5 February, 2014

"What is NASA For?", an opinion piece probing NASA's purpose and direction, published in Slate. Due to the controversy caused by the polemic, I publish a followup in The Huffington Post.

19 January, 2014

My essay on randomness published in The Best Writing on Mathematics 2013.

6 December, 2013

An analysis of how NSA culture has changed in the past few decades for pandodaily.

27 November, 2013

A look at the real reason genetics-testing company 23andMe is terrifying, for

22 August, 2013

I come out as a former NSA employee, and ask my former colleagues to speak out.

15 April, 2013

An investigative expose of FDA's slow, opaque reaction to massive research misconduct: "FDA Let Drugs Approved on Fraudulent Research Stay on the Market," with sidebar on a failed generic drug and chart of drugs relying on dubious research. Followups here and here. Written with Rob Garver of ProPublica.

26 February, 2013

"A Military Fable," a Thurberesque tale about defense appropriations.

3 January, 2013

"Fusion Energy's Dreamers, Hucksters, and Loons," a brief history of fusion energy research for

16 November, 2012

"Is Drug Research Trustworthy," an investigative report on conflict of interest in medical research and at NIH, published in Scientific American. (Also, a related blog post.)

31 August, 2012

"Jonah Lehrer's Journalistic Misdeeds at," an analysis of some of Lehrer's online work, published in Slate.

9 July, 2012

"Dr. Drew Cashes In," a brief discussion of the influence of drug-company money, published in Slate.

15 June, 2012

Ruling in Seife v. NIH: court compels NIH to turn over conflict-of-interest waivers, but rules that recusal lists are exempt from release under FOIA. Full opinion here.

22 March, 2012

"17 Equations that Changed the World," a review of Ian Stewart's book of the same name, published in Times Higher Education.

22 March, 2012

I explain why James O'Keefe targeted me for an undercover sting: "James O'Keefe Attacked Me Because I Caught Him Breaking the Law."

16 January, 2012

My answer to the Edge World Question Center's annual question ("What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation?"), "The Power of One, Two, Three," published.

22 September, 2011

I file a lawsuit [pdf] against the National Institutes of Health to compel them to release documents requested via the Freedom of Information Act.

2 September, 2011

Time interview about bad mathematics and health.

12 August, 2011

"The Mind-Reading Salmon," a column about statistical significance, published in Scientific American.


February 11, 2014

Moncrieff. (106-108 FM, Ireland.)

March 20, 2013

The 2013 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate. (The American Museum of Natural History.)

December 1, 2012

"This is Hell." (WNUR Chicago.)

December 1, 2011

Authors@Google. (YouTube.)

September 13, 2011

"Afternoons with Jim Mora." (Radio New Zealand.)

January 7, 2011

"More or Less." (BBC Radio 4.)

December 12, 2010

"Open Mind." (WGVU.)

December 11, 2010

"The John Batchelor Show."

November 30, 2010

"Topical Currents." (WLRN.)

November 17, 2010

"Think." (KERA.) Also, "Nine to Noon." (Radio New Zealand.)

November 16, 2010

"Statistics are facts, right?". (KPCC.)

November 9, 2010

"Culture Shocks with Barry Lynn."

November 4, 2010

"The Kathleen Dunn Show." (Wisconsin Public Radio.)

November 2, 2010

"Roundtable." (WAMC.)

October 28, 2010

"Bogus Figures" (AARP radio), "Viewpoints" (WTKF) and the "Dr. Alvin Jones Show." (WCBQ.)

October 26, 2010

"StudioTulsa." (KWGS.). Also, "Strategies for Living" and "Let's Talk." (WBOI.)

October 22, 2010

Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. (KFI-AM and other radio stations.)

October 19, 2010

Moncrieff. (106-108 FM, Ireland.)

October 11, 2010

The Journey Home with Diego Mulligan. (KSFR.)

October 8, 2010

Bloomberg News. (Bloomberg TV.)

October 6, 2010

IEEE Spectrum. (Podcast.)

September 28, 2010

Talk at Strand bookstore: Proofiness. (828 Broadway at 7th St, 7:00 PM.)

September 25, 2010

America's News HQ. (FoxNews.)

September 19, 2010

All Things Considered. (NPR.)


Virtual Unreality

Virtual Unreality: Just Because the Internet Told You So, How Do You Know It's True?


Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception

Sun in a Bottle

Sun In A Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking

Decoding the Universe

Decoding the Universe: How the New Science of Information is Explaining Everything in the Cosmos, From Our Brains to Black Holes

Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe


Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea