When Robert Webster, a physician in Jasper, Georgia, died, in 2004, he was survived by his wife of more than half a century, two daughters, four grandchildren, and a single word, which he had coined himself: “endling,” defined as the last person, animal, or other individual in a lineage. According to Bruce Erickson, a former colleague of Webster’s, the story of “endling” began at a convalescent center in suburban Atlanta in the mid-nineteen-nineties, when a patient told Webster that she was the only surviving member of her family.
A decade ago, I wrote about the death of ephemeral conversation. As computers were becoming ubiquitous, some unintended changes happened, too: Before computers, what we said disappeared once we’d said it. Neither face-to-face conversations nor telephone conversations were routinely recorded. A permanent communication was something different and special; we called it correspondence.
The first day of June 1988 was sunny, hot, and mostly calm—perfect weather for the three young researchers from the University of Windsor who were hunting for critters crawling across the bottom of Lake St. Clair. Sonya Santavy was a freshly graduated biologist aboard a 16-foot-long runabout as the whining outboard pushed the boat toward the middle of the lake that straddles the United States and Canadian border.
Source: The Invasion of the Zebra Mussel
tlas knew the answer. Straining under the task of holding up the Earth, this Titan god likely got a good idea of how much the Earth weighed. But none of us are so conveniently situated. How could a mere mortal, a tiny person residing on Earth’s surface, carry out their own estimate of Earth’s weight? Where would—where could—you possibly place the scale?
Source: How to Weigh the World
- An independent review of the state of Australia’s environment has found the impacts of climate change are increasing and some of the changes could be irreversible.
The oligarch is hungry. So Dmitry Firtash crams into a small elevator with his entourage. Slowly, they rise to the private rooftop level of Do & Co, a modernist hotel in the otherwise Old World tourist heart of Vienna. The doors open into a tiny, glass-walled private dining room that seems like a long catwalk suspended in air, affording the oligarch a 360-degree view of the European capital he’s called home the past three years. Downstairs, he’s left behind his two bodyguards, who will spend the evening glowering at anyone entering or leaving the elevator. Up here, he’s exposed yet insulated—a billionaire in a gilded cage.
w outside Washington had ever heard of Evan Morris. Yet in the capital of wheeling and dealing, he was one of its most gifted operators.From his start as an intern in the Clinton White House, he made powerful friends and at age 27 became a top Washington lobbyist for Roche Holding AG of Switzerland, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.