Selected Works


See all my VICE articles on my author page.

Immune ‘Boosters’ Ignore the Immune System’s Best Quality: Balance

We could stand to learn some lessons from our own immune systems about how we decide when to act and when to lay low

People Born Blind Are Mysteriously Protected From Schizophrenia

The possible explanations could help us better understand the condition.

Copper Destroys Viruses and Bacteria. Why Isn’t It Everywhere?

It could destroy norovirus, MRSA, virulent strains of E. coli, and coronaviruses—maybe even the novel strain currently causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Time Is Meaningless Now

Is it Tuesday, or Saturday? Who cares.

The Chilling Mystery of High-Altitude Suicides

U.S. counties above 4,000 feet have twice the suicides as counties at 2,000 feet. Is it because there's less oxygen in the air, or is something else going on?

The Strange Link Between Pandemics and Psychosis

Scientists are looking more closely at how viruses and infections could influence our minds.

How the Pandemic Makes Its Way Into Our Dreams

Rotting desks, hordes of maggots, and a murderous Oprah— researchers are collecting and analyzing people’s coronavirus dreams.

Your Fancy Honey Might Not Actually Be Honey

It may have been sweetened, heated, filtered, and turned into a fraud—and the entire agricultural system is at risk as a result.

I Went to a High-End Psychedelic Retreat to Address My Anxiety

As more people become interested in trying psychedelics, spa-like retreats are popping up all over the world. Should people with mental health issues feel safe trying them?


The People Lost Between Consciousness and Death

“I knew that I was myself. And that something really bad had happened.” 

How Long Is Right Now?

As long as it took you to read that headline. Or shorter. Or it might not exist at all.

The Vaccine That Could Prevent Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

As mental health disorders run rampant, scientists are trying to make an immunization from bacteria that could help.

If Everyone Tripped on Psychedelics, We’d Do More About Climate Change

Scientists are looking into what psychedelics do to inspire people to act pro-environmentally.

The Radical Plan to Save the Planet by Working Less

The degrowth movement wants to intentionally shrink the economy to address climate change, and create lives with less stuff, less work, and better well-being. But is it a utopian fantasy?

The Anatomy of Empathy

Joel Salinas can literally feel his patients' pain. But as scientists are learning, there's more to empathy than just mirroring someone else.

This Gene Technology Could Change the World. Its Maker Isn’t Sure It Should

Kevin Esvelt came up with a way to use gene editing for gene drives, a technology that could change the ecological fate of the whole world. How does one scientist deal with the potential ramifications of his own creation?

The Many Obsessions That Can Haunt a Person with OCD

An intimate look at seven lesser-known types of OCD that are darker, harder to talk about, and can remain undiagnosed for years.

The Psychiatric 'Wonder Drug' That Almost No One Is Using

Clozapine could save the lives of suicidal schizophrenic people who aren't responding to other treatments. So why are so few doctors using it?

Keeping Up Appearances As a 'Model Minority' Can Have Serious Mental Health Consequences

The importance of maintaining "face" in Asian cultures goes back thousands of years. In the US, where Asian Americans also grapple with a rampant high-achiever stereotype, people are suffering silently.

Inside The Fragmented Minds of People With Dissociative Identity Disorder

The condition was formerly known as “multiple personality disorder,” and the medical field is still in disagreement on whether it is real. But does ‘real’ matter when a diagnosis can help?

The Dark Truths Behind Our Obsession With Self-Care

What this growing trend reveals about the flaws in mental healthcare.

LSD Changes Something About The Way You Perceive Time

We measure time in set amounts— seconds, minutes, and hours. But the way time feels is more slippery. 

Meditation Is a Powerful Mental Tool—and For Some People It Goes Terribly Wrong

"I just felt shattered. I had a job, a wife, and two beautiful children, and yet I felt that I would never experience joy again.”

What It Might Mean If You Get Deja Vu A Lot

That weird feeling can be traced to certain parts of the brain.

This Woman Is Exploring Deep Caves to Find Ancient Antibiotic Resistance

"Hazel’s like the Lara Croft of microbiology.”


My grandparents survived the Cultural Revolution: have I inherited their trauma?

A look into my mother and grandparents' past, and the limits of inheritance. 

Meet the dogs with OCD

Could understanding canine compulsions help find new treatments for people with obsessive–compulsive disorders too?

Sick building syndrome: is it the buildings or the people who need treatment?

In Finland, people whose sickness is linked to certain buildings fear being labelled as mentally ill, while scientists search for evidence that their condition is ‘real’.


Science and Chinese somatization 

Psychologists have long theorized that Chinese people experience their emotions more physically than other cultures. What does that say about me?

The Kenyon Review


My mother, my father, the history of x-ray crystallography, and the wonder / fear of growing up with science.


On writing science

Should fiction tools be used in science writing?


What radiation-resistant space fungus can do for drug discovery

These fungi have grown in two of the most extreme conditions known to man: outer space and the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station.


Genetic fossil-hunters dig through HIV's long history for clues to new treatments

A flying lemur, a 60-million-year-old viral fossil, and the field of paleovirology. 

A lesson on life's end

How one college class is asking pre-med students to confront the realities of death and dying.


The Washington Post

The mysterious syndrome impairing astronaut's sight

They go to space with perfect vision and come back with a loss of acuity.


Bacteria get dangerously weird in space

Microbes are full of surprises in zero gravity– and space is a terrible place for surprises.


The world is closer than ever to eradicating guinea worm

Jimmy Carter wished for the human disease to be wiped out before he died. But to end the infections in people, health officials must end it in dogs, too. 


Scientists probe "purple blob" mystery on Pacific seafloor

"I have no idea what that is."


Mysterious 1934 death of Belgium's King Albert I may be solved thanks to some bloody leaves

Now researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium say they have found DNA evidence to provide some closure to this 82-year-old cold case.


The very personal mission of the founder of the first diving club for African Americans

“What you’re doing is, you’re recovering history,” says Albert Jose “Doc” Jones.

High in their treetop nests, this biologist discovered the truth about eagles

Craig Koppie has studied the birds for decades and is still amazed at their gentleness.


The Atlantic

Building an impossible clock

The 18th-century horologist John Harrison claimed that he could make the world's most accurate pendulum clock, but his methods were scorned for hundreds of years—until someone proved him right.



Let's have a reunion

Seven decades after graduation, a Crown Heights native seeks to reunite his elementary school class.

Harper's Magazine

Overhead Comportment

Bleakness Stakes


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