Late in 2018, I started sending my family a more-or-less monthly collection of nonpolitical news stories that interested me. I have decided to share it as a reminder that good things do happen, despite political horrors.

Some of the stories are from publications that require a subscription, and I regret that I can't often find a subscription-free alternative to offer. The New York Times is well worth subscribing to if you can afford it; plus you'll be supporting accurate, world-class journalism.


February. Banking while black, how authoritarianism fails science, preferences vs facts, two stories about water, do myelin problems cause autism?, photos of the sun, a badger and coyote, a generous orangutan, a kayaker and a 134-ft waterfall, military pollution, and a guide to mansplaining (for men).

January. Cleaner ship fuel, Antarctic base architecture, planetary geology, knots, dark energy, Australian fires, shaky detente, digital privacy, feral pigs, DNA circles, surgery, exercise, humor, trick riding


December. Sherpa feats, climate goals, biochar, species diversity, Airbnb scams, DNA in chewing gum, ancient forests, universal music, global food production, proteins in aging, ray tracing, light and pain, a mission to asteroid Bennu.

Late November. Rats driving, orca footage, the water chevrotain, the Okhotsk Sea warming, oysters, floods in China, sand mining, engineering tidbits, nature's art, the skin-slip theory, a sad loss in Japan.

Early November. Humor, Boris, bread in Paris, women on the pill, nitrites, concussions, neonicotinoids, air conditioning, a dangerous new chemical, raised floors, a baseball throw, a Russian Cosmonaut, Nabatean archaeology, the L-chondrite collision, and a recession indicator.

August. 911 photos, the Sri Chinmoy race, melting permafrost, Kenyan art, being productive, our killer pets, deep learning.

June. Giant squid, squid color tricks, the genetics of limb formation, writing, the Fourier Transform, and a moon mystery.

May. Michael Wolf photographs, turbulence, the KT asteroid, a horse race, playground safety, food and global warming, and CEO pay.

March. DNA with 8 bases, Elon Musk, dark energy, Elijah Cummings, foil sailing, Tierra del Fuego.

Late February. Sarah Nelson, glaciers in the tropics, bacteria talk to our brains, a Burning Man image, and a happy animal story.

Early February. AI and brains, mad cow disease, a teabag label, a saucy headline, Usain Bolt, and a major conservation success.

Late January. Meditation, the outer solar system, iron, Sankey diagrams, global economics, and sailing.

Mid January. Saturn's rings, John Bercow, The Spine footrace, swimming with sharks, truth deniers, and a midwinter poem.

Early January. Living bridges, how your state makes energy, a Hawaiian snail goes extinct, reintroducing iguanas.


December. A race to the Pole, Saturn's rings, a smart octopus, and a gigantic new salamander.