News

I don’t love my treadmill desk.

In my latest Washington Post AnyBody column, I write about how I expected to love my treadmill desk like my writing buddy Paolo Bacigalupi and fellow blogger Craig Childs love theirs. But I just don’t. In my Post column, I explain my suspicion that treadmill desks are the wrong solution to an important problem, and at Last Word On Nothing, I devise some theories about why I don’t like the treadmill and recount how James Levine (father of the treadmill desk) gave me permission to give mine a new home.

 

The problem with “reunion porn.”

Heart-warming broadcast homecomings have become the public face of post-deployment family reunions, but the intense happiness of these moments can mask the challenges that lie ahead as military families navigate life after their loved ones return from war. “We call it reunion porn,” says Amy Bushatz, managing editor of Military.com’s SpouseBuzz blog and the wife of an infantry soldier. “The feeling among the people I work with and my readers is that it’s not a fair representation.” The happy welcomes tell only the “mushy reunion half of the story,” she says. “What happens when he gets home? Not just that night, but three weeks from then?”

Read the rest at the Washington Post.

 

Talking About CrossFit

Yesterday, I was a guest on Ohio Public Radio’s All Side with Ann Fisher, talking about CrossFit and my New York Times review of J.C. Herz’s new book about CrossFit, Learning to Breathe Fire. The 20 minute interview begins 15 minutes into the show. View the archive or listen here:  http://streaming.osu.edu/wosu/allsides/090314b.mp3

 

Harassment in Science, Replicated

In June, I helped organize Solutions Summit 2014: Women in Science Writing, a conference on harassment and gender bias held at MIT. Afterwards, one of my editors at The New York Times invited me to write an essay about these issues. My piece discusses our conference, the survey that we did beforehand, a similar survey that several prominent scientists conducted before ours and my personal experience with these issues. Real solutions, I conclude, will require a culture change.

“Whether harassment or discrimination takes place at a field site in Costa Rica or in a conference room, the problem will not be solved with new rules archived on unread websites. The responsibility for pushing back should not rest solely with the victims. Solutions require a change of culture that can happen only from within.”

Read the essay here, and find a link to the Science Times weekly podcast, where I discuss the essay with my editor, David Corcoran.

 

In Which I Review CrossFit’s Gideon Bible

Today in the New York Times, I review J.C. Herz’s new book, Learning to Breathe Fire, a celebration of a controversial workout called CrossFit. As I write in the review, “What makes CrossFit appealing to members and confusing to outsiders is that it’s more than a workout — it’s a cultural identity.” Herz’s book makes it clear that the push until it hurts culture that critics consider dangerous is exactly what makes this workout so appealing to its adherents. Read the review here.

 

Mental Health: Recovery is Possible

In my latest Washington Post column, I answer questions about how to find help for mental health problems such as: Where can you find a mental health professional? What’s the difference between a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a social worker? The piece also explains what to look for in a provider and outlines the factors that best predict successful treatment. Read it here.

 

 

Platelet-rich plasma and the power of belief-based medicine

I recently wrote a Washington Post column about platelet-rich plasma, a treatment highly touted for sports injuries but without much clear evidence. As I later wrote at Last Word On Nothing, PRP provides a case study in why it’s so important to track outcomes in medicine. If you don’t measure your outcomes, you have no way to really know how you’re doing. Humans are notoriously bad at self-evaluating. A 2006 study published in JAMA found that, “physicians have a limited ability to accurately self-assess,” and a 2012 study found that doctors overestimate the value of the care they provide. And if you have an incentive (money?) to keep doing something, results be damned, then if you’re not careful, an ineffective practice can become fixed as the standard of care. Once that happens, it’s very, very difficult to walk it back.