Terry Pratchett starts process to take his own life.
Sir Terry Pratchett, the fantasy writer who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008, said yesterday he had started the formal process that could lead to his own assisted suicide at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. The fantasy writer Terry Pratchett says he has received consent forms requesting assisted suicide but has not yet signed them. [Previously] [Previously]
posted by Fizz
on Jun 13, 2011 -
The Survivor. "When your family is murdered, and the home you had made together is destroyed, and you yourself are beaten and left for dead — as happened to Bill Petit on the morning of July 23, 2007 — it may as well be the end of the world. It is hard to see how a man survives the end of the world. The basics of life — waking up, walking, talking — become alien tasks, and almost impossibly heavy, as you are more dead than alive. Just how does a man go about surviving such a thing? How does a man go on? ... Why does one man come undone while the next finds a way to make it through?" [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 2, 2011 -
Famous physicist Stephen Hawking
calls the notion of heaven a "fairy story" in an interview
with The Guardian
newspaper published today. He made the comment in response to a question about his fears of death.
"'I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first,' he told the newspaper. 'I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people who are afraid of the dark.'"* [more inside]
posted by ericb
on May 16, 2011 -
How the news spread via twitter
Interesting visualisation of tweets of Bin Ladens demise.
"...the Tweet by Rumsfeld chief of staff Keith Urbahn that got the ball rolling was retweeted more than 80 times within one minute after it was sent, and that by the 3-minute mark, it had led to more than 300 reactions"
posted by marienbad
on May 8, 2011 -
The Burns Archive
is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing
subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery
this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through
with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 26, 2011 -
"For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed."
On Sunday morning
, Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away.
He leaves behind a massive empire
, several million mourning devotees worldwide,
an extensive religious philosophy
, a great deal of controversy
and a legacy of large-scale philanthropic projects in India, including free hospitals and mobile medical facilities
, a free university and schools,
and other efforts which included supplying clean water
to hundreds of rural villages. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 25, 2011 -
Aboriginal Science Fiction
was started in 1987 to rethink the look and feel of SF magazines; Charles Ryan published it in full sized magazine format, on glossy paper, with four-color interior illustrations and it sold well. Aboriginal
kept up a full schedule
through 1991, when a personal financial crisis nearly shut him down. He kept putting out the occasional issue until 2001, but the irregularity made it hard to find.
Aboriginal courted new writers, one of whom was Robert A. Metzger
, an electrical engineer and laser specialist who wrote quirky, fun hard SF stories. After Aboriginal mostly folded and he got shafted on his first book deal
, he mostly walked away from writing. He's drifted back in a bit since 2001, but fortunately at some point along the way he decided to put some of his boomerang era pieces
online. And that's how it's possible for you to read one of the most haunting, breathtaking short stories I've ever read:
In the Shadow of Bones
posted by localroger
on Mar 17, 2011 -
Stronger people are harder to kill.
A 20-year study involving nearly 9000 men aged 20-80 found "Muscular strength is inversely and independently associated with death from all causes and cancer, even after adjusting for cardiorespiratory fitness and other potential confounders." Food for thought when designing your next fitness program?
posted by schroedinger
on Jan 31, 2011 -
passed away today. She was the most well known and influential composer of Jewish music and litergy in the United States. The Jerusalem Post says
that "Friedman’s music is performed in synagogues around the world more than that of any other modern composer."
Her most well known song is a setting of Mi Shebeirach
, a prayer for healing.
posted by kdern
on Jan 9, 2011 -
British actor Pete Postlethwaite has died
at the age of 64, after a lengthy battle with cancer. A renowned veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company (he held the leading roles in both The Tempest
and 2009's King Lear
among others), Postlethwaite is perhaps best known worldwide for his roles in The Usual Suspects
), The Constant Gardener
and The Lost World: Jurassic Park
. Steven Spielberg supposedly described him as "the best actor in the world", although Postlethwaite himself often denied this
posted by fight or flight
on Jan 3, 2011 -
Ever wonder how the folks who make all those cool Lego creations
get all those pieces? It's not because they buy multiple sets to get thirty or so cheese slopes
. They go to Bricklink
, where hundreds of sellers offer up individual parts you can get in pretty much any quantity. Bricklink was started by Daniel Jezek in 2000 (it was originally called "BrickBay" but someone
pressured him to change that) and is at the top of every Lego enthusiast's list of bookmarks. Jezek passed away suddenly on September 24th at the age of 33. His memorial page
on Bricklink reveals that his was not an ordinary life, as this Americanized entrepreneur was born in Communist Czechoslovakia. The Lego Community would simply not be what it is without Dan Jezek.
posted by Legomancer
on Oct 28, 2010 -
"The internets a creepy thing, especially if you have
kids. It says something very creepy about the fact that I use the
same machine to masturbate with as I use to teach my kid the
alphabet." Comedian Greg Giraldo died
of a drug overdose.
posted by fungible
on Sep 29, 2010 -