technological science-themed subjects.
The 2011 version of the Best American Science Writing started out great for me with the introduction by Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and her father, Floyd, who co-edited. It was interesting to learn that they both came to science writing from entirely different perspectives and pathways. Their take on "what makes good science writing" is that it, "presents information clearly and accessibly while also telling stories that show readers how science impacts them, why it's essential to life and culture, why they should care, and why they should learn about it." I agree. Whether an individual enjoys the book's excellently written selections will likely depend on his or her interest in the subjects, but are worth reading just the same. With such a wide range of topics and tones, I found myself, at times, crying (Katy Butler's What Broke My Father's Heart "WBMFH") and other times feeling bored to tears (Mark Bowden's The Enemy Within). My favorites include: WBMFH, which tackles the issue of persons receiving unnecessary medical procedures that, though able to prolong a life, may do so at huge mental and physical costs; The Singularity, the prospect of possibly being able to upload the human brain; The Estrogen Dilemma, how the effects of taking estrogen depend on what time in her life she begins taking it and Deadly Misdiagnoses, problems that come from the misdiagnosis of TB.
Other subjects are: biological, folks on fermentation diets, Japanese get gut bacteria from sushi; biomechanical, man tracks sports injuries in order to increase sports safety; environmental, weather forecasters as global warming skeptics, the hazardousness of the BP oil spill and coal mine fires, guy collects data along nature path that benefits researchers; ethical, concerns about the NIH director's religiosity; mathematical, the theoretical distance limit of a home run, terrorist attack data fits a mathematical pattern; medical, mother of child afflicted with MD fights for research funding; psychological, confessions of a hoarder, scientists' resistance to blogging, perpetrators of cruelty to animals are likely to commit other crimes [seems like a no-brainer], use of LSD among Hollywood elite and a resurgence of research; and technological, the insidiousness of the Conficker worm, a robotic seal that provides comfort for the elderly. In addition, the About the Contributors section is always interesting. In summary, science writing on a wide variety of subjects is well-worth the read. Also good: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, Even Silence Has an End by Ingrid Betancourt and The Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso.