Reading List for September 22, 2017

Final Forms Kathryn Schulz writes about the history of the death certificate and its limitations in answering one of its main pieces of data, how any given person dies.

The Case Against Civilization In the New Yorker, John Lanchester surveys research that questions the generally-held notion that the development of civilization represented a positive progression in human history.


The 59-Story Crisis In a 1995 article in the New Yorker, Joe Morgenstern covers the dreadful realization in 1978 that the engineering for the newly-built Citigroup building in Manhattan was not enough to keep it standing in high winds.

Outsmarting the CERNageddon In a 2013 article in Nautilus, Erik Vance writes about the investigation into concerns that the Large Hardon Collider could potentially bring about the end of the universe as we know it by creating tiny black holes.

The Illusions of Psychiatry In a 2011 review of several books, Marcia Angell writes about the “frenzy of diagnosis” fostered by each expanding edition of the DSM, and the cooperation between psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry that led to an overmedication of America starting in the 1980s.

The First Americans In Humanities magazine, Steven Moyer writes about the upsetting of the Clovis First orthodoxy, that for a long time presupposed that any human artifact in North America that appeared to predate 12,500 years ago must be mistakenly interpreted.

Did Tiny Algae Fell Mighty Dinosaurs? In Science magazine, Carolyn Gramling writes about the discovery of a rich cache of dinosaurs bones around an ancient pond in Madagascar that can seem to only be explained by killer algae.

If You Come Across a Bent Tree In the Forest, Look Around Immediately Cailyn Finkel covers the use of trees as trailmarkers by long-ago Native Americans, some of which (the trees) still survive.

I’m always looking for things to read. If you know an interesting article, send it to me at

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