News 07.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 07.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 07.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 07.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Existentialism has a reputation for being angst-ridden and gloomy mostly because of its emphasis on pondering the meaninglessness of existence, but two of the best-known existentialists knew how to have fun in the face of absurdity. Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre spent a lot of time partying: talking, drinking, dancing, laughing, loving and listening to music with friends, and this was an aspect of their philosophical stance on life. They weren’t just philosophers who happened to enjoy parties, either – the parties were an expression of their philosophy of seizing life, and for them there were authentic and inauthentic ways to do this.

For de Beauvoir in particular, philosophy was to be lived vivaciously, and partying was bound up with her urge to live fully and freely, not to hold herself back from all that life had to offer. She wrote that sometimes she does ‘everything a little too crazily … But that is my way. I have rather not to do the things at all as doing them mildly.’

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

News 07.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

‘We Have Fire Everywhere’

News 07.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The fire was already growing at a rate of one football field per second when Tamra Fisher woke up on the edge of Paradise, Calif., feeling that her life was no longer insurmountably strenuous or unpleasant and that she might be up to the challenge of living it again.

She was 49 and had spent almost all of those years on the Ridge — the sweeping incline, in the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada, on which Paradise and several tinier, unincorporated communities sit. Fisher moved to the Ridge as a child, married at 16, then raised four children of her own, working 70-hour-plus weeks caring for disabled adults and the elderly. Paradise had attracted working-class retirees from around California since the 1970s and was beginning to draw in younger families for the same reasons. The town was quiet and affordable, free of the big-box stores and traffic that addled the city of Chico in the valley below. It still brimmed with the towering pine trees that first made the community viable more than a century ago. The initial settlement was poor and minuscule — “Poverty Ridge,” some called it — until a new logging railroad was built through the town in 1904 by a company felling timber farther uphill. This was the Diamond Match Company. The trees of Paradise made for perfect matchsticks.

Like many people who grow up in small communities, Fisher regarded her hometown with affection but also exhaustion. All her life, she dreamed of leaving and seeing other parts of the world, not to escape Paradise but so that she could return with renewed appreciation for it. But as the years wore on, she worried that she’d missed her chance. There had been too many tribulations and not enough money. She was trapped.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

The labour and delivery nurses were suspicious. Five pregnant women, all in rapid labour, arrived at the North York General Hospital triage on the same day—a Saturday in May 2016. The deliveries were happening fast—too fast—and because it was the weekend, the nurses were short-handed. One patient, at term in her first pregnancy, was fully dilated just an hour after being admitted and gave birth 25 minutes later. Another arrived suffering from uterine hyperstimulation—when contractions come too frequently or last too long, a serious complication of being induced. As a result, her baby’s heart rate was slowing ominously, and the staff had to deliver it via emergency C-section.

But the patients all said they hadn’t been induced, and their charts showed no indication of induction, either. What those five women had in common was their doctor: Paul Shuen, a highly respected ob-gyn and gynaecological oncologist. The nurses figured it must have had something to do with him. Staff wrote up a formal report of the incident and passed it up the chain of command.

Read the rest of this article at: Toronto Life

News 07.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Promise and Price of Cellular Therapies

News 07.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It matters that the first patients were identical twins. Nancy and Barbara Lowry were six years old, dark-eyed and dark-haired, with eyebrow-skimming bangs. Sometime in the spring of 1960, Nancy fell ill. Her blood counts began to fall; her pediatricians noted that she was anemic. A biopsy revealed that she had a condition called aplastic anemia, a form of bone-marrow failure.

The marrow produces blood cells, which need regular replenishing, and Nancy’s was rapidly shutting down. The origins of this illness are often mysterious, but in its typical form the spaces where young blood cells are supposed to be formed gradually fill up with globules of white fat. Barbara, just as mysteriously, was completely healthy.

The Lowrys lived in Tacoma, a leafy, rain-slicked city near Seattle. At Seattle’s University of Washington hospital, where Nancy was being treated, the doctors had no clue what to do next. So they called a physician-scientist named E. Donnall Thomas, at the hospital in Cooperstown, New York, asking for help.

