December 27th, 2012
03:55 PM ET

Making 'the greatest cookbook achievement of all time'

Editor's note: Nathan Myhrvold is CEO of Intellectual Ventures, author of "Modernist Cuisine" and "Modernist Cuisine at Home."

By Nina Raja, CNN

CNN: For people who don't know anything about it, how would you define modern cuisine?

MYHRVOLD: Modern cuisine is the movement of chefs that are trying to create new kinds of food, new food experiences. And they don't care if they have to break some of the traditional rules of cooking to do so.

CNN: There are so many cookbooks out there, what's different about your larger, 6-volume "Modernist Cuisine" book and your new 456-page publication "Modernist Cuisine at Home"?

MYHRVOLD: Well, you know, we set out to make a book that would explain how cooking worked and all of the techniques that modern chefs use, sort of the cutting edge of what the cooking world is.

Now a lot of home folks bought the book and use it and cook from it, but it's a little daunting to buy a six volume, 50-pound, 456-page book. And, of course, a number of the recipes are recipes that are just hard to do, that in fact, almost every chef in New York would find hard to do, much less somebody at home.

So we thought there was room to create a smaller book, a little bit less imposing, a little bit cheaper, where all of the recipes were designed to be done in a home kitchen by home cooks.

CNN: Can you briefly tell us how you got from working at Microsoft to working with food?
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September 22nd, 2012
01:07 PM ET

Opinion: Brain science key in trial of alleged 'Batman' shooter

Editor's Note: Dr. David Eagleman directs the Eagleman Laboratory for Perception and Action at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He is the subject of Sunday's episode of "The Next List," on CNN at 2 p.m. ET.

By David Eagleman, Special to CNN

(CNN) - In the wake of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting, many people are asking the same questions: What kind of derangement is revealed by the alleged acts of James Holmes, who has been charged with murder and attempted murder in a massacre during a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises"? What is wrong with the brain that concocted this plot? How will information about Holmes' mental state play out in the courts?

My goal here is to bring a perspective on this tragedy from the point of view of a neuroscientist.

Few facts are publicly available about Holmes’ mental health background. Despite the dearth of data, however, several issues can be clarified and discussed.

To begin, it’s critical to understand the difference between two words: psychotic and psychopathic. These are two similar-sounding terms that commentators sometimes use interchangeably.

But, in reality, they are entirely different.

A person with a psychosis is disconnected from reality. For example, a homeless person arguing with himself is typically suffering from a psychosis such as schizophrenia. Someone with this sort of mental illness is termed “psychotic.” A person with a disorder of mood such as bipolar disorder (in which one alternates between depression and mania) can also have associated psychotic features such as hallucinations and delusions.

In contrast, a person with psychopathy has low empathy and low remorse. The psychopath can be smart, glib, charming and blend in perfectly with the society around him, but he lacks compassion and guilt. Behind his “mask of sanity” lurks a manipulative creature who can hurt others without compunction. A psychopath (or, synonymously, a sociopath) is someone like Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. They are termed “psychopathic”.

Which, if either of these, was Holmes? If convicted of the crimes, did he suffer from a psychosis, or was he instead a cognitively intact but emotionless sociopath? When Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter told the media that Holmes was “a psychotic son of a bitch," it’s safe to guess that his statement stemmed from a confounding of the terms rather than a specific diagnosis.

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Filed under: Books • Future • The Next List • Thinkers • Video
April 6th, 2012
09:53 PM ET

A history of Hollywood's invented languages

Editor's NoteDavid Peterson is the creator of the Dothraki language used in the HBO show 'Game of Thrones.' Peterson not only created the language but also served as translator/dialect coach for select cast in 'Game of Thrones.' He is also a member of the Language Creation Society.  A 30-minute profile of Peterson will air on The Next List on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on CNN.

The full history of language creation is a fascinating and varied one, but for now, I want to focus on the use of created languages in television and film. As a starting point, it's useful to examine the usage of "foreign languages" in television and film. Though it's hard to imagine at this point a Russian character speaking something other than authentic and grammatically appropriate Russian in a feature-length film, that hasn't always been the case.

Consider, for example, the film adaptation of Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). Moviegoers are familiar with the racism inherent in casting the "other" in older films. For the film, if an actor looked "Asian" that was good enough. That same attitude extended to the use of language in the film. Even without knowing Chinese, you can watch Thoroughly Modern Millie and tell that the "Chinese" spoken is complete and utter gobbledygook. That, though, was simply a detail: as long as it sounded "Asian", that was good enough. And mind, this was 1967. FULL POST

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March 22nd, 2012
10:45 AM ET

Hugh Herr’s “Amazon” Children

Patricia Ellis Herr is the mother of two children with Hugh Herr, who is the director of the Biomechatronics group at MIT’s Media Lab. Patricia and her 9-year-old daughter Alex successfully completed a winter ascent of Mount Washington this month; the same mountain where Hugh Herr lost both of his limbs in a tragic mountain climbing accident. Watch Hugh Herr’s entire story on The Next List Sunday March 25 at 2 pm E.T. on CNN.

By Patricia Ellis Herr, Special to CNN

Mt. Washington.

This is the mountain that took Hugh Herr’s legs.

This is the mountain where, thirty years ago, then-17-year-old Hugh and a friend got lost in a snowstorm near the summit on a brutally cold January afternoon. This is the mountain on which they wandered for four days in subzero temperatures without food or shelter.

This is the mountain that took the life of Albert Dow, a volunteer member of the search and rescue team that was sent out in search of the boys.

This is the mountain I’m about to ascend with our nine-year-old daughter.

Hugh knew this day would come. Alex and I have been winter hiking New Hampshire’s 48 highest mountains, The Four Thousand Footers, since she was six years old. She and I have completed almost two full rounds of these peaks during the regular spring-summer-fall hiking seasons, but we have yet to hike every single one during winter. Today, we’re close to completing this goal. All we have left to ascend are Mt. Flume, Mt. Monroe – and Mt. Washington.

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