Evolutionary biologist, runner, gay. Writings in Slate, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the LA Review of Books, and the Stranger. https://jbyoder.org
A runner turns a corner on a dirt track cutting through green lawn, in the shade of some trees
A runner turns a corner on a dirt track cutting through green lawn, in the shade of some trees
A runner rounds the south corner of the trail around North Hollywood Park.

The Sunday before Election Day 2020, I ran my 2,000th mile of the year; now, in late December, I’m closing in on mile 2,300. In a typical week this autumn, I spent maybe a dozen hours outside the cloistered courtyard of my apartment building. An hour of that is a weekly trip for groceries; about four hours for two trips to campus to give video lectures over a maximally stable Internet connection. The other seven have been on the run.

By my fragmentary records — a decade and a half of running spread over three different fitness apps and a…


A single alarm clock in focus, amidst a larger collection of clocks
A single alarm clock in focus, amidst a larger collection of clocks
Different people have different daily rhythms — but not necessarily because there’s an evolutionary advantage to it. Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions, but here at the beginning of 2021 I’m taking another swing at a habit I’ve tried to build up for most of my adult life: waking up early, naturally. I’d love to be a morning person, rising easily to finish breakfast and a workout before starting my workday. I can start myself on that schedule, especially after a restful period like the winter holidays, but keeping it up is the challenge. One night I’ll stay up past 10 reading or putting in extra time on a project — then the next day starts…


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The following is a transcription of my contribution to the 2020 Decolonize DNA Day Twitter conference, with some editing for readability in blog-post format. You can read the original thread starting here, and find audience questions with my responses on the conference Twitter account, @DecolonizeDNA.

Hi, everyone! I’m Jeremy Yoder, and I’m going to be tweeting about the surprisingly complicated relationship LGBTQ folks have had with genetic research. …


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Photo by Hello I'm Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

Living sustainably is, as they say, a growth industry. Any grocery store I choose to visit offers products made with organic-certified, ethically sourced ingredients. In Los Angeles, where I live, many now also have a section of the meat department given over to a diversifying array of plant-based replacements for ground beef and chicken. My power company lets me buy in to wind or solar sources for my electricity. I can wrap my food in beeswax-infused cloth instead of plastic, clean with products containing nothing more than soap or alcohol and some botanical extracts, light my living room with LEDs…


People gather at the base of a gigantic tree, the General Sherman sequoia, taking photos
People gather at the base of a gigantic tree, the General Sherman sequoia, taking photos
The crowd at the base of the General Sherman

The single biggest living organism on the planet is named for the man who torched Georgia. (Okay, details: that “biggest” depends on what you mean by “single,” “living”, and “organism.”) When I arrive at its foot, it is fairly mobbed by paparazzi. The “General Sherman” giant sequoia, a coniferous tree 274 feet tall and 102 feet in circumference at the base, is ringed by a paved trail and fenced off to protect its root system, according to Sequoia National Park’s many informational placards. …


One spring semester in high school, I stopped by Barnes and Noble to pick up a job application for summer. When I sat down at the kitchen table to fill it out, my mother took a look and gave it the expression she reserved for news stories about child abduction.

“I don’t think you should apply there,” she said. “You don’t know who you might end up working with.”

Mom never explained her low opinion of Barnes and Noble staff, but she did know what kind of people I worked with at the bookstore job I did take. Provident Bookstore…


by Jeremy Yoder

Woolly_mammoth_(Mammuthus_primigenius)_-_Mauricio_Antón
Woolly_mammoth_(Mammuthus_primigenius)_-_Mauricio_Antón

If you made a list of the weird and beautiful life forms that are going to be in deep trouble after another couple decades of climate change, Joshua trees would be somewhere near the top. Yucca brevifolia, as they’re technically known, are desert plants — the biggest, twistiest, spikiest thing growing in most of the Mojave Desert — but they’re already struggling in a warmer, drier world. In Joshua Tree National Park, at the southern edge of the trees’ range, Joshua tree seedlings are a rare sight. The arrival of winter rain and snow, the major source…


First snowfall: Romantic comedy. You meet cute when the first flakes brush against your cheek. The fresh snow cover makes everything look new and crisp and innocent. You take a long evening walk through the park, watching the falling snow dance in the light of the street lamps. You stop to make snow angels. There is a snowball fight, but afterwards everyone is still friendly. Towards the end, adorable children come out to play.

The cold snap: Heist. Going outdoors requires careful planning, and if you don’t have the right equipment, things could go pear-shaped in an instant. You have…

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