Even as the number of hours in the day remains fixed, the number of decisions we must make grows. Organic versus non? Public versus private? Paper versus digital? Modern adults must navigate real and virtual worlds, and if they have children, they need to keep an eye on their increasingly complicated worlds as well. Indeed, there is now a well-established body of science showing that there are only so many decisions you can make in a day before all your choices become bad ones. Decision-making doesn’t just feel exhausting, it really drains us.
Mark Greenwood wrote a wonderful book for children called Ned Kelly and the Green Sash.
Dr. Jeremy Smith, Senior Archeologist at Heritage Victoria, wrote about his investigation into the skeletal remains found at Pentridge Prison for Providence, the journal of the Public Records Office, to be published in September/October.
The scientists and researchers at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine have also written about their investigation into the old skulls and bones.
Consider the case of Ned Kelly's skull. You can read my article about the bushranger's DNA and the solution to this decades-old mystery at The New York Times.
Here, the August 22, 1880 article in The New York Times reporting the capture of the Kelly gang.
Ned Kelly's brother, Jim Kelly, "reviews" J.J.'s book. My favorite part is his description of the book as "an effective exterminator of the hive of journalistic wasps" that plagued his family.
I had reason to check back in on my interview with the legendary Leonard Lopate on WNYC, recorded when The First Word was published. I never posted it, so here it is now.
Nicholas Blechman and Greg Mollica, who created the cover for "The First Word," get their due in "Penguin 75." A wonderful book celebrating Penguin's 3/4 century, it features 75 of the best and worst covers from the past decade with commentary from the designers, authors, artists, editors and agents. Here, too, a great blog post on the book that excerpts the commentary on The First Word.
It's not like pork. That misunderstanding about the taste of human flesh is attributable to one of those linguistic mix-ups between explorers and locals: Apparently Pacific Islanders called human meat "long pig" because wild pig was the only other large animal whose meat they ate. According to Carole Travis-Henikoff's "Dinner With a Cannibal: The Complete History of Mankind's Oldest Taboo" (Santa Monica Press, 333 pages, $24.95), humans taste more like beef, only better. At least for some folks, she writes, the meat of people is the best they've ever had... New York Sun.
When you are searching for a word that is more precise than another though similar in meaning, you don't browse Piozzi's. Yet British Synonymy, the first English book of synonyms, was written by Hester Lynch Piozzi. Nor do you grab your Girard's. Published 76 years before Piozzi, the 1718 book of French words appears to be the first collection of synonyms in any language. What you reach for is your Roget's. Originally published in 1852, having been compiled over the course of more than four decades by the eponymous but strangely anonymous Peter Mark Roget, the thesaurus we know and love was not the first of its kind... Slate.
Also at Slate, a brief look at overwhelming anxiety.
The First Word got a nod in the LA Times Book Prize nominations! Winners will be announced in April.