How the Toothbrush Mirrors Societal Progress: An Oral History

For all his shortcomings, Thomas Jefferson, writing in mid-1816, takes a long view of human self-governance: “[L]aws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.”  And he continues, “As [the human mind] becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, … Continue reading How the Toothbrush Mirrors Societal Progress: An Oral History

Medicine Alone Can’t Beat Diseases. We Need Stories Too.

In the summer of 2014, aid workers descended upon West Africa as the underdeveloped health systems of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone struggled to contain a rapidly spreading Ebola outbreak. A few months later, just out of graduate school, I would join the fight in Sierra Leone. I arrived in the country a few weeks after the peak of the outbreak. The impact of Ebola … Continue reading Medicine Alone Can’t Beat Diseases. We Need Stories Too.

Lost Communication in a Completely Connected World

My iPhone is ringing. There’s the briefest moment of distaste upon the realization that it is someone who could have easily texted instead, thereby avoiding my having to actually take the time to speak to the person. This is a far-cry from remembered days at sixteen years old wishing for the house phone to ring for me. What exactly has changed? Recently, I found myself … Continue reading Lost Communication in a Completely Connected World

What the Covered Bridge Reveals About Our Struggle Against Nature

When conjuring up a still-frame of “man vs. nature,” one may imagine a musher dog sledding across a frozen tundra or a pioneer trailing through desolate badlands or a voyager floating down the Congo River into Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness. Yet, no one pictures the Hillsgrove Township of Sullivan County, Pennsylvania. In this small upstate township, the 186-foot-long Hillsgrove Covered Bridge spans the Loyalsock … Continue reading What the Covered Bridge Reveals About Our Struggle Against Nature