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Writing Portfolio

I’ve worked for some amazing magazines, and have even won an award for one of my articles (1st Place, Science category by the San Diego Press Club, for “Miracle of Micro RNA – San Diego Magazine).

If you have an assignment that needs a writer, contact me via the link above.

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Some of the pieces I’ve written:

Surfer Geeks Build a Better Wavepool (Wired magazine, August 2011)
 

For serious surfers, wave pools tend to suck. That’s because most use the same crude technique for producing swells—dumping vast amounts of water into the pool quickly, resulting in crumblers that lose energy as they ripple toward shore. Even at 5-foot heights, the waves are closer to the surfing equivalent of a bunny slope than a double black diamond. But now a team of surfer-engineers in Spain is dumping that approach. Their company, Wavegarden, has developed a mechanical rig that works beneath the water’s surface to produce waves that power across the whole pool. A submerged, winglike sled is dragged from one end of the lake to the other, creating a wake that builds in height and energy as the speed increases. Swellinfo.com surf forecaster Micah Sklut likes the results: “Wavegarden has created a wave with more energy behind it. The prototype showed small but hollow, heavier waves—with tubes.” Wavegarden technical director José Manuel Odriozola and his crew are now working on a bigger, 200-meter-long prototype. Keep your boards waxed—they’re in talks with buyers worldwide. Hang ten, Omaha.

 


The Miracle of microRNA
 (San Diego magazine, October 2010)
(1st Place award, Science category: San Diego Press Club) 


San Diego researchers are delving into the mysteries of microRNA and its potential cures for a host of major diseases. Breakthrough results – and a Nobel Prize – appear to be right around the corner.

In 1993, Dartmouth researcher Dr. Victor Ambrose noticed something peculiar deep within the genes of tiny, 1-millimeter-long worms called C. elegans: An extremely small ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecule, located in a segment of the genome previously thought to have little function, appeared to regulate the growth of a specific protein abundance. The significance of his discovery, noted in scientific journals, wasn’t fully understood until 2000 when scientists detected a second, separate RNA molecule that controlled another specific gene function — and demonstrated that these molecules are present in other life forms, including human beings. They were dubbed microRNA (also called miRNA and miR), and the hunt was on to find more and determine what functions they regulate — and how to manipulate them to potentially manage and eradicate deadly diseases including cancer, immune-system issues and heart disease.
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When a Model Train Is Not Enough, Try a Personal Rail Car (Wired magazine, November 2011)
 

Sure, Jay-Z and Sting zip around in luxurious private jets, but the most exclusive transportation club in the US rolls about 350 mph slower. It does actually roll, though: The American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners includes roughly 120 tycoons who own their own train coaches. To get going, they must hitch their boxy indulgences to Amtrak or a short-line railroad train.

Many of the private cars are restored mid-century classics, like the Scottish Thistle, owned by ex-freight transportation executive Dean McCormick. It’s more than 800 square feet of luxury that would make most city dwellers envious: five beds, a dining room, kitchen, observation room, two full bathrooms with showers, and even a washer/dryer (not to mention 480-volt power capability and two backup electric systems). Such accommodations don’t come cheap—”A private car can cost up to a million dollars,” McCormick says. And operation isn’t free either: It costs about $5,000 to couple to an Amtrak train for the 2,256-mile trek from Los Angeles to Chicago.

Of course, most railcar owners are die-hard train nerds. McCormick credits the railroad tracks next to his childhood home. “In those days, there were trains passing continually, and I was awestruck.” Though he’d ridden in private rail cars since the ’70s, he didn’t realize his dream of owning one until 1994, when the Canadian National Railway auctioned off two from its fleet. You can now charter a ride on the Thistle for $4,000 a day — Cristal not included.

 

Make It, Don’t Fake It, With This CNC Rig (Wired magazine, September 2011)
 
Thinking about getting a CNC like the pros use? Computer numerical control rigs, which use rotating bits to carve shapes from nearly any material, are coming out of the machine shop and into the home, and Chinese-made models like this Tormach are getting cheaper and better all the time. Plus, this unit takes up less space than a fridge. We asked Jerry Blake, a retired aerospace-parts maker who is now a hobbyist auto-parts maker, to put one through its paces.
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Geek Justice League (Wired magazine, May 2010)
 

America’s Cup racing, angel investing, philanthropy — tech billionaires pursue such boring hobbies. Why can’t they be like Tony Stark, who uses his vast fortune (estimated at $7.9 billion) and tech know-how to become the superpowered do-gooder Iron Man? Here are a few caped crusaders we’d like to see our favorite rich nerds transform into. (continue reading)

 

Optimer: The Superbug Stoppers (San Diego magazine, November 2010) 

No longer just the frightening monster of sci-fi horror films, these drug-resistant bacteria we call “superbugs” now lurk in hospitals, rest homes and long-term care facilities, preying on the sick, old and weak. After years of heavy antibiotic exposure, microbes and conditions like C. difficile infection (CDI) have become immune to most common antibiotic treatments. San Diego-based Optimer Pharmaceuticals hopes to ease those worries with a new CDI treatment called fidaxomicin.
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The End of the Runway (Wired magazine, March 2006)
 

When aspiring designer Diana Eng got bumped from the fashion-design reality show Project Runway a couple months ago, geeky hearts sank. Who else could turn an interest in wearable computing and a flair for biomimetics into a chance to hang with Heidi Klum? Now that Eng’s out, she’s thinking about what to do next. We seized the opportunity and asked her to come up with three fantasy outfits that take advantage of technologies still in the lab – free of budget restrictions and 12-hour deadlines.
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L’il Grills (Wired magazine, June 2010)

 

Summer and cookouts go together like Baby Ruths and swimming pools. Compact grills let you BBQ anywhere at a moment’s notice.

1. Big Green Egg (small)
The Egg lived up to its lofty rep: Our food came out flavorful and juicy—even veggie burgers! Unfortunately, at 65 pounds this charcoal burner weighs nearly as much as the other three grills combined. And the Egg’s brittle ceramic shell made us apprehensive about carrying it down steps, much less tossing it in the trunk. When we did take it on the road, we had to wait hours for the thing to cool down before lugging it home.

WIRED Can be configured for grilling, baking, smoking, or convection heating. Equally capable above 750° F or south of 250°.

TIRED Switching setups was tough to do while the coals were lit. 13-inch-diameter cooking area is the smallest of this batch.
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