I stumbled across this book at the library and quite enjoyed it.
As the title suggests, it's a collection of nonfiction essays culled from various magazines such as Wired, Discover, the Atlantic, the New Yorker, National Geographic, and so forth. As these sources may indicate, most of the essays are not very hard science, but they aren't fluff pieces either. Instead, they are good examples of writing on interesting and often complicated topics aimed at the layperson.
The essays range from efforts to decipher the lost knot-writing system of the Inca to understanding what an unusually limited language says about the human brain and the minds of the isolated Amazonian tribe that speaks it.
There's an examination of the origins of altruism, an assault on the misguided nature and benefits of multitasking, and a proposal to reintroduce megafauna to North America after indigenous peoples wiped out all the big animals millenia ago.
You've got a warning against the potential perils of biological contamination via untested and completely new nanomaterials, a look at the robots that will dominate the battlefields of the future, and a not so brave new world of online vigilantes hunting down scammers in virtual fashion and humiliating them in very real fashion.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. The collection is very affordable on Amazon and is now on my wishlist. I ordered a used copy of the 2005 edition and plan to pick up more of these volumes in the future.
I would write more, but I already returned my copy to the library (doh!) and can't be as specific. Might want to check the Amazon reviews.