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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
Number of people who attended the World Grits Festival, held in St. George, South Carolina, last spring:
The brown bears of Greece continued chewing through telephone poles.
In Peru, a 51-year-old activist became the first former sex worker to run for the national legislature. “I’m going to put order,” she said, “in that big brothel which is Congress.”
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“Civilization masks us with a screen, from ourselves and from one another, with thin depth of unreality. We habitually live — do we not? — in a world self-created, half established, of false values arbitrarily upheld, largely inspired by misconception, misapprehension, wrong perspective, and defective proportion, misapplication.”