To paraphrase a man I once quoted in an obituary for a squirrel expert (what, squirrels shouldn't have experts?), I've written lots of things about lots of things.
I've written travel pieces for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Montreal Gazette; covered science and technology for the Economist, Discover, Wired, Technology Review, and the Loh Down on Science; scribbled about music, culture, and the arts for Nautilus, the Guardian, the Forward, the Village Voice, DownBeat, Jazziz, and Tablet; and penned pieces about education and home improvement for the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Chicago Tribune.
I've even written about drugs and music for the Walrus, the leading glossy in my native land (what, you didn't notice the Canadian accent?)though not, admittedly, in the same piece.
We all need something to shoot for, right?
Scroll and click for clips.
- Rediscovering My Judaismin Africa
How going to Ghana changed my perspective on the religion I'd abandoned back home.
- Real Enemies
A multimedia show uses an anxiety-inducing score and set to bring audience members face to face with some of America's classic conspiracies.
- Drums, Lies, and Audiotape
When I was invited to drum in Ghana, I gladly accepted. Then something went wrong.
- Betting the House
Can better housing make you healthier?
The Loh Down on Science
- Gene Editor
Is genetic engineering as easy as cutting and pasting?
The Loh Down on Science
- Whale Watching from Land
If you want to see whales, you needn't bother chasing after them in a boat. Just pitch a tent by the St. Lawrence River and wait for them to come to you. (Also see 5 Spots to Watch the Whales from Shore.)
The Montreal Gazette
- Serious Fun
Want to help cure cancer? Play more video games!
The Loh Down on Science
- Building a Full-Blown Human Body-on-a-Chip
Miniature plastic chips with cells embedded are a quick and effective way to test drugs. (Originally appeared in the June 2015 print issue as "Pieces of Me.")
- Reb Shlomo Meets Nigeria
The band Zion80 mashes up Afrobeat rhythms and Jewish melodies.
- Coming to Africa
A musical summit between an Israeli pop star and a master of the Malian desert blues works better than expected.
- Basya Schechter Sculpts World Music
The buzz-worthy singer's latest album features poetry by the late Jewish theologian and civil rights activist Abraham Joshua Heschela man who was born in Warsaw and marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Jews Try To Ban Offensive Music
It's easy to laugh at reports of music-banning in China or by fundamentalist groups. But ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis have also sought to ban music they find distasteful.
- Lost Music of Istanbul's Sephardic Jews
How a panoply of sounds scattered to a new diaspora.
- Barbadian Wonders Coax Kids Out of Their Shells
Calm waters, green monkeys, and giant caves: Barbados has something for everyone, no matter how young.
The Boston Globe
- Voice of Peace
Elie Wiesel takes to the stage for an evening of Yiddish standards, childhood reminiscences, and Borscht Belt shtick.
- Metamorphoses: The Sources and Journeys of a Tune
Music moves in mysterious ways.
- Plucky Move
A picture of his Polish grandfather's mandolin orchestra inspired Avner Yonai to start his own.
Trombonist Rafi Malkiel finds inspiration in water.
- Sub-Saharan Fusions
How an American saxophonist came to cut a record with a group of Ugandan Jews.
- Ocean Pew
Though only a tiny fraction of what it was in the 18th century, Barbados's Jewish communityand its 1750 synagoguestill stand proud.
- Food for Thought
There are more similarities between Jewish music and Jewish food than meets the ear.
- 3-D Scanning: How to Put the Real World Into Your Computer
12 new scanning technologies bring amazing 3-D images into Hollywood, medical careand home PCs.
- Device Offers a Roadside Dope Test
Philips introduces a handheld drug tester that uses magnetic nanoparticles to detect traces of cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and methamphetamine.
- Art Pop Indie Rock Meets Midrash
A tough room, lousy sound, and half a band.
A pair of Swiss musicians brought their Jewishness back from the dead.
- Spinning a Good Tale
A quantum-mechanical effect used in hard disks may hold the key to the development of a hand-held biology laboratory. (Listen to a woman with a posh British accent reading the piece aloud in a Technology Quarterly podcast.)
- Folk Fusion
Israeli expats are bringing the sounds of their youth to new jazz projects.
- Treasure Trove
A new box set offers a taste of one of the world's great Jewish music collections.
- Melancholy Melody
High Holiday music gets me every time.
- Jazzed Up (2)
New albums find inspiration in the Passover haggadah.
- Jazzed Up
Former poet laureate Robert Pinsky gets a rhythm section.
- In the Spirit
If you've never understood Kabbalah, music might be the way in.
- Fiddler on the Farm
An unusual kibbutz diversifies the movement with its music program.
- Hip Hip as Conflict Resolution
Bringing peace to the Middle East with rhymes and beats.
- Speaking in Tongues
A new technology to help the disabled use the tongue to control machinery.
- Bending Traditions in Ghana
I was once an African drummer.
- Ukelele Madness
"It turned into a horriblewell, not horrible ... let's call it a beautiful train wreck of sound."
- Long-Promised, Voice Commands Are Finally Going Mainstream
Advances in computing power make voice recognition the next big thing in electronic security and user-interface design.
- Put a Lid on It!
Sound advice for making a home quieter.
The Chicago Tribune
- Microsoft Promises Not to Hoard Crypto-Based ID Protection
Microsoft has picked up a powerful new online-privacy technology that it says it wants to share ... eventually.
