Michael Mechanic

Michael Mechanic

Senior Editor

Michael landed at MoJo after six years as an award-winning features editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. He's written for numerous publications, including The Industry Standard, the Los Angeles Times, and Wired. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, two kids, four chickens, striped cat, and way too many musical instruments to master.

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Michael landed at MoJo after six years as an award-winning feature editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. He's written for numerous publications, including The Industry Standard, the Los Angeles Times, and Wired. He set out to be a scientist, and as an undergrad spent a year in an organic chemistry lab at UC-Berkeley, where he was a biochemistry major, trying to synthesize natural poisons found in the skin of certain tropical frogs. He later earned a masters degree in cellular and developmental biology from Harvard University and a second masters in journalism from UC-Berkeley. In 2009, he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for public service, as one of five writers in MoJo's "Torture Hits Home" package. The father of two mostly charming kids and an only occasionally charming striped cat named Phelps, Michael lives in Oakland, California, where, after years of classical piano and raucous punk-rock drumming (and putting out more than a dozen CDs on his former DIY label, Bad Monkey Records), he has retired to old-time and traditional music, guitar finger-picking, and more recently fiddle and mandolin. He has four chickens—Lucia, Podge, Cat, and Weed Whacker—but what he really covets is a hedgehog.

Open-Access Champion Michael Eisen "Sets Free" NASA's Paywalled Mars Rover Research

| Mon Sep. 30, 2013 3:30 PM EDT

NASA's Curiosity rover, spending your tax money in the name of cool science.

Wait, did science publishing maverick Michael Eisen just borrow a tactic from the late internet whiz kid Aaron Swartz?

Why yes, he did.

The headline for my new profile of Eisen wasn't meant to be taken literally. As I explain in "Steal This Research Paper! (You Already Paid for It.)," Swartz was indicted by the federal government for trying to do just that: He'd gained access to MIT networks to "liberate" millions of copyrighted scientific papers, most of them bankrolled by taxpayers through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies. Swartz and others in the open-access movement believed that the public should be able to view publicly-funded research without forking over stiff access fees to science publishers. Seems like a no-brainer, huh?

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