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Joel Achenbach
Photograph by James Kegley

Joel Achenbach, a former writer for the Miami Herald, is a commentator for National Public Radio and staff writer for the Washington Post, where he writes three columns a week for He also wrote a syndicated column for seven years called “Why Things Are,” and is the author of four books, the most recent being Captured by Aliens: The Search for Life and Truth in a Very Large Universe. He was graduated from Princeton University with a degree in political science. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and three daughters.