Anyway, last week saw the publication of five new articles -- I know, far below my weekly average, but don't you worry, I have dozens of new articles in the works (so many I'm afraid to count them all) and there will be plenty more to read in the coming weeks.

As to this week's articles, the first two in the list below come from my Extinction Countdown column at Scientific American, while the next three appeared at Mother Nature Network. Which one do you think got the most readers? In any case, read on and enjoy!

Once Extinct in the Wild, Galapagos Giant Tortoises Return to Pinzon Island

Rare Naked Ladies Crocus Infected with Even Rarer Smutty Fungus

Indoor air pollution in the developing world: The silent killer

Court lifts ban on cloned horses

Alaska is swarming in mosquitoes this year

Monday, July 29, 2013

Exclusives and features galore

Every Monday morning I do two things: look back and look ahead. Right now, you're seeing the looking back part. Last week brought a ton of new articles, including several stories that no other journalists have told and a couple of articles that have been in the works for months.

First up in this week's link parade, my usual two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American.

To Save the Sumatran Rhino, Zoo Will Attempt to Mate Brother and Sister

Endangered Plants for Sale Online: Are They Legal?


My latest feature for IEEE's publication The Institute came out this week. I love interviewing inspiring scientists and technology people:

IEEE Groups to Launch the First All-Women Start-ups in India


My latest article for Lion Magazine, the publication of Lions Clubs International, also hit the stands this week. I really enjoyed working on this one, and it's a great solution that could work for the many clubs around the country which are facing declining memberships:

Maine's Oldest Lions Club Gets Younger


And finally, here are a bunch of news stories for Mother Nature Network:

Could carbon dioxide be converted to electricity?

The best place for solar power is ... New Jersey?

CIA-funded project could control the weather

U.S. Navy drops 4 bombs on Great Barrier Reef

It's a banner year for mosquitoes

In addition to all of the links above, several of these articles were reprinted at the Huffington Post and Business Insider, but I'll spare you those links.

So what comes next? Well, looking forward, I can predict that this week will bring several new articles for SciAm and MNN, and I'll be finishing up a few articles for other publications. Other than that, I have several ideas bouncing around, and I think more than one of them will be coming to life soon. We'll see.

Until those ideas spring forth, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I'll announce new article links as they happen!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cover story, baobabs and forgotten tragedies

Despite the above-average heat and humidity that blanketed the northeast this past week, I still managed to get a great deal of new writing done. I touched on climate change, rare primates, new technologies and a tragic piece of forgotten history. 

Even better, the mail brought my copy of the summer issue of SEJournal, the magazine of the Society of Environmental Journalists, containing my cover article "The Endangered Species Act at 40: Forty Things Journalists Should Know." This is my first cover article and I'm excited as can be to see it in print. It's not online yet, and will only be available to SEJ members for a few months once it is up, but you can see the cover to the right.


In other publication news, here are links to this week's two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American. The first is an exclusive that has not been covered anywhere else:

Climate Change Could Wipe Out Amazing Baobab Trees in Madagascar

Habitat Running Out for Rare Primate in Cameroon


This week also brought a bunch of new articles for Mother Nature Network, mostly covering "trending" news items, but one was a look back at an event that seems quite relevant to today, even though it happened more than 140 years ago:

Oct. 8, 1871: The day America burned

Oceans around Antarctica could become massive protected sanctuary

Elon Musk: Hyperloop would transport people across country at 4,000 miles per hour

Amazing 'smart knife' detects cancer during surgery

Park service investigates after famous sand dune swallows 6-year-old boy

Tragedy in India: 22 students dead after eating tainted lunches


That's it for this weekly edition of Monday links. This coming week will see more for SciAm and MNN. I also expect at least one of the half-dozen features I have pending publication to go online at some point, but we'll have to wait and see if that becomes a reality or not. In any case, for links as they happen, make sure to follow me on Twitter. Otherwise, I'll see you here next Monday.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sawfish, Big Data and Jumping Robots (and a whole lot more)

I hope you had your Wheaties for breakfast this morning, because I have a lot of new articles for you to read. This time around I'm bringing you two weeks worth of new links, which makes up for not doing one of these lists last Monday after the long Fourth of July holiday.