In the nineteen-fifties, Thomas had attempted a new kind of therapy, in which he infused a leukemia patient with marrow extracted from the patient’s healthy identical twin. There was fleeting evidence that the donated marrow cells had “engrafted” into the patient’s bones, but the patient had swiftly relapsed. Thomas had tried to refine the transplant protocol on dogs, with some marginal success. Now the Seattle doctors persuaded him to try again in humans. Nancy’s marrow was faltering, but no malignant cells were occupying it. Would the blood stem cells from one twin’s marrow “take” in the other twin?

Thomas flew to Seattle. On August 12, 1960, Barbara was sedated, and her hips and legs were punctured fifty times with a large-bore needle to extract the crimson sludge of her bone marrow. The marrow, diluted in saline, was then dripped into Nancy’s bloodstream. The doctors waited. The cells homed their way into her bones and gradually started to produce normal blood. By the time she was discharged, her marrow had been almost completely reconstituted. Nancy emerged as a living chimera: her blood, in a sense, belonged to her twin.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

Billie Eilish and the Triumph of the Weird

News 07.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

“Hey, Billie?” says Billie Eilish’s mom, standing in the kitchen of their Los Angeles home. “Are you going to clean your room?”

“Yeah,” says Eilish, 17, stretching her reply into two no-duh syllables. Even from the couch, her eye roll is audible.

Her mom turns to me. “Can she clean her room while you talk? Is that OK?”

The Eilish home sits on a leafy block in L.A.’s Highland Park, a gentrifying neighborhood where discount party suppliers and muffler shops sit alongside cafes and fancy pet stores. The two-bedroom bungalow is cramped and homey, with overflowing bookshelves and, currently, five occupants: Eilish’s mom; Eilish’s dad; their rescue cat, Misha; their rescue dog, Pepper; and the biggest, most exciting new pop star of 2019.

Eilish’s debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, was released this past spring and has already been streamed more than 2 billion times. The week it came out, she had 14 songs in the Top 100 — more than any other female artist ever. Last week she was touring Australia, tomorrow she leaves for a festival in the U.K., and for the rest of the month she’s playing amphitheaters and arenas across the U.S. — every one sold out.

But this afternoon is a rarity for Eilish: a day at home with not much to do. So she’s doing what any good 17-year-old would: wasting time on the internet while not cleaning her room.

Listen to an audio version of this story below:

“Did you know broccoli is a man-made food?” Eilish, staring at her phone, says to no one in particular. “It doesn’t grow naturally.”

“Well, I picked broccoli as a kid,” says her mom.

“No, you did not,” counters Eilish. “I’m looking at it on Safari.”

Eilish was born in December 2001, making her the first artist with a chart-topping album to be born this millennium. She’s so Gen Z, she makes twentysomethings feel ancient. She’s never bought a CD. She says things like, “I’m never gonna be 27 — that’s too old.” She’s also probably the only pop star who still sees a pediatrician. (“It’s weird,” says her mom. “There’s a waiting room full of four-year-olds, and then there’s Billie Eilish.”)

Eilish has conquered the music world in part by doing everything she’s not supposed to. Her music is darker and weirder than that of most teen pop stars, with a gothy, punkish, vaguely sinister edge and nary a hint of bubblegum. For her core teen-girl fan base, she’s like the cool senior in art class who dresses and acts the way they wish they could: stylish, outrageous, maybe a little dangerous. (As her hit single “Bad Guy” puts it, “I’m the bad type, make-your-mama-sad type. . . might-seduce-your-dad type.” You get the sense that she’d love to be a “Parents Beware” segment on the 11:00 news.) Her vibe is both semi-nihilist and joyously defiant, a perfect soundtrack for a generation facing a half-dozen existential threats before first period. But she’s also playful, mischievous, vulnerable, alienated, melancholy — in other words, a teen.

Read the rest of this article at: RollingStone

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