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Articles by Thomas Hayden

Thomas Hayden teaches science and environmental writing at Stanford University. For Christmas, he'd like you to follow him on Twitter.

Featured Article

Photo: Jo MorcomThis story is cross-posted from The Last Word on Nothing.

I live in a bubble. It’s called San Francisco, and it is a magical place where everyone recycles, no one smokes, and Nancy Pelosi is considered distressingly conservative. Worse, I teach environmental sustainability at Stanford, where I’m surrounded by bicycle riding, reusable-mug toting, enthusiastically composting colleagues and students. I come from the outside world, so I know my current behavioral baseline is a little skewed. But still, I was recently reminded that some Americans continue to use incandescent light bulbs, and I was genuinely surprised.

A far bigger shock came unbidden, as they usually do, from the internet. Every perversion ever known is freely displayed online, of course. But I never really understood how bad America’s garbage problem is until I found a trove of wildly explicit videos documenting it on YouTube.

At home, “garbage truck!” was among my son’s first phrases, followed closely by words such as “recycling!” and “compost!” The kid loves everything to do with tossing items int... Read more

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  • My holiday wish? Ixnay on the iPod

    The author’s beloved crap.Photo: Thomas HaydenCross-posted from Last Word on Nothing. Black Friday is behind us, and Cyber Monday too. But those are just start dates: The pressure to buy, buy, buy isn’t going to let up for another month at least. And that has me thinking about one of my favorite gadgets — a […]