Photo by Keith Johnson

AUTHOR
SUPERLATIVE: THE BIOLOGY OF EXTREMES | BENBELLA BOOKS
On the furthest, thinnest edges of the bell curve are vast and exciting secrets about everything else. Yet the biggest, fastest, strongest and smartest life-forms of our natural world are often dismissed as oddities and outliers. Recently, though, that has begun to change, and superlative organisms are offering tremendous insights into our environment — and our place within it.

CO-WRITER
LIFESPAN: WHY WE AGE — AND WHY WE DON'T HAVE TO SIMON & SCHUSTER, A NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER. 
Scientists across the globe are working to slow, stop and reverse aging, in a bid to extend healthy human lifespans beyond anything we've ever experienced.

THE A-FIB CURE | BENBELLA BOOKS
A body of new research—one many physicians are unaware of—shows that biomarker and lifestyle optimization may most cases of atrial fibrillation into remission, often without drugs or procedures.

A tiny village in southern China offers a simple formula for lifelong well-being. 

New breakthroughs in our understanding of human genetics are completely transforming our understanding of nature, nurture, and everything in between.

FOUNDER AND HOST
UnDISCIPLINED | UTAH PUBLIC RADIO
If you're only communicating results to people from your own discipline, you're doing it wrong.

CO-HOST
THE LIFESPAN PODCAST | SCICOMM MEDIA 
The latest science and bold new ideas about human aging.   

GLOBAL STORIES
DEADLY DAYS IN EL SALVADOR | LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS


It is early in the afternoon at the Institute of Legal Medicine in El Salvador's volatile capital city, on what will become the most violent day of the most violent year in the most violent nation in the Western Hemisphere. The dance of death has begun.


The older generation is defined by war and hunger, the younger by peace and economic growth. This is the story of how one Vietnamese grandmother tapped a cooking pot and YouTube to bring a country together.

A TERRIBLE CHOICE | DESERET NEWS


Carmen de Jesus rose from her bed, night after night, to shake off her nightmares and check on her teenage daughter. She could hardly bear to look at the sleeping girl. The day she would send her daughter north was approaching. And the Salvadoran mother was overcome with guilt and fear.

His top teeth came in before his bottom teeth. That is how elders of the Kara tribe, in Southern Ethiopia, determined that a healthy baby boy needed to be killed. The child was "mingi" — cursed, according to their ancient superstitions. With every breath, they believed, the boy was beckoning an evil spirit into their village.

ETHIOPIANS CONTEMPLATE A FUTURE WITHOUT THEIR AILING PRIME MINISTER | THE WASHINGTON POST
When the summer rains come, as they have in cleansing torrents over recent weeks, the 3 million residents of Ethiopia's smog-choked capital usually inhale a little more deeply and exhale a little more freely. But at this moment, it seems, the entire city is holding its breath as its citizens await word on their long-time prime minister's fate.

IN IRAQ'S ANBAR PROVICE, CHAOS REIGNS | THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE 
Bullet-riddled and mortar-scarred, the walls of the Ramadi government center tell its story. The damage is both old and new: From American troops, as they secured this city in the spring of 2003, and from insurgents, as they have tried to wrest control away from the Americans ever since.

LATTER-DAY SAINTS SEARCH FOR ROOTS IN CAMBODIA | CNN


In a nation cursed by decade of civil war and one of the worst genocides in history — a place where dredging up the past can be a tremendously painful experience — newly converted members in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been reluctant to embrace the faith's practice of exploring family history.

DID ETHIOPIA'S ECONOMIC SUCCESS CREATE A MENTAL HEALTH EPIDEMIC? | DESERET NEWS
It was a Monday morning in October at the Sitota Center for Mental Health Care in the Ethiopian capital and, in the waiting area in front of a bustling reception desk, the weary faces of a rapidly changing nation were on full display.

