The Supreme Court operates with almost no rules to guide - or constrain - behavior.
But why should it be subject to lesser ethics standards than lower courts? R. A.
Dickey, the reigning National League Cy Young winner, gave up a home run on the second pitch of the game and was later booed off the mound as the Mariners beat the Blue Jays in Toronto. From
the Arctic to the tropics, studies find
resilience in plants facing global warming. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has named MIT historian David A. Mindell the winner of its Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award for his book, â€œDigital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight.â€â€œIt
is wonderful to see David's book receive this important and well-deserved recognition,â€ says David Kaiser, Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and head of MITâ€™s Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS).The award recognizes the best original contribution to aeronautical and astronautical nonfiction literature that was published in the last five years and deals with the science, technology and/or the impact of aeronautics or astronautics on society.â€œIt's a great honor for â€˜Digital Apolloâ€™ to be recognized by one's peers in the AIAA,â€ says Mindell, the Frances and David Dibner Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing and professor of aeronautics and astronautics at
â€œTo my unending delight, this book has really struck a chord with people from all over the world of technology who see
how the issues that arose in the Apollo landings were harbingers of those cropping up in today's remote and autonomous systems."Humans
and machinesâ€œDigital Apollo,â€ which was published by MIT Press in 2011, explores the relationship between humans and computers during the Apollo space program,
which launched six manned lunar landings and many other spaceflights between 1963 and 1972.
In each of the six landings, the astronaut in command seized control from the computer and landed with his hand on the stick in fly-by-wire mode. Mindell parallels the story of the astronauts' desire to control their spacecraft with the history of the Apollo Guidance Computer, which was designed at MIT.â€œAs in much of David Mindell's superb historical work, â€˜Digital Apolloâ€™
zeroes in on the complicated interplay between humans and machines.
He wrests deep meaning from the mundane artifacts of engineering,â€ Kaiser says. â€œBlueprints, circuit diagrams and technical reports reveal, in David's skilled hands, a wider world of designers, users and their evolving aspirations.â€Mindell will receive the award on Jan. 8 at a ceremony held in conjunction with the 51st AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting in Grapevine, Texas.
Early crime fiction often invited the reader to match wits with the writer. Edgar Allan Poe invented the detective genre with his 1841 story " The Murders in the Rue Morgue ," in which his hero deduces how two women were brutally slain in a fourth-floor room
in which the windows and doors were...
Universities and college conferences, and even the N.C.A.A.
itself, increasingly see the basketball court as one of the last, untapped frontiers for image making. A CIA security contractor who fatally shot two Pakistani men in January was released on Wednesday after relatives of the victims received "blood money" as compensation and agreed to pardon him, U.S. officials said.
People are trying to figure out how to save money
everywhere they can. A lot are becoming interested
in growing their own fruits and vegetables.
The Securities and Exchange Commission accused IBM on Friday of bribing government officials in South Korea with cash payments and free computers.
Themes of fate, family life and renewal are brilliantly explored in this story of a life lived in wartime BritainKate Atkinson's new novel is a marvel, a great big confidence trick â€“ but one that invites the reader to take part in the deception. In fact, it is impossible to ignore it. Every time you attempt to lose yourself in the story of Ursula Todd, a child born in affluent and comparatively happy circumstances on 11 February 1910, it simply stops. If this sounds like the quick route to a short book, don't worry: the narrative starts again â€“ and again and again â€“ but each time it takes a different course, its details sometimes radically, sometimes marginally altered, its outcome utterly unpredictable. Atkinson's general forex growth bot that things seem to get better with repetition, but this, her self-undermining novel seems to warn us, is a comfort that is by no means guaranteed, either.She begins as she means to go on, and at the very beginning. (In fact, even this is not quite true: a brief prologue shows us Ursula in a Munich coffee shop in 1930, assassinating Hitler with her father's old service revolver.)
At the start of the novel "proper", Sylvie Todd is giving birth to her third child, her situation given a fairytale atmosphere by the encroaching snow which also, alas, cuts her off from outside help in the form of Dr Fellowes or Mrs Haddock, the midwife. Ursula is stillborn, with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, her life unsaved for want of a pair of surgical scissors. Fortunately, though, she is allowed another go at the business of coming into being; in take two, Dr Fellowes makes it, cuts the cord and proceeds to his reward of a cold collation and some homemade piccalilli (it might be too fanciful to notice that even the piccalilli repeats).Ursula's childhood is to be punctuated with such near-misses: the treacherous undertow of the Cornish sea, icy tiles during a rooftop escapade, the wildfire spread of Spanish flu. Each disaster is confirmed by variations on the phrase "darkness fell", and each new beginning heralded by the tabula rasa that snow brings. Ursula carries within her a vague, dimly apprehended sense of other, semi-lived lives, inexpressible except as impetuous actions â€“ such as when she pushes a housemaid down the stairs to save her from a more terrible ending.
