Top 10 Most Banned Books: 2015

For many, many years I have put together a list of the top ten most banned books from the previous year, during Banned Books Weak. This year the Office for Intellectual Freedom, did not report the number of challenges (not without buying their official list anyway) so I’m unsure if it has decreased or increased year-over-year. However, this year has brought along a whole new crop of books. This is the first time I recall seeing The Holy Bible being on the list. Anyway here are the top ten:


2015

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

Click these links if you are looking for the top 10 lists for previous years with easy links to Amazon: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001.

Additionally, in 2010, I put together a list of the 100 Most Banned & Challenged Books Of The Decade by aggregating several lists from the American Library Association.

If You Want To Preserve Your Power Indefinitely…

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of author, philosopher, and futurist Aldous Huxley. This fascinating, short video was made using audio from an interview by Mike Wallace on May 18, 1958 combined with the animations of Patrick Smith. In the video, Huxley foretells a future when presidential hopefuls use television to rise to power, drugs grab hold, technology takes over, and frightful dictatorships rule us all. On the day of this United State’s presidential debates and the eve of our election, this video seems particularly prescient. From Blank On Blank:

But what these people are doing, is to try to bypass the rational side of man and to appeal directly to these unconscious forces below the surfaces so that you are, in a way, making nonsense of the whole democratic procedure, which is based on conscious choice on rational ground.


Splix.io

Splix

Splix.io is a pretty fun massively multiplayer online game. It’s a combination of Snake and Qix. The object is to acquire as much territory as possible without your tale being touched by other players, yourself or the boundary wall.

Silly me, I thought I was going to get something done this afternoon.
Via Metafilter

The Deadliest Garden In The World


Inside the Gardens at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, U.K. you find the famous Poison Garden. A garden plot containing around 100 different plants that can kill a man in just as many ways. From deadly Golden Bells to Hemlock, the only way a plant is allowed to grow in this garden is if it is lethal to humans.

In this video from Great Big Story we are introduced to Trevor Jones, the head gardener. Clad in a protective suit, Jones explains the cautious steps taken in order to safely maintain the garden. Surprisingly most of the plants are very common and known as cottage garden plants – they’re grown in many people’s gardens, but people don’t know how harmful they actually are.

The Moon 1968–1972

Project Apollo Archive 41

During all six of NASA’s manned lunar landings, astronauts were armed and trained to use modified Hasselblads. During the Apollo missions, NASA’s astronauts took photos of moon landings, moon walks, the lunar surface, the horizon, and the Earth with these cameras. The results included over 20,000 photographs by 13 astronauts over six lunar landing missions. This huge trove of photographs are cataloged at The Project Apollo Archive. NASA also released a large number of these photos on Flickr back in 2015. The photo above is one of my favorites from this collection.

Though shot originally for scientific purposes, many of the photos have an extraordinary aesthetic value that encompasses an inadvertently artful composition. The fine folks at T. Alder Books have sorted through the nearly 15,000 of these photos and came up with 45 images that consist of “unintended artful compositions” and a “beautiful, deft outtake quality,”. The collection will be released in a book entitled The Moon 1968–1972 that will be released later this month.

At a time when archival images are often hastily assembled into digital galleries that get passed around briefly on social media, it’s especially satisfying to sit with an affordable ($18), carefully edited, designed and printed archive of photographs of historical significance and esthetic value. Texts include excerpts from a speech President John F. Kennedy made about the Apollo program, and from an E.B. White story for The New Yorker recalling the first moon landing.

Bad Trips Gone Good

A new study (Survey Study Of Challenging Experiences After Ingesting Psilocybin Mushrooms: Acute And Enduring Positive And Negative Consequences) from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine had nearly 2,000 individuals complete an online survey about their single most psychologically difficult or challenging experience (worst “bad trip”) after consuming psilocybin mushrooms.

The study found that about 84 percent of users who have experienced a “bad trip” from hallucinogenic mushrooms say they benefited from the psychologically difficult situation. Some 60% of respondents considered their experience to be among the top 10 most psychologically personally meaningful experiences of their lives. Additionally, the majority of respondents said that a “psychologically difficult experience” while on Psilocybin lead to “enduring increases in well-being.” PsyPost reports that:

34 percent of participants said the bad trip was among the top five most personally meaningful experiences of their life and 31 percent said it was the among the top five most spiritually significant. And 76 percent said the bad trip had resulted in an improved sense of personal well-being or life satisfaction. Forty-six percent said they would be willing to experience the bad trip all over again.

Interestingly, the degree of psychological difficulty was statistically associated with beneficial outcomes. More difficult or challenging experiences tended to be viewed as more beneficial or meaningful. However, longer bad trips were associated with less beneficial outcomes.

Despite the counter-intuitive findings of this study, anyone who has psychedelic drug experience can assure you bad trips are not fun. Of those surveyed for this study, thirty-nine percent rated it among the top five most challenging experiences of his/her lifetime. Furthermore, 7.6% sought treatment for enduring psychological symptoms as result of their bad trip. Three cases appeared associated with onset of enduring psychotic symptoms and three cases with attempted suicide.

Remember, Set and Setting folks, Set and Setting.