And really, that was the way to go. I only published a few articles in the short week before Independence Day, and waiting until after gave a chance for several articles that were pending publication to finally see the light of day. So let's get to it.

First up, three new Extinction Countdown columns for Scientific American, all of which are important:

After 100 Years, Has the Elusive Night Parrot Finally Been Discovered?

Last Chance for Sawfish?

As Rhino Poaching Surges, South Africa Proposes Legalized Trade in Precious Horns


Next, my latest Careers Watch article for IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer. Seriously, if you know a smart kid who wants a tech job, point them in this direction:

The Big Data Job Boom


In other IEEE publication news, here's my latest feature for their publication, The Institute. This has some great advice for consultants, freelancers and anyone who owns a small business.

For Consultants, Social Media 101


And finally, here are a whole bunch of news items for Mother Nature Network. I may have had too much fun writing one or two of these:

Meet ATLAS: The walking, jumping robot that could one day save your life

Mount Fuji and 18 other locations protected as UNESCO World Heritage sites

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Let's terminate climate change

'Gasland II' sequel tells fracking's next chapter

Warren Buffett donates $2.6 billion to Gates Foundation and other charities

What is an Earthship dwelling?


That's it for this time around, but I still have a bunch of articles waiting for publication that could see print this week (or not; we'll see), and lots of new stuff to write. Follow me a Twitter for links as they happen. Otherwise, I'll see you here next Monday!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Weird history, the saiga saga, endangered seals and more

Well this is going to be a weird week. July Fourth is a Thursday, which means most people will be on vacation starting Wednesday. Or Tuesday. Or even today. Who knows. It's hard to tell. As a freelancer, I don't take all that many days off -- but that's fine by me because I love my job. I hope it shows with this list of last week's articles.

We'll start, in our usual manner, with my Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

The 4 Most Endangered Seal Species

Saiga Success: Critically Endangered Antelope Population Doubles in 5 Years [This is my fourth annual story on the strange saga of the saiga. I wonder what will happen in year number five?]


Now, here's the weekly mix of articles for Mother Nature Network, covering technology, the environment and other oddities:

The 1919 Boston Molasses Flood: The forgotten tragedy too bizarre for the history books

Methane, ethane and propane found in drinking water near fracking sites

How do plants survive without sun? Math

How are thieves breaking into these cars?

Lake George to become 'the smartest lake in the world'


I don't know how much new work we'll see this week, what with the holiday and all (I really should ask my editors what days they are working), but stay tuned for next week, which could see anywhere between one and four new features. Don't want to wait that long? Follow me on Twitter -- I'll post the links as soon as they go live.

Have a great Fourth of July holiday weekend!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Darwin's dead frog, billionaire brains and ant suicide

Ah, summer in vacationland. There's nothing like summer in Maine. The sun, the cool ocean air, the flowers, the birds... It almost makes up for the winters!

Regardless of what season we're in, I'm sure to be found type-type-typing away. This past week didn't see too many new articles published, but I'm working on a ton of other assignments and as busy as ever.

Anyway, here are this week's six new articles, all for Scientific American and Mother Nature Network. Enjoy!

Weird Frog Discovered by Charles Darwin May Be Extinct [this was reprinted by Salon]

Philippines Cancels Planned Burn of Confiscated Elephant Tusks after Clean-Air Groups Object

Why do army ants commit suicide?

Billionaires could live forever by putting their brains in robots

BP ends Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi

Find the cleanest, safest beaches with updated Swim Guide app [this was also reprinted by the Huffington Post.]

