Lonni Sue Johnson was a successful illustrator, when the herpes simplex virus attacked her brain; she lost almost her entire lifetime of knowledge, along with the ability to form new memories. Michael Lemonick describes how she’s invaluable to neuroscientists working to understand how we make and store memories.
I used the seven deadly sins–lust, gluttony, envy, greed, sloth, pride, and anger — as the springboard for choosing these stories. 1. LUST: “Eileen Myles on the Excruciating Pain of Waiting for Love.” (Eileen Myles, The Cut, February 2016) Poet and novelist Eileen Myles muses on a summer fling that should’ve lasted forever. 2. GLUTTONY: […]
In the following essays, Antonia Malachik discusses the cultural implications of our aversion to walking; Garnette Cadogan relates how his walks are coded by his skin color, depending on where in the world he is; Adee Braun praises the New York eat-and-walk, and more.
Not everyone buys into a sky-god with a long white beard, a serious and all-knowing mien, capable of rewarding good behaviour and punishing bad. But it doesn’t take much imagination to recognise that God, as worshipped in most of the world, is remarkably humanoid, widely perceived as a great, big, scary, wilful, yet nourishing and […]
Nothing is set in stone, except of course your epitaph. In a recent essay for Aeon, Tom Pitock mused on the difficulty of writing his own father’s epitaph, and why we etch words on tombstones to remember people we loved. But not every culture uses epitaphs, as Pitock learned in Greenland: It took real effort to find the cemetery […]
Cabin fever might set in quickly on Mars, and it might be contagious. Quarters would be tight. Governments would be fragile. Reinforcements would be seven months away. Colonies might descend into civil war, anarchy or even cannibalism, given the potential for scarcity. US colonies from Roanoke to Jamestown suffered similar social breakdowns, in environments that were Edenic by comparison. Some individuals might be able to endure these conditions for decades, or longer, but Musk told me he would need a million people to form a sustainable, genetically diverse civilisation.
At Aeon, Carlin Flora looks at the pros and cons of praising children and what psychologists say to avoid: Over-praising children (You’re amazing!) can make them feel your standards are very high, causing the fear that they won’t be able to keep living up to them, say the psychologists Jennifer Henderlong Corpus of Reed College […]
I had come back to AmByth to help hasten the vines’ resurrection by taking part in a ritual. I’d been invited the month before, while dining with Philip Hart and his wife, Mary. We’d talked for several hours that night, around their fireplace, wine glasses in hand. They asked me why I was so interested […]
In Aeon, Jalees Rehman, an associate professor of medicine and pharmacology at the University of Illinois, discusses the potential healing power of stem cells found in human fat tissue: The discovery of regenerative cells within our fat has opened up new doors. As adult stem cells, they can be converted into tissues such as bone […]
‘Daddy, I had a bad dream.’ You blink your eyes and pull up on your elbows. Your clock glows red in the darkness — it’s 3:23. ‘Do you want to climb into bed and tell me about it?’ ‘No, Daddy.’ The oddness of the situation wakes you up more fully. You can barely make out […]
“We see our parents aging before our eyes, but we regard our grandparents as such oaks, their mortality not once entering our thoughts because they have always, to us, been old. By the time I began to realize the urgency of learning about him, he was gone. I never had the chance — or, to […]
With Mother’s Day on the horizon, I chose “mothers/relationship with moms” as the theme of my list this week: * * * 1. My Mom (Mary H. K. Choi, Aeon, April 2013) A deceptively simple title belies a gorgeous, funny, sometimes dark essay in which Choi attempts to communicate her strange affection for her mother. 2. The […]