That misdemeanour lands her in the office of a psychiatrist who introduces her, in kindly fashion, to the concept of reincarnation and to the roughly opposing theory of amor fati, particularly as espoused by Nietzsche: the acceptance, or even embrace, of one's fate, and the rejection of the idea that anything could, or
should, have unfolded differently.Amor fati is tough to take, of course, if you are a drowning child, or a battered wife, or a shell-shocked
young man, or a terrified mother
calling for your baby in the rubble of the blitz, all of whom and more besides make up the lives captured, however fleetingly, in Life After Life.
It's equally tough if you are a novelist, and put in the powerful but invidious position of controlling what befalls your characters. Are their futures really written in their past? Can you tell what's going to happen to them simply from the way you started them off? Even sustaining your creative engagement could prove tricky: perhaps that's why one catastrophe is tagged with the exhausted words "Darkness, and so on" and why yet another
recitation of Ursula's birth is reduced to a mere five lines.The reader is similarly implicated in this continual manipulation of narrative tension and the suspension of disbelief. We want a story, but what kind of story do we want: something truthful or something soothing, something that ties up loose ends or something that casts us on to a tide of uncertainty, not only about what might happen, but about what already has? In Atkinson's model, we can have all of the above, but where does that leave us, with multiple tall tales clamouring for our attention?Sometimes, it appears we are being offered a straight choice between
happy and unhappy endings.
On the one hand, there is Fox Corner, the Todd family home in what is still, although perhaps not for long, a wonderfully bucolic England. There are gin slings and tennis on the lawn and bees buzzing their "summer afternoon lullaby"; there is the reliable accumulation of children â€“ Ursula is the third
of five â€“ and servants that are either touchingly steadfast or humorously difficult; there are beloved family dogs and treasured dolls and troublesome aunts whose bad behaviour can just about be absorbed.Outside in the lane, however, lurks an evil-minded stranger, his story the more powerful for never being brought into the light; and sometimes intruders arrive under the cloak of friendship.
When Ursula is molested, and then raped, by a pal of one of her brothers, her exile from Fox Corner begins; her subsequent pregnancy and illegal abortion give way to a lonely London life, solitary drinking and then, most awfully, to a violent husband who shuts fat burning furnace pdf in a mean little house in Wealdstone, far from her family.Ursula's marriage to the vile Derek Oliphant
â€“ himself a constructor of false personal history â€“ would never have happened if she had managed to evade her teenage abuser.
In the next iteration, she does; and she is liberated once more, to plunge on to lives made perhaps even more divergent by the schism of the second world war.
And the reader is perplexed once more: what to make of a character so chameleon-like that we can watch her excavating bomb sites on one page, stranded in a dystopian, war-torn Berlin on another and (in what admittedly requires the biggest leap of faith) being entertained by the FÃ¼hrer at Berchtesgaden on yet another?This description of Atkinson's looping, metamorphosing
narrative inevitably makes it sound tricksy, almost whimsical. Structurally, it is, but its ceaseless renewals are populated with pleasures that extend beyond the what-next variety. She captures well, for example, the traumatic shifts in British society â€“ and does so precisely because she cuts directly from one war to the next, only later going back
in, partially, what happened in between. She demonstrates an extraordinary gift for capturing peril: the sections in which influenza tears through Fox Corner are truly menacing, and the descriptions of Ursula's work in a bombed-out London are masterpieces of the macabre ("'Be careful here, Mr Emslie,' she said over
her shoulder, 'there's a baby, try to avoid it.'").The texture of daily life is beautifully conveyed, particularly in its domestic details, which often verge on the queasily visceral. An ineptly poached egg is "a sickly jellyfish deposited on toast to die"; shortly after Sylvie's confinement, Mrs Glover, the crosspatch cook, "took a bowl of kidneys soaking in milk from
the pantry and commenced removing the fatty white membrane, like a caul". On another occasion, she thumps slices of veal with a tenderiser, imagining "they're the heads of the Boche". But alongside these minutiae is set
the author's fascination with the intricacies of large families, and in particular with sibling relationships.The so-called family saga is, of course, where Atkinson's career as a novelist began, with the Whitbread-winning Behind the Scenes at the Museum, itself a story that refused to proceed in linear fashion, invoking the spirit of Tristram Shandy in its digressive portrayal of the life of Ruby Lennox. Neither book, of course, can really be contained by such a constricting label, just as Atkinson's four Jackson Brodie novels refuse to fit neatly into the genre marked crime.
