NatGeo Highlights – July 2016

I read this month’s National Geographic Magazine in about two days, probably because I wasn’t in the middle of any books. I have just a few thoughts:

First, about the cover story: I think I’ve mentioned before that I studied Criminal Justice in college. I remember at the time not being thrilled that the Criminal Justice (CJ) program was part of the Sociology department so heavily focused on sociology (my opinion on this has since drastically changed). I was also not thrilled with the program as a whole because I thought the CJ-specific courses were too easy, were very surface-level, and didn’t require enough writing. Most of the coursework I remember from college as being the most informative or useful was not part of my major requirements. Alas…such is life. I told them all this when I graduated, for whatever that’s worth.

All this by way of intro…The cover this month immediately caught my attention and interest. I long regretted not taking the two-course forensic science sequence that was offered in college, but over the years I started to question the usefulness of such courses for undergraduates not specifically applying the skills learned to a job. This article pretty much confirmed that idea for me. There is so much about forensics that is unscientific, which this article correctly points out, though there is increasing movement toward changing that. I still find CJ and forensics fascinating, but I look at everything with a much more skeptical eye and I am impressed by some of the scientific advances being made and applied to criminal investigations. In a way, though, it points to how much more useful a science rather than CJ background would be in entering the field – if one were interested in forensics specifically. For investigations more broadly, my humble, untested opinion (having never worked professionally in the CJ field) is that a sociology background–having the ability to understand society and the forces that go into driving and curbing illicit behaviors–is far more useful than a purely CJ curriculum would provide.

Second, about sharks: As the cover indicates, there’s a section in this month’s issue about Great White Sharks. I found the article incredibly interesting, but I want to point out just one single fact mentioned within:

[Great Whites] refuse to live behind glass–in captivity some have starved themselves or slammed their heads against walls. (Several aquariums have released them for their own safety or because they were attacking tank-mates.) (91)

This is, for me, the single most memorable fact in the entire issue. I just find it amazing. The article mentions that Great Whites are smarter than people give them credit for, and this just seems to prove it. They’re just not having any part of being stared at in aquariums. I love the fierce spirit!!!


That’s all for this month 🙂