This yearly best-of shares three articles with The Best American Science and Nature Writing: 2010 but saliently differs by including medical articles. Editor Groopman picked good ones about strange things, such as Larissa MacFarquhar’s New Yorker look at people who donate their kidneys to strangers, Benedict Carey’s New York Times report about the comeback of the lobotomy (euphemized as the “cingulotomy”), and Steve Silberman’s Wired piece about the effectiveness of placebos. For such news-you-can-use, the hardcore periodical Science is not normally renowned, yet Groopman has extracted one for anyone who’s committed a social gaffe, “How to Think, Say, or Do Precisely the Worst Thing for Any Occasion.” Newsworthy topics represented herein include a profile of the late green-revolution agronomist Norman Borlaug, a Wired riposte to the irrational antivaccine movement, and psychologist Steven Pinker’s essay about personal DNA testing. Alas, a serpent lies coiled in science’s garden, as a Nation alarm about the drastic reduction of the media’s science coverage discloses. Help allay that decline by expanding the audience for Groopman’s 22 sharp-minded contributors. --Gilbert Taylor
From the Back Cover
Edited by New York Times bestselling author Jerome Groopman, The Best American Science Writing 2010 collects in one volume the most crucial, thought-provoking, and engaging science writing of the year. Distinguished by new and impressive voices as well as some of the foremost names in science writing—David Dobbs, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Larissa MacFarquhar among them—this eleventh edition features outstanding journalism from a wide variety of publications, providing a comprehensive overview of the year’s most compelling, relevant, and exciting developments in the world of science. Provocative and engaging, The Best American Science Writing 2010 reveals just how far science has brought us—and where it is headed next.