I wrote several humor-driven science pieces for The Believer magazine, kicking off their column on Mammals.

Believer Magazine


light but complex, nutty


The Believer is a cerebral, witty literary magazine and 5-time National Magazine Award nominee. The Mammal column is more comic relief than serious science. As the first contributor to this section, I got to set the tone. I delighted in creating a marinade of straight-up and silly. The result is a deadpan “journalism voice,” which becomes progressively more absurd...

Star-Nosed Mole Piece for the Believer Magazine


An American mole, the star-nosed version enjoys:

• a soggy life-style in southeastern Canada and in the northeastern U.S.
• the ability to block its nose with its nose
 • being the sole representative of its genus

Coated in waterproof black fur, this small mole is an efficient tunnel-builder and survives on a diet of aquatic insects, worms, crustaceans and mollusks. Celebrated for its unusually differentiated nasal region, the star-nosed mole may well be the most sensitive mammal in the world.

Manatee Piece for the Believer Magazine


The Florida manatee prefers a warm and shallow estuary or coastal waterway, where it can focus on its major activity: eating sea grass. Its herbivorous nature—unusual for a marine mammal—encourages the colloquial “sea cow” nomenclature, as does its chunky body. But really the manatee, with its heavy bones, wrinkly gray skin, and mournful expression, is much more like the elephant, to whom it is related, and not at all like the hyrax (an unappealing rodent), to whom it is also related.

Dolphin Piece for the Believer Magazine


Sadly, those cute beeping, clicking, autistic-children–loving Flippers are not the Goody Two-Shoes we think they are, and for the last decade, scientists have been trying to shove the cold, hard, bottle-nosed truth in our enchanted faces, but we will not hear it. No! we shout as we leap into warm Florida waters to commune with the ocean’s graceful and glossy ambassadors. Shut up! we cry, as experts from Scotland to Australia attempt to stop us from grabbing onto that fin and riding off into the sunset. La la la, we hum loudly to drown out the sounds of science. (RAPE! MURDER! BABY-KILLING!) LA LA LA!