I write on science, books, medicine, sports, & other culture for NY Times, NatGeo, Slate, PacificStand, Aeon, others. Papa. Birder. Wee wry dumpling.

David Dobbs's Biography

David Dobbs writes features and essays for publications including The New York Times, National Geographic, Slate, Wired.com, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications. Several of his stories have been chosen for leading science anthologies; most recently, his much-discussed feature for the Atlantic, "The Orchid Children," was selected by Jerome Groopman for Ecco/HarperPerennial's Best American Science Writing 2010. He is now writing a book, working title ...

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The New York Times

nytimes.com — When Dr. Alan Schiller's 87-year-old mother died in January, "it took some convincing," Schiller says, to get his siblings to agree to an autopsy. "They said: 'She had Alzheimer's. Let her rest.' But I told them: 'No, something seems funny to me. An autopsy is the only way to be sure."' Schiller prevailed.

What we talk about when we talking about killing Obamacare

daviddobbs.net — We're actually talking about killing our neighbors. Late this month the Supreme Court is expected to rule on King v Burwell, a suit financed by the conservative right that seeks to use some trivial inconsistencies in phrasing to gut Obamacare in 37 states and possibly cripple it nationwide.

The limits of genetics - my essay at Buzzfeed

daviddobbs.net — A bit late to my own story here, as a reporting trip intervened, but but a couple weeks ago I wrote an essay for Buzzfeed about the overselling of medical genomics, which goes beyond hype in a way that distorts funding, science, and the public's ideas about genetics.

What Is Your DNA Worth

buzzfeed.com — "Success in sight: The eyes have it!" Thus the scientific journal Gene Therapy greeted the news, in 2008, that an experimental treatment was restoring vision to 12 people born with a congenital disorder that slowly left them blind. Healthy genes were injected to replace the faulty mutations in the patients' retinas, allowing an 8-year-old to ride a bike for the first time.

The Wrong Stuff: NASA Dismisses Arsenic Critique Because Critical Priest Not Standing on Altar

daviddobbs.net — A NASA spokesperson has dismissed a major critique of the Science arsenic bug paper based not on the criticism's merits, but on its venue - it appeared in a blog rather than a peer-reviewed journal. Apparently ideas are valid (or not) based not on their content, or even the reputation of the author, but on where they're published.

Researcher Caught Up in Fraud Case Punches Back

wired.com — When a researcher fudges data or engages in other fraudulent behavior, among those most wronged are the collaborators who did nothing wrong. Often there are many. Their reputations and careers can suffer horribly; they experience a horrible betrayal by someone they put enormous trust in; and they feel compelled to remain silent, lest they court...

The New York Times > Magazine > Buried Answers

nytimes.com — hen Dr. Alan Schiller's 87-year-old mother died in January, ''it took some convincing,'' Schiller says, to get his siblings to agree to an autopsy. ''They said: 'She had Alzheimer's. Let her rest.' But I told them: 'No, something seems funny to me. An autopsy is the only way to be sure.''' Schiller prevailed.

We Need More Autopsies, to Help Save the Living

nautil.us — When Italian authorities confirmed that James Gandolfini had just died in Rome of an apparent heart attack in 2013, many reports in American media fronted the fact that Gandolfini's body would be autopsied, "as required by Italian law." They emphasized this news for understandable reasons-an autopsy on someone who died in medical care seemed unusual.

Robin Marantz Henig’s gorgeous story on a woman facing one death to dodge another

daviddobbs.net — Robin Marantz Henig is at her superb best in " The Last Day of Her Life," a NY Times Magazine feature about a remarkable woman, Sandy Bern, who decides she'll end her life before she loses her self to Alzheimer's. At one point, as Bern's power fades, her daughter, Emily, gives birth to Bern's first grandchild.

The Atavist Magazine

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Jul 05, 2015

RT @beatricebiology: Can't believe we're *still* arguing about Tim Hunt. Conspiracy theories, calling @deborahblum a liar? This is insanity.

Jul 05, 2015

RT @cfishman: .@David_Dobbs Instead, just read 'My Mother's Lover.' Completely transported. Thank you. Now, to me wife... magazine.atavist.com/stories/my-mot…

Jul 05, 2015

Special bonus in the Dawidoff piece on Robert Frank: killer quote from Bruce Springsteen. mobile.nytimes.com/2015/07/05/mag…

Jul 05, 2015

Put that other shit down and read Nicholas Dawidoff’s @NYTmag piece on photographer Robert Frank. Incredible. mobile.nytimes.com/2015/07/05/mag…

Jul 04, 2015

RT @ongenetics: Mendel's laws are a special case. What if genetics texs treated them as such (ch. 14 vs. 2)? It might help pedagogy. youtube.com/watch?t=3690&v…

Jul 03, 2015

RT @mattdpearce: The Confederates were fighting to save slavery, and as a result, lots of Americans died. Happy July 3rd. twitter.com/billkristol/st…

Jul 03, 2015

RT @NautilusMag: Mass killings in America have taken on the same characteristics as an infectious disease, finds a new study. tss.nautil.us/5141

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