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Today, the term “genius” is bandied about to describe pop stars, stand-up comedians, and even footballers. But Leonardo da Vinci earned the description, explains Walter Isaacson in his lavishly illustrated new biography of the great Italian artist. From iconic paintings—“Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper”—to designs for flying machines and ground-breaking studies on optics and perspective, Leonardo fused science and art to create works that have become part of humanity’s story.

Leonardo Da Vinci: Genius For All Ages



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Though their order was dissolved more than 700 years ago, the Knights Templar have continued to cast a spell over the world. Terrorists and drug cartels evoke them. Dan Brown’s mega-bestseller The Da Vinci Code was partly inspired by one of the most famous Templar legends—that the Templars were the guardians of the Holy Grail. [Find out what the Templars had to do with Friday the 13th.]

The Amazing Story Of The Knights Templar




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As I was sorting through my mother’s possessions after her death in 2005, I found a battered, cardboard chocolate box at the bottom of her wardrobe. It was decorated with red roses and tied with a piece of red ribbon. Inside, I found bundles of faded love letters, tightly bound with string and fastened with tiny knots.

The Very White Of Love: Final Cut


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At a time when the science of global warming is under attack and many people complain of climate change fatigue, some cheering news occurred last month: A book about climate change became a New York Times bestseller in its first week of publication. Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by environmentalist Paul Hawken, is the first environmental book to make such a splashy debut since Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe in 2006.

100 Solutions To Reverse Global Warming



Terms like “deviant” and “misfit” are normally freighted with negative connotations. But neuroscientist Beau Lotto explains in his new book, Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently, that it is our ability to defy conformity that has triggered nearly every advance in human progress. The next big innovation probably won’t be a new technology, he says, but a new way of seeing.

NG Book Talk Looks At Perception – And The Power ...


"I figured I was dead. I would just keep falling and never wake up." This is how John All, co-author of Icefall: Adventures at the Wild Edges of Our Dangerous, Changing Planet, describes the moment after he plunged 70 feet into a crevasse in the Himalayas. Alone, and with a dislocated shoulder, he had to haul himself from ledge to ledge toward the surface, using only one arm.

Icefall! A Mountaineer On The Front Line Of Climate Change


What makes a person abandon the world and become a hermit? Was Chris Knight merely an anti-social loner? Or does he have something important to teach us? These are some of the questions journalist Michael Finkel, who has written for National Geographic, asks in his book The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit.

Hiding In Plain Sight: How A Modern Day Hermit Hid ...