Selected Work

Computer says not OK

What Thom Yorke did when Radiohead weren’t making music

Originally published August 5, 2022 in Times Literary Supplement

NO BAND CAPTURED the uneasy feeling of the final years of the millennium more faithfully than Radiohead. As the band’s frontman, Thom Yorke, recently put it: “I don’t know why we thought it was the last days on earth, but I guess we did.

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What Should America Do with Its Nuclear Waste?

Currently there are about 80 locations in 35 states where spent fuel is being stored, with no long-term plans for disposal.

Originally published April 11, 2022 in Washington Post Magazine

A little more than a decade ago, Marni Magda was reading Scientific American magazine in her living room when she came across an infographic titled “Aging Fleet under Review.

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What Masks Signify

Decades ago, the sociologist Erving Goffman had the answer

Originally published October 2, 2021 in The American Scholar

In the spring of 2020, when masks abruptly became a common sight in the United States, they introduced a new element into our social relations. They hampered our ability to communicate, muffling our voices and hiding our smiles.

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Unsentimental Education

Mary Ware Dennett’s quest to make contraception—and knowledge about sex—available to all

Originally published March 4, 2021 in The American Scholar

The defendant was a gray-haired grandmother. In the courtroom in downtown Brooklyn, she sat silently as the prosecutor, James E. Wilkinson, read aloud a document she had written—a document that, according to the indictment, was “obscene, lewd, lascivious and filthy, vile and indecent.

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