Running the length of Malawi

Marathoner Brendan Rendall is running the length of Malawi to raise money for my favorite charity.

Malawi is flooded, and needs your help

Over the last week, Malawi has been hit with flooding unseen in 40 years. It needs your help — and your continued attention — to avoid a greater tragedy.

Whatever happened to litter?

This morning as I was walking the dog, I picked up a discarded McDonald’s bag from my neighbor’s lawn. As I carried it to the trash can, it hit me: whatever happened to litter?

Backpacking through Africa, cont’d

Ian and Gillian Ross passed along a link to their blog detailing their [trip across the continent.

Backpacking through Africa

Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from visiting. A billion people live there, and you owe it to yourself to see what it’s like.

Simple English Wikipedia

A parallel set of articles written in a subset of English is remarkable cool.

Are glossaries a good idea?

Generally, no. Try to make terms understandable in context.

New York, Africa

I’m in New York for a U.S. Doctors for Africa benefit, during which I’ll be introducing the founders of FOMO, the Malawian orphan group I worked with this summer. Coordinating our small part of the event has been an interesting example of the flat-worldness of 2007. I’m American; the charity is British; the filmmakers who […]

Upwardly mobile in Africa

The importance of mobile phones in Africa is the subject of a good story in the new BusinessWeek. In Malawi, I got four bars in villages without electricity, roads, or running water. Mobile phones are pricey, but without them, it would be hard for the 10 orphan centers of FOMO to coordinate efforts. The next […]

The Advocate

Ryan and I did an interview for The Advocate about the movie, the business, and our trip to Malawi. It should be on stands now (or soon), with Ryan on the cover. Yes, the headline reads, “Hollywood’s hottest young star runs off with his gay director.” They conveniently left off, “…to help paint an orphan […]

Silent Evidence

A few weeks ago, while answering the Grey’s Anatomy question which generated so much talkback, I found myself searching for a specific term I knew had to exist: the human tendency to consider only the samples presented, ignoring other relevant items. It felt like a fallacy, but it didn’t quite match up to any of […]

The virtues of technology failure

I brought my videocamera with me to Malawi, only to discover upon unpacking it that the main sensor was shot: it could record sound, but not video. In retrospect, this was a fortuitous failure. Looking at things through a lens–or on a tiny flip-out monitor–creates a layer of distance, of safety. On a subconscious level, […]


I’m back from Africa — physically, at least. Mentally, I’m still floating somewhere over Dakar. The potent combination of jetlag and unprocessed emotion is making it very difficult to commit to that last leap over the Atlantic. I was only gone two weeks, but it felt like months. Like an alternate timeline, with extra days […]

Summer Reruns

Over the next two weeks, you’ll notice a bit of deja vu at this site: old articles suddenly popping up on the front page, with new dates and old comments. It’s not a technical glitch. I’m putting the site into reruns while I’m out of the country and off the grid. I’m going to Africa […]