Subscribe to Miscellaneous

Procrastination isn't the only thing standing between a writer and an unwritten book, Courtney E. Martin writes. For example, there's the Internet: "Wifi is a book killer. The state of mind that is created by multi-tasking on the Internet is a completely different state of mind from that which is required to reflect, write, and edit a book. There is a biochemical basis for this intuitive truth — like the little shots of dopamine from the ping of an incoming email."

Even people with no medical training recognize its title and its status as a classic text, but Beth Mole writes that Gray’s Anatomy was derivative of other 19th century works and its author, Henry Gray, was a case study in self-aggrandizement: "Notes, publications, and diary entries from Gray’s colleagues suggest that the famous author may have plagiarized numerous passages of the text and was pushy, cut-throat, and resented, a new commentary piece in the journal Clinical Anatomy argues."

Dariusz Jemielniak and Tim de Gier have produced a guide for journalists who want to foil data thieves and other snoops: "Most of us don’t have the knowledge, experience or time to really get into the technical details of our privacy. This guide goes over some of the more accessible measures and solutions that at least make you less vulnerable. Because privacy often works the same as locking your bike: Just make sure you’re better locked than the bike next to you."

After a few years in a big city, Elite Truong is starting to work remotely and has collected advice for the transition: "Media startups and other companies are increasingly moving toward remote-friendly work, a positive step that affords opportunities to smart and talented people who can't or won't move to large cities. As more companies adapt to family- and lifestyle-friendly remote work policies, there’s the matter of figuring out what working from home looks like."

NASW helped 10 undergraduates majoring in biology, English, physics, journalism, mathematics, neuroscience, and environmental studies by awarding them fellowships to attend the recently concluded annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. As part of their fellowship obligations, the students filed reports on selected AAAS sessions. You can read their reports on our event coverage page.

He transformed the Inquirer from Philadelphia's other paper to a Pulitzer-winning juggernaut. Sydney Finkelstein explains how legendary editor Gene Roberts did it: "When asked how he managed to entice talented people with jobs at better papers to move to a new city and work for a struggling paper, Roberts paused. 'We couldn’t attract them with money,' he said. 'Instead we offered them a vision that we could be a really excellent newspaper and a congenial workplace.'"

David Shiffman, who studies shark conservation, explains how he decides whether to talk to reporters: "If I don’t know you and you ask me to do an interview, I will look up some examples of your writing to see if you do a good job covering scientific or environmental issues. If you take things out of context or present issues unfairly, I won’t agree to an interview. If I can’t find any evidence that you’ve written about this stuff at all, that’s a huge red flag for me."

Many Wikipedia entries are solidly reported and written. But not so for many of the online encyclopedia's science articles, John Timmer writes: "They suggest that quantum mechanics is completely impenetrable. That evolutionary biology is just a bunch of jargon. That math involves little more than a bunch of random stipulations. More generally, they indicate that it's something that has to be left to the experts and is inaccessible to anyone without arcane knowledge."

A good science book "must tell you what something is and why it matters, captivate you to care about it and tickle you into taking pleasure in understanding it, and leave you in a higher state of awareness regarding whatever subtle or monumental aspect of the world the book had made its subject," Maria Popova writes. Here are Popova's best science books of 2015 and the year's best science stories from Laura Dattaro and Longreads.

The D.C. Science Writers Association has posted summaries of sessions from its annual professional development day, including plenaries with Joel Achenbach and Christopher Joyce, plus breakout sessions on using literary techniques in journalism, pitching story ideas, making ends meet on a freelancer's income, writing books, and improving your editing skills, among other topics. The event and coverage was supported by an NASW Idea Grant.