That's it for this week! Lots more as we close the books on June and head into July.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chimpanzees, Cybersecurity and Inventive Teens

Last week started off with a bang and then never slowed down. I interviewed some amazing people, saw several long-in-the-works features appear, fought off come climate-change-denying trolls, and generally had an amazing time. What can I say, I love the life of a freelance writer!

So what did all that excitement yield? Let's go to the links!

First up: This week brought some very cool stories for Extinction Countdown, including my 500th article for Scientific American!

Chimpanzees May Finally Gain Full Protection under the Endangered Species Act

Climate Change versus Groundhogs: Even Common Species Will Suffer

Diseased Tigers, Wounded Rhinos and Other Links from the Brink


Next up, my latest technology careers article for Today's Engineer. The dramatic need for people in this particular field is both terrifying and encouraging:

Cybersecurity Careers – An International Priority

(Seriously, if you know any students who aren't sure what technology career they want to eventually go into, point them in this direction.)


Next up, several articles for Mother Nature Network, including one long-gestating feature and three blog posts:

The Inventioneers: 6 teens invent way to stop dangerous texting while driving

OCD both triggered and treated in mice

RoboRoach: Now you can create your very own cyborg cockroach

Fracking companies are exploiting the Amish, say reports

Bee semen could help combat colony collapse disorder

Meanwhile, an earlier MNN feature on NASA's AirSWOT program was reprinted by the Huffington Post, which probably reprinted one or two other MNN articles. (It's kind of hard to keep track, honestly.)

That's it for last week. This week I'm working on several new SA and MNN articles, plus several features that will appear in the coming months. It's going to be another busy, fast-paced few days, so excuse me while I go get that adrenaline pumping!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wolves, NASA, God's Bathtub and the buzz about an extinct bee

Happy Monday, folks! I can't believe it's already the second week of June. The time flies by when you're on deadline (make that multiple deadlines).


Last week was a whirlwind. I turned in my first magazine cover feature and three other features that will be making their way to you over the coming weeks and months. And I also wrote all of the articles below. (Well, all but one; the NASA piece was turned in a few weeks ago).

So, about those links! We'll start with my regular Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Britain Tries (Again) to Re-Introduce Extinct Bees

Extinct Frog Rediscovered in 2011; World Takes Notice in 2013

Gray Wolves Declared ‘Recovered’ and Other Links from the Brink


Next up, a wide range of topics for Mother Nature Network:

Math is hard, but solving this equation could earn you $1 million

NASA takes to the air to measure the world's water

Study: Increased carbon dioxide may lead to greener deserts

God's Bathtub: The Australian lake untouched by time or climate

How a plan to destroy Gezi Park in Turkey sparked nationwide protests


In other news, the fiction anthology on which I served as contributing editor is now available. Check it out.

That's it for this week (and it was enough!). More next Monday, or follow me on Twitter for the latest links as they happen.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Lion tacos, condor controversy and killer diseases

What a week. I sure stirred up some discussion with this week's articles. Meanwhile, I found myself hard at work on several articles that won't appear for at least a couple of months. Freelance writing is sometimes all about immediacy, but other times it's about the slow burn.

Let's start this week's link list with three Extinction Countdown pieces for Scientific American:

Lion Meat Tacos (You Read That Right) Are the Latest Threat to Conservation

Does Controversial Decision Pit California Condors against Wind Turbines?

The Last 50 Corroboree Frogs and Other Links from the Brink



As usual, Mother Nature Network kept me busy writing about a wide range of topics:

Plants resurrected after 400 years under a glacier

Middle Eastern virus called 'threat to entire world' by World Health Organization

Is this grainy sonar image actually Amelia Earhart's long-lost plane?

Apple hires former EPA chief to head green efforts


Last week also saw a few reprints at the Huffington Post and Business Insider.

This coming week will definitely see more from SA and MNN. We'll see if any of other long-in-the-works articles appear as well!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Amphibians in crisis, a gene that itches, and a whole lot more

If it's Monday it must be time for a look back at my articles from the previous week -- even if it's Memorial Day. What can I say, freelancers don't always get to take holidays off.

