Monday, December 29, 2014

Last articles of 2014

The end of the year fast approaches and I find myself doing something I haven't done in a very, very long time:

Taking some time off.

Yes, for the first time in about a decade I am taking an extended vacation (or staycation as the case may be). Oh sure, I'm still working a little bit, but for the most part I'm recharging for what I expect to be a very eventful 2015.

That doesn't mean none of my articles will appear during this period, of course. Here are two brief new "Extinction Countdown" pieces for Scientific American:

Holiday Species Snapshot: Christmas Island Shrew

The Best (or Worst) of 2014


And here's one more for TakePart -- my first "gallery"-style article:

10 Gifts for Wildlife Lovers -- and Wildlife


As far as I know, this is the last of my articles to appear before the end of the year. If I'm wrong, I'll post any links on the 31st and then look back at the year that was. Until then, make sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest and greatest.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have more vacationing to accomplish...

Monday, December 22, 2014

Year of the (almost extinct) rhino

As the year draws to a close, I find myself taking a rare break from the keyboard. It's been a long, busy year and I've written more words than I care to count. And so I have decided to take a bit of a vacation -- my first in years (not counting the move across the country this summer).

Of course no writer ever truly takes any time off. I still plan on writing a couple of short items before New Years, which will appear over the next two weeks. I also have a few items left in the publication queue which should appear before the end of 2014.

Until then, though, let's take a look at my articles that appeared this past week. I'll start with my two "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American, including my latest piece on the nearly extinct northern white rhino. How long until I write this species' obituary?

Another Northern White Rhino Dies, Only 5 Remain

Could Extinct Clouded Leopards be Reintroduced in Taiwan?



Next up, two wildlife articles for TakePart:

No Turtle Doves for Christmas?

White House Moves to Keep Fake Fish Off Your Dinner Plate


Switching gears, here's my latest technology careers article for Today's Engineer. This is actually my last piece for TE, not because I'm leaving them but because it's morphing into a new magazine. I have already turned in my first feature for the new publication, which will appear in January.

Career Focus: Circuits & Systems


And finally, here's a blog post for IEEE's The Institute:

Celebrating 25 Years of the World Wide Web


That's it for now. Happy holidays, one and all!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Butting in

The year is winding down, but my keyboard is still on fire. I turned in a ton of articles last week (and quite a few more are heading out this week), although that only resulted in three actual publications. The rest will appear when they appear.

For now, though, here's this week's article for Scientific American, which, as you I'm sure you can imagine, went quite viral:

Butt-Breathing Turtle Now Critically Endangered


And here are two more wildlife articles for TakePart:

Is Your Milk Killing This Endangered Bird?

Is China Taking Zimbabwe’s Baby Elephants?


This coming week should see a bigger list. Follow me on Twitter for the headlines as they happen!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sea Ice, Eggs and Christmas Trees

Boy, the days sure are flying fast. We're already more than a week into December and I haven't done a lick of Christmas shopping. But of course I have written about Christmas. Does that count?

Anyway, here are my articles from this past week, starting with two new Extinction Countdown pieces for Scientific American:

As Sea Ice Disappears, Arctic Ringed Seals Could Get Largest Critical Habitat Ever

Rare Iguana is Endangered Because People Like to Eat Egg-Carrying Females


Next up, my latest wildlife/poaching articles for TakePart:

More Tigers Are Dying in India—but the Future’s Looking Brighter

A Baby Boom for World's Rarest Antelope


And here's that Christmas article, a feature about trees, again for TakePart:

Fake or Real? The Best Christmas Tree Choice for the Environment Might Surprise You


The next week or so should see the publication of a few long-gestating features, as well as the usual batch of news articles. Follow me on Twitter for the latest links as they happen or come back here next Monday for the weekly compendium. Heck, I might have even done some of my Christmas shopping by then!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Giraffe Week

Hey folks! It's the Monday after Thanksgiving and for once I'm not still digesting 8 billion calories of turkey and pumpkin pie. Oh, don't get me wrong, I still ate those things, but since it was just the two of us for our first Thanksgiving in Portland we took it easy.

So did my editors. Only two articles made their way to publication this week, one for Scientific American and one for TakePart. Both focused on giraffes, although they had completely different tones:

Giraffes under Threat: Populations Down 40 Percent in Just 15 Years

Cutest Giraffe Orphan Ever Gets Special "Skyscraper" Stable

I worked on a helluva lot more than these two, but a lot of the pieces I'm turning in now won't appear for weeks or even into next year. You have lots to look forward to!

Well, that's it for this Monday. Easy as pie, right? Oh man, now I want more pumpkin pie...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mondays, am I right?

Hey folks, welcome to my normal Monday link-dump of the articles that I published in the previous week. Whoo-boy...this week's list contains some pretty bleak stuff. But don't worry, if you can get through it all, there's a neat technology story at the end.

