For Californians, climate change means drought, and drought means wildfires. And they affect millions of people, including those of us who live far from the actual blazes. I wrote about the experience of living with wildfires for New York Times Opinion.
Conferences after COVID will be shorter—and smarter: WIRED
The pandemic has forced us to rethink virtually everything—including how to turn in-person gatherings into virtual experiences that don’t, well, suck. For WIRED, I wrote about how events and conferences may be forever transformed by COVID-19, even when it’s safe again to crowd into a hotel conference center and try not to spill your mediocre coffee.
Pandemic data is about to go sideways: The Atlantic
Data about COVID-19 tends to dip following weekends and holidays—not because fewer people are getting sick, but because the doctors’ offices and public health departments that administer tests and process paperwork are shorter-staffed or closed. I wrote about why any drops in the data right around Thanksgiving don’t signal a true decline in infections, for The Atlantic.
Explaining the electoral college in the New York Times
How exactly does the electoral college work? My explainer is in the October 25, 2020 edition of the New York Times‘ Kids section. (The section isn’t available online, but here’s the Instagram version of the piece.)
How to keep kids active during the pandemic, in the Washington Post
How can parents get kids to exercise when recess and sports are cancelled and the weather is worsening? I talked to some smart people and wrote about their advice in the Washington Post.
Tracking the spread of COVID-19
The COVID Tracking Project is a collaborative data journalism effort, launched by The Atlantic in March 2020, that is tracking COVID-19 cases, tests, hospitalizations, deaths, among other metrics, in the United States. CTP is powered by a massive group of volunteers who comb through U.S. state and territory health departments’ dashboard every day to record data in a central place; all data is freely available to the public. CTP’s work has been widely cited by major news outlets, health experts, and government officials.
As co-lead for Editorial, I help manage story flow, editorial process, and write and edit stories about trends in the data. Here’s some of our recent work:
• CTP weekly updates for October 1, September 24, and September 17
• Why CTP’s death count hasn’t hit 200,000
Access to telemedicine is hardest for those who need it most: WIRED
Telemedicine has largely moved online during the pandemic, but elderly people, who make up 25 percent of all medical appointments, are less likely to have internet access at home. In this story for WIRED, I talked to physicians and policy experts to find out how the healthcare industry is addressing the problem. Among the creative solutions being deployed: A physician in North Carolina, where the rate of broadband penetration is the lowest in the country, extended her office’s wifi network so it reached the parking lot. Her patients can drive to the office, park, and get a sanitized tablet from a staff member, and then conduct their visit from the car.
How we’ll learn to sing together when we’re far apart: Making collaborative music during a pandemic
(Illustration: Elena Lacey)
What does it mean to make music with other people when we’re all stuck isolating at home? In this feature for WIRED, I wrote about parenting, choral singing, family history, my son’s band, and collaborative music during the coronavirus lockdown.
Tech companies donate to Democrats and Republicans; their employees lean left
For Protocol, a news site launched by the publisher of Politico, I analyzed thousands of contributions from employees of top technology companies, as well as the donations those companies’ PACs gave to candidates. My findings: Tech companies divide their political spending very neatly between Democrats and Republicans. Their workers — whose dollars largely fund their employers’ PACs — support Democratic candidates by a wide margin.
Mapping Vaccination Rates
For years I’ve been reporting on vaccination rates in public schools. In June I examined California’s latest data set and reported on how the state’s efforts to stop parents from skipping their kids’ vaccines just led parents to find another loophole to avoid the shots. At one school in rural California, two-thirds of kindergarteners received a medical exemption — essentially a doctor’s note stating their kids shouldn’t get vaccinations — that allowed them to skip immunizations.
I also used a state database to plot immunization rates by zip code; click here for the bigger map.
This piece followed research I did for a WIRED print story about the measles outbreak in Brooklyn, for which I mapped vaccination rates nationwide and plotted the cities most at risk of a measles outbreak.
The millions Silicon Valley spends to protect its executives
Keeping CEOs at top technology companies safe is costly: This year Facebook will spend a cool $10 million on personal security for cofounder Mark Zuckerberg, a figure that’s nearly quadrupled over the past six years. In my latest for WIRED, I explained who’s spending what to keep their people safe, and why.
Guns in America, in 5 charts
Following mass shootings in Pittsburgh and Thousand Oaks, California, I once again dove into the data on Americans’ very unique relationship with guns. Among the stats: the US is the only rich nation to see so many citizens die from bullet wounds; two-thirds of gun deaths in the US come from suicides, US manufacturing of firearms has skyrocketed since Barack Obama was elected.
In the chart below, I plotted data about deaths per capita by country against GDP per capita for more than 100 nations. As you can see, the US stands alone.
Silicon Valley workers really do prefer Democrats
Two years ago I analyzed data from the US Federal Election Commission to determine the political leanings of workers at tech companies. This year, I did it again for the midterms, analyzing more than 100,000 political campaign contributions made by workers at five top technology companies.
This piece also shows some of the work I’ve been doing at WIRED, getting our new data-visualization tool, Datawrapper, working with Condé Nast’s custom-built CMS.
Tracking Private Jet Ownership for the New York Times Magazine
Which billionaires, moguls, and oligarchs count an airplane among their many assets? I investigated for the January 28, 2018 issue of the New York Times Magazine.
WIRED’s Opinion Section
In August 2016 I took over the Opinion section of WIRED.com, editing pieces by everyone from software engineers to entrepreneurs to academics to FCC commissioners to members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.
Here’s my write-up of the most-read pieces in 2017.
Among the pieces I’ve edited recently:
– If the FCC Kills Net Neutrality, Congress Will Pay for It, December 2017.
– Evidence That Ethiopia Is Spying on Journalists Shows that Spyware is Out of Control, December 2017
– Self-Driving Car Tech Can Help Another Form of Transportation: Wheelchairs, November 2017
– Equifax Deserves the Corporate Death Penalty, October 2017
– Inmates Need Social Media. Take It From a Former Prisoner, October 2017
– Supreme Court’s Cell Phone Tracking Case Could Hurt Privacy, September 2017
– Why Men Don’t Believe the Data on Gender Bias in Science, August 2017
WIRED special issue: Gear
Every year WIRED publishes a special, standalone issue dedicated to awesome stuff for your home, your work, and your life. For this special 128-page print issue I serve as deputy editor, directing the editorial process and editing and sometimes writing for the issue, usually about food. In prior years the annual issue was called Design Life.
How the San Francisco Symphony Turned a Dreadful Room into Sonic Paradise
A few years ago the San Francisco Symphony took a cavernous rehearsal space and turned it into a trendy music venue, thanks to an audio system that makes a virtue out of terrible acoustics. I went behind the scenes at the Symphony with music director Michael Tilson Thomas and created this video and story for WIRED.
Fact-Checking the Last Presidential Debate
Once more into the abyss: Our team at WIRED fact-checked the third Presidential debate, and you can read it here.
Fact-Checking the Second Presidential Debate
WIRED live-blogged the second Presidential debate in October, and I led a team of fact-checkers trying to keep the candidates honest.
Silicon Valley Funds Hillary Clinton’s Campaign
As part of my series analyzing the Federal Election Commission filings of the Presidential candidates, I reported on the donations that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump collected in August.
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