I'll start this week's list with my Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American, where amphibians found themselves on the bad side of the news:

Frog-Killing Chytrid Fungus Hits Rarely Seen, Wormlike Amphibians

Amphibians in U.S. Declining at “Alarming and Rapid Rate” (this was also reprinted at Salon)

A Monkey with Human Eyes and Other Links from the Brink


Next up, a big batch of articles for Mother Nature Network, including some pretty cool science:

Why we itch: Blame a gene called Nppb

Student filmmakers produce powerful documentary about sea turtle conservation

Fire ants inspire ideas for life-saving search-and-rescue robots

Mystery cause of Irish potato famine finally solved

Oman invests in solar energy -- to extract oil


Outside of the published articles I have also been deep, deep, deep into my next articles for Conservation magazine, Today's Engineer and The Institute, as well as several more articles for SciAm and MNN, plus a big batch of ten articles for another client and a two corporate newsletter gigs. PLUS, this week I got a call out of the blue that ended up being my first magazine cover assignment. So there's that.

Yeah -- busy, busy, busy!

Anyway, even if this is a four-day week, there will still be plenty of new articles. Follow me on Twitter for the latest links as they happen. And I'll see you here next week!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bad genes, red tides, ocean science and comics

Hey, this is my 250th post at the John Platt Article Library! That's a lot of weeks posting article links and archival pieces. And guess what -- I'm not stopping any time soon!

This week's first article links come your way from the pages of Scientific American, where my Extinction Countdown series appears three times a week:

Desperately Seeking Cichlid: Fish Species Down to Last 3 Males, No Known Females

What Do Tigers and Kiwi Have in Common? The Answer Lies in Their Genes

Deadly Snakes, Ugly Critters, Leonardo DiCaprio and Other Links from the Brink


Next up is something different, three articles for the Transect newsletter published by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. These cover glowing red tides, a unique cross-continent education program, and an expedition deep, deep, deep below the Atlantic Ocean -- while Hurricane Sandy pounded the coast a few hundred miles away! You can download the PDF here.


And finally, here are four new articles for Mother Nature Network:

Bill Gates 2.0: From Microsoft founder to disease eradicator

'Crazy ants' invade southeastern U.S.

Sequester forces cuts in volcano monitoring

Monsanto wins Supreme Court case on GMO soybean seeds


In addition to this week's articles, I made a rare public appearance at the Maine Comic Arts Festival in Portland, where I was selling my handmade comics and original art. What a great time! It was nice to hear so many people laughing at my work. I spend so much time writing about dark and depressing subjects, it's nice to get back to the humorous side of things once in a while!

Well, that's it for this week. I have a lot more in process and pending publication. Stay tuned for the latest updates!

Monday, May 13, 2013

How to be a consultant and ten more new articles

If it's Monday, it must be time for another list of links to my articles from the previous week. And what a bunch of articles they were!

I'm going to break tradition and start this week's list with my latest careers articles, the first of which comes your way from The Institute. This contains some great advice for anyone running their own business or consultation practice:

Building a Better Consulting Practice

Next up, another career-oriented piece, this time from Today's Engineer:

What Makes a Good STEM Mentor?

Now we get to my usual Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

How Poachers Stole 10 Percent of an Entire Tortoise Species…and What Happened Next

The 5 Most Endangered Canine Species

Massacred Elephants, Found Frogs and Other Links from the Brink

And finally, here are several articles for Mother Nature Network:

Oil and fracking booms creating housing busts

Solar industry is evolving — and experiencing growing pains

Al Gore reportedly now worth more than $200 million, called 'Romney-Rich' by Bloomberg

Fracking is draining water resources, especially in the West

Launch of the Nautilus: New magazine aims to be 'a New Yorker version of Scientific American'

Man survived being swallowed by a hippo

More to come!