Links — May 7, 2009, 1:08 pm

Links

1923-01-0132

From the Web

This conflict has very little to do with Stanford and gender-neutral housing. It has everything to do with my parents having a hard time adjusting to the fact that I’m out of the house (I’m the oldest), I’m 3,000 miles away, and -especially- that I’m a liberal agnostic while they are conservative Catholics. [The National Review] really should have looked into this situation a little bit before publishing that article.”

Catholic mother yells at son (YouTube, profanity)

Afghanistan’s only known pig has been locked in a room, away from visitors to Kabul zoo where it normally grazes beside deer and goats, because people are worried it could infect them with the virus popularly known as swine flu. The pig is a curiosity in Muslim Afghanistan, where pork and pig products are illegal because they are considered irreligious, and has been in quarantine since Sunday after visitors expressed alarm it could spread the new flu strain. ‘For now the pig is under quarantine, we built it a room because of swine influenza,’ Aziz Gul Saqib, director of Kabul Zoo, told Reuters. ‘We’ve done this because people are worried about getting the flu… most people don’t have enough knowledge. When they see the pig in the cage they get worried and think that they could get ill,’ Saqib said.”

The strip of a pillowcase stained with the blood of Abraham Lincoln is usually locked away in a display case or safe at the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library in the city’s Frankford section. But last night it was brought out as Exhibit A during a debate among members of the museum’s board over whether to allow DNA testing of the relic to solve a medical mystery. Was the 16th president dying of cancer, with less than a year to live, when he was shot by assassin John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre? John Sotos, cardiologist and consultant for the television series House, asked to test the artifact to prove Lincoln had a rare genetic cancer syndrome called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B (MEN2B).” (via)

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Secrets and Lies·

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

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Out of sight on Leros, the island of the damned

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Reflections on harm in language and the trouble with Whitman

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About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
—Chaucer

I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

A solid-gold toilet named “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in Oxfordshire, England.

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