ON BRAZIL'S NORTH COAST, REGGAE'S PROTECTORS SEEK TO PRESERVE ITS PLACE AS THE SOUNDTRACK OF REBELLION | MEDIUM


In advance of what could be a severe political shift for South America’s largest country, the employees of a new museum are hoping to preserve all of reggae's roles. But none, perhaps, is more important than the music's roots as the soundtrack of rebellion.

On billboards and in shop windows, in magazines and on television, Fidel Castro's iconic image is as ubiquitous as ever. But nearly a year after the ailing leader officially ceded power to his brother, his aura has lost its luster among many on this troubled island.

A SOLDIER'S EYES STILL SEE | THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
He had been in Iraq only a few weeks, but Brett Schlifka already had grown used to seeing death laid out on the operating table before him. And yet something was different on the morning of Dec. 14.

ON SACRED SOIL THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
One by one they stepped off the aircraft. One by one they touched the soil of the nation in which their children served and sacrificed. And one by one they began seeking out the spirits of their fallen sons and daughters.

WORLDS APART THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
Lt. Charles Bradley Triplett, 35, is about to go "outside the wire" for a 24-hour patrol. At home, his wife and children are about to begin their day. These are their stories.

FAITH UNDER FIRE THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
War is hell, and thus hardly a place for saints. This is what happens to atheists and believers alike when the bombs begin to fall.  

SCIENCE AND CONSERVATION
THE BUTTERFLY AND THE BLAZE | EUGENE WEEKLY
Emerging meteorological evidence suggests a massive wind event that fueled fires in Oregon and across the West was stoked by violent storms that began an ocean away. If that is so, it is one of the first documented cases in which one deadly weather disaster can be shown to have triggered a completely different one.
Deep in this hundred-acre wood is a mystery that scientists are now rushing to solve. What is killing this great and ancient thing?

MISHA'S SAD STORY | THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
By the time she was a year old, she had been ripped from her family. Penned, chained and shipped to a noisy new world, her California keepers allowed her to roam only a few paces this way and a few paces that. She was bullied and dominated. She lost a baby. She was poked, prodded, cut and left in pain. This is the story of the sad life and predictably early death of Misha the elephant.

VETERANS
THE LAST LEG THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE


Tomorrow, when the sun rises above the bright white ridges of the Wasatch Mountains, Bryant Jacobs will wake up, shower, place a single sneaker into a small travel bag, and drive to the hospital. There, he will go to sleep. And when he wakes up, his right leg will be gone.

THE TENTH MAN THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
Nine men. One plane. Falling from the sky. Falling to the sea. This is the scene, as it played out in Norman Workman's dreams, again and again, until dementia finally - maybe mercifully - stole it from him, a year or two ago. This was his cross, his great regret. Those nine men were supposed to be 10. He was supposed to be on that plane.

EXPLOITATION IN IRAQ THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
For one year, Mario Urquia guarded the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, protecting American service members and diplomats in one of the most dangerous places in the world. Now Urquia is living on the edge of homelessness in Ogden - illegal in the nation he once stood to protect.

SPECIAL SERVICE | CITY WEEKLY
The kid-glove treatment some defendants receive in "veterans court" only allows these troubled souls to continue offending—to the detriment of some and to the death of others.

BACK FROM WAR, HIS BATTLE BEGINS THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
Every evening, as the local imam's crescendoing song reached out for the stars and Iraq's intolerable desert days melted into merely uncomfortable desert nights, Joe Lappi knelt in his dilapidated concrete barracks and prayed. For safety. For peace. And, most often, for his wife and children in Utah.

"IS THIS AMERICA?" THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
Rabeh Morad removes his right leg. And then the left. He sets aside the prosthetics and pulls down an elastic sock, exposing a shriveled stump, just below his knee. "This," he says, "is what I gave to America."

A GRATEFUL NATION COMES UP SHORT THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
In what Diyar Al-Bayati calls "the future of my past" he wanted to be a businessman. At his Baghdad high school, he took classes in economics, accounting and English, in hopes of getting a good job rebuilding his war-torn nation. In the future of his present, all he wants to do is walk.

