A short while back, Mother Jones ran a piece on privatized prisons that keep the money coming in when crime rates are lower. Occupancy rates are written into the contracts, leaving privatized prisons to make deals, including “mandating that local or state government keep those facilities between 80 and 100 percent full. In other
When watching The Tudors, I found that there was no shortage of episodes featuring an interrogator and/or executioner, complete with the condemned asking for a quick and painless death. Initially, I was always puzzled by the blood-thirsty crowd—men, yes, but women and children too—all clamoring for satisfaction. (There was, by the way, a time
Mary Gordon is probably the first who comes to mind when I think of women writers writing fiction about women self-identifying in relation to their children, mothers, and lovers. See her haunting Pearl, for example, or the three novellas published together as The Rest of Life, which I’m currently reading. So it’s not surprising
If there ever was a frontier that poses the most questions in science, I imagine the idea of consciousness is one of them. Most books on consciousness are either from a religious perspective of the soul or look at neuroscience, discussing studies and experiments and what they may imply about the brain and perception.
Below are three books about you. New scientist’s CultureLab has three short reviews up of books that encounter the question of personal identity (“Neuroscience clues to who you aren’t“). What I like about the selection of books being reviewed are the angles from which they come at the question, or at least the angle
According to Connectome by Sebastian Seung, you can teach an old dog new tricks. We are more than our genes, and life events and experiences can help our brains rewire our neurons. How much they get rewired may be based on the role our genes play in these new connections, but we are not
Historical fiction is an intriguing creature because of its double nature: rooted in history, but executed in that wide spectrum known simply as “inspired by.” Characters in these novels may have only a tangential connection to the historical record or they may be based squarely on what is known. And since history is “told
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey Reagan Arthur Books (February 1, 2012) 389 pages (hardcover) Because fairy tales are “full of unsettling transformations and traumatic bargains,” says Ron Charles, fiction editor at The Washington Post, writing fairy tales is “a difficult act of wizardry: One wrong spell and you’re cast out of the kingdom