Matthias Rascher: My Top 5 Longreads of 2011

Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a high school in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter. He is also a longtime contributor to the #Longreads community and an author for Open Culture.

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“The Possibilian: David Eagleman and Mysteries of the Brain,” by Burkhard Bilger (The New Yorker)

This fascinating article describes how neuroscientist David Eagleman combines different sciences such as physics, psychology and linguistics with the study of the human brain to arrive at a better understanding of time perception. His latest collaboration with Brian Eno confirmed his theory that “time is a rubbery thing.”

“My Summer at an Indian Call Center,” by Andrew Marantz (Mother Jones)

The title is pretty self-explanatory. Andrew Marantz gives a vivid account of how an Indian “culture trainer” taught him how to act Australian so that he could work in a call center in Delhi. “Lessons learned: Americans are hotheads, Australians are drunks—and never say where you’re calling from.”

“The Vision Thing—How Marty Scorsese risked it all and lived to risk again in Hollywood,” by Rick Tetzeli (Fast Company)

A wonderful tribute to Scorsese’s monumental achievements in the film industry. Also: Marty talks about why he ventured into the 3-D world with his new movie Hugo

“Banishing consciousness: the mystery of anesthesia,” by Linda Geddes (New Scientist)

This is one of my favorites from this year. Linda takes us on a fascinating journey through medicine and neuroscience to find out what we currently know about how anaesthesia actually works.

“Face to face with Radovan Karadzic,” by Ed Vulliamy (The Guardian)

My last pick is also the most recent one, from December, and it is not an easy read. Along with an ITN film crew, Observer reporter Ed Vulliamy uncovered the terrifying truth of Serbian-run concentration camps in the Bosnian war. While former Serb leader Radovan Karadzic stands trial at The Hague, Vulliamy is called as a witness—and finds himself cross-examined in a private, close encounter with the man accused of masterminding genocide.

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