Okay, first up on the Monday Morning Bleak Parade, my latest "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

Bluefin Tuna, Chinese Cobra and Others Added to Red List of Threatened Species

Life on the Volcano Is Increasingly Tough for These Hawaiian Birds


Next up, two more bleak articles, this time from my poaching and wildlife coverage for TakePart:

Poachers Are Now Slaughtering Africa's Giraffes

Florida Drivers' Need for Speed Is Wiping Out the Critically Endangered Panther


Still with us? Well here's your reward: something about the future. This is my latest careers piece for Today's Engineer:

Engineers: Your Brains Need You!


This week will be a short one, with Thanksgiving and the ensuing four-day weekend (of shop-fest, depending on your point of view), so there won't be too many new articles published over the next seven days. All the same, I'll probably be working all weekend to catch up some extra-cool deadlines. Don't worry about me, though: they're all really cool, non-bleak stories that help make up for some of the stuff like you just read.

See you next Monday!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tasteful Nakedness and Distasteful Idiocy

Hey folks! It's Monday again and time for my weekly roundup of the previous week's articles. This was a fun week, with several great news stories and the publication of a few pieces that I had been working on for a while.

I'll start the list with this week's wildlife and poaching articles for TakePart. Can you guess which was my most popular article for the week?

Park Rangers Go Naked to Protect Rhinos

Watch Indian Villagers Rescue a Lion That Fell Down a Well


Next up, another article for TakePart. This one's a bit different in that two related articles were combined into one, so I share a byline with another writer. Anyway, both parts are good, important stuff. Check it out. Mine is the second half.

Battling Ebola, It's the Little Things That Count


The next two links come from my regular Extinction Countdown column at Scientific American. The first story gets the win for the biggest stupidity uncovered this week:

Mapping Mistake Threatens 1,400 Chimpanzees and Newly Discovered Endangered Plant

Critically Endangered Gecko Discovered in Madagascar


And finally, on a completely different note, I also have an article about hospital construction trends entitled "Health Care Law Boosts Outpatient Facilities" in the November 10 issue of Engineering News-Record, but you need a subscription to access it. Oh well, you can at least see the cover to the right.

That's it for this week. I already know that a few cool things are coming up pretty darn quickly -- perhaps even today -- so make sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest headlines as they happen.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mountain Gorillas, Dead Tigers and Breeding Birds

One of the great things about having a regular beat as a journalist is the opportunity to revisit important stories over the years. What's changed? What's new? Have things improved? Gotten worse? How have the threads of the story come together over time? This week's publications almost all embody this, as they gave me a chance to revisit several topics that I have written about in the past (and will not doubt return to again).

Let's dig into these revisitations. This week's "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American are both updates to stories I have covered in the past (one's good news, one's awful):

Rarest Kiwi Species Gets Breeding Boost

Canine Distemper Could Wipe Out Siberian Tigers


This week's articles for TakePart fit into the revisit theme in a slightly different way. I have written about mountain gorillas, eels and the bear-bile trade several times before. These articles all look at these topics from new angles:

Dangerous Diet: Mountain Gorillas’ Love of Bamboo Puts Them in Conflict With Farmers

Asia’s Appetite for Sushi Is Putting Philippine Eels in Peril

Laos’ Shrinking Bear Population Threatened by Booming Bile Business


Finally this week, here's my latest technology careers article for IEEE's The Institute. I enjoy working on these. This isn't exactly a topic that I have visited in the past, but I think that the years I have spent writing about tech careers gives me the best perspective to ask questions that really get to the heart of the matter. There's good advice in this one that would benefit anyone looking for a job:

Job Candidates: Here’s What to Ask in Interviews


That's it for this week. Come on back next Monday for more links, some of which will cover brand-new topics!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween Horrors

Halloween used to be my favorite time of year. Now I know that the ghosts and goblins are with us year-round. Here are some of the horrors I covered during Halloween week, plus one or two slightly more positive stories.

I'll start with a new feature about the nature of science, written for TakePart:


The Battle to Control the Story—and Science—of the Deepwater Horizon Catastrophe


I also wrote two of my regular wildlife articles for TakePart. The first one is actually pretty fun, but the second is about as bleak as it gets:

These 11 Endangered Sea Turtles Are Racing for Victory

A Baby Chimpanzee Was Rescued From Poachers—Her Family Wasn’t So Lucky


And finally, here are two new endangered species articles for Scientific American. Okay, I actually got into the holiday spirit with one of them:

African Lions Face Extinction by 2050, Could Gain Endangered Species Act Protection

Halloween Horrors: The Ghost Bat (aka the False Vampire Bat)


More horrors this week? Probably. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest links as they happen.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ebola, Vultures and Money (a short list this week)

Courtesy Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Well this is odd -- despite putting in about 60 hours of work (at least), I only published three articles last week. That's because I was concentrating on some big assignments that are going to be published this coming week, next week, next month and even next year.