DOMESTIC ISSUES
HOW UTAH TURNED PORN INTO A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS | THE WASHINGTON POST
In this heavily religious state, the fight against porn is increasingly being framed not as a moral crusade but as a public health crisis. Although there is significant debate on whether that is actually true, Utahns have been a very receptive audience to the message — and they have also proved to be adept at spreading it. 

THE NEW FREEDOM FIGHTER | CITY WEEKLY   
Nathan Ivie expected a cold reception. But in the weeks after the cowboy-hat-wearin', horse-wranglin', AR-15-shootin' local politician came out as gay, his constituents in Utah County—one of the most conservative places in the United States—have proven him wrong.

SWIFT JUSTICE | CITY WEEKLY
It was El Dia de Guadalupe, a day for feasts and celebration for millions of Catholics—and a reminder that even the lowliest peasant can be an instrument for the greatest of miracles. But now, among many in Cache County, Dec. 12 is a day associated with horror and heartbreak. It is el día que esta esperanza se murió: The day that hope died.

SPORTS
FROM REFUGEE TO MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER | MLSSOCCER.COM 
For a man who was raised as a refugee, and who has seldom known anything resembling permanency, "home" is a complicated idea. But now in his late 20s (and looking, he acknowledges, quite a bit older than that) Yura Movsisyan is hoping to end a lifetime of emigration.

THIS IS THE (OTHER) PLACE | CITY WEEKLY
Utah skiers and snowboarders are blessed with "the greatest snow on Earth," so why are so many of them making powder pilgrimages to Hokkaido, Japan?

THE LOST CLAUSE | EUGENE WEEKLY 
A review of dozens of contracts between Brigham Young University and the schools it has contracted to compete against on the gridiron shows millions of dollars changing hands between institutions with strict non-discrimination rules and a university that openly and actively discriminates against LGBTQ individuals.

THE STATE OF SNOW | SALT LAKE MAGAZINE


There are 10 ski resorts within an hour of my home in downtown Salt Lake City, and most of them are absolutely world class. So why on God’s white Earth would I feel compelled to point my Mazda west on Interstate 80 for Lamoille, Nevada?

THE MYTH OF MITT | SALT LAKE MAGAZINE
Mitt Romney has long billed himself as the savior of the 2002 Winter Games. But there is paltry little evidence that the games needed saving. 

INVESTIGATIONS
KILLER OF ELDERLY WOMAN AVOIDED PRISON FOR DECADES | THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
Over the past 30 years — through at least a half-dozen attacks on elderly women — charging decisions and plea negotiations have ensured that Floyd Maestas has never been convicted of a single violent crime.

SICKENED BY SERVICE THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
Bullets and bombs are not the only things that can wound a warrior. But the U.S. government often makes it hard to get care and compensation for anything else.

UP AGAINST THE WALL | THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
At least a dozen families at Hill Air Force Base have reported infections, allergies and respiratory illnesses they believe to have been caused or aggravated by mold in their on-base homes. But their efforts to find help and obtain answers have been stymied.

Military investigators are examining the a troubled contractor's role in the wrongful transfer of ballistic missile fuses to Taiwan.

PAYDAY BLUES | THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
They share the same dangers. So why is there so much variance in the way first responders are paid in Salt Lake County?

The Army's "one-for-one" exchange program in Iraq trades lesser armored vehicles for newer models with stronger shells. Just one catch: The old vehicles must have been severely damaged or destroyed in battle — and commanders say that means their troops must be shot at or bombed in order to get a newer, safer vehicle.

STADIUM OWNER IGNORED AUDITOR'S WARNINGS — THE AUDITOR WAS RIGHT | CITY WEEKLY 
To secure public funding for a stadium, the owner of Salt Lake's professional soccer team promised to host up to 20 huge concerts each year. It was a ridiculous, and some say utterly 
deceitful, promise.

CITY'S MAYOR AND ADMINISTRATOR BENEFITTED FROM SECRET BONUSES | THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE 
An analysis of pay records reveals a decades-old system that secretly and disproportionately benefitted a mayor, his administrators and their department heads.

