There Are Few Things Better Than Socializing in Silence

I live in an apartment just off Broadway, one of New York’s highest-decibel streets, in a location so close to the subway that I feel a rattling in my room every five minutes (eight minutes on weekends). My roommates, a couple probably/hopefully in the process of uncoupling, spend most of their free hours adding to the noise levels by playing the sort of music that is like a prolonged moan, or maybe a whale dying, while yelling at each other. When in a good mood, they narrate everything they are

One plant has the ability to help us understand climate change

The humble sunflower appears not quite of this earth. Its yellow crowned head sits atop its stalk like a green broomstick. Its seeds, arranged in a logarithmic spiral, are produced by tiny flowers called disc florets that emerge from the center of its head and radiate outward. But aside from being a biological marvel, the sunflower is also often in the scientific spotlight. From understanding how new plant species emerge to studying “solar tracking,” which is how the flowers align themselves wi

When Medicine and Faith Define Death Differently

Thirteen-year-old Ezadin Mahmoud was pronounced dead on August 27th, 2014, in Portland, Maine. His heart was beating and his breath was still warm, but his brain stem had been severed. He had been practicing backflips with his brothers when he landed on his head. If radioactive tracers were inserted in his veins, it would show his blood rerouting around the swollen brain stem, like water moving around a dead log. One might note how his pupils failed to respond to light. If removed from the venti

In Search of the Wild Dulse

For chef Evan Hennessey, seaweed not only shapes the flavor of his dishes, but is also key to shaping what he calls a “new New England” food culture. After combing the Rye cove for half an hour, chef Evan Hennessey has found what he is seeking. He dips his hand under the low, tidal water to pull out a burgundy, iridescent piece of seaweed and then holds it up proudly, for his friend and me to see. He grips it by the base, so its wide, smooth fronds—the leafy part—lifts in the wind, spreading ou