A selection of favourites chosen by avid reader of articles about science, nature, politics and social issues, Sharon Shasha:
The Kingdom of Silence by Lawrence Wright - An eye-opening article about Saudi Arabia written in the aftermath of 9/11.
The Apostate by Lawrence Wright - A vivid exposé of Scientology.
The Story of a Suicide by Ian Parker This piece about Tyler Clementi’s suicide was like one of those Greek tragedies you watch powerlessly as it unfolds towards its inevitable conclusion.
Slavery’s last stronghold by John D. Sutter - As we applaud ourselves for consigning slavery to the dustbin of history, in Mauritania, it is still practically an institution.
The Lethal Gene by Jeff Wheelwright - A great mix of science and history exploring the interplay between genes and environment in shaping our lives. A fascinating subject with profound moral and even existential implications.
A Fin is a Limb is a Wing by Carl Zimmer - How evolution builds complexity by tinkering with what’s already there.
Rhino Wars by Peter Gwin - The cruelest of ironies: The indiscriminate killing of endangered animals to feed demand for quack remedies that can cause further deaths.
What Makes Us Happy? by Joshua Wolf Shenk - An unbearably poignant article that puts the goal of happiness, in and of itself, into doubt: The unexamined life is not worth living, but may be the most conducive to happiness.
The Girls Next Door by Amy Fine Collins - A piece that challenges many of the assumptions about the legalization of prostitution, which I hope will serve as a call to action.
Born in the Gulag by Blaine Harden - A horrifying story of life inside the world’s most secretive state.
And as a special bonus, a couple of documentaries (they’re like essays, but with moving pictures): Louis Theroux’s disturbing Westboro Baptist Church series, and the great NOVA about creationism in Dover.
For links to loads more interesting reads, great documentaries and thoughts on the state of the world, check out Sharon’s Tumblr, or look her up on Twitter.