What I’ve been reading

Here’s what’s caught my eye over the last few days – all relevant to research and stories we discuss in Extreme.

Introduction to astronaut bioethics: Patrick Lin and Keith Abney from Cal Poly’s Ethics and Emerging Sciences Group provide a thought-provoking guide to the ethical and legal pitfalls we might face in long distance, long duration space missions (Slate, 6 October).

Isolation and hallucinations: Vaughan Bell (of Mind Hacks fame) writes about astronaut mental health (The Observer, 5 October).

What’s the secret to successful midday napping? Outside Magazine (15 September) highlights the virtues of – and scientific evidence for – a daytime snooze.

Postcards from the edge of consciousness: Meehan Crist has a great long read on the history and uses of sensory deprivation (Nautilus, 14 August).

El Cap Reports: I’m a little addicted to Tom Evans’ accounts and stunning photos of who’s climbing on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. Occasionally he is on hand to witness the top-class work of the Yosemite Search and Rescue team, as on 3 October when they airlifted an injured climber from the UK off the wall. Everyone is relieved that the climber is so far doing ok in hospital, despite a fractured skull. We wish him a speedy recovery!

The definition of adventure: sharing a perfect view with a stranger encountered on The Mönch in the Alps reminds Brendan Leonard (Semi Rad, 25 September) that a trip doesn’t have to be “worthy of National Geographic sponsorship” to be an ‘adventure’. Simply being somewhere that makes you feel grateful for the experience is enough.

And finally, a lovely review of Extreme in this week’s New Scientist (6 October):

 Deeply researched, and told through personal anecdotes of explorers and how people cope in extreme conditions, the book is amusing, intriguing, exciting and a little horrifying. … Barrett and Martin point out that knowing how people cope with the toughest scenarios that nature and bad luck throw at them could help all of us handle more mundane situations in our lives. … So get comfy, fellow armchair explorers, and enjoy discovering how this book can help you face your own personal Everests.

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