The Fear Project A new book exploring life's most primal emotion

Archive for August, 2012
Big Wave Surfing: A Triumph of the Modern Brain
Big Wave Surfing: A Triumph of the Modern Brain

It was an honor to have my article about Mavericks and the neurobiology of fear and courage published in last month’s issue of Surfer Magazine. There will be much more to come on this topic. Here’s the intro to the article. A few winters ago, I got all amped on surfing Mavericks. I’d never been […]

Swimming Through Fear
Swimming Through Fear

On Friday, August 31, at 6 a.m., ultra swimmer Jamie Patrick will begin his attempt to become the first human to ever swim around the perimeter of Lake Tahoe. Though he’ll be wearing a wetsuit, the 68-mile swim will be one of the longest nonstop swims in history. You can watch it live here, but […]

Why We Love Fear (And Game of Thrones)
Why We Love Fear (And Game of Thrones)

One of the best parts of the HBO series Game of Thrones is how well the writing captures fear’s many facets. In this scene, Brandon Stark, son of Ned Stark, is asking Old Nan for a scary story, prompting ominous talk of their world’s dreadful long winters. “Oh, my sweet summer child,” says Old Nan, […]

The Smell of Fear May Help Us Focus
The Smell of Fear May Help Us Focus

It’s well known that many animals can sense fear through smell, humans included. In this fascinating study, Dr. Denise Chen and colleagues took sweat samples from the underarms of men and women who had just watched a scary movie or a benign documentary. They then asked a different sample of undergraduates to smell the sweaty […]

Fear Tactics Are Old Skool
Fear Tactics Are Old Skool

Vegan terrorists? Yep, they’re out there, one of the FBI’s top domestic terrorism priorities. I just spent a couple months reporting on their primary umbrella organization, the Animal Liberation Front, after the organization anonymously claimed responsibility for bombing California’s largest beef producer, Harris Ranch. (Read the San Francisco Magazine story here.) One of the most […]

Olympic Stress. How Do Athletes Deal?
Olympic Stress. How Do Athletes Deal?

One shot. That’s what many of these Olympic athletes will get. The stress is nearly unimaginable. How do they deal? I recently caught up with Jamie Nieto, one of the Team USA Olympic high jumpers, who will be competing in the high jump qualifier in just a few hours. Nieto, who is 35 and likely […]

Afraid of New Foods? Blame Your Ancestors.
Afraid of New Foods? Blame Your Ancestors.

I ate pig cheeks last night. We’d just arrived in the small, medieval town of Evora, renowned for its hearty cuisine and wines. As one who leans vegetarian, pig cheeks were the last thing I was craving. But sticking to my Portugal road trip policy of openness and zero expectations – and with our waiter […]