When I was little I used to write stories about spaceships and orcs. At some point, other people I realized other people liked reading some of them, and my propensity for oversharing was born. Below you’ll find some samples of my writing as a contributor to CBC.ca, and as a freelance writer for Vue Weekly and the Canmore Leader.
Canada wasn’t ready for unsung physicist Harriet Brooks — and it’s our loss
March 13, 2017
Frequent ‘collaborator’ was a genius in her own right
There are shelves of books written about pioneering nuclear physicists Ernest Rutherford, Marie Curie and J.J. Thomson. There’s only one comprehensive biography of Harriet Brooks, who worked with all three of them.
Her untold story caught the attention of an academic named Geoff Rayner-Canham, who noticed her while reading an old book called Discovery of the Elements. Read more.
Science & Environment
Kananaskis hosts meeting of the minds for environmental scientists
April 24, 2013
A room full of scientists check the back of their nametags to see what animal’s name is written there. Their task is to meet everybody else in their “pack” by sounding out the animal’s call. Ornithologist Sonya Odsen studies songbirds in Alberta, so when she reads the word “Chickadee,” she smiles.
“I feel like I’ve been preparing for this my whole life!” Read more.
Looking for the origins of life in a B.C. lake
July 30, 2011
NASA and the Canadian Space Agency see research implications for planetary exploration
A team of Canadian and American scientists is exploring two remote B.C. lakes, employing deepwater submersibles to study the living processes behind certain ancient rock structures. They hope these might shed light on the earliest forms of microbe-based life, both here on Earth and in outer space.
Sponsored by both NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, the now seven-year-old Pavilion Lake Research Project expanded from its eponymous origins in July to nearby Kelly Lake, by the town of Clinton, B.C.
The researchers are examining the origins of a specific and very ancient sedimentary formation formed by algae and a certain type of bacteria, in the process fine-turning exploratory techniques and clues that they feel might be useful on future space missions. Read more.
Arts & Culture
Björk’s new app album pushes interactive boundaries
August 9, 2011
Developer Scott Snibbe hopes project will gets kids excited about arpeggios
With an electronic album featuring throat-singing samples and a world tour with an all-female brass ensemble behind her, Icelandic performer Björk has never shied away from risk. Her new science- and nature-themed album Biophilia, coming out Sept. 27, aims to make her latest musical experiment accessible in an audacious way — with the help of smartphone apps and science museums.
The title of the album comes from a term coined by biologist E.O. Wilson to describe an affinity between humans and the rest of the natural world, and the songs explore everything from the way in which the movement of tectonic plates relates to human interactions to the origins of the universe. Audiences were riveted when Björk premiered the songs at the Manchester International Festival on June 27, wearing a bright orange wig and platform shoes. What makes the project unique, though, is her ambition to use the music as a tool for broader education about musical and natural structures. Read more.
Food and faith
January 17, 2013
You might not expect to find refugees from Afghanistan and Somalia among the volunteers serving a hot dinner for patrons coming in from the street at the Boyle Street Co-op, but doing work for the greater good is exactly how a person develops a sense of belonging, says the Islamic Family and Social Services Assocation’s youth program chair, Omar Yaqub. The volunteer-run Boyle Street event he helps organize is just one of the ways Muslim groups in Edmonton, including recently arrived immigrants and refugees, are taking their faith out onto the streets by giving back to the community.
“Within the Islamic tradition,” Yaqub says, “there’s different forms of obligations. There’s obligations you have towards family, there’s obligations you have towards God … and there’s obligations one has towards their community. And one of the obligations we have towards our community is to feed the homeless.” Read more.