GREENFIELD, Mass. — The first night they slept entwined on his futon, Jack Robison, 19, who had since childhood thought of himself as “not like the other humans,” regarded Kirsten Lindsmith with undisguised tenderness.
She was the only girl to have ever asked questions about his obsessive interests — chemistry, libertarian politics, the small drone aircraft he was building in his kitchen — as though she actually cared to hear his answer. To Jack, who has a form of autism called Asperger syndrome, her mind was uncannily like his. She was also, he thought, beautiful.
So far they had only cuddled; Jack, who had dropped out of high school but was acing organic chemistry in continuing education classes, had hopes for something more. Yet when she smiled at him the next morning, her lips seeking his, he turned away.
“I don’t really like kissing,” he said.
Kirsten, 18, a college freshman, drew back. If he knew she was disappointed, he showed no sign.
On that fall day in 2009, Kirsten did not know that someone as intelligent and articulate as Jack might be unable to read the feelings of others, or gauge the impact of his words. And only later would she recognize that her own lifelong troubles — bullying by students, anger from teachers and emotional meltdowns that she felt unable to control — were clues that she, too, occupied a spot on what is known as the autism spectrum.
But she found comfort in Jack’s forthrightness. If he did not always say what she wanted to hear, she knew that whatever he did say, he meant. As he dropped her off on campus that morning, she replayed in her head the e-mail he had sent the other day, describing their brief courtship with characteristic precision.
“Is this what love is, Kirsten?” he had asked.
Reuters News: Year in Review 2011 “From revolution across the Arab world to a nuclear disaster in Japan, from the euro zone crisis to a tabloid phone hacking scandal, from Osama bin Laden to Wills and Kate, 2011 was a remarkable year.”
The value of U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments from China between January and September 2011 is $983 million. China was the leading country of origin for such items. Similarly, China was the leading foreign source of artificial Christmas trees shipped to the United States ($79.7 million worth) during the same period. – Provided by U.S. Census Bureau
The Lives They Lived – Interactive Feature
Ira Glass, Julie Snyder and Lisa Pollak, producers of WBEZ Chicago’s public-radio program “This American Life,” were guest editors of this section of the magazine.
When The Times Magazine’s editors invited us to be part of the annual ‘‘Lives They Lived’’ issue, they told us two things: 1) They wanted us to be bold and shake things up, and 2) Times readers love the issue just the way it is.
Nice. We decided to try something that’s not so different from what we do each week on the radio. For each person, rather than the soup-to-nuts sweep of a typical obituary, we chose only one story from his or her life. An excerpt. As much as possible, we tried to get these stories in their own words, or in the words of people close to them. Our hope was that the immediacy and intimacy of this approach would bring us close to these people, and help us hear their voices, get a feeling for who they were.
Many of the people we’ve chosen have done nothing that would normally get them into a magazine. If the premise of this issue is to tell stories about who has died this year, well, everyone dies. It’s the most democratic experience of all, the one that, unhappily, we’ll all take part in, sooner or later.
Scientists Asked to Censor Bird Flu Studies
Concerned that details of recent research studies on a lab-made, highly transmissible version of bird flu could be used by terrorists to manufacture biological weapons, the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity has asked two scientific journals not to publish key details that would enable replication of the experiments. In the experiments, scientists created strains of the H5N1 avian influenza that could spread easily between ferrets, which are considered a good model for predicting what flu viruses will do in people. The request has sparked debate about whether scientific information should be censored when safety is a concern. More …
A group of Jedi and Sith took to New York City’s Times Square on Tuesday night to do battle and strike dramatic poses.
The event was staged by BioWare to publicize its Star Wars: The Old Republic online role-playing game.
Perhaps the best part of the event, however, was when the fans got to join in.
