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Miracle grow

The teen brain is a marvel of smarts. It’s just not all filled in (yet).

By Elizabeth Cooney, Boston Globe-- June 28, 2010

"...  Smart kids doing stupid things: It’s the teen brain paradox. Extraordinarily quick to learn and rapidly reaching fluency in abstract thought, teens still make bonehead decisions, perhaps more so when routines relax in summer. But that’s because they’re operating with brains that are still a work in progress.

Of all the organs in our bodies, the brain takes the longest to develop. Frontal lobes — the seat of judgment — are the last pieces to be fully connected to the parts of the brain that sense danger or solve calculus problems. A growing body of neuroscientific evidence places full brain maturity at about age 25, well past the point when young people begin to drive,...

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Craig Welch's "Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature's Bounty"


By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Craig Welch's "Shell Games" has the most unlikely of central characters: the massive geoduck clam, a tasty creature that resides in the waters of Puget Sound and resembles the raciest part of the male anatomy. Pronounced "gooey-duck," the valuable shellfish and the humans who cannot resist plundering it make for a compelling tale that is at once ridiculous and tragic. Writing in the vein of a detective novelist, Welch recounts how a group of dedicated state and federal wildlife agents devoted years to cracking down on the lucrative trade in geoducks (scientific name: Panope generosa) in the Pacific Northwest.

One of the...

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Hitmen, smugglers, and clams? In his book "Shell Games", Craig Welch tells the story of environmental detectives who are trying to track down smugglers of the geoduck (GOO-EE duck) clam. Host Jeff Young talks with Welch about how the global black market for wildlife has increased the demand for species close to home.

Click here to listen or read the transcript.

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From The New Yorker

Alphabet Soup by Susan Orlean

"This is a true story:

My first book was acquired by two people I will call Editor A and Editor B, who ran a small imprint at a big publishing house. We had a great lunch to celebrate. A few months later, Editor A left book publishing to become a newspaper writer. Editor B became my primary editor. She and I had a nice lunch to talk about my book.

A few months after that, Editor B was promoted to publisher of the larger house—let us call it Publisher W—that owned the small imprint. Because Editor B—that is, Editor/Publisher B—now had too many duties to edit my book, I was assigned to Editor C.

Editor C and I had lunch. A few months later, he got a new job at another publishing house. I was assigned to Editor D.

Editor D and I had lunch. It was a pleasant...

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The truth about misassigned paternity

The wide availability of DNA test kits and the buzz about paternity fraud notwithstanding, the real incidence of misassigned paternity is less sensational than conventional wisdom has it.

by Marlene ZukThe Los Angeles Times

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Marlene Zuk

Israel's attack on a relief flotilla calls to mind another bloody incident

By Philip Weiss, Salon.com

" This originally appeared at Mondoweiss:

The attack on the USS Liberty is one of the great enigmas of US-Israel relations. On June 8, 1967, in the middle of the Six-Day War, Israeli planes attacked an American spy ship, the Liberty, that was in international waters off the coast of Egypt, listening in on secret communications. The attacks appeared to be deliberate, involving numerous passes on a clearly-marked American boat, strafing and napalming. The attack killed 34 Americans and produced very little by way of investigation. It was deemed an accident from the start, although many American officials doubted this conclusion.

The following quotes are from the book, "The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel's Deadly...

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From the Boston Globe.

Waterworld: How the ocean made us who we are

by Deborah Cramer

"The ocean has shaped human history in deep and surprising ways. In a cave off the coast of South Africa, a pile of mussel, whelk, and giant periwinkle shells attests to the beginning of our romance with the sea — the remains of the earliest recorded human seafood meal, 167,000 years ago. Since then, the sea has provided trade routes and fueled empires. But the ocean’s importance to our story is greater still: With its powerful effect on the planet’s climate, the sea influenced human evolution in the forests of Africa, and today continues to touch us wherever we dwell, whether in mountains, deserts, or cities. World Oceans Day, June 8, gives us a chance to consider the ways the ocean has transformed who we are and how we live. ..."

Click...

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The Washington Post's Lisa Bonos has published a positive review of Susan Kushner Resnick's GOODBYE WIFES AND DAUGHTERS. Bonos emphasizes the timelessness of Resnick's depiction of an all-too-familiar tragedy:

The coal-mining tragedy depicted in "Goodbye Wifes and Daughters" occurred nearly 70 years ago but is still an eerily familiar storyline in 2010. While mine safety and regulation have vastly improved, recent headlines out of West Virginia make journalist Susan Kushner Resnick's excavation of the 1943 explosion that killed 75 men in Bearcreek, Mont., seem not so distant from present-day disasters.

Read the entire review here.

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In an op-ed for the Charleston Gazette, Gordon Simmons reviews the new book from Susan Kushner Resnick, GOODBYE WIFES AND DAUGHTERS.  Simmons says Kushner's story "shows how tragedy repeats."

CHARLESTON, W.Va -- Like any great tragedy, West Virginia's explosion and deaths at Upper Big Branch mine captured the attention of the nation. But after the last funerals, investigations by safety experts and legislative hearings are done, it will likely fade from the national memory into a cold statistic occasionally found in official and historical documents.

This consideration makes Susan Kushner Resnick's new book, "Goodbye Wifes and Daughters," all the more timely. The disaster she chronicles is eerily similar to the one West Virginia just witnessed.

You can read the rest of the article here.

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On the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Providence Journal columnist Mark Patinkin offers a thoughtful report on EMISSARY OF THE DOOMED, Ronald Florence's true account of Jewish Hungarian emissary Joseph Brand's noble efforts to save the lives of a million Jews.

Patinkin writes:

If we’re to understand how the Holocaust happened, [Florence] says, it’s too simple to say it was only about evil preying on the innocent. It was also about good nations either too distracted or too mired in political calculations to act out of righteousness.

You can read the entire article by clicking here.

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