You'll find about all of that future stuff as the days and weeks move ahead, but for now here are last week's links, starting off with my latest for TakePart (one of my most challenging and rewarding articles in recent days):

Ebola Fears Endanger Sierra Leone Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Next up, my latest "Extinction Countdown" article for Scientific American:

Indian Vultures are Dying for Some Good News

And finally, a new technology careers article for IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer:

Is Your Salary Competitive?

This will be another busy week, but it should see several more article publications. Make sure to check my Twitter feed for the latest headlines as they become available.

Monday, October 20, 2014

All extinction, all the time

Last week's four published articles were all about endangered or threatened species. Obviously that's my main beat, but I usually have at least something else in the mix. Anyway, here are four not-so-positive articles from the pages of Scientific American and TakePart:

A Wild Idea: Save Tasmanian Devils While Controlling Killer Cats

Sage Grouse and Oil Drilling Can Co-Exist, Says New Report

Watch Out, Kangaroos: Poisonous Cane Toads Are Evolving Into Even Deadlier Invaders

China Is Pushing the Rare Pig-Nosed Turtle to Extinction

What you don't see from this list, of course, is all of the other stuff that I'm working on. I have quite a few articles about technology, history, science and philanthropy working their way through the system. Look for them soon -- along with more extinction-related news.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Elephants, Otters and IT Professionals

This week's article list is a tiny bit shorter than usual. I'm working on several huge features that will appear over the coming months, which leaves less time for news articles. That said, I'm pretty proud of the work that appeared this past week.

First up, two new "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

Elephants are Worth 76 Times More Alive Than Dead

Poison Dart Frog Threatened by Toxic Gold Mines


Next, my latest poaching and wildlife articles for TakePart:

Trading Indonesia’s Debt for Sumatran Tigers, Rhinos, and Orangutans

Cat Poop, Seaweed, and Snails Prove a Deadly Combination for Sea Otters


And finally, a career-oriented blog post for IEEE's The Institute:

IT Professionals: Five Key Tips to Stay Relevant in Today’s Market 


More next Monday!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bad news on top of bad

Man, I write about some depressing stuff. I usually try to balance that with some positive topics as well, but this week's published articles were pretty much all bleak. Oh, sure, there's progress in each story, but collectively they sure add up to one big bummer.

Here are the links -- from Scientific American and TakePart -- to help you start your week off with a dark tone:

Deforestation Threatens Newly Identified Bird in Brazil

Sloth Bears Confirmed Extinct in Bangladesh

Two for One: Saving Sage Grouse Also Helps Protect Mule Deer

Australia’s Sea Cows Struggle to Survive Poachers


Don't worry -- I have a bunch of uplifting articles in the works as well. Those should start to appear this week. Follow me on Twitter for links as they happen!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Squirrel Week and a whole lot more

All work and no play would make John a very dull boy indeed if all of this work wasn't so much fun and it didn't produce so many interesting, important stories.

I gotta tell you, I did not expect to see so many of my articles appear this week. Yes, I wrote a lot during this past week, but four articles on this list were actually written the prior week. Meanwhile, one of them was published a couple of weeks ago but my editor didn't tell me. Ah, the writer is always the last to know.

Anyway, here are this week's publications, starting with my two "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American, where it unintentionally ended up being Squirrel Week:

This Massive Squirrel Has Been Saved from Extinction

Mysterious Flying Squirrel Could Get Endangered Species Protection


Next up, four new articles from TakePart, where I continue to write about wildlife, animals and poaching:

Take a Good Look at This Rare Malayan Tiger—It May Be One of Your Last

Zambia’s Lion King Is Dead

FBI Classifies Animal Abuse as a ‘Crime Against Society’

What's Not Trying to Kill California Sea Otters?


Switching topics completely, here's a new feature and a cool blog for IEEE's The Institute:

Landing a Job in Big Data

The Tricorder Might Soon Become a Reality


And finally, check out my latest weird history and explainer articles for Mother Nature Network:

Meet the man who invented the emoticon ... in 1879

Take warning when the sky is red in the morning


This coming week shall be busy, busy, busy. I'm starting two new features for print magazines (the issues won't appear for months) as well as continuing along in similar veins to the articles above. Sure, some of it's going to be dark and depressing -- I don't shy away from that -- but none of it will be dull.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Rarest of the Rare

This week's four publications all covered endangered species. Three of the articles examined species that are just about as rare as they get.

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

This Rare White Possum Could Soon Be a Ghostly Memory

Chinese Sturgeon Give Up, Stop Breeding in Polluted Yangtze River

And next, two articles for TakePart:

Should the U.S. Force These Rare Wolves Into Captivity?

Watch These Shark Finners Get Hunted Down

Beyond that, I've been working on quite a few fronts. This coming week I'll have more articles for those two publishers, and some of the stuff I have queued up for others might start to make its way into the world. I'm also researching and writing several articles that will see print in October and beyond. After six weeks off to move across the country, it feels good to be back!

