Alex Choi

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The Mark

The F.B.I. needs informants, but what happens when they go too far?<p>Last January, Michael Grimm, a forty-year-old United States congressman from Staten Island, sat for an interview in his Washington office with Greta Van Susteren, of Fox News. Grimm, a freshman representative who had recently been …

Taken

Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?<p>On a bright Thursday afternoon in 2007, Jennifer Boatright, a waitress at a Houston bar-and-grill, drove with her two young sons and her …

Pixel Perfect

Pascal Dangin’s virtual reality.<p>For a charity auction a few years back, the photographer Patrick Demarchelier donated a private portrait session. The lot sold, for a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, to the wife of a very rich man. It was her wish to pose on the couple’s yacht. “I call her, I …

The Abyss

Music and amnesia.<p>In March of 1985, Clive Wearing, an eminent English musician and musicologist in his mid-forties, was struck by a brain infection—a herpes encephalitis—affecting especially the parts of his brain concerned with memory. He was left with a memory span of only seconds—the most …

The Possibilian

What a brush with death taught David Eagleman about the mysteries of time and the brain.<p>When David Eagleman was eight years old, he fell off a roof and kept on falling. Or so it seemed at the time. His family was living outside Albuquerque, in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. There were only …

The Curse of Reading and Forgetting

Recently, a colleague mentioned that she had been rereading Richard Hughes’s “A High Wind in Jamaica,” which was first published in 1929 and is about a group of creepy little kids who become the unwanted wards of sad, listless pirates. She praised it, and her recommendation sent me to Amazon. The …

Brain Gain

The underground world of “neuroenhancing” drugs.<p>A young man I’ll call Alex recently graduated from Harvard. As a history major, Alex wrote about a dozen papers a semester. He also ran a student organization, for which he often worked more than forty hours a week; when he wasn’t on the job, he had …