Boston Red Sox Sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees (This date in 1919)
Between 1914 and 1919, Ruth compiled an outstanding pitching record, but because pitchers do not play in every game, he was shifted to the outfield so that his powerful hitting could be used consistently. The following season, he was sold to the New York Yankees, and his batting feats and public personality helped salvage baseball’s popularity, which had been damaged by the Black Sox scandal. According to legend, Ruth was sold by the owner of the Red Sox in order to finance what? More…
Explanation: Magnificent island universe NGC 2403 stands within the boundaries of the long-necked constellation Camelopardalis. Some 10 million light-years distant and about 50,000 light-years across, the spiral galaxy also seems to have more than its fair share of giant star forming HII regions, marked by the telltale reddish glow of atomic hydrogen gas. In fact, NGC 2403 closely resembles another galaxy with an abundance of star forming regions that lies within our own local galaxy group, M33 the Triangulum Galaxy. Of course, supernova explosions follow close on the heels of the formation of massive, short-lived stars and in 2004 one of the brightest supernovae discovered in recent times was found in NGC 2403. Easy to confuse with a foreground star in our own Milky Way Galaxy, the powerful supernova is seen here as the spiky, bright “star” at the left edge of the field. This stunning cosmic portrait is a composite of space and ground-based image data from the Hubble Legacy Archive and the 8.2 meter Subaru Telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
We tell stories about the dead in order that they may live, if not in body then at least in mind—the minds of those left behind. Although the dead couldn’t care less about these stories—all available evidence suggests the dead don’t care about much—it seems that if we tell them often enough, and listen carefully to the stories of others, our knowledge of the dead can deepen and grow. If we persist in this process, digging and sifting, we had better be prepared for hard truths; like rocks beneath the surface of a plowed field, they show themselves eventually.
The story of my brother’s life is complicated by the fact that in my earliest memories there is no such thing as him or me. My brother was born one year and nine days after me, and although I was older, I have no recollection of life before he arrived. Growing up on a small family farm, we were alone in our play, and before the age of five it was always Dan and me together, sneaking strawberries from the garden, building snowmen in the yard until the darkness fell and our cheeks stung from the cold, whispering in our bunk beds at night. We were more than accomplices, much more even than friends; we were all the other had.
My going to school a year before him loosened that bond, as did overheard jokes about our paternity, for though we were close in age we soon became very different people, to the point where that was our most notable characteristic, the one other people fixated on—our difference. The contrast began but did not end with our physical appearance: his hair was red and his skin pale, while I had our mother’s olive complexion and black hair. Our personalities and interests formed as distinctly as our features. As a teenager my major obsession was sports. I trained for basketball and track in the humid clamor of the school weight room; I pored over copies of the Sporting News after I finished my homework at night. Dan focused his efforts on the wood shop, becoming skilled enough to hire on during summers with his shop teacher, with whom he built furniture and cabinets. As a wrestler, he viewed my passion for basketball as something of a retreat from manlier pursuits. Insofar as my teenage mind believed anything with bedrock conviction, it was that the fast-break style of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Showtime years was the pinnacle of team-sport artistry, and Dan responded by claiming that the Detroit Pistons—known as the Bad Boys, for their intimidating physicality and brutish antics—were his favorite team. Sports fandom, I see now, was an incidental part of his life, a wholly reactionary stance. He spent the weekends tinkering with cars, an investment of time and energy that confounded me, since he would smash them during races at the county fair each August, undoing all his hard work in a few loops around the track.
In the southwestern corner of Colorado, where the Uncompahgre Plateau descends through spruce forest and scrubland toward the Utah border, there is a region of more than four thousand square miles which has no hospitals, no department stores, and only one pharmacy. The pharmacist is Don Colcord, who lives in the town of Nucla. More than a century ago, Nucla was founded by idealists who hoped their community would become the “center of Socialistic government for the world.” But these days it feels like the edge of the earth. Highway 97 dead-ends at the top of Main Street; the population is around seven hundred and falling. The nearest traffic light is an hour and a half away. When old ranching couples drive their pickups into Nucla, the wives leave the passenger’s side empty and sit in the middle of the front seat, close enough to touch their husbands. It’s as if something about the landscape—those endless hills, that vacant sky—makes a person appreciate the intimacy of a Ford F-150 cab.
