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For about five years or so - from early 2009, as I recall, until April 2014 - I blogged regularly for Discovery News. It was one of my favorite gigs, as it gave me a platform to write about pretty much anything I wanted, from climate change to whaling to the great hedgehog rescue . Then budget cuts hit, and I was writing for them no longer. Suddenly, in late October, I was asked if I could come back, at least for two months, and I enjoyed writing a preview and review of the Paris climate talks, a tie-in with an HBO expose of elephant poaching, a wide angle view of polar bears and climate change, and a slideshow of optimism on ocean issues.

And then the two months were up and I was told there would be no budget for me to return. And I was sad. But just one day later, that position changed, money was found, I was told I'd be hired through 2016, and I was happy. I'm genuinely thrilled to have this gig back, and am looking forward to writing some fun pieces next year.  Read More 
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Ace of Spades

I was a bit of a sad sight at school dances when I was at boarding school. For one thing, I was tiny (not that I'm exactly statuesque now), and what might be called a late developer, which could be difficult when living in a world of raging hormones. So I was a little bit of an outsider, unlikely to be dancing with the hottest girl - or, for that matter, any girl.

So there I'd be, me and a smattering of other freaks, and we'd stand off to the side of the hall while all the dancing and furtive making out was taking place, except for maybe twice during the evening when the DJ would put on some metal. Then we'd shuffle toward the center of the floor, stand in a circle, headbang until the track ended, and then return to our places off to the side. I can't remember what music it would be that they played - probably Status Quo or some such - but I like to picture it being Motorhead. They didn't come any louder than Motorhead, and they didn't come anything like Lemmy, with his Jack Daniels voice shouted into a downward-tilted mic. Alas, Motorhead is no more, after Lemmy died the other day, taking another piece of my youth with it. Rest in Noise.

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Anticipating a Car That Smells Like a Tiny Wee Corpse

Hey kids, ain't country living the BEST? So I'm setting out this morning on my 4ish hour drive to Turning Stone, and turn on the heater just to take off the morning chill. Rattle, rattle, rattle, burning smell. Hmmmmm. Pull in to Thad's to ask him what he thinks is up. "I think you've got a mouse nest in there," he says. "I have to take care of that all the time. It'll probably take me an hour or so to open it up, dig out the nest and put the blower back." I'm kind of on a schedule - because of course, I'm leaving an hour later than I had hoped to because of course I HAD to have one more drink before bedtime last night.

So we figure, what the heck, I'll just bring it by on Monday when I get back. Ah well, I think, as I set off; it's going to be a little bit of a chilly trip, but at least winter hasn't really arrived yet. But I'm not always the sharpest knife in the drawer. I'm a good 90 minutes into my drive when I suddenly realize that Mickey (or Minnie) was probably in the nest when I turned on the heater, including when Thad and I turned it up to full blast to check it out. In which case, we probably chopped him (or her) up real good. In which case, I'm going to have a cold and stinky journey home. And I am going to have to tip the hotel valet sooooo much money. Stoopid nature.  Read More 
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