Blog Profile / Achenblog


URL :http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/achenblog
Filed Under:News / Independent News
Posts on Regator:605
Posts / Week:2.3
Archived Since:April 20, 2011

Blog Post Archive

‘A headlong sprint into an abyss’

Through a very good source I obtained a document given to college students to prepare them for a midterm test in an introductory biology class, and it included a list of technical terms, like “allele” and “codon” and “meiosis” and “introns” and “recombination pleiotropy” and “plesiomorphic traits” and various other genetic and biological and evolutionary […]

The secret to happiness (cont.)

Lately I’ve been a sucker for How To Live a Happy Life essays, not out of self-help desperation, but just because we all need pointers and tips and booster-shots and upgrades. Like, the happy-life experts will tell you that you should not just sit on the couch and watch baseball, but should do other things […]

Despair and death in small-town America: Your comments

By now I hope you’ve had a chance to read the first two installments of the new Washington Post series Unnatural Causes: Sick and Dying in Small-Town America. We’re exploring rising death rates among midlife white Americans, particularly women. The first two stories come at the subject from opposite directions: The first, by Eli Saslow, […]

My Los Angeles

I’ve been to Los Angeles enough over the years to know my way around, carving deeper ruts in the landscape as I move from one familiar location to another. I hit my marks. I’m at the age where I dodge the novel and the exotic and home in on the known. To do anything new […]

LIGO’s success was built on many failures

There he is again, on the front page of the New York Times: Albert Einstein. A nice little head shot with the hair flying upward as the great man puffs on a pipe, no doubt pondering something mind-blowing. When big news breaks about gravity, or the shape of the cosmos, or the origin of the […]

Despair and death in small-town America: Your comments

By now I hope you’ve had a chance to read the first two installments of our new series, Unnatural Causes: Sick and Dying in Small-Town America. We’re exploring rising death rates among midlife white Americans, particularly women. The first two stories come at the subject from opposite directions: The first, by Eli Saslow, looks at […]

Our new series on mortality in America: “Unnatural Causes”

If you haven’t already, please read my colleague Eli Saslow’s story on the life and death of Anna Marrie Jones of Tecumseh, Okla. Eli is a masterful reporter and writer and this story kicks off a year-long project here at The Post in which we explore the rising mortality rate among white women in midlife […]

Yes, weeding is life-affirming

Spring is the life-affirming season, which is why I vow to spend more time doing things that are actually life-affirming rather than things that are the opposite of that, such as sulking, whining, mewling and sniveling. The key thing for me is to spend time outdoors, enjoying the natural world, studying life itself and then […]

New T. rex discovery proves evolution is actually true … again

Two great joys of my spring so far: Watching the world green up and the birds get frisky as I sit on my back porch, and visiting the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where I got to go behind the scenes and see the vast and astonishing collection of dinosaur bones. These are overlapping […]

Porch Season 2016: Don’t be the last to notice

At the risk of being overly authentic, I am filing this item from my porch. Porch Season has begun. Mark the date, note the exact time (10:26 a.m. EST but it actually changes according to your elevation — whether you’re up on the porch or down the steps in the yard proper). I do not […]

The limits of nostalgia

I was back home last week, home being Hogtown, and the old house, which back in the day had a little wooden sign above the front door saying “Woodland Echoes.” It was nice as a boy to live in a house with a name. Also it was two stories, which seemed rather exotic in 1960s […]

Monday update for busy people: Clinton, Trump win nominations

I gotta get outta town later this week for SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not that I’m excited about it. I only check the South Florida weather forecast every 30 minutes. Any more frequently than that can start to feel obsessive. Monday political update for you busy folks: Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination, virtually, practically, and […]

The many, many, many unsung heroes of LIGO

There he is again, on the front page of the New York Times: Albert Einstein. A nice little head shot with the hair flying upward as the great man puffs on a pipe, no doubt pondering something mind-blowing. When big news breaks about gravity, or the shape of the cosmos, or the origin of the […]

LIGO Day in DC!

LIGO! I like saying that. LIGO! There’s a big presser scheduled for this morning at the National Press Club. Repeat after me: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. I’ve already posted a backgrounder at SOS that gets into Aristotle and Galileo and Newton and Einstein. Read it here. I know there are boodlers who are into this […]

Product placement during the Lombardi Trophy presentation?

As you’d expect, the Achenbro in Denver was thrilled by the outcome of the Super Bowl, a game that neutral observers found ugly but was a thing of beauty for Broncos fans. I was pleased with the outcome as well,  having wagered that once again a great defense would beat a great offense. And as […]

A Friendly Blizzard

Finally getting around to posting some photos. Snowzilla was toothless in the grand scheme of things: I wanted to call it Snowfilibuster because of its duration (on and on and on), and in the end my hood got about 2 feet. Never lost power. Shoveled up a storm, as it were. Baked bread and make […]

New Hampshire forever (I wish)

New Hampshire’s road cuts are particularly fabulous in winter. You can see a great one coming from a mile away: A glazed wall of stone, the ice globular and seemingly flash-frozen. Every icy road cut is unique. I snapped the photo above at speed. Professional driver: Do not attempt. Every four years I seem to […]

In science, unfortunately, not everyone gets a trophy

Said it before but will say it again: There aren’t all that many Eureka! moments in science, legend to the contrary. There is much plodding ahead. There is tedious labor. There are collaborative efforts and incremental advances and minor tweakings of what has previously been established. In science, as in life, you spend a lot […]

“Ex Machina” and the Paper Clips of Doom

A while back I interviewed the film director Alex Garland, who stopped in Washington to promote his smart and thrilling science fiction flick “Ex Machina.” I wanted to include Garland in a story I was writing on artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, he didn’t make the cut by the time the 137th draft (approximately) of the story […]

Merry Holidays from the A-blog!

So it’s a little weird to have Porching Season bust out right at the Winter Solstice, and I’m not sure if we can even have a Yule Log this year since the temperatures on Christmas Eve are supposed to be in the 70s. But onward: We live in interesting times. For example, as seen in […]

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