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Archive for August 2012

The FBI’s File on Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard

Last month I wrote about the FBI’s file on the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, a post that attracted many readers. Now I’m putting up my notes on the FBI’s file on the movie actress Carole Lombard, a contemporary of Wright’s who — owing to a mysterious airplane accident — enjoyed a much shorter life. Carole LombardName at…

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Four More Top History Blogs

A while back, I wrote about several history blogs that I enjoy reading. I promised to return with the work of more exemplary history bloggers (or in some cases teams of bloggers), and here are the results. All of these blogs share the virtues of delivering unexpected, informative, and entertaining history content. • The Literary Detective. It…

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Resuscitation for the Masses: How the Invention of CPR Shifted the Line between Life and Death

In 1960, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a manuscript credited with saving more lives than any other medical article of the previous hundred years.CPR training using a life-saving mannequin Modestly titled “Closed-Chest Cardiac Massage,” it described a simple method of keeping alive people in cardiac arrest. “Anyone, anywhere, can now initiate cardiac resuscitative procedures,” the manuscript’s…

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An Interview with a Stage Hypnotist

Last month, I posted the first in a series of short essays adapted from an article on hypnotists and hypnotism that I wrote for (but was never published in) Harper’s magazine several years ago. What follows is the second part of the series, which focuses on my meeting with a working stage hypnotist. I met Frank Pruden, who uses…

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The Case of the Boxing Kangaroo

I’ll be posting sparingly over the next week or two, but I wanted to let you know about a contributing gig I now have with the wonderful history blog Wonders and Marvels. (I covered Wonders and Marvels last month here when I wrote about four top history blogs.) My first post for Wonders and Marvels is about the…

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Savants in the News

Kim Peek, the autistic savant who inspired the movie Rain Man

Last month I wrote a post on my experiences with Max Weisberg, a mentally disabled savant who put his numerical talents to work as a sports bookmaker. I’ve long been interested in people like Max with an extraordinary mental gift amid deficits or disabilities. Commonly called savants (sometimes with the obsolete and inaccurate prefix idiot), those people often…

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