Lies, Damned Lies, and Memories

When I was about four years old, a squirrel found its way into our house. My dad and his brother pursued it while my mom and I cowered in the bathtub with the shower curtain drawn. Eventually one of the men killed it with a hammer. I don’t remember seeing the corpse, but I have […]

Guest Post: Me vs Myers-Briggs

“Can you talk to a stranger for an hour?” Despite coming from a computer, the question felt almost aggressive.  Of course I can talk to a stranger for an hour.  I was a reporter for over a decade; you can’t do that job without learning to talk to almost anyone for an hour. Still, I […]

Something Up His Sleeve, Part 2

Yesterday I confessed my fear of magicians. Today I confront that fear by going to the source: Alex Stone, a magician I met at a party who, at my prompting, was kind enough to perform an impromptu set that thrilled me but that also, on the walk home, left me feeling uneasy. I later learned […]

Something Up His Sleeve, Part 1

Magicians scare me. Not magic. Magic is cool. I was at a party recently when I asked someone what he did and he said he was a magician and I said I hope he didn’t mind but would he possibly—and even before the request was out of my mouth he had produced a deck of […]

A Chilling (Not Actually Possible) Future

Humans might someday become cyborgs and live forever. Really, that might happen. This was my take on a recent New York Times profile about Dmitry Itskov and his quirky quest to upload human brains into machines by 2045. It seems that this Russian former media magnate and propagandist has started a project to upload a human consciousness into […]

If He Only Had a (Clue About the) Brain

David Brooks has done it again. In his New York Times op-ed column last Monday, Brooks portrayed psychiatry as a “semi-science” suffering from “Physics Envy.” He pointed to the publication of the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual—or DSM-5—as evidence that psychiatry misrepresents itself as hard science. The column opens, “We’re living in an empirical age,” and it goes […]

Your Guide to the Future

I used to think M.T. Anderson was prescient. Now I’m convinced he’s psychic. Anderson is the author of the young-adult novel Feed, a very funny — and deeply disturbing — book about the seductive power of social media. In the world of the novel, the fortunate have a “feed” implanted in their brains at birth, […]

Buds

“Did they ever meet?” I got the question all the time. People would ask what I was working on, and I would say a book about Einstein and Freud, and then would come the question. Same thing with my next book. People would ask what I was working on, and I would say a book […]