Why He Kayaked Across Sea at 70.

When Aleksander Doba kayaked into the port in Le Conquet, France, on Sept. 3, 2017, he had just completed his third — and by far most dangerous — solo trans-Atlantic kayak trip. He was a few days shy of his 71st birthday. He was unaccustomed to wearing pants. He’d been at sea 110 days, alone, having last touched land that May at New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay.

via Why He Kayaked Across the Atlantic at 70 (for the Third Time) – The New York Times

16 Times History Made Us Hungry For Pi Day

Pieces of History

Happy Pi Day! Are you baking up a fresh dessert to celebrate? Get inspired by some historic pie deliciousness, fresh from our archives.

1

Everything about this photo is vintage #piegoals. The apron, the polka-dot potholders, that oven!

27-0753a (1)Elderly lady removes pie from oven.” From the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library catalog.archives.gov/id/195874

2

Does your pie make THE CUT? These pie judges can tell with just ONE SLICE. 

JudgesPie-Judging Contest with Dr. Louise Stanley and Mary Lindsay catalog.archives.gov/id/5729294

3

You get a slice! And you get a slice! Everyone gets a slice! We’re pretty sure that this 700-pound pie—the largest ever baked at the time—would’ve been an Insta-hit.

31-1927-b80Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover slices into the pie as Congressman Arthur Free of California watches. 1927. From the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

4

Sure, meeting world leaders is great. But getting to meet the National Cherry Pie Queen? That’s the…

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Easter Island is Eroding – Again.

HANGA ROA, EASTER ISLAND — The human bones lay baking in the sun. It wasn’t the first time Hetereki Huke had stumbled upon an open grave like this one.

For years, the swelling waves had broken open platform after platform containing ancient remains. Inside the tombs were old obsidian spearheads, pieces of cremated bone and, sometimes, parts of the haunting statues that have made this island famous.

via Easter Island Is Eroding – The New York Times

The White Darkness

I. Mortal Danger
The man felt like a speck in the frozen nothingness. Every direction he turned, he could see ice stretching to the edge of the Earth: white ice and blue ice, glacial-ice tongues and ice wedges. There were no living creatures in sight. Not a bear or even a bird. Nothing but him.

It was hard to breathe, and each time he exhaled the moisture froze on his face: a chandelier of crystals hung from his beard; his eyebrows were encased like preserved specimens; his eyelashes cracked when he blinked. Get wet and you die, he often reminded himself. The temperature was nearly minus forty degrees Fahrenheit, and it felt far colder because of the wind, which sometimes whipped icy particles into a blinding cloud, making him so disoriented that he toppled over, his bones rattling against the ground.

via The White Darkness: A Journey Across Antarctica | The New Yorker

15 Syrian refugees fleeing the war freeze to death in Lebanon – Washington Post

CHTAURA, Lebanon — The mountain range that forms a natural boundary between Syria and Lebanon has long served also as a wartime conduit for people who cannot travel legally — the gunrunners, the rebels, the dissidents and the ordinary citizens who just want to escape.

On one night last month, it became a death trap. A storm whipped up at the moment a group of about 70 Syrian refugees was climbing over the mountain to try to reach Lebanon.

In the darkness, wind and snow, they began to falter. The elderly fell behind. Children tripped. Men slipped. Unable to see their guide, the refugees became lost and scattered.

One small group became so tired that they decided to lie down on the cold, hard ground and go to sleep.

via 15 Syrian refugees fleeing the war freeze to death in Lebanon – Washington Post

Presidency Reinvented.

WASHINGTON — When President Trump meets with aides to discuss policy or prepare for a speech, he may ask about the pros and cons of a new proposal. He may inquire about its possible effect. He may explore the best way to frame his case.

But there is one thing he almost never does. “He very seldom asks how other presidents did this,” said John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff.

Mr. Trump is the 45th president of the United States, but he has spent much of his first year in office defying the conventions and norms established by the previous 44, and transforming the presidency in ways that were once unimaginable.

via For Trump, a Year of Reinventing the Presidency – The New York Times

Flights of Fancy

Written Words Never Die

‘One day man will fly, and he will have wings to help him soar into the sky. His wings will be made of metal heavier than rocks. He will fly higher, further and faster than the swiftest eagle.’

‘And you my friend are a dreamer and a fool. Come, join me, have another drink.’

‘But it is true, Neleos, my friend, for I had seen all these things in my mind’s eyes.’

‘That you have, my friend, as surely as all the Greek fools will one day unite as a nation. And what’s more, we will launch a thousand ships just so one fool among us can win a maiden’s hand.’

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2017 ***

And who is to say such a conversation did not take place?

***

Updated 13 Dec 2017:Jane Stanfeld’s comment inspired me to continue this micro fiction – one that I…

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The Great Nutrient Collapse!

In the outside world, the problem isn’t that plants are suddenly getting more light: It’s that for years, they’ve been getting more carbon dioxide. Plants rely on both light and carbon dioxide to grow. If shining more light results in faster-growing, less nutritious algae—junk-food algae whose ratio of sugar to nutrients was out of whack—then it seemed logical to assume that ramping up carbon dioxide might do the same. And it could also be playing out in plants all over the planet. What might that mean for the plants that people eat?

via The great nutrient collapse