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In the News 10.08.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 10.08.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 10.08.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 10.08.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Love In Translation

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I moved to Geneva to be with my husband, Olivier, who had moved there because his job required him to. My restaurant French was just passable. Drugstore French was a stretch. French was pretty much out of the question, meaning that, since Olivier, a native speaker, worked twice as many hours a week as Swiss stores were open, we went for months without things like lamps.

We had established our life together in London, where we met on more or less neutral ground: his continent, my language. It worked. Olivier was my guide to living outside the behemoth of American culture; I was his guide to living inside the behemoth of English.

Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker

The Perils Of Being Your Own Doctor

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In the summer of my 44th year, when everyone did the ice bucket challenge for ALS, when friends and strangers and celebrities soaked themselves with iced water to “raise awareness” on my Facebook feed, I did not participate. I took note of these social media affirmations with some interest, but I was never tagged by my friends to participate in the awareness raising. I thought about doing the ice bucket challenge on my own, but I got caught up in the specific detail of whether a middle-aged man should have his shirt on or off during an internet display of virtue. And so nothing happened.

You never plan for a serious medical problem in your life, it intrudes, testing the boundaries of your constructed reality. Things had been going well enough for me. I was married with two young children and I liked the work I was doing. If I was stressed and sleepless and maybe a bit overwhelmed by new fatherhood, it was still a very happy time. I was working in an academic emergency department and teaching a course to medical students about the soft skills of being a doctor: how to talk to patients, how to understand their experience, how to make sick people feel better. It had occurred to me that to be a healthy person teaching students about illness might be a provocation of fate.

I ended up in a neurologist’s office the next week sitting on an examination table in a hospital gown. Dr K came in and introduced herself. She had been recommended by a mutual colleague as someone who was clinically sound but also “just gets it”. This much was immediately clear; she was warm and attentive and present. I felt self-conscious and exposed in the gown, powerless, vulnerable, all those things I teach medical students, but at least I was taking mental notes for my course. It is hard to be a patient, I had told them, yet this fact is famously hidden from the daily experience of the medical professional. When the tables are turned, you discover how unequal the relationship is, how completely dependent you are on another individual’s goodwill.

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

Playing The Long Game Inside Tim Cook’s Apple

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Eddy Cue doesn’t look like a man in the midst of his toughest year in decades. Sporting an untucked apricot camp shirt and blue jeans over camouflage socks and a pair of blue leather racing shoes from Germany, Apple’s SVP of Internet software and services pulls up a chair at one of the marble-topped tables outside Caffé Macs, the employee restaurant at the heart of Apple’s 23-year-old Cupertino campus. (The company will begin to move into its new “spaceship” HQ next year.) Cue dives right into telling me about his latest horror story:

The collapse, two nights earlier, of his beloved Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, which Cue had the dismal pleasure of observing from a courtside seat. “Am I in mourning?” he asks of his team’s loss to LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers. “You better believe it. I’m not watching ESPN, I haven’t gotten onto a sports website, I haven’t read a newspaper. When I turn on my TV, I only go to the DVR.”

Read the rest of this article at Fast Company

Michael Phelps’ Final Turn

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Snakes. For as long as Michael Phelps can remember, he’s hated snakes. As a little boy, he picked up a rock in his parents’ front yard and found a hissing, slithering snake. He was so traumatized that for decades the memory would replay in nightmares that left him shaking, sweating and unable to fall back to sleep. Friends and family weren’t even allowed to say the word “snake” in his presence.

Yet in October 2014, when instructed in art therapy to draw a fearful image from his childhood, Phelps drew that moment he could never escape. It was a testament to how far he had come at The Meadows, a psychological trauma and addiction treatment center about an hour northwest of Phoenix.

Read the rest of this article at ESPN

Martians Might Be Real. That Makes Mars Exploration Way More Complicated

Since NASA deployed the Curiosity rover in 2011, researchers have detected spots of possible briny surface water on Mars. That’s tricky, because the rover is covered with dormant Earth germs—which could spring to life in a Martian puddle.

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HISTORY WILL NOTE that the guy who discovered liquid water on Mars was an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, a 20-year-old who played guitar in a death-metal band and worked in a planetary science lab. One day, while comparing different satellite images of a single Martian crater taken at various times of year, he noticed something odd: a set of dark streaks in the soil that grew in the Martian summer and shrank in the winter. They seemed to flow down the crater’s slope, like a spill.

It took NASA a few years to gather more evidence after the student made his report, but finally, in September of 2015, the agency called a big press conference. It confirmed what the undergraduate had suspected almost right away: That was water in that crater.

Back in the 1970s, NASA scientists had informed everyone that the Red Planet was a dry, barren, dead place. Whoops. Now a new generation of NASA scientists were on a dais in Washington, DC, musing openly about what this new finding meant for the odds of discovering life on Mars. “When you look at Earth, everywhere we go where there’s liquid water,” said Jim Green, the agency’s director of planetary science, “we find life.” And the Martian water wasn’t confined to that one crater wall. Once scientists knew what to look for, they found similar dark streaks at more than a dozen other sites. The agency’s Curiosity rover was actually within striking distance of a few of these streaks. “We might be able to visit,” Green said. The announcement made headlines around the world. It also set off a bunch of quiet changes within the space agency itself.

About a month after the press conference, a NASA administrator named Cassie Conley was sitting in her office, staring into her computer screen at a crudely designed website called UFO Sightings Daily. She’d gotten a tip from someone at an astrobiology conference that she might want to check out a particular image posted there.

The site was a fairly typical UFO conspiracy operation, run by an amateur sleuth. There were posts that claimed to offer photographic evidence of miniature alien women, tiny star destroyers, and extraterrestrial squirrels. The item that Conley had come looking for was a photograph taken by the Curiosity rover and annotated by the website’s author. As purported evidence of intelligent life on Mars, the UFO buff had circled a pile of rocks and labeled them “building with a doorway”—which was just silly. But that streak in the soil descending from a crook between two rocks? The guy had labeled it “water.” And it really did look like water.

The closest dark streaks to Curiosity that NASA had previously found were about 2 miles away, up the steep slopes of Mount Sharp. These new ones were a few feet from the rover—Conley could see its tire tracks imprinted on the sand nearby. She picked up the phone.

She and the Curiosity team needed to talk.

Read the rest of this article at Wired

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @lornaluxe, @margoandme, @vivaluxuryblog