Friday High Five: Books on HBO, Psychopaths and Astronauts

Olive Kitteridge HBO series

Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Olive Kitteridge, has been adapted into an HBO miniseries that will premiere next month - and it looks promising. The cast includes Frances McDormand (in the title role), Richard Jenkins and Bill Murray, and it’s scripted by Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are Alright). Here’s a peek at the trailer.

The scientist who discovered Ebola is worried

The Guardian has run a fascinating interview with Peter Piot, the researcher who discovered (and named) Ebola in 1976. He traces the discovery of the virus in a Belgian lab, his trip to Africa as part of a team to help track it down … and the moment he developed all the symptoms and feared for his life. He urges the need for new strategies, to prevent it becoming a pandemic.

Gone Girl: book vs film

Over at the Readings blog, they’ve gone Gone Girl crazy (try saying that aloud!). Crime book specialist Fiona Hardy and digital marketing manager Nina Kenwood went to see the film together, and have published their post-cinema debrief. And Nina has produced an in-depth comparison between book and film, assessing the strengths of each in a number of categories. The winner? Book!

Inside the brain of a psychopath … who’s also a neuroscientist

A neuroscientist who accidentally discovered, mid-research, that he’s a clinical psychopath, gives a fascinating insight into how his brain works, from both a personal and a scientific point of view, over at the Atlantic. He also makes a convincing argument for why children can and should be recognised and diagnosed as psychopaths at an early age, to prevent them from becoming violent.

Why the mental health of astronauts matters

What’s the biggest challenge for successful space missions - including the coming attempt to colonise Mars? Among them is a problem both seemingly simple and insanely complicated: the mental health of astronauts. More than one space mission has been called off due to astronauts' psychological problems. And it’s not just hallucinations due to cosmic rays or lack of exercise for gravity reasons. ‘Studies have found that many basic mental abilities, like attention, task switching, bodily co-ordination and problem solving seem to work less well in space.’

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