- To Test or Not to Test? (PDF)
Navigating the minefield of prenatal testing.
- Listening In to the Field of Jewish Pop, High and Low
In music, as in life, there are cool kids and misfits.
- A Melody of Jewish Mediation
A recovering Zen monk with a yen for kabbalah makes cerebral music for the soul.
- Symposium Seeks To Save Yiddish Dance
Scholars take to the dance floor, emboldened by cold beer and hot pirogi.
- Startup Plans to Solve Online Identity Theft, But Does Anyone Care?
A Montreal startup has a plan to make online identity theft a thing of the past.
- Israel's Jazz Messengers
Israeli musicians invade the jazz capital of the world.
- Rising Rents Give Rise to Shrinking Audio Studios
Rising rents and new technology are cramming recording studios into ever-smaller spaces. Welcome to the vest-pocket studio.
- Lenny Bruce's Mild-Mannered Heirs
They've got the words, but not the music.
- The Jewish Gypsy
How a Jewish kid from the Midwest wound up dedicating his life to preserving Gypsy music and dance from southern Spain.
- Audio Forensics Experts Reveal (Some) Secrets
CSI for audiophiles at the 123rd Audio Engineering Society Convention.
- Setting Celan To Music
A major European poet gets treated to a musical makeover with theremin and guitar.
- Visiting the Hamptons, but Not Paying the Price
For resort chic on a budget, pitch a tent and sort of rough it among otherwise outrageously expensive seasonal rentals.
The New York Times
- How to Soundproof an Apartment to Muffle Your Wife's Drumming
The headline pretty much says it all.
- Jazz Is the Drug
The only thing jazz can't sell is itself.
- The Sounds of Science
Computer music moves out of the lab.
- A Plan to Build a Giant Liquid Telescope on the Moon
Could a lunar liquid-mirror telescope be the next big thing in astronomy?
- A Perfect Pairing Of Worker and Work
An American Jewish clarinetist tackles a work by an Argentine Jewish composer inspired by a 12th-century French rabbi.
- Your Face, Immortalized
Ever dreamed of being made into a statue? 3-D scanners may soon make your fantasy a cheap reality.
- Toy Fair Resembles CES for Kids
The big trend at the 2007 American International Toy Fair? Mature technology for young users. (Listen to me discussing this topic on NPR's Talk of the Nation, and see a handful of blog posts about particular toys here.)
- Mattel Makes Physical Exercise Obsolete
Toy manufacturer uses technology to save children from the horrors of real physical exertion.
- A Food Tour of Montreal's Plateau
Bingeing on Jewish delicacies in my hometown.
- These Elves Are Computerized
Toy design is going exclusively digital thanks to advances in haptic sculpting tools.
- The Sound of Hacked Dolls' Heads
Dan Farkas subjects kids' toys to Borg-like modifications, then makes music with them.
- The Israel Lobby Debate
It's either really bad, or it doesn't exist.
The Jewish Chronicle
- Alt-Klez With Oblique, Demented Class
Clarinetist David Krakauer's latest foray into techno-klezmer has three things going for it that most alt-klez does not. The first is Krakauer himself.
The Village Voice
- Musician Plucks Sound from Lasers
Musician Miya Masaoka replaces the strings on a 1,300-year-old Japanese zither with focused beams of light.
- The Restless Opera Company
Portland's Vagabond Opera is not your standard opera company. And Eric Stern is not your standard opera singer.
- The Sweet Sound of Lapsed Time
Composer and computer programmer R. Luke DuBois finds a way to traverse 42 years of pop music history in 37 minutes.
- Life After the Death of Jazz
Is jazz dead? How can we tell?
- From Crypto to Jazz
A new jazz album draws on cryptography and number theory for its riffs and rhythms.
- Remembering How the Jewish Theater Turned Into Broadway
Mr. Spock remembers his career on the Yiddish stage.
- The New Crooners
Can Rod Stewart save jazz?
- Sherry (PDF)
This Spanish import is a world of wine unto itself.
- West African Blues Eulogy Conjures Desert Lightning
Malian guitar master Ali Farka Toure recorded one last album before his death from bone cancer, and it was a doozy.
The Village Voice
- It Takes a Village
A neighborhood profile of Greenwich Village, circa 2006.
- Interfaith Music Hits Disparate Notes
An English vocal group and a Middle Eastern band explore Renaissance-era music by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim composers.
- Exploring Latin Music, In and Out of the Ivory Tower
A guitarist with a PhD mixes jazz, Latin music, and Jewish music in ways that are anything but drily academic.
- Rashanim Offers a Series of Surprises
The composer John Zorn meets his match.
- This Pen for Hire
Trading academia for copywriting.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Tango: Not Jewish, But Not 100% Not Jewish
Why the name "Jewish Tango Cabaret" isn't quite as odd as it seems.
- Too Many Dissonant Notes
Prof. Gelfand gets an "F" in classroom management.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Great New Bottle for Old Wine
Satellite radio hits the air.
- Two Albums Offer Gems of Gypsy Melodies
Two bands with a new take on Old World music.
- A Few Good Men
Music that doesn't fit the mold.
- Folk or Not, Sephardic Music for the Ages
An Argentinian-American composer makes modern classical music out of Jewish melodies from Spain.
- A Gem Among Giants
Why you've never heard of composer Irving Fine.
- The Great White Hype?
She's the queen of the jungle. But can Jane Monheit sing?