I've written 1000-word exposés, pithy listicles, and everything in between. The article below appeared in Mother Jones's print magazine.

Mother Jones

There is a whole cottage industry of doctors helping parents skip their kids' vaccines

In December 2014, an 11-year-old visited a Disney theme park in California and afterward got a rash. It was measles, and over the next several weeks the disease spread to at least 136 Californians, as well as people in seven other states and two foreign countries. This was no fluke case. Though measles was supposedly eliminated in the United States in 2000—thanks to the highly effective measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR)—it has come roaring back, with 667 confirmed cases nationwide in 2014 alone.
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Is Red Wine Good for You? Probably Not.

Despite its massive wealth and technological innovations (we’ve got computers on our wrists now!), the United States still lags behind most of the developed world in terms of life expectancy. That’s made a lot of scientists wonder: Why is it that people in France, Italy, and Spain live longer than us? They’ve got bakeries on every block and 24-hour cigarette vending machines to quell their nicotine-addicted populaces. What’s their secret? Research points to Europeans’ healthier diets and cheaper healthcare as likely contributors to their longer lifespans. Still, some have wondered: Could it be their propensity for fine wines?

These local leaders and historians wanted to leave Confederate statues standing—until Charlottesville

Last week was a watershed moment in the history of Confederate statues. After the deadly protests over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, pressure mounted across the country to take these statues down. At least 10 statues have been removed in four states, and many more are slated for removal. For nearly a week after the protests, one mayor was conspicuously absent from this list: Mike Signer, mayor of Charlottesville.

What the heck is "fragrance?" Thanks to California, companies now have to tell us.

Peruse the ingredients list of your air freshener, floor polish, or multi-surface cleaner, and you’ll likely come across an “f” word: fragrance. You know what it means—whatever the manufacturer added to make your house smell nice—but what does it stand for? Turns out, the “f” word could stand for one or more of 3,000-plus chemicals. Under a federal rule that protects manufacturers from revealing “trade secrets,” companies haven’t had to disclose those ingredients, even if they’re, say, known carcinogens, or if they impair fetal development. But in California—and, in effect, the rest of the country—that’s about to change.

What Is a “Nalover”? We Surveyed Reddit and Facebook to Find Out

When you peruse the alcoholism medication-assisted treatment online communities (yes, they exist!), you’ll probably come across the term “nalover.” It’s a mash-up of “naltrexone”—an anti-craving medication used daily or, per the Sinclair Method, one hour before drinking—and “hangover.” Basically, it’s the hangover some people experience after drinking on naltrexone, and it’s a phenomenon that hasn’t been studied at all in the medical community. So we decided to investigate.

California's charter schools have lower vaccination rates than traditional public schools

Some charter school parents in California seem to be taking advantage of a loophole to keep their kids from being vaccinated—and doctors are helping them. Following the 2015 passage of SB 277, which eliminated the “personal belief exemption” from the state’s vaccination laws, California’s immunization rate soared. But according to a recent analysis by KPCC, a National Public Radio affiliate in Pasadena, charter school students lag behind their counterparts in traditional public schools when it comes to protection from such ailments as measles and whooping cough.

42 dead, 8,400 structures burned, more than $1 billion in damage: the devastating toll of California’s wildfires

“This is truly one of the greatest if not the greatest tragedy that California has ever faced,” said California Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month. “The devastation is just unbelievable, it’s a horror that no one could have imagined.” That’s not a politician’s hyperbole, as the thousands of people displaced by those fires know too well. Now that the fires have been almost completely contained and the extent of the damage has become clearer, here’s an update, by the numbers.

Alternatives to AA: How Modern Science Can Help You Drink Less

Alcohol abuse is a tale as old as time, and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been around since the 1930s. But scientific breakthroughs in the last few decades have brought about effective alternatives to AA. Life-changing medications have been FDA-approved and available for use to treat alcohol use disorder (AUD) for many years, but society—including the medical establishment—is only just catching up. Here’s how modern methods of alcohol abuse treatment compare to the older way of doing things.

Indonesia Wants to Protect Its Peatlands—But First It Needs to Figure Out Where They Are

Today is World Wetlands Day, which commemorates the 1971 adoption of the intergovernmental Convention on Wetlands and serves to raise awareness about the importance of wetlands. With President Trump’s talk of “draining the swamp,” you’d think wetlands are nothing more than a nasty stain on the landscape. But they’re actually host to an array of species and are crucial to helping us cope with extreme weather events, which are increasing in frequency due to climate change.

California Wolves Threatened by “Baseless” Lawsuit

On December 28, 2011, a wolf did what no other had done in nearly a century: It stepped on California soil. The wolf was OR-7, a two-year-old male gray wolf with a GPS collar who had left his pack in northeastern Oregon and trekked hundreds of miles to Siskiyou County, California. Zigzagging through forests and mountain ranges, he became an internet sensation, the subject of a documentary and a children’s book, and—perhaps most consequentially—the catalyst for wolf-protection policy in California.

Gastric Bypass and Alcohol: The Risks of Drinking After Surgery

In a recent post, we looked at how anxiety can put you at a higher risk of developing alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder (AUD). This time, we’re looking at the risk of alcohol abuse after gastric bypass surgery, a phenomenon that afflicts thousands of people every year. It’s a type of weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, used to treat severe obesity in people who haven’t had success with diet and exercise. About 228,000 people in the U.S. had bariatric surgery last year—a record high as the obesity rate continues to rise.

Indiana has an HIV crisis—yet it just closed another needle exchange

An Indiana county shut down its needle exchange program on Tuesday because of moral objections, raising the risk of increasing its number of HIV and Hepatitis C infections. “It came down to morally, they’re breaking the law. I can’t condone that,” Lawrence County Commissioner Dustin Gabhart told Indiana Public Media. “Yes, it’s a problem. Yes, it needs to be resolved. I could not give them the tools to do it.”

Dogs can be vaccinated against Lyme disease. Humans can't.

Are you a dog that doesn’t want Lyme disease? Well, you’re in luck! These vaccines will let you run through tall grasses with only a slight risk of catching Lyme. If you’re a human, on the other hand, obey the experts and check behind your ears and knees, because there’s no vaccine on the market for you. At least, not since 2002. That’s right: Lyme disease—notoriously difficult to spot and treat, and diagnosed in about 300,000 Americans every year—had a vaccine, but it’s no longer available to

Pass the Boxty: Vegan Irish Recipes for a St. Patrick’s Day Feast

Ireland may be famous for its rolling green hills, but it doesn’t have the greenest diet. The country has almost as many sheep as people, a growing dairy industry, and a food tradition that’s heavy on all kinds of meat and fish—and in turn, on greenhouse gas emissions. Want to honor the Irish and the earth? These vegan takes on traditional Irish food and drink are the perfect complement to your St. Patrick’s Day festivities (and the morning after).

The National Park Service just ended its bottled water ban—after finding it worked

Last month, the National Park Service terminated a six-year program that aimed to end the sale of disposable plastic water bottles in national parks. The top bottled water lobby cheered; environmental groups booed. And on Friday, per the Washington Post, we learned that the NPS’s action ran seriously counter to what it had concluded just a few months earlier: that its ban had worked.
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