After years of working with data from the United States Census to help study the effect of growing up in a high-crime neighborhood on young men's criminal careers, now I have the honor of collecting Census data in the field! For the past six weeks, I've been an enumerator, one of those people who knocks … Continue reading Sorry I haven’t written much; I’ve been enumerating the Census in a pandemic.
Food Fix is a book published at the right time: It went to press before coronavirus hit the United States, yet without mentioning the pandemic at all, it explains very clearly how the problems with our global food system addressed in this book are worsening the spread of the virus and its deadly effects! Read … Continue reading Bricks and Balloons
This is a guest post by Anaïs Peterson, a Pittsburgh-area social-justice advocate. She wrote this on Facebook on June 3, and I am reposting it here to spread this information to people who choose not to use Facebook. I have not looked into all these resources personally. This post is aimed at people who want … Continue reading Black Lives Matter…but what can YOU do about it?
About ten days ago, I read my newly six-year-old Lydia a science fiction short story that she's since asked her father, older brother, and me to read again and again. It's available free to read online: "A Pail of Air" by Fritz Leiber. My father read this story to me many times, beginning one night … Continue reading Pandemic Perspective: A Pail of Air
Well, here we are: We got through the longest Lent, we endured an Easter Sunday when nobody could go to church or a community egg hunt or a big family feast, and more than three weeks later most of us on Earth are still staying home most of the time. You might think it's not … Continue reading Enduring Easter
I'm writing this on the day before Easter, the last day of Lent. This should be the last day of fasting and self-discipline, the day I'm preparing to resurrect the Maundy Thursday leftovers in a festive reception to follow the overwhelmingly inspiring Easter Vigil service, the middle of a weekend of seeing friends and family … Continue reading The Longest Lent
Starting a new year, especially a new decade, always makes me want to look back at what's changed. I also love reading books to my kids that I and/or other relatives enjoyed when we were young. Here we have a book looking back at the 1920s that belonged to my paternal grandparents, a book that … Continue reading Old Books I’ve Been Reading in 2020
As we wrap up the second decade of the twenty-first century, I've been reading and thinking about things like the effects of immigration policy on science and marriage, how the struggle against racism has changed over time, and what weird new technologies may emerge in the 2020s. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler The cover emphasizes … Continue reading Vinegar Girl, Bright April, Tell the Machine Goodnight [book reviews]
It's October. That means, at least here in Pittsburgh, everyone is beginning to talk about how to commemorate the terrible thing that happened here last October 27, when some guy from the suburbs drove into our Squirrel Hill neighborhood, went into the Tree of Life synagogue, murdered 11 people, injured others, and traumatized many more. … Continue reading Relighting the Tree of Life
We may be able to look back on 2019 as the year when the most people realized just how stupid it is to destroy our own planet and started changing their own habits and crying out for systemic change. I certainly hope so. It's about time! In fact, it may be just about the last … Continue reading Now Is the Cool of the Day
Like last year, this was a year in which The Earthling's Handbook drew more readers to the articles that have been here a long time (and therefore have been linked to more often, on other sites as well as in my own articles) than to new articles. The list of overall most-popular articles is so … Continue reading Top 18 Articles of 2018
Three weeks ago, a man drove into my neighborhood, stormed into a synagogue, murdered eleven people, and shot and wounded several others. Well, that's old news. Why I am I still talking about it now, after there's already been a mass shooting of twelve people elsewhere in America? Because NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL, none … Continue reading The Tree of Life in the City of Steel
After I wrote about a stranger's astonishment that my four-year-old daughter understands what I read to her, and the book involved happened to be On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, my mom sent me a link to an article about the recent controversy over whether Wilder's books are appropriate for today's … Continue reading Cultural Sensitivity and Laura Ingalls Wilder
I wrote a short review of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, but I have more to say about this book. The author is a marriage counselor whose experience with clients led him to identify 5 distinct ways of expressing love and to recognize that the acts that convey to you that someone really … Continue reading more about The 5 Love Languages
Tonight I attended a meeting at my son's school (grades K-8) about the decision to hire a full-time security guard and get a metal detector. I meant to do some research before the meeting on the extent to which schools with metal detectors have experienced shooting rampages, compared to schools without. I ended up not … Continue reading Do metal detectors prevent school shootings?
My church planned a Lenten book study, and then our books came in late, so I've spent the Easter season reading Waking Up White in parallel with the fiction that looked interesting at the library, which coincidentally was all by Asian authors. Sometimes I make an effort to seek out diverse authors/characters in my reading, … Continue reading 3 novels by Asian authors + Waking Up White
I love the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and have treasured the experience of sharing them with my children. Little House on the Prairie was the first chapter book that interested Nicholas enough for me to read it to him. His sister Lydia's first chapter book was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of … Continue reading Little House on the Prairie: Too racist for children?
I first heard about the amazing usefulness of hemp when I was in college, 25 years ago. I had gotten onto the mailing lists of various environmental organizations, and from time to time they mentioned that hemp is excellent for making biofuel, food for humans and animals, rope, clothing, paper, plastics, construction and auto-body materials, … Continue reading Peeking Over the Hemp Horizon
My brother got me two books about cities for my birthday--one fiction and one nonfiction, both great books with great covers! Here they are, along with reviews of the other books I've read recently. Walkable City by Jeff Speck I love living in a walkable urban neighborhood! This book by a city planner told me a … Continue reading Walkable City, Visible City, and 4 more book reviews
My three-year-old Lydia and I recently enjoyed a picture book from our local library, Jacob's New Dress by Sarah & Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case. Jacob is a preschool boy who enjoys wearing dresses from the costume box but is criticized by his classmate Christopher. His mom is kind about his hurt feelings, but when … Continue reading Every school needs a Jacob!