Behind the Scenes and Life After Life both co-opt the family â€“ its evolution over time, its exponentially multiplying characters and storylines, its silences and gaps in communication â€“ and use it to show how fiction works and what it might mean to us. But what makes Atkinson an exceptional writer â€“ and this is her most ambitious and most gripping work to date â€“ is that she does so with an emotional delicacy and understanding that transcend experiment or playfulness. Life After Life gives us a heroine
whose fictional underpinning is permanently exposed, whose artificial status is never in doubt; and yet one who feels painfully, horribly real to us.
How do you square that circle? You'd have to ask Kate Atkinson, but I doubt she would give you a straight answer.FictionAlex Clarkguardian.co.uk
© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
| Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds The tenants of one Dumbo building have turned their apartments into otherworldly environments. But after filing for legal protection, they are at odds with their once-benevolent landlord. The Timesâ€™s David Gillen explains why companies continually forecast lackluster earnings despite a healthy position. Grand Central Terminal is a descendant of an earlier, much smaller station.
Some movies come out and steer right onto the fast track to the Academy Awards.
Others take a wrong turn.
The solar system's configuration is learned in grade school, and forever committed to memory with the help of foam balls, deconstructed coat hangers, and paint.
It's a fairly straightforward arrangement: The
sun revolves at the center as eight planets â€” along with dwarf planet Pluto â€” orbit within the same plane, and in the same direction as the sun's rotation.
As it turns out, planets around far-off stars do not always obey these rules, google sniper review Winn has found.
Winn, who is the Class of 1942 Career Development Associate Professor of Physics at MIT, searches for exoplanets â€” planets outside
the solar system that
revolve around far-off stars. In the last decade, astronomers have identified hundreds of exoplanetary systems in the Milky Way. Winn has found that many of these systems display very different properties from our own, with planets circling at odd angles, out of alignment with their stars' rotation. "The planet could be going over the poles of the star instead of the equator, or going backward, or revolving in the opposite direction," Winn says.
"It's sort of a gift from nature that it turned out these systems could be so interesting."Winn
and his group in MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research are deciphering the geometry of newly discovered planetary systems.
The group analyzes changes in starlight as a planet transits, or eclipses, its star.
These signals can
give scientists clues to a planet's orbit, as
well as its size.
After combining this information with data, such as a planet's distance from its star, researchers can calculate an exoplanet's mass, composition and atmosphere â€” essential ingredients for determining whether the planet
may be habitable. "That's one of the big frontiers: studying these potentially habitable planets, and extracting as much information as we can from them," Winn says.
"That will be a major preoccupation for us over the next 10 years."Finding a path to physicsWinn recently received tenure in MIT's Department of Physics, and is keen to continue his work in exoplanetary discovery. But early on in his career, he wasn't sure that astrophysics â€” or physics in general â€” was the path for him.
Born and raised in Deerfield, Ill.,
Winn was an impressionable student.
"When I took biology in
high school, I thought I was going to be a biologist. When I took chemistry the next year, I thought for sure I'd be a chemist, especially since my father is a chemist," Winn recalls. "Then physics happened to be the last thing I took. And that definitely did stick."He followed his newfound interest to MIT, where he majored in physics, absorbing valuable
perspective from his academic adviser, Alan Guth, the Victor F. Weisskopf Professor of Physics, and his thesis adviser, John Joannopoulos, the Francis Wright Davis Professor of Physics. Both professors gave Winn a window into the life of an academic, from the stimulation of intellectual work to the practical business of winning grants and cultivating a research group."All
the way up until the very end, I was absolutely sure I wanted to be a professor of physics," Winn says. "Then as the actual end of college approached, I started to wonder."After graduating, Winn skipped across the Atlantic to Cambridge University as a Fulbright Scholar, continuing to study physics and mathematics.
When he returned to the United States, unsure whether he wanted to pursue purely academic studies, Winn looked to applied fields, landing temporarily on medical physics and a PhD program at the MIT-Harvard Health Sciences and Technology Program.
