John Donovan

John Donovan

Contributing Writer

John is a freelance writer based in the suburbs of Atlanta. A longtime sports scribe with too much time covering college sports, the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball, he now writes on science, health, history, current events and whatever other weird non-sports stories that he and the editors at HowStuffWorks dream up. He has a journalism degree from Arizona State, a wife, a son, a dog that sheds too much and a bad case of eyestrain.

Recent Contributions

Indigenous women have been going missing and been murdered along an infamous stretch of highway in British Columbia since the 1960s. But not much is being done to find them — or who killed them.

By John Donovan

If our living space is to become outer space, we have a lot of challenges to address. And our first line of defense will be space architects.

By John Donovan

Unit 731 was a covert biological warfare research unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. Some of the most heinous war crimes ever were committed there. Why is it still so shrouded in secrecy?

By John Donovan

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Glass that glows? You bet. And that glow comes from a source you wouldn't believe. Uranium, the same radioactive ore now used to power commercial nuclear reactors.

By John Donovan

The 2004 incident in Granby, Colorado, left half the town destroyed. Now 17 years later, Marvin Heemeyer, the man who piloted the tank that crushed the library and town hall, has become a hero to antigovernment extremists.

By John Donovan

Suicide is a major challenge to public health in the United States. But like most public health problems, it can be prevented.

By John Donovan

He palled around with Wyatt Earp in Dodge City, then later with President Teddy Roosevelt in New York City. He was a lawman, gambler and gunfighter who also was a sports writer, newspaper man and big fan of boxing.

By John Donovan

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At least 100 technical experts from 24 countries will provide professional repair and maintenance to the athletes' prosthetics and orthotics at the Technical Repair Service Center in Tokyo.

By John Donovan

Like the Tokyo Olympics, the Paralympic Games are happening a year late. But these athletes are equally, if not more, impressive to watch on the courts, beaches and in the pool. We'll explain what it takes to make it as a Paralympian.

By John Donovan

Cities like Chicago are spending millions for high-tech systems that can identify and pinpoint the exact location of a gunshot. But are these systems worth the price tag?

By John Donovan

The Mafia has controlled everything from the street-corner drug trade to labor-union leadership to high-level politicians. How did it start and what's its status now?

By Ed Grabianowski & John Donovan

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Despite strict closing and mask orders, San Francisco was hit hard by the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. But some residents balked at the rules and that meant more people died.

By John Donovan

Mystical water witches are in high demand during these dry times. But are they better at finding groundwater than a science-driven geohydrologist?

By John Donovan

Emmett Till would have turned 80 today. Instead his vicious kidnapping and lynching still stands out among the thousands of lynchings in the U.S. after the Civil War. What was it about his murder that made the world stand up and take notice?

By John Donovan

They'll compete in 10 events over two grueling days in Tokyo. Does that make the gold medalist in the decathlon the best athlete in the world?

By John Donovan

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The Tokyo Olympics are happening a year late, but what was the delay like for the athletes who've trained their entire lives just to get there? For some, it was a huge physical and mental struggle. For others, it was just too much.

By John Donovan

Investigations into unruly-passenger incidents by the FAA have soared 168 percent through June over 2020's numbers. What's going on in the unfriendly skies? And what is the TSA doing to protect flight crews?

By John Donovan

He is famous for assassinating Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV. But what was his motive, other than to rid the world of the man who killed President John F. Kennedy days before?

By John Donovan

A new era of pet foods created in the lab, sustainably and with reduced environmental impact, is coming. But will pets — and their humans — like it?

By John Donovan

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Though it's been around for more than 150 years, Juneteeth was still a mystery to many. But now, it's become the newest federal holiday in the U.S.A.

By John Donovan

For the Polish military officers allowed to participate, the games were a celebration of humanity during a time of death and destruction. But these games demonstrate — to this day — the awesome healing power of sports.

By John Donovan

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has been around longer than basketball. Heck even light bulbs. For the first time, it won't have any human spectators and it will be held outside.

By John Donovan

Some say his IQ was 50 to 100 points higher than Albert Einstein's. So why haven't you heard his name before? We'll tell you the sad tale of why this incredible genius flamed out.

By John Donovan

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The Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, aka "Black Wall Street" was one of the wealthiest African American neighborhoods in the U.S. But in 1921 it was the site of the worst race massacre in U.S. history.

By John Donovan

Magda Herzberger was just a teen when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz. It was the last time she saw her father. Now 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, she talks about the Holocaust with a sense of urgency.

By John Donovan