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Immediately upon leaving our position, we came under heavy enemy fire. Almost at once, Private Ames grew red in the face. Private Elder took Ames’s pack. But the pack was heavy, and Elder soon reported that his back was spasming. Also, his calves were burning. Elder joined Ames behind a small boulder, where the two men shared a Diet Coke. –“Heavy Artillery,” George Saunders, The New Yorker
More George Saunders from the Harper’s archive (subs);
Billy Bragg offended by bank bonuses, refuses to pay taxes (protip: those who like Bragg might also like Frank Turner);
environmentally-sensitive spouses risk ecoffending their partners
It was the third day of the Mars Society’s Twelfth International Convention, a gathering of space geeks, engineers, and scientists (mad and otherwise), held from July 30, 2009, to August 2nd on the University of Maryland’s College Park campus. This year’s conference had a particular urgency: an independent panel tasked by President Obama to assess America’s human space flight program had invited Zubrin to testify in Washington the following week. Obama’s task force, led by former Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO Norm Augustine, was a collection of industry insiders who weren’t likely to stray far from the status quo; but Zubrin had no plans to dilute his message. As he has since the early nineties, Zubrin would advocate for a radical overhaul of NASA organized around a single Kennedy-esque goal: reach Mars in under a decade. –“Mars or Bust,” Eric Benson and Justin Nobel, Guernica
DZ: I have to ask you your thoughts about Pat Robertson saying the earthquake happened because Haiti made a pact with the devil for independence.
OP: Pat Robertson can suck a big one–you can quote me on that. He is not a man of God and shouldn’t claim to be. And you can quote me on that. Please. –“An Interview with Haitian NBA Vet Olden Polynice,” Dave Zirin, The Nation
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”