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What I Do

I write about science, health, culture, history, the natural world, people I find interesting, and more. I produce documentaries, television series, and web videos.

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Surgical Device Stops Baby's Laughing Seizures

Pediatric nurse Rhonda Bastolla thought something was wrong with son Nico the day he was born, Dec. 12, 2003.

"I can't explain it and I didn't say anything to anybody, but something just stuck in my brain that day," she says.

Little did she know at the time that Nico would undergo a breakthrough surgery when he was 8 months old that would change the course of his life and get a whole company named after him. read more


Exposure Therapy Rescues Woman - Article

Joanna (not her real name) is a 22 year old brunette with an intense look in her eyes. She suffers from a fear so pervasive that, in her words, she "wants to die."  Joanna's fear is called emetophobia, the fear of vomit. Few of us enjoy the concept of throwing up, but she is paralyzed by it, read more.


The Sunspot Effect - Article

At the National Center for Atmospheric Research, scientists like Jerry Meehl, co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize, have been studying the effect of sunspots on the earth's climate. According to Meehl and based on many scientific studies, "There is evidence that earth's climate responds to fairly small fluctuations in solar output."

The dark spots are massive areas of enormous magnetic fields.  If the fields get twisted, they can "break" and cause solar storms, releasing unimaginable amounts of energy,  read more


The Career Change Quandary - Series


Mark Fichandler was a TV executive earning six figures and holding down a creative and satisfying job. So how did he end up becoming interior designer in mid career? Clue: It wasn't the recession. But his tale offers a lot of food for thought for anyone contemplating a big career move, read more


Ode to a Vacuum Cleaner - Essay

I’m having friends over for dinner and that means hauling out the Hoover and attending to a chore I despise. That’s why I asked my husband to vacuum the house.

But it also puts me in mind of the upcoming anniversary of the patent for the first vacuum cleaner, issued on October 3rd, 1899. Granted, it was gasoline powered, not to mention bulky and loud, but it augered a major turning point for women in society.  By 1907, the portable electric vacuum cleaner had been created by a cranky 60 year old janitor and tinkerer names James Spangler. The following year, in 1908, he sold the patent to his cousin’s husband, a guy named Hoover.  And there was no turning back.

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Eek, a germ - Essay

I recently helped a friend move and the items contained at least four really big, and I mean big, boxes containing a mind-boggling array of cleaning compounds. She refused to toss a single one of them.
In my own place, there are disinfectant wipes, stainless steel cleaners, soft scrubs, hard scrubs, wood cleaners, green cleaners, deadly poison cleaners, vinegar, baking soda, pop up sponges (I love these), Trader Joe kitchen wipes, nylon scrubbing pads, steel wool scrubbing pads, hand sanitizers, Mrs. Meyer’s stuff, and much much more. I bet you have at least some of this too.

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In the ‘hood - Essay

 I’ve lived in at least a couple of the world’s great cities, but where I am now is a very eclectic little piece of the planet . We have, to name a few, a former mayor of the funkadelic town, Baltimore, (home to an amazingly high ratio of good movie directors,) an artist, a physicist, and a husband and wife who are both pilots, which around here means they guide the huge shipping- container-sized ships into port.  When the weather is fine, people will stroll down to the water at the end of the day with a little cocktail in hand, or maybe with a cute little kid on a trike and a Chesapeake Bay retriever in tow. You can walk right down the middle of our streets because it’s quiet and everyone drives slowly and watches out for kids and dogs and joggers and cyclists. It’s post racial, meaning it’s about half black and half white and everybody is very live and let live.

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