COMMENTARIES
Those who seek power by inflaming prejudices and rejecting fact and reason pose an existential danger to our democracy. What might save us? Some might say “civics.” We, however, would say “science.”

THE CONSTRAINTS OF PRINT WERE ONE OF THE BEST PARTS OF NEWSPAPERS. THAT DOESN'T HAVE TO CHANGE NOW | THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
Some newspapers may promise to publish “all the news that’s fit to print,” but the reality has always been the publication of whatever news fits in print. And that is an important characteristic which is being lost as newspapers shut down. 

Nearly two decades after the initial outbreak of SARS in 2002, the full extent of the long-term damage is still being uncovered, but studies have revealed long-term bone and lung damage, altered metabolism and chronic fatigue.  

WE MAY NOT HAVE TO AGE SO FAST | THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Before we knew why cancer happens, we considered it just a part of life. Now, we correctly call cancer a disease—a bug, not a feature—and fight against it with all our might. We don’t generally regard aging in the same way, but we should.

Death does not scare us. The prospect of going gently into its good night does.

There is no end to the examples of divisiveness that have been sparked by the COVID-19 crisis. But there’s a bigger, kinder picture we need to see.

It’s good to have well-trained people in the right place at the right time. And at least when it comes to public schools, that is something we can do right away, without legislation, without political belligerence, without waiting for the courts to opine and without spending a single penny more than we already do on school safety.

It’s ironic, I’ve long thought, that our noisy Fourth of July celebrations come in recognition of a nation founded on the blood of America’s very first war veterans. And it’s a little sad to me that so few people have taken note of the harms fireworks do to many veterans. 

PROFESSOR
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF JOURNALISTIC WRITING | UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY
"This was the hardest class I have ever taken, but the most beneficial to me. From the beginning of the class to the end of it, I improved more than I thought possible. He is a very hard grader, but it makes you a better writer."

RESEARCH
A weather pattern that contributed to rapidly spreading fires in Oregon in early September 2020 can be traced back to an unexpected source: Three typhoons in the western Pacific that ran into the Korean Peninsula within two weeks of each other. 

CLIMATE CHANGE AND DROUGHT AMPLIFY THE POTENTIAL FOR UNCONTROLLABLE FIRES IN NEPAL | EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE OPEN ARCHIVE
Nepal’s 2020-21 fire season was the most severe on record and may be a harbinger of what is to come, as drought conditions in the Himalayas steadily worsen through the 21st century due to climate change.

FEWER TROUGHS, NOT MORE RIDGES, HAVE LED TO A DRYING TREND IN THE WESTERN UNITED STATES | GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS
Dry- and hot-weather-inducing ridge conditions did not significantly change during a period of generalized drying between 1980 to 2018. What did change during those years was the pattern of troughs, which are associated with wetter- and colder-than-normal conditions; these conditions became less common.

AN EPISODE OF TRANSBOUNDARY AIR POLLUTION IN THE CENTRAL HIMALAYAS DURING AGRICULTURAL RESIDUE BURNING SEASON IN NORTH INDIA | ATMOSPHERIC POLLUTION RESEARCH
Air pollution does not stop at international borders, but identifying sources with scientific confidence has long been a challenge. New techniques for tracking episodes of air pollution, however, may provide a starting point for multilateral dialogue and cooperation to mitigate the impact of transboundary air pollution on human health.

The active and break phases of the East Asian Summer Monsoon have intensified, resulting in a shorter but stronger rainy season followed by a longer dry spell.

A half degree difference between two warming thresholds may lead to a significantly increased hazard of wildfire across the world, particularly in the Amazon, African savanna and Mediterranean. 

Utah's mountains might get more but less frequent winter precipitation in a future warming climate, but cloud seeding may help ensure snowfall and snowpack that sustains water needs and winter recreation.

SPEAKER
WHY SUPERMAN MUST DIE SO CLARK KENT CAN LIVE | TEDxTALKS
What does it mean to be a journalist at a time when traditional forms of journalism are falling by the wayside?