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Dr. Quake’s machine, the Heliscope Single Molecule Sequencer, can decode or sequence a human genome in four weeks with a staff of three people. The machine is made by a company he founded, Helicos Biosciences, and costs “about $1 million, depending on how hard you bargain,” he said. –“Cost of Decoding a Genome Is Lowered,” Nicholas Wade, The New York Times
Misha holds the High Court order in one hand and grabs this reporter’s hand with the other. “What have you come here for?” she cries. “You all are impotent. You can’t change them. They will kill you too. We have to live and die by their rules,” she says. Her 26-year-old son Ved Pal, an ayurvedic practitioner, married and eloped with Sonia, 22, in March this year against the wishes of their parents. When the Banawala Khap, under whose ‘jurisdiction’ Singhwala, Sonia’s village is in heard about the marriage, they issued a decree stating that since the couple belonged to the same gotra, they were siblings and their marriage unholy. For the crime of “incest” and for dishonouring the community, the decree ordered that both be hunted down and killed. –“A Taliban Of Our Very Own,” Tarun Sehrawat, Tehelka
It’s too bad so many people are falling into poverty at a time when it’s almost illegal to be poor. You won’t be arrested for shopping in a Dollar Store, but if you are truly, deeply, in-the-streets poor, you’re well advised not to engage in any of the biological necessities of life — like sitting, sleeping, lying down or loitering. City officials boast that there is nothing discriminatory about the ordinances that afflict the destitute, most of which go back to the dawn of gentrification in the ’80s and ’90s. “If you’re lying on a sidewalk, whether you’re homeless or a millionaire, you’re in violation of the ordinance,” a city attorney in St. Petersburg, Fla., said in June, echoing Anatole France’s immortal observation that “the law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges.” –“Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor?” by Barbara Ehrenreich, The New York Times
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”