Don't miss new articles as they appear -- follow me on Twitter for new headlines all week long.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Getting back into the swing of things

If you think it's hard going back to work the first day after a two-week vacation, imagine what it's like getting back after six weeks on the road. I hit the keyboard last Monday after moving across the country and the words didn't exactly flow for the first 24 hours. But I pushed on and things have really started flowing now. I wrote four articles last week and set the stage to work on a whole lot more this coming week. Heck, my editors were so happy to have me back that they inundated me with new assignments. Ah, it's good to be wanted.

Anyway, here are last week's four headlines, one for Scientific American and three for TakePart:

In Limbo Since 1991, the Oregon Spotted Frog Finally Gets Protected Status

Cruel Practices on Spanish Rabbit Fur Farms Caught on Tape

When Doves Die: Poachers Kill 209 Birds in Hunting Spree

How to Keep Endangered Sea Turtles Off the Dinner Menu

Oh, and beyond all of that, you can see me (in the background) in one of the photos in this Newsweek article about an event at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference.

Lots more coming in the days and weeks ahead. Look for links on Twitter as they go live!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Back behind the keyboard!

Hello from Portland! It's been a crazy, amazing five weeks since I last posted to this blog. The tale of our journey across the country from Maine to Oregon will have to wait for another day. It was definitely an adventure.

For now, though, let's catch you up. Although I did almost no writing over the past month, several of my articles did make their way to publication. I'll start the list with my latest "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American, including an out-of-character post to mark its tenth anniversary:

10 Years of Extinction Countdown: A Lot of Good in the Face of Mass Losses

Vaquita Porpoise about to Go Extinct, Only 97 Remain

100 Years Ago Today (a brief post about the centennial of the extinction of the passenger pigeon)


Next up, my latest weird history article for Mother Nature Network:

What was Battle of the Frogs?


Changing topics completely, here's my latest careers-oriented article for Today's Engineer:

Why Copyright Still Matters to Today's Tech Pros


And finally, here's a new article for IEEE's The Institute:

Worldwide Celebrations to Mark IEEE Day


I think that's everything I had in the pipeline. But there will be lots more coming soon. I'm back behind the keyboard and I have plenty of stories to tell. Stay tuned for more links next Monday!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Killer anteaters, killed anteaters and a million-dollar challenge

Hey folks! Welcome to another Monday. This isn't a typical Monday for me. I'm officially off work and packing up the house for our big move to Oregon. The movers arrive a week from today and there's a lot to do before then.

And so, without further ado, here are the links to my articles from last week. I'll start, as I usually do, with my two "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

All 8 Pangolin Species Being Eaten into Extinction

Nearly Extinct Mussel Gets One Last Chance at Survival


Next up, this week's poaching and wildlife articles for TakePart:

'Star Wars' Invasion of Irish Isle Stirs Bird Lovers' Ire

Uh-Oh, Now Giant Anteaters are Killing Hunters in Self-Defense


You have a million dollars' worth of reasons to read this article for IEEE's The Institute:

The Little Box Challenge: Design a Miniature Power Inverter


And finally, here are a bunch of science-related articles for Mother Nature Network and their sister site, From the Grapevine:

Why do birds sunbathe?

Eureka! Student creates free online software for genetics research

Once near extinction, rare fish swims again in Israeli river

Cloudy with a chance of cell service

The breath test that saves: Electronic nose detects lung cancer 


That's it for this week -- and probably for a couple of weeks. I still have a few articles lined up for publication throughout August, and I may still write one or two in between packing and driving across the country. I will not, however, but posting these regular Monday updates again until September. Make sure you don't miss anything: follow me on Twitter and you'll see some headlines as they appear, and maybe even a few photos from our cross-country road trip.

See you next month!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Crazy worms, cheetah selfies and more

It's T-minus 14 days until the moving truck pulls up and we officially begin our move to Portland, Oregon. I'm still writing away, though, trying to get as much done before the packing boxes overwhelm my office.

Here are this week's five new articles: two for Scientific American, two for TakePart, and one for Mother Nature Network sister site From the Grapevine:

Wild Births are Big Steps for Rare California Condors and Mexican Wolves

Somali Ostrich and 360 Other Newly Discovered Birds Added to List of Threatened Species

The Aggressive, Insatiable Asian Crazy Worm Has Invaded Wisconsin

Cheetahs Are Being Wiped Out, and Selfies Are to Blame

Universities in Connecticut and Israel team up to study clean energy


Next Monday will probably be my last weekly update here until after the move, but I will no doubt be tweeting links to any articles that go live while we're in transit. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for headlines as they happen.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Job Interviews, Mountain Gorillas and Reptile Robberies


Monday rolls around once again, and with it comes my latest list of article links. This week also marks the beginning of big changes in my publication patterns. Right now I am typing like a madman in anticipation of moving from Maine to Portland, Oregon, in three short weeks. I should have a lot of articles out over the next few weeks, then things will slow down during August as we pack, drive across the country, unpack and get settled. Then, come September, the article machine should once again kick into high gear.

