So you wanna skate like Harley Quinn? Read this first.

Roller skating in costume is truly one of the finer things in life. It gives a sporty, dancey extra spice to any costume (and some costumes need the skates.) I figured that since Harley Quinn is such a popular cosplay, and in the movie Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, the main character does stunts in roller skates, fans might want to incorporate skates into their costumes.

But, if you’re going to do that, read this first. Please.

Courtesy of Justine “B00M” Sanborn as Harley Quinn at NYCC 2019

I’m telling…

Magnotta and his fans have tried for years to claim he was framed, blackmailed, or forced to murder.

“Was there a message you were trying to send?” I had written to the killer. “And was it received?”

“What kind of violent videos on the internet had you seen before you started killing cats?”

“How did you feel when you knew people were enthralled with your videos?”

When I wrote to Luka Magnotta as a journalist, I was hoping he could give me some insight into why he killed cats and Jun Lin, in a series of gruesome crimes highlighted in the Netflix Documentary Don’t F**k with Cats! I’m always of the opinion that if you want to know…

Editors at medium don’t just pay through the partner program; sometimes they accept pitches to go through an editing process and they pay a flat fee. They’re often looking for pitches and the rates are pretty good. I can never remember what each vertical covers since they all have such cute names, so here’s a handy list. Feel free to comment if you know a pay rate or anything and I’ll add it.

Here are the ones on Medium’s editorial group, which pay about $1/word. The others are partner publications.

There are lots of writing online about how to pitch…

North Atlantic right whale. Photo: NOAA

If you care about the environment, it’s time to start talking about the 640,000 tons of discarded fishing gear killing ocean creatures

On good days, Dr. Sarah Sharp gets to watch living North Atlantic Right Whales. The school-bus sized, dark creatures, with scoop-like mouths and white spots on their face, sometimes launch themselves out of the water, like leaping ballerinas. They’ll breach and play with each other, a behavior once thought to be a mating display, but was later found to take place outside of the mating season. It’s likely the animals are just socializing, having fun with the other whales.

Sharp also enjoys watching them feeding peacefully. “They literally just mow the grass underwater with their mouths open, filter feeding with…

I worked as a science writer at an outlet funded by, and completely obsessed with, clicks. So I’m going to write about the thing that makes people click: how I lost 40 pounds, and also my job as a science writer.

Left: May 16, 2018. Right: Feb 11, 2019

Click Hungry

I had not tried to lose any weight between May 2018 and today, I read no nutrition books, nor counted calories. A big reason I didn’t bother trying to lose weight was that, as a science journalist, I never thought I could get a handle on the information, and misinformation, around weight loss. Certainly not enough to succeed in…

Is it ‘free expression’ to watch a video of a murder — or just a selfish, morbid curiosity?

Illustration by Ana Kova

When the Chinese student Lin Jun was murdered in May 2012, in Canada, the killer chose to record the mutilation and dismemberment of the body, and later posted it online with the title 1 Lunatic, 1 Icepick. Luka Magnotta, a failed porn actor, was arrested and charged with murder after he was identified in the video.

When a terrorist massacred 51 worshippers at two New Zealand mosques in March, the killer filmed the beginning of the attack and broadcast it live on Facebook. He was arrested, but the footage lived on; moderators at Facebook scrambled to remove the 1.5 million…

In short, they hate clickbait. But here is more detail from nearly 400 consumers of science media.

You can see the up-to-date results of this survey, with 394 respondents, on SurveyMonkey here*. I didn’t include written responses in the link since one of the questions asked for e-mail addresses, but I included the write-in answers on this Google Sheets public spreadsheet.


I often talk to my fellow science journalists about what people like and don’t like about the science media that they consume. There’s probably nothing that I think about and talk about more often than #scicomm. However — and this is not specific only to journalism — I often worry that discourse topics can become…

“Starblade,” as Matthew Paul Finnigan called himself, had cried wolf too many times. Threats of suicide were regular occurrences on his LiveJournal, Fur affinity, and Twitter accounts. Few took it seriously when he wrote that someone else wanted to kill him.

Blackbirds take flight in a park near Finnigan’s childhood home.

The Victim
Matthew’s mother, Patricia Finnigan, is not fond of the educational system that her son was put into. She told me about Matthew’s history.

As kids on the autism spectrum sometimes do, Matthew had problems being social and seemed to lack sufficient awareness of those around him. But he was also remarkable. In kindergarten, his mother recounted, he…

Kristin Hugo

New York-based freelance science journalist with a specialty in animals. @KristinHugo on Twitter and StrangeBiology on Tumblr.

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