Erica Cirino

  • sailing superstition_HERO

    Even Scientists Act Superstitious at Sea

    To wish someone “good luck” is taboo aboard a ship. So are transporting bananas and whistling. But sighting a pod of dolphins can invite good fortune, I discovered last November, as I sailed 3,000 miles from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Wearing a gold hoop earring, I learned from one of my crewmates, who had one […]

  • eliminate disease_HERO

    Why Hasn’t Natural Selection Eliminated Heritable Disease?

    John Charles Martin “Johnny” Nash was a teen when he first started hearing a voice in his head. A born-again Christian, he interpreted this voice as God speaking to him. Once, he walked into the middle of a busy highway because the voice said he should. He was an accomplished chess player and math whiz, […]

  • dog smarts_HERO

    Can Dogs Help Us Understand the Link Between Intelligence and Health?

    If you’re a dog lover, you may have heard of Chaser, the border collie who has been called a “genius” and the “smartest dog in the world.” Retired psychology professor John Pilley, Chaser’s owner and co-author of a recent book about her, says he was able to teach her 1,000 words, the largest “vocabulary” of […]

  • alaska duck_HERO

    Alaska Is a Perfect Place for Birds to Spread Disease Worldwide

    Last May, as wild birds from around the globe converged on Alaska’s western shores for the summer breeding season, local citizen scientists did, too. Armed with sterile polyester-tipped swabs and screw-top vials, the amateur biologists descended upon dozens of homes belonging to hunters in villages such as Kotlik, Pilot Station, Chefornak, and Eek. In exchange […]