Don Colcord has owned Nucla’s Apothecary Shoppe for more than thirty years. In the past, such stores played a key role in American rural health care, and this region had three more pharmacies, but all of them have closed. Some people drive eighty miles just to visit the Apothecary Shoppe. It consists of a few rows of grocery shelves, a gift-card rack, a Pepsi fountain, and a diabetes section, which is decorated with the mounted heads of two mule deer and an antelope. Next to the game heads is the pharmacist’s counter. Customers don’t line up at a discreet distance, the way city folk do; in Nucla they crowd the counter and talk loudly about health problems.
‘X-Woman’ Coexisted With Neanderthals, Modern Humans…
A newly discovered human species likely wore heavy clothing and bracelets and hunted woolly mammoths.
An unknown type of human lived in Siberia 30,000 to 50,000 years ago.
The early human coexisted with modern humans and Neanderthals.
This is the first time a human species has been described only from its DNA.
An unknown type of human, nicknamed “X-Woman,” coexisted with Neanderthals and our own species between 30,000 to 50,000 years ago, according to a new study that suggests at least four, and possibly more, different forms of humans existed in Asia after Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa.
The as-of-yet-unnamed new human species, documented in the journal Nature, represents the first time that a hominid has been described not from the structure of its fossilized bones, but from the sequence of its DNA.
Researchers focused on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), genes passed down from mothers to their children — hence the X-Woman nickname.
Her mtDNA shows that X-Woman shared a common ancestor with Neanderthals and modern humans one million years ago, so X-Woman and her species likely migrated out of Africa 500,000 years before the ancestors of Neanderthals left Africa.
Modern humans are thought to have made the journey much more recently, at just 50,000 years ago.
“So whoever carried this mtDNA out of Africa was a creature that was not on our radar screen before,” co-author Svante Paabo told Discovery News.
New Site called Feed The Right Wolf Helps People to Break Free From Sexual and Porn Addiction
[not you of course but might be helpful for your friend]
Finally, “The Elements of Style” is a Rap Song
If you’ve always wondered why no one has ever written a rap song dealing with rules of grammar and style, or you just need your fix of goofy white guys rapping, then you need to check out “The Elements of Style,” by two Columbia graduate students.
Complete with ridiculous fake mustaches, the two Columbia graduate students rap about the 1959 classic The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, the classic style guide which has sold over 10 million copies. Actually, they pretend they are Strunk and White, while dishing out lines like “Split infinitive/Never definitive/Sounds unintelligent/Dumb and inelegant.” It’s actually a bit less clunky than it sounds. The whole thing is pretty clever.
Will Strunk lounges around in the library while drinking (of course!) a forty of Olde English. White introduces himself as a former student of Strunk, while also rocking the Olde English. They continue hanging around the library, pat each others’ mustaches and shout “Journalism, baby!” while connecting verses to the chorus of “My name is Strunk/And they call me White/Here to teach you how to put the pen down right/I see that your writing is a little bit wild/These are the Elements of Style.”
Are your tax dollars helping hide global warming data from the public? Internal emails leaked as part of “Climategate 2.0″indicate the answer may be “Yes.”
The original Climategate emails — correspondence stolen from servers at a research facility in the U.K. and released on the Internet in late 2009 — shook up the field of climate research. Now a new batch posted in late November to a Russian server shows that scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit refused to share their U.S. government-funded data with anyone they thought would disagree with them.
Andrei Krivorukov got a wonderful Christmas gift today: his very own life. He saved it after a titanium ball from a Russian communication satellite crashed right into its house, escaping death by just a few feet.
The Russian satellite was a Meridian, which is used for civilian and military communications. It was destroyed when a Soyuz-2 rocket exploded in midair, just a few minutes after its launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome—a Russian spaceport, located 500 miles north of Moscow.
The catastrophe sent several pieces flying over Siberia, near the city of Tobolsk and as far as 62 miles from the city of Novosibirsk.
One of them was the 11-pound titanium ball that fell through Krivorukov’s roof, landing right where he was minutes before. That was when he decided to go to his yard to grab some wood for his fireplace. Because, you know, it’s bloody cold in Siberia. And you have to run out of your house from time to time to avoid random satellite pieces from crushing you into a pile of gunk.
He also got another gift: the town where he lives said they were going to pay for the repairs. I’m sure he’s happy enough to save his neck.