Alzheimer’s Alert

When's a good time to diagnose an incurable disease?

Originally published on April 29, 2011 in Slate

Last week, new guidelines for diagnosing Alzheimer’s defined a “preclinical” stage of the dreaded disease.

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Why Won’t This New Mom Wash Her Hair?

The fascinating postpartum customs of women from around the world.

Originally published on April 11, 2011 in Slate

“It’s about food, about sex, about rest.” Evelyn, a 34-year-old Dominican immigrant who recently gave birth, is explaining the Latin American custom called la cuarentena (“quarantine”).

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The $100 million pond

A bold new idea for protecting nature: Put a price tag on it

Originally published on April 10, 2011 in The Boston Globe

The coral reefs of Hawaii are enchanting: a full spectrum of brilliant colors, teeming with spiky urchins, striped damselfish, sluggish sea cucumbers, and hundreds of other creatures.

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Law lab

A radical new idea: what if we tested laws before passing them?

Originally published on December 12, 2010 in The Boston Globe

This past week, wrangling over the Bush-era tax cuts has riveted Washington. The spectacle is only the latest round in an endless debate, one that has launched innumerable op-eds, cacophonous talk-show segments, and dinner-table quarrels.

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Seeing Double-Green

Can biodiversity conservation reduce poverty?

Originally published on October 18, 2010 in Slate

Today, the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) kicks off its 10th conference in Nagoya, Japan. Unveiled in 1992, the treaty claims nearly every nation as a party. (The United States, one of three holdouts, attends the conferences as an “observer.

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