Featured Work

October 2, 2015

brain-150952_1280What can we learn from Michael Keck’s brain?

disco                                   My most recent work for Discovery includes a piece on what we can learn from the brain of former footballer Michael Keck, why Zika is likely to hit the US before a vaccine, and what the expansion of ticks means for Lyme disease. I also wrote about the benefits of naming a superbug after a Star Wars movie, and how exercise can keep the brain nimble.



I interviewed former U.S. goalie Briana Scurry about a head injury that ended her career on the playing field. She underwent pioneering surgery and is now an advocate for concussion awareness. Here’s the full story from the current issue of Minnesota Monthly.



I visited a convent in rural Minnesota to find out Who Becomes a Nun in 2015? The answer surprised me. Read the full story at Pacific Standard.

Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus (courtesy Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus)



I’ve been writing stories of the usual eclectic variety for Discovery: I learned some new things about spring allergies and climbing Mt. Everest. You can read all of my Discovery stories, including this one about what happens when runners believe they’re taking EPO, here.



ANGELA JIMENEZ FOR THE NEW YORK TIMESPhoto: Angela Jimenez for The New York Times


I interviewed a mail carrier on a five-below-zero day this winter; my fingers got so cold I couldn’t read all of my notes! (Did you know the U.S. Post Office gives mail carriers rubber thumbs to prevent frostbite?) Here’s the section on Minneapolis, written by editors in Chicago:

Peter Tabor, a mail carrier in Minneapolis who has been on the job for 28 years, set out on his route as usual on Wednesday in a not-so-usual minus 5 degrees. Wearing a down coat is impossible, he said, because his mail bag slides off his shoulder. One hand must remain bare to deliver the mail, so he keeps a chemical hand warmer in his pocket and switches hands periodically.

“I’m ambidextrous,” he said.

Read the full story here.

Photo: Matt Hintsa Photo: Matt Hintsa

On the last leg of a recent trip that required a red-eye flight from San Francisco to Minneapolis—then a four-hour drive to the northern woods near Bemidji, Minnesota—I caught my breath as I rounded a curve and spotted lights blinking on a runway: Could I have avoided the bleary-eyed, caffeine-addled drive by flying straight to the base camp for my next adventure?

As it turns out, yes. I could have spent an extra afternoon with my Bay Area friends, slept in a bed, and touched down at Bemidji Regional Airport at just about the same time I rolled past in my car.

Find the full story here.

In the current issue of Experience Life

June 25, 2014

My story on food dyes: Food blogger Vani Hari (a.k.a. the Food Babe) is not a big fan of the artificial dyes that permeate such items as flavored yogurt, canned white frosting, and grocery-store meats. So, when she discovered that many food manufacturers use only natural dyes in the European versions of their products, she decided to take action. “I […]

Read the full article →

New Posts on Discovery

March 18, 2014

I’ve been having fun delving into my usual eclectic mix of subjects for Discovery recently. Here are a few samples: How Memory Rewrites the Past Do you remember what your mom looked like when you were 4? Are you sure? A study published today in the Journal of Neuroscience sheds new light on when memories […]

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How I Got This Body: Training Champ Christine Hodges

January 14, 2014

After her pregnancy in 2009, Christine Hodges couldn’t keep the weight off. At her heaviest she weighed 267 pounds and said she no longer recognized herself in the mirror. Fast forward to 2013. Hodges is now 150 pounds and hoping to become a professional bodybuilder. Losing all that weight took a lot of time, but […]

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New on Discovery

January 14, 2014

photo by Simon Beck Snowshoes and Math Create Frozen Art Also: Can a Brain-Dead Woman Give Birth to a Healthy Baby? Will Sochi Olympics be the Most Extreme Yet?

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Latest How I Got This Body

October 17, 2013

Cindy Blackstock thought nothing of it when she went in for a routine mammogram last year. She had just turned 40 and was in the best shape of her life. A serious triathlete, she also had just qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. But she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, propelling […]

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New on Discovery

October 17, 2013

Are National Parks Essential? How Does Solitary Confinement Affect Prisoners? Postpartum Psychosis: Factor in DC Car Chase? And more…

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