Who Is Afraid of Armpit Hair?


Social scientists will try to measure anything, it seems, and in the most recent issue of Psychology of Women Quarterly, a professor at Arizona State has published a paper that attempts to quantify the disgust women feel with regard to body hair – their own, and that of other women. The scholar, named Breanne Fahs, […]

Does Family Medical History Matter to a Health Nut?


Last winter, while reporting a feature for this magazine, I was sitting in the Stanford office of Atul Butte, a pediatrician-slash-computer-scientist-slash-wunderkind, and he was touting the promise of the personal genetics revolution. Health care is on the brink of being totally transformed by the insights given to medicine by being able to see, and increasingly understand, […]

Does Stress During Pregnancy Really Cause Autism?


For some of us, stress is not an occasional condition, but a way of life. When friends tell us to “just relax,” they might as well be telling us to be taller or shorter or somebody else. And when we become pregnant? Nothing changes. We are fiercely anxious: fat, under-slept, and cranky, awaiting every blood […]

Chirlane McCray’s City


Bill de Blasio has called her the love of his life, his partner, his No. 1 adviser. and that’s not the half of it. For those entranced by the de Blasio–family fairy tale, in which a tall, goofy white dude married to a tiny, black former lesbian runs for mayor of a city managed for […]

Does Being Anxious Make Us More Moral?

One of the distinctive peculiarities of anxious people, observed by clinicians and documented in medical literature, is this: They fervently believe in the power of their own anxiety. The insomnia, the perseverating, the self-loathing, and the obsession with an uncertain future — the anxious justify these behaviors the way the superstitious rely on their use […]

The Google of Spit


Anne Wojcicki wants to bring health care into its sci-fi, Big Data era. First, she’ll need your DNA. Then comes vanquishing the FDA. When Eugenia Brin was young and still living in Moscow, her beloved aunt Serafima received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Serafima was just 50 years old, with no access to effective treatment, […]

A Primer on Pope Francis’s Manifesto — the Book Obama Might Be Reading on Bad Days


This morning, at the Vatican, President Barack Obama and Pope Francis engaged in a ritual as ancient as the conveyance across international borders of frankincense and myrrh: They exchanged gifts. In an acknowledgement of the pope’s devotion to the Christian value of humility, Obama gave Francis a box of seeds from the White House garden. […]

Tiger Mom Strives to Shock a Second Time, Fails

A reader of Amy Chua’s previous book, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – that parenting guide-slash-high-pitched confessional-slash-assertion of racial superiority — might wonder, as I did, about the following: Where was Chua’s husband, the father of their two daughters, while she was haranguing the children, threatening to give away their dollhouse and burn their […]

Lisa on NPR: Remembering Newtown

NPR “On Point” host Tom Ashbrook features Lisa on a panel discussion to discuss the lessons of Newtown. Stream the show from the WBUR.org website: Other panel members: Rev. Josh Pawelek, minister of the Unitarian Universality Society East in Manchester, Connecticut. (@RevJoshPawelek) Robert Spitzer, professor of political science at the State University of New York […]

The Uncomfortable New Lessons of the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre

Opinion in the absence of information is a specialty of our times. So when Adam Lanza committed that most inexplicable of crimes, opening fire in Sandy Hook Elementary school last year murdering twenty children and six adults (and, ultimately, killing himself), the explainers instantly began to tell us why. The 20-year-old Lanza, who had easy […]