Future Science is the first installment in what editor Max Brockman hopes will be an annual collection; it consists of essays by young scientists who, for the first time, are presenting to a general reading audience the scientific hypotheses they are pursuing in their scholarly research. Nearly every essay is accessible (I skipped 2 of the 18 due to lack of interest).
Introverts are often indirectly told that their very way of being is a ‘condition’ or a ‘shell’ out of which they need to emerge. Susan Cain explores the fallacy of this and other beliefs about the introverted temperament in her fascinating book Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking. Introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating; many introverts are even quite sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, pain, and coffee. Extroverts recharge their batteries by socializing, while introverts recharge by being alone.
Victoria is a young woman whose only way of connecting with others is through a language no one knows. When Victoria was 10, Elizabeth, one of her foster mothers, shared with her the near-forgotten language of flowers: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, red roses for love… thistles for hate and distrust of human beings.
In The Psychopath Test, journalist and filmmaker Jon Ronson delves into the definition of insanity, eventually coming to question the methods that are currently utilized for diagnosing psychopaths –- methods which, in many cases, require nothing more than a score of 30 or more on a 20-point checklist of characteristics common to psychopaths: things like glib and superficial charm, grandiosity, manipulative behavior, and lack of remorse.
If you consider yourself an outdoorsperson or know someone who loves hunting, fishing, camping or outdoor gear, you will likely enjoy the humor of Patrick F. McManus. His life stories and musings are a mix of truth and exaggeration featuring many memorable characters, like mountain-man-old-timer Rancid Crabtree, and Crazy Eddie Muldoon: a great child-inventor who always had a new, 'good idea' of how to 'surprise' his parents. ("And guess what, Pat! You get to test the deep sea diving outfit! Don't that sound fun?!")
Explores the prevalence of Dissociative Identity Disorder, popularly known in its most extreme form as multiple personality disorder. Dr. Stout, a psychological trauma specialist, conveys how small things we interpret as distraction, spacing out, or situational fatigue are physiologically and behaviorally not different from an abused individual’s experience of dissociation or hypnotic trance.
Hobgoblins kidnap Henry Day when he is 7 years old, leaving an imposter in his place. Each Henry tries to adjust to his new life. Living in the forest with other stolen children who are also waiting to switch places, the 'real' Henry struggles to piece together fragmented memories of who he was. Meanwhile, the 'imposter' continually fears discovery and cannot forget that he is living a life that doesn’t belong to him; he eventually seeks out the truth of who he was before he too had been stolen and exiled to live in the forest as a hobgoblin (long before he stole Henry's life).
Greitens, a Rhodes Scholar and humanitarian whose work took him to Rwanda, Albania, Mexico, India, Croatia, Bolivia, and Cambodia, recounts his unexpected decision to join the Navy SEALS. “We can certainly donate money and clothing, and we can volunteer in the refugee camps. But in the end these acts of kindness are done after the fact. They are done after people have been killed, their homes burned, their lives destroyed. Yes, the clothing, the bread, the school; they are all good and they are all much appreciated.