Following his first year in the program, Winn was still uncertain, and cast around for inspiration.
He had always enjoyed writing, and won an
internship at The Economist, spending a summer in London."I'd
write about forestry, archaeology, biology, whatever I'd happened to hear about that week," Winn says. "I really liked that. It was a really good release, like using a different part of my brain." Upon his return to the United States, Winn decided
to transfer to MIT's PhD program in physics.
There, he was required to take an introductory class in astrophysics, taught by Saul Rappaport, now a professor emeritus of physics â€” an experience that "reawakened" a childhood interest in astronomy.
He quickly settled on a thesis project, working with professor of physics Jackie Hewitt on gravitational lensing â€” the study of gravity in distant galaxies.
The project took him to New Mexico to observe galaxies with the Very Large Array, an observatory spread over a wide expanse of desert."I just remember being floored by my first sighting," Winn says. "There are these enormous radio dishes, 80 feet across, and there are 27 spread out over 20 to 30 miles of this flat micro niche finder New Mexico.
It's just beautiful surroundings."Winn
continued working on gravitational lensing as a postdoc at Harvard University, although midway through his fellowship, he began to hear rumblings of an emerging field in astrophysics: the study
of exoplanetary systems. "This field seemed wide open for discovery," Winn recalls. "There were a lot of simple questions that nobody had asked yet."Charting an exoplanetary courseWinn joined the MIT faculty in 2006, and has since focused on answering many of these questions, most recently regarding the geometry of exoplanetary systems. To get at such answers, he and others rely on the Kepler Telescope, a space observatory launched by NASA in 2009 to observe distant stars and orbiting planets. The telescope is trained on a patch of sky, and continuously monitors thousands of stars as part of a mission to discover Earth-like planets.
Data from Kepler has helped scientists identify more than 2,000 potential planets in the Milky Way galaxy; there are estimates that billions more Earth-like planets may exist.
For Winn, some of the more exciting discoveries have been of systems such as Kepler 11, a star more than 2,000 light-years away.
Five small planets revolve around this star, all orbiting closer than Mercury around our sun. "Those systems are fun to study, because the planets are all pushing and pulling on each other," Winn says.
"These are tight little planetary systems that are superficially like our solar system in that there are lots of planets, but it's much closer in."Winn is among a team of MIT scientists that has submitted a proposal to NASA for a successor to Kepler, called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS.
While Kepler has identified thousands of potential planets, these objects orbit very faint, far-off stars, the light from which is difficult to analyze.
In contrast, TESS â€” an observatory of four optical lenses positioned on a satellite at varying angles â€” would observe the brightest stars in the sky, giving scientists a much clearer signal to work with.
Such improved target stars, Winn says, would make it easier for scientists to answer more complex questions, such as whether oxygen exists in a planet's atmosphere â€” a possible sign of habitability, or of life. Looking back on his winding path to astrophysics, Winn says he now feels very comfortable not only in his role as a professor, but as an adviser for MIT students who may be unsure of their next step.
"I just feel really at home here, having spent so much time at MIT," Winn says. "Whenever I do meet a student who doesn't know whether to continue in physics, I know exactly what to say, and can tell them it's going to be OK."
The FBI temporarily lost track Thursday of a former martial arts instructor whose Mississippi home and business was searched this week as part of an investigation of ricin-laced letters
sent this month to President Obama and other elected officials. Read full article >> Matchbooks were once ephemera â€” written on, burned up in the space of a weekend â€” but theyâ€™re now a keepsake.
Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia
has won a U.S.
Tax Court ruling that could have repercussions for famous international sports stars who cash in on corporate sponsorship deals, tax professionals said on Friday.
Myanmar was once isolated, but tourism is expected to increase dramatically. High-end firms have taken notice, with Orient-Express offering a new river cruise. If you're hoping to get away from it all, it's
hard to beat a trip in a luxury RV. But this land yacht is so big and so outrageous, it deserves its own entourage and accompanying zip code.
Paul George scored 19 points and Tyler Hansbrough had 14 points and 14 rebounds, leading the Indiana Pacers to a 95-73 rout of the struggling
Orlando Magic on Tuesday
A weekly capsule of events around the globe curated by our writers and editors. With caffeine now being added to jelly beans, waffles, even potato chips and gum, the Food and Drug Administration is stepping up efforts to investigate the impact on health.
Jeanette Winterson and Anne Tyler are the first two authors who will be rewriting Shakespeareâ€™s plays as part of a project announced by Random Houseâ€™s Hogarth