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Truth is Powerful

Pain in the brain, climate racism, and quantum cusp: Books in brief

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Andrew Robinson reviews five of the week’s best science picks. The Painful Truth

Monty Lyman Penguin (2021)

Why is pain, a universal experience, so poorly understood by both doctors and patients, asks clinician-researcher Monty Lyman. He relieved his irritable bowel syndrome through self-hypnosis, including visualizing his bowels changing from “rocky rapids to the languid Oxfordshire Thames”. But hypnotherapy went unmentioned at his medical school — probably owing to an outdated view that pain arises only from injury to the body. Lyman’s compelling mix of science and anecdote shows that persistent pain is “messy, complex and human”.

Climate Change Is Racist

Jeremy Williams Icon (2021)

In a 2020 survey about the global impacts of climate change, conducted in the United Kingdom, 31% of respondents thought white people were hardest hit by droughts, floods, storms, food insecurity and air pollution. This gets “the injustice completely backwards”, says environmental and social justice campaigner Jeremy Williams. He argues that the countries most responsible for emissions are disproportionately white; those most vulnerable to its effects are mostly people of colour. Climate change, he writes, is “structurally racist”. Strange Natures Kent H. Redford & William M. Adams Yale Univ. Press (2021)Lakenheath Fen is a nature reserve for […]

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