But that's the future. Let's talk about the recent past. Here are my publications from this past week, starting with my latest careers article for IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer. I had a lot of fun writing this:

Tips for Effective Skype Job Interviews


Next up, two new Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Tiger Skins Are Like Fingerprints—Could That Help Stop Smugglers and Poachers?

Baby Mountain Gorillas Celebrated by 40,000 People in Rwanda


Sticking with animals (but getting a bit bleaker), here are this week's wildlife/poaching articles for TakePart:

Is This Polar Bear the World's Saddest Animal?

Reptile Robbery: Why Poachers Are Wiping Out Ontario’s Turtles


And finally, a newsy environmental article for Mother Nature Network:

EPA: Proposed Pebble Mine could destroy Alaskan salmon fishery


Well, that's it for today. Next week's list should be even longer. I have a ton of articles due this week and quite a few already in my editors' hands pending publication. Oh yeah, and I have a lot of packing to do. Lots and lots of packing...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Manatees, Milk and More

I hope you're sitting comfortably because you have more than a few of my articles to read this week. Several of these were written last week, while many finally worked their way through the publication cycle into the world.

Let's start the linkfest with my two latest "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

Endangered Manatees Face a New Threat: Lawsuits

Why Is Namibia Killing Its Rare Desert Elephants?


Next up, my latest wildlife and poaching articles for TakePart, as well as two explainers:

The U.K.'s Unjustifiable Plan to Kill Thousands of Its Beloved Badgers

Poachers Are Killing Thousands of African Vultures to Hide Evidence of Their Crimes

How do solar panels work?

What is a carbon footprint?


My latest article for Conservation just hit the web. It's also in their summer print issue:

Non-Toxic Flame Retardants Made from Milk


Here are three new articles for Mother Nature Network and their sister site, ReThink Israel:

Photosynthesis photographed for the first time

Butterflies change travel plans as U.K. warms

5 cool new robot inventions


And finally this week, my latest careers article for IEEE's The Institute:

Noncompete Clauses: What You Should Know


This coming week should bring one or two other new items from the publication queue, as well as all of the new stuff I'll be writing this week. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for links as they happen!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hipster chimpanzees and other science

With 35 days to go until our big move to Portland, I find myself facing more than the usual number of deadlines. In addition to packing like a madman, I have also cleverly loaded up my July with lots of writing assignments so I can take a good chunk of August off in order to accomplish the move. That means a lot of stuff I'm writing now may not appear for weeks or even a few months. But quite a bit of it will still appear regularly, as the news waits for no man or moving date.

Anyway, here are this week's five new articles, written for TakePart, Mother Nature Network, and MNN's sister site, ReThink Israel:


Hipster Chimpanzees Sticking Grass in Their Ears Is the New Hot Thing

A New Weapon Against Poachers: Bitcoin

How your old cellphone could help stop illegal logging and poaching

Human evolution reveals clue to solving modern illnesses

Why do children in Israel have fewer peanut allergies?


This coming week should see a bunch of publications at those sites, plus Scientific American, The Institute, and maybe a few others. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for links as they happen!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Extinctions, Poaching and Smart Cities

It's a crazy, awesome, exciting time here at Platt Editorial. In addition to working on a whole bunch of new articles and other top-secret projects, I'm also preparing to move from Maine to Portland, Oregon. That big transition won't happen until early August, but a lot of the planning took part last week. With that out of the way (well, most of it) I'll spend all of July writing so I can once again get into moving mode around August 1.

Expect more news on the move soon, but for now, here are last week's five new articles. Let's start with two "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

Bye-Bye Tricolored Blackbird as Population Crashes 44 Percent in 3 Years

Japan Could Lose 561 Plant Species by the Next Century


Now we have my latest wildlife and poaching articles for TakePart:

The Government Wants to Shoot 16,000 Birds to Save the Coho Salmon

CSI Melghat: DNA Evidence Helps Convict Tiger Poachers in India


And finally, here's a new blog article for IEEE's The Institute:

Whose Smart City Is It Anyway?


More next Monday!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Animals and Engineers

This week's articles break down into two pretty clear categories: wildlife and technology. Let's get to the linkage!

First up, two "Extinction Countdown" columns for Scientific American:

Pygmy Sloths Could Gain Much-Needed Endangered Species Protection

After Near-Extinction, Recovery Declared for Two Island Foxes


Next, my latest wildlife and poaching articles for TakePart:

Asia's Demand for Apes is Spurring a Deadly Illegal Trade

Bald Eagles Are Dying of Lead Poisoning and Hunters Are to Blame


And here's one more short wildlife article, time time for Mother Nature Network:

Smithsonian cries uncle on bugs


Shifting to the technology side, here's my latest careers article for IEEE-USA's Today's Engineer:

Career Focus: Quality Assurance Engineering


And here's my first blog post for one of my oldest clients, IEEE's The Institute:

Tesla Motors’ Patents Up for Grabs: Any Takers?


