Hot off the griddle, I wrote a fun feature about the food traditions–old and new–on display at the sixth annual Latke Festival in New York City. I think my favorite iteration was the simple potato pancake with homemade applesauce from The Commons, a new American restaurant in Chelsea. A crispy fried shell encased the creamy croquette, buttery and starchy like it should be, and the sweet applesauce had just a hint of tartness to knit the flavors together. The West Side Spirit ran the piece just in time for Hanukkah. Check it out here!
I recently put on my Social Historian Hat for an interview with The Rialto Report, an amazing collection of oral histories about “the golden age of adult film.” Producer Ashley West and I chatted about my book, The Forbidden Apple: A Century of Sex and Sin in New York City; Marty Hodas, the man who brought peepshows to Times Square in the 1960s; and the sexual culture of New York City in those exciting years. In addition to me, the podcast features Hodas’ first audio interview since the 1970s and comments from Anthony Bianco, author of Ghosts of 42nd Street: A History of America’s Most Infamous Block.
Says Ashley, “[Hodas'] remarkable story is one of sex films, obscenity busts, police harassment, mob heat, Times Square, and millions of dollars. In quarters. Lots and lots of quarters.”
Check it out here!
My latest story, “250-Year-Old Eyewitness Accounts of Icier Arctic Attest to Loss of Sea Ice,” has just been posted on Scientific American‘s website. This marks my debut for the nation’s most prestigious science magazine!
My story looks at ARCdoc, the research project based at the University of Sunderland, that data-mined old ships’ logbooks for weather information. The books came from the Royal Navy, Hudson’s Bay Company, and commercial whaling voyages, and all focused on Baffin Bay and Davis Strait in the North Atlantic. The team proved what many climatologists had theorized: that the region was significantly stormier and colder prior to anthropogenic climate change, and sea ice extended much further across open water.
Scientists can now look at ARCdoc’s reconstruction of this polar region before human-influenced warming, and draw conclusion about the current and future state of the Arctic.
I’ve followed ARCdoc’s progress for more than two years–since I came across an article in the Sunderland Echo that described the use of my third-great uncle William Scoresby’s whaling logbooks to create a sea ice dictionary. The story, and the project, spurred me to frame my biography of this unfairly forgotten explorer within his contributions to modern climate science.
I’m so proud to have my story about ARCdoc’s results, and Scoresby’s role in them, appear in Scientific American. It’s one step toward my goal of restoring Scoresby’s reputation as a polar pioneer.
The University of East Anglia—where I spent a semester abroad in 1996—is launching a project to predict how the Arctic will cope with global warming by constructing a sea ice chamber and using state-of-the-art computer models.
The €2M ($2.74 million) research initiative will reproduce the chemical exchanges between the ocean, sea ice, snow and the atmosphere in polar regions.
Funding for the five-year project, finalized earlier this month, comes from the European Research Council (ERC).
“The Arctic Ocean is a vast expanse of sea ice. Most of it is covered with snow for about half of the year, but climate change has caused temperatures to rise more than anywhere else in the world over the last few decades. 2012 saw record lows of snow and sea ice. Global environmental change of this nature is one of the greatest challenges facing society,” noted lead researcher Roland von Glasow, from UEA’s Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the School of Environmental Sciences.
“We will focus on the links between melting sea ice and snow, and the changing chemistry of the troposphere—the lowest 10km (6.2 miles) of atmosphere. This is important because the troposphere is home to concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosol particles which play key roles for our climate.”
The University will use the funding to build a unique sea ice chamber, two meters (6 feet) square, in a specially designed cold room. The cube will simulate chemical exchanges that are taking place in the Arctic. Scientists will analyze the resulting data to estimate how climate change will affect the Arctic, in both short- and long-term scenarios.