Forget about The Manchurian Candidate or I, Robot. While reporting this month’s cover story, “The Myth of Mind Control” (page 40), John Horgan became convinced that the human brain is so complex, dynamic, and adaptable that it is unlikely that our world will ever be ruled by cyborgs. “Every brain has its own private idiosyncratic code, and that can never be broken,” he says. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing.” Horgan is also the author of The End of Science (Broadway Books, 1996), The Undiscovered Mind (Free Press,1999), and Rational Mysticism (Houghton Mifflin, 2003).
“Our differences from each other, and our imperfections, should make it impossible to decode the brain completely,” says Mirko Ilić, who created the cover and opening illustrations for “The Myth of Mind Control.” Ilić was born in Bosnia and studied art in Croatia (formerly Yugoslavia) before moving to New York in 1986. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, ESPN, National Geographic, and The New York Times Book Review.
“Ginger’s Gene” (page 68) was a dream assignment for photographer Andrea Modica. She describes her portrait session with Ginger Weber, who suffers from a rare genetic disease that has caused her to age prematurely, and Ginger’s husband Tom as “an incredible gift. I live a fuller life when shooting something of substance.” Modica has photographs in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
On a recent drive down the Gulf Coast, David Wolman was struck by the relative scarcity of freshwater on Earth. “We live on a blue planet,” he says. “But you can’t drink much of it.” This thought made him even more interested in learning about the latest methods of desalination, the subject of “Hydrates, Hydrates Everywhere” (page 62). Wolman has written for Newsweek, New Scientist, and Outside and is working on a book about the causes, consequences, and culture of left-handedness.