Finally this week, here's a technology article for Mother Nature Network's new sister site, ReThink Israel:

Students combine video game and GPS tech to help the blind


That's it for this time around. Join me next week for another batch of new articles!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sex-crazed marsupials and other science

Hey there, Monday. How have you been? Did you have a nice weekend? Are you ready to get to work, or you do you still need a few things to read over breakfast and your morning coffee? What's that, you're still taking it easy? Perfect! Here are several brand-new articles for you to read while your brain finishes waking up.

First up, two new endangered species articles for Scientific American:

Island Sanctuary Could Save Sex-Crazed Northern Quoll

Should We Stop Selling Nautilus Shells? (this was also reprinted by Salon)


Next we have my latest wildlife and poaching articles for TakePart:

World's Cutest Anteater Increasingly Threatened by Poachers

George R.R. Martin Wants to Kill You to Save Some Wolves



And finally, here are some science/medicine stories for Mother Nature Network and its affiliated sites:

Could a medicine used to treat gout also save our citrus?


Researchers find protein that may help reverse Alzheimer's

New research could help the blind 'see' colors and shapes


There now, that should have you stimulated more than a cuppa java. Time to get to work! (Me too -- I've got more articles to write!)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Tiny bats, deadly poachers, World Cup mascots and more

Last week I bemoaned the fact that I didn't publish all that many articles. Well, this week made up for it. Not only did a lot of my articles come out this week, they were also extremely popular. That's gratifying, especially since so many of them were so much fun to write.

Let's get to the list, starting with this week's two "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

Big-Eared Bat, Once Feared Extinct, Rediscovered after 120 Years

3 New Species of Weird, Endangered Fish Discovered in India, U.S and Colombia


Next up, two poaching articles and one wildlife article for TakePart:

Suspected Poachers Arrested for Murder of Zambian Wildlife Ranger

Poachers Are Taking a Deadly Toll on India’s Rare One-Horned Rhinoceroses

Why is the Brown Pelican’s Population Crashing This Year?



And finally, a big batch of science, explainer and history articles for Mother Nature Network and their family of sites:

How the Navajo code talkers helped win World War II

What is beach restoration?

Meet the World Cup's endangered armadillo mascot


Researcher unlocks cause of deadly brain cancer

You may be able to ditch your glasses, new study suggests



That's it for this time around -- I know, it's enough, right? Make sure to follow me on Twitter for more links as they go live in the coming days.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Mysteries and Mayhem

This snake was mystery # 1 for the week.
Huh. Looking back on this past week, it feels as if I must have worked on about 187 different articles, but only four of them saw print. (Well, "print" is not really the word in this online society, but you get my drift.) Anyway, I guess that means you have a whole lot of new articles to look forward to in the coming weeks!

So here are this week's articles, two for Scientific American, one for Mother Nature Network, and one for TakePart. May of these deal with longstanding mysteries. One is incredibly sad.

Found: A Snake Species No One Believed Existed

Genetic Tests Reveal 10 Previously Unknown African Terrapin Species

Have we finally solved the fairy circle mystery?

After Years of Abuse, These Chimps Lashed Out -- And Now the Government Wants Them Dead



Don't miss the hundreds of additional articles coming your way soon. Follow me on Twitter for links as they happen!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Poaching, Genetics and Green Dudes

Hey there, and welcome to my 300th post on the John Platt Article Library. This blog started out as a way to archive some of my previously published articles and other writing, but it quickly evolved. Now the Library is mostly a weekly check-in to look back at my publications from the previous seven days.

Speaking of which, here are eight new goodies from the past seven days.

I'll start this week with three articles for TakePart. In addition to my weekly wildlife articles there I am now also their poaching correspondent.

Mourning Mountain Bull: Poachers Slay Fabled Elephant in Kenya

Elephant Poachers Have a New Problem: U.S. Marines

Meet the Rare, Poisonous Plant That Has Australian Sheep Behaving Like Heroin Addicts


Next up, my latest "Extinction Countdown" article for Scientific American. I only did one article this week because of the pending Memorial Day holiday, but I have some great pieces in the pipeline for this coming week.

Flower Power: Collaboration Keeps Rare Plant off the Endangered Species List


Now we come to some science news articles for Mother Nature Network, where my editors always give me the coolest topics to cover:

With termite genome decoded, researchers aim for less toxic pest control

Evolutionary wrench: Comb jelly discovery may add new branch to tree of life

Longitude Prize reborn to solve top issues of modern world


And finally this week, here's something new: my first appearance on the "Green Dudes" segment of the Green Divas Radio Show, along with a corresponding blog post. I'll be appearing on the show every four-to-six weeks, and it should be a lot of fun. I got my start in radio and it's a blast to be back.

