July 23, 2015

July 21, 2015

Best Magazine and Newspaper Writing of 2013

Clearly, there is just too much of the stuff.

This is a meta-collection of articles that are themselves collections of good articles.

Starting with this collection of the Best Business Journalism of 2013 compiled by The New Yorker.

The most popular Quartz stories of 2013.

Top Long Reads of 2013.

The 41 best stories of 2013 compiled by BusinessWeek.

Some of the best Sportswriting of the year for those interested.

Epilepsy And Its Treatments Including Medical Marijuana

Fascinating tales about childhood epilepsy and what people do (and doctors recommend) when drugs and therapies don't work.

One solution is keto diet which consists of food that is full of fat and no carbs. One would think this would damage the kids but strangely enough, the food stops the epileptic attacks.

And the latest is using medical marijuana processed in a particular manner to treat treatment-resistant epilepsy.

And it's working.

Chris Hadfield Space Photography

Commander Hadfield has tweeted many photographs during his time in space.

Here are a few of his tweets.

Five Hostages From The New Yorker

The story of Kayla, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, James Foley and Theo Fadnos in The New Yorker.

Apollo Lunar Landing Photos

Commemorating the lunar landing from 46 years ago, here are some wonderful photographs published on The Atlantic website. Some goods ones are there that I hadn't come across before. Really. Go check them.

Let me paste just one here.

Those tiny workers are perched some 110 meters or 360 feet above the ground.

And more photos of Apollo 11 are here.

July 06, 2015

Paul Kalanithi And Mortality

When do we learn to accept our mortality? At 60? At 20? Perhaps never. When should we?

Perhaps mot people never accept their mortality — certainly not before the time comes when you start seeing your contemporaries fall off.

Realizing that you are mortal at 60 or 70 may be a good thing. It perhaps makes people more mellow and more congenial, less abrasive, less aggressive.

If one could reach that realization earlier, it might make us better human beings.

Perhaps religion plays a role in how and when people come to terms with their mortality. For me, my idea of mortality and what lessons to learn have to all come from exceptional individuals who lived and died exemplary lives.

Learning you have an incurable disease when you are in your 30s has got to be one of the toughest things one can face in life. Perhaps after years and decades of effort, you are close to achieving some important life goal, some important professional milestone in your mid-30s but then suddenly you are told that you've to say goodbye to it all; you have to go.

"The party will go on without you," as Hitch put it once.

That's what Dr. Paul Kalanithi faced and with what courage and dignity. No words from me can capture his generosity of spirit. In his own words:

Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described, hold so little interest: a chasing after wind, indeed.

And he writes to his daughter:

When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.

Well, what would you do if you were diagnosed with metastatic cancer when you are 36.

July 03, 2015

Pluto Files

As New Horizons closes in on its Pluto encounter, some facts about it to blow one's mind.

New Horizons approximate distance from Earth: 3 billion miles; 4.8 billion kilometers (32.28 astronomical units)
New Horizons approximate distance from Pluto: 93 million miles; 149 million kilometers (1 AU)
Time for signal to reach Earth: 4 hours, 28 minutes, 31 seconds
Primary communications: NASA Deep Space Network Canberra Station, Australia (70-meter antenna)

Simple calculations show that at the enormous distance of 4.8 billion kms where Pluto is, one arcsecond equals some 24,000 kms.

Hence, when they point that "big seven-foot, high-gain dish antenna" of the New Horizons spacecraft towards Earth, they've to be pretty precisely so that the signal is received in Canberra. If you are about 15 arcseconds off, instead of the Earth, you might be pointing to the Moon.

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