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The chair of a working group from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said yesterday that cell phone use should be considered “possibly carcinogenic.” The W.H.O. is the most significant body to classify the radiation emitted by cell phones in this way.
Nathaniel Rich, author of the novel The Mayor’s Tongue, wrote about the debate over whether cell phones cause cancer in the May 2010 issue of Harper’s Magazine. His article is available, for free, at http://harpers.org/archive/2010/05/0082932. You can also download the free PDF from our archives. (And of course you can subscribe here to get free access to more than 160 years of Harper’s Magazine.)
For those interested in getting additional context on the cell phone news, Cancer Research UK has posted an excellent piece contextualizing the W.H.O.’s findings.
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.”