Well, that's it for #300. Join me next week for more!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dancing frogs and tiny kangaroos -- plus, how to become a consultant

"Hello my baby, hello my darling..."
Hey, it's Monday again. That means it's time for my weekly linkfest of the previous week's articles that came out of my keyboard.

Starting off, here are two new "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American, where I got to write about some pretty amazing species:

14 New Species of Endangered "Dancing" Frogs Discovered in India

Climate Change Could Wipe Out the World’s Smallest Kangaroo


Next up, my latest high-tech careers article for Today's Engineer. I've been freelancing full-time for nearly 8 years and I still learned a lot researching this article.

How to Get Started as a Consultant


Now we come to my latest for TakePart:

Flame Retardants’ Latest Victims: Frogs?


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

5 incredible places where the ocean glows

From whoops to wow: IBM accidentally creates the first new polymer in 30 years

Colony collapse disorder's link to pesticides strengthened by new study


I have lots more in the works and already pending for this coming week. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest headlines as they happen!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Long-hidden secrets are revealed in this week's articles...

Why a photo of a turtle? The secret will be revealed below...
This week's articles contain REVELATIONS about the universe...or, at least, a few small parts of it.

First up, two new "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American, both of which cover revelations about previously little-understood species:

Solar-Powered Transmitters Reveal Secrets of Endangered “Little Devil” Seabirds

First Major Genetic Study of Elusive South African Dolphin Reveals a Species in Peril


Next, my latest careers article for IEEE's The Institute, which revealed so much to me that I rewrote my own resume:

Getting Your Résumé to the Top of the Pile


That brings us to this week's article for TakePart, which reveals yet another dangerous invasive species:

Unwanted Visitors: California Kingsnakes Are Overwhelming This Spanish Island


And finally these week, here are three articles for the expanding family of Mother Nature Network sites. These aren't all that revelatory, but this does mark the third week in a row that I wrote about sea turtles, which is kind of a revelation in and of itself:

How to enjoy sea turtles without harming them

Lungs from genetically modified pigs could soon be used to save human lives

International bird-watching competition converges on southern Israel


That's it! Who knows what secrets and amazing things will be revealed next week. (Well, I kinda do, since my assignment list is sitting right in front of me, but its contents are a secret to you, so expect revelations next week!)

Monday, May 5, 2014

New articles + new book + an interview with me

A lot of weeks my writing appears to have rather obvious themes. This is definitely not one of them. But there's a lot of fun in this week's link list. Plus I finally had a chance to write about giant river otters.

I'll start with the latest "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

Giant Otters Damned by Giant Hydroelectric Dams

Sea Turtle Hatchlings Saved by LED Lights Funded by Deepwater Horizon Fines


Next up, two science-news articles for Mother Nature Network:

Half of Americans are living with dangerous levels of air pollution

We finally know why the 1918 influenza pandemic killed 50 million people


And then there's this article for TakePart:

You'll Never Believe How Many Animals This University Used in Lab Tests Last Year


That's everything from the "written by me" category, but here's an article about writing that features an interview with me and a lot of other talented science writers:

Nailing the nut graf


Finally this week, here's the latest LORE anthology on which I served as an associate editor. There are great SF, Horror and Fantasy stories within these pages, so I hope you'll check it out.

That's it for this past week. This coming week could see a couple of new features by me, unless they turn up next week, in which case ignore that last statement. Follow me on Twitter for links to headlines and other goodies as they go live!

Monday, April 28, 2014

My biggest article to date (and lots of other stuff, too)

Sometimes a journalist researches and writes an article and it's online that same day. Sometimes the process takes four, five or six months -- or more. This week embodied both of those extremes.

My biggest publication of the week also happens to be my biggest article to date: a massive feature on advanced driving safety systems that appears in the May/June issue of Consumers Digest (pictured). This article took seven months from assignment to publication -- most of which was spent researching, interviewing and reporting -- and I'm pretty darned proud of it. This article won't appear online as far as I can tell, but it should turn up on newsstands this week.


In other publication news, my latest two "Extinction Countdown" articles appeared at Scientific American:

Giant Tusked Insect Saved from Extinction (Just in the Nick of Time)

Blue-Footed Boobies Have Stopped Breeding—But Why?


