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Projects

First Audiobook Project

Responding to peer pressure from my wife, I’ve started getting into audiobook recording. I wanted to do some low-stakes pro bono work to iron out the workflow before holding out my services for hire, and after finding the delightful community of open-source hippies at Librivox, I jumped into several collaborative projects. My first published audiobook […]

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Projects

Building a Cat-Resistant Christmas Tree from Pegboard

Setting up our fake Christmas tree this year, it became clear that a problem that surfaced last year was going to persist. Oliver’s kittenish playfulness has hardly subsided even as he’s grown much larger, and now we had ten pounds of cat climbing the tree, mashing down the branches, and threatening to dislodge and break […]

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Reviews

Book Review: Hell’s Well

Think of a disaster movie. Any disaster movie. Whatever the central threat, from Godzilla to malevolent extraterrestrials to climate catastrophe, there will be at least one scene full of people behaving at their worst: looting expensive luxuries from abandoned stores, smashing windows, screaming in panic, shooting at their neighbors. According to Hollywood, society is just […]

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Reviews

Pick of the Week: 50 Reps

Thanksgiving is over, and whether they traveled (inadvisably) to a big family dinner or did the responsible thing and stuffed their faces at home, many Americans are feeling even more over-fed than usual now. In normal years, this is when gyms start to fill up with newly enthusiastic exercisers. With a huge second wave of […]

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Reviews

Pick of the Week: The Long Game

March of this year featured an extraordinary coincidence in the video game industry. Almost simultaneously, two games came out that seemed tailor-made for our suddenly isolated lives. One, the latest Nintendo blockbuster in the “Animal Crossing” series, invites the player to retreat to a tropical island and build their personal paradise. It’s a world full […]

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Pick of the Week: More is Less

Hope Jahren’s latest book begins at the beginning: her beginning, that is. Born in 1969, her parents picked her first name with typical Midwestern directness, expressing their own hope that their daughter would live a life of plenty, a life better than theirs. Like most parents in our culture, they wanted their child to have […]

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Pick of the Week: Dinner with Atmosphere

In our household, I’m responsible for the food. Breakfasts and lunches are easy, as none of us mind eating the same simple things for those meals day after day (oatmeal in the morning, granola bars at noon for me), but dinner is a perpetual challenge. That’s our family meal together. It needs to vary from […]

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Reviews

Pick of the Week: Cartoon Colonialism

No matter what your relationship is to video games, from seasoned e-sports professional to baffled grandparent, you’ve heard of Nintendo, and probably have at least a general idea of the types of games they produce. You likely even know at least some of their characters. So immense is their fame that the Prime Minister of […]

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Pick of the Week: Trees a Charm

Everyone knows how to determine the age of a tree that’s just been cut down: count the rings. But did you know that the same general strategy can be used to track ancient weather patterns, explain the rise and fall of great empires, and construct detailed histories of long-vanished societies that left no written records? […]

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Reviews

Pick of the Week: Radio Activity

In March, as the coronavirus pandemic prompted the cancellation of nearly every activity besides sitting at home, one local hobby group I belong to was undeterred. Having prided ourselves for years on the reliability of our regular meetings, we continued to get together weekly, and even enjoyed a major increase in attendance. No, we’re not […]