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Mensa Bulletin Features

Sweet Talk: A Layman’s History of Diabetes

From the Egyptians of antiquity to Sushruta and Aretaeus the Cappadocian, onto the Renaissance, and into the age of modern medicine, we’ve come to learn a lot about diabetes. Understanding its history is understanding the disease.

By Carol Ann Wilson
The Guard Dog of Dury Mill

In spirit, the graves of those felled along the Western Front remain guarded. A century after the Great War, a silent sentinel watches over visitors to the hallowed grounds.

By Donald W. Watts
Bad Mother Suckers

In works ranging from Bram Stoker’s seminal 1897 book Dracula to Blaxploitation-era films like Blacula, vampires have long held a place in popular culture, tied inexorably to the subject of sexuality whether subtly or explicitly.

By Parker Bowling • Illustrations by Jonathan Moore
Letters From the Edge

With a nudge and some notes from his beloved, a widow attempts to move on with his life while again cherishing the life he once had. Husband and wife no more — nevertheless, she attempts to make him whole.

By Randall Noon • Illustration by Melissa Milton
Take Your Car and Drive It

In the future, it is decided that all cars will have to be self-driving. Just before the new mandate is to go into effect, one man wants a last turn behind the wheel — a last turn at real freedom.

By Joshua Ramey-Renk • Illustration by Michael McKenzie
You Are a Language Inventor

Incredible as it may seem at first thought, practically every sentence that you speak and write during your lifetime has never been spoken or written before in human history. Without realizing it, we all spend most of our waking hours inventing language.

By Richard Lederer
Standing Up in Slow Time

When the wife of a mom-and-pop auto shop visits a local school, she finds her next fixer-upper in the form of a scared young pupil. Are empathy and kindness sufficient tools to repair this fragile boy?

By Susan Howard Montgomery • Illustrated by M.C. Matz
This Dictionary Illuminates the Meaning of Everything

What the pyramids were to the ancient Egyptians the Oxford English Dictionary is to English language scholarship — the most impressive collective achievement of our civilization. The difference is that inside the OED pulses something alive, growing, and evolving.

By Richard Lederer
The Real Frankenstein and Its Author

Published anonymously in 1818, this year marks the bicentennial of Frankenstein, one of the most famous works of English Romanticism. Two hundred years later, a question lingers: Did we misread who the true monster author was?

By John Lauritsen
Straight Talk from a Noted Brain Doc, a Mensan

Norwegian neurologist and Mensan Dr. Kaja Nordengen, author of the bestselling scientific divulgation Your Superstar Brain: Unlocking the Secrets of the Human Mind, became in 2014, at 26, the youngest female medical doctor in Norway.

By José Beltrán Escavy
Artistry to a Point

Mensan artist David Ilan is trying to make a point — several points, actually. In some ways, Ilan is no different from other artists whose works distill larger themes into discrete subjects; their creations are microcosms for meaningful messages. What sets apart Ilan’s work is his embrace of the macro and micro.

By Lisa Gunner
Space Walker Maps the Next Giant Leap for Mankind

“Freak accidents” are not typically associated with a successful run as an astronaut. For Dr. David Wolf, however, spacefaring has not so much defined his career as it has augmented a jam-packed life story.

By Chip Taulbee
Pilgrimage as a Teaching Tool

Reading bits of history can be fascinating, but walking through them breathes life into printed facts. But it’s not just the cultural, historical, and artistic knowledge from which students can benefit on pilgrimages.

By Steve Cooper
From Our Tribe: 'Survivor' & Mensan Chrissy Hofbeck

How does a Mensan excel at Survivor? Getting on the show is hard enough, but apparently Saran Wrap proves useful. While on the show it helps to be good at math. Hofbeck shares her secrets with a fellow New Jersey Mensan and fan of the show.

By Iris Grossman
Hotsy, a Narrative History

A mother's selflessness and her daughter's shame. A cruel nickname and an abandonment of the same. If Altrua St. Trudy cannot outgrow her family name, she'll have to outshine it.

By Harley Staggars • Illustration by M.C. Matz
Fire, Swords & Magic

Swords and knives have historically played a significant role in African culture, with their creation seen as tied to magic, mythology, and history all at once.

By Joseph Mogel • Illustrations by Jonathan Moore
Where Should Americans Look for Health Care?

In a new documentary set to air in November on PBS, Mensan Suzanne Garber lays bare some of the frustrating intricacies of the U.S. health care system in light of how other countries operate and how their citizens engage in their own health.

By Chip Taulbee
I Was Not

I wasn’t supposed to yank this wailing woman out of a La-Z-Boy, wasn’t supposed to get clubbed in the head with a bottle of Beefeater by an uncle who thought I didn’t know enough to care. I wasn’t supposed to celebrate my 40th birthday in Buffalo General’s room 720.

By Greg D'Alessandro • Illustration by Jonathan Moore
Pick Your Brain

From Modafinil and similar nootropics to gene editing and brain-computer interfaces — will our seemingly endless quest for neuroenhancement forever end in "Flowers for Algernon"?

By Paul McKinley • Illustrations by Megan Sullivan
The Game

Michael felt the bourbon glaze numb his face as it always had after… how many? He stopped counting years ago, in the days when the high was a little higher and the morning climb back to reality not so treacherous.

By James Shepard • Illustration by M.C. Matz