And here's my latest article for TakePart:

Here's What Happened When a Family's Car Caught Fire in the Middle of a Lion Safari


And finally, here are a whole bunch of history, climate and science-related articles for Mother Nature Network:

Cooler summer predicted for Northeast, Great Lakes

10 things you didn't know about Johnny Appleseed

The strange history of the man-eating lions of Tsavo

Now you can use Google Street View to go back in time

Richard Proenneke: The man who showed us how to be alone in the wilderness

Graphene discovery: A low-end kitchen blender can make a high-end batch of this valuable material


That's it for this week (and I'm sure it was plenty!). Make sure to follow me on Twitter for links to more articles as they go live. Otherwise, I'll see you next Monday for another list of links!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Killer Fungi, Living Dinosaurs and the Next Big Thing

Let's start off this week's list of article links with my latest high-tech careers feature for Today's Engineer:

The Internet of Things: The Next Big Thing for Technology Careers


Next up, two new "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

Bat-Killing Fungus Now Found in 25 U.S. States

Alligator Snapping Turtles, the Dinosaurs of the Turtle World, Are Actually 3 at-Risk Species


On a related note, here's an article for the May 2014 issue of Scientific American, adapted from one of my earlier online articles:

Continued Protection for the Regal Island Raptor



And finally this week, here's my latest article (a good wildlife success story) for TakePart:

Freedom! 130 Bears to Be Rescued From Chinese Bile Farm



I have quite a few new articles pending publication over the next week or three -- stay tuned for links as they go live!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Automotive Careers and Amazing Monkeys

Most journalists have at least one specialty or beat. I have several, as illustrated by this week's articles.

One of my favorite beats is covering technology careers. Here's my latest feature for IEEE's The Institute:

How to Get Hired in the Automotive Industry


The beat that makes makes my heat beat is endangered species. Here are my three latest "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American, followed by one more related article for TakePart:

First-Ever Video of Critically Endangered Myanmar Snub-Nosed Monkeys

Killifishes Killed Off: 2 Fish Species May Be Extinct in the Wild

Weekend Species Snapshot: Spix’s Macaw


If This Oil Spill Isn't Cleaned Up, Endangered Sea Turtles Will Get a Crude Awakening


I also love covering anything that has to do with the environment, as in these articles for Mother Nature Network:

Infrared radiation could be the next big source of renewable energy

Deserts don't just absorb carbon dioxide, they squirrel it away for safekeeping

Another cause of California's drought: Pot farms


I have other subjects that I love to write about: entrepreneurship, philanthropy, comic books, history, new technologies... and yes, I have articles on all of those subjects coming up soon.

Anyway, that's it for this week's article list. Join me next Monday for more links from most of these same beats.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lizards, Scooters and Firefighters

This might seem like a fairly light week, with only five published articles instead of the usual eight or so, but that doesn't convey how many articles I have in the editorial pipeline waiting for publication.

(There are a lot of them.)

But until those pieces turn up, here are last week's five fresh new articles -- from the pages of Scientific American, TakePart and Mother Nature Network -- presented for your eyeballs and enjoyment:

Unusual Night Lizard Returns after Eradication of Invasive Species

Sunday Species Snapshot: Puerto Rican Parrot

Sweet save! Firefighter Rescues Boa Constrictor Named Chocolate Chip From Burning House

Voila! Electric scooter folds up into a briefcase

Emoticon evolution: 21 different emotions mapped by new computer program


Come back next Monday for more -- or follow me on Twitter for links as they happen.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Stunning snails and kangaroo flatulence

I write about the weirdest and most awesome stuff. There's never a dull day when you're a freelance journalist!

Let's start this week's link list with my "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American, the first of which went viral and got 30 or 40 times my regular number of readers:

Microjewels: Stunningly Beautiful Snails Going Extinct As Soon As They Are Discovered

$10-Million Action Plan Aims to Save World’s Most Endangered Gorilla


Next up, my latest piece for TakePart:

Killer Zoo Strikes Again: Weeks After Killing a Giraffe, Copenhagen Zoo Euthanizes Four Healthy Lions


And finally, a whole bunch of news items for Mother Nature Network, including more than one weird science story:

Why kangaroos emit less methane when they ... um ... you know, pass gas

Report finds unbelievable waste in 9 major fisheries

What can we learn from the giant volcano under Yellowstone National Park?

This giant, prehistoric shrimp had bizarre feeding filters built into its face


That's it for this week. I wonder what weird wonders shall cross my keyboard in the week to come?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Kangaroos that live in trees and other cool things

This week's articles include news about one of my favorite species (the kakapo), a look at a little-known species of kangaroo that lives in trees, great philanthropy from a Buffett, and a cool citizen science project.

We'll start with this week's Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Kakapo Baby Boom in New Zealand: First New Chicks in 3 Years [Video]

Poisoning Dingoes Has Domino Effect on Australia’s Biodiversity

Sunday Species Snapshot: Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroo


Next up, my latest for TakePart:

$23 Million for Rhinos: Howard Buffett’s Mega Gift to Help Stop Poaching


And finally, a news article for Mother Nature Network:

How much radiation from Fukushima will hit the West Coast?



I have several more articles pending publication this week, and lots more to write, so make sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest links as they happen (or come back here next Monday for the usual weekly list).