But enough about things not me. The lead story resonated deeply in yours truly mainly because it is about getting on, going on, and other adjustments that come with age. Not long ago, I sent to the Knight program director Phil Hilts a letter of resignation. (One result being Phil's post, scroll one spot up). Don't go celebrating or lamenting or sending me notes of the melancholy, false-cheer sort. It's merely that starting in August I'm cutting back a bit so as not to have to be up at 5 a.m. every morning here in CA and to be able to take long weekends whenever we like. Plus, this household is going on Medicare which even with Medigap is cheaper than our share of our group insurance premium via MIT. I'll go from lead writer on staff to independent contractor, showing up less often and more erratically but still showing up at this rich haven with its wonderful readers. I'll still freelance actual stories. It is not a radical transition but big enough.
Which gets us back to Karen Pennar's section leading profile of a geriatrics specialist at Columbia University. The doctor is dean of the school of public health. She thinks society tends to look at us baby boomers all wrong. As it happens Mrs. Tracker and I are right at the leading edge of the BB's retirement wave that eventually would bankrupt Social Security and Medicare without benefit adjustments and other cost control changes that surely will occur. Us, we got ours! A whole lot of more people are coming along who will welcome any proclamation that we remain useful. We are not purely a burden threatening to ruin everything for younger people by eating and in need of other such things that cost money while we don't do much of anything in return. Says here we can and will do plenty. We'll pull our weight better'n previous generations at this stage. Pennar covers much more than philosophy. It also dwells on such practicalities as the metrics of frailty and how to hold it off.
Other SciTimes headlines to note:
- Sean B. Carroll: 'Nature's Masons' Do Double Duty as Storyteller ; This is a horror story. It doesn't tip the reader off to that until it abruptly gets to the horror. It also instructed me in a stylebook detail I'd missed till now. Carroll, a serious writer and evolutionary biologist (and major player at the Howard Hughes Med. Inst), keeps spelling planet Earth as earth. Hmm. Lately, out of respect, I've been tending to capitalize it. Finally this morning looked it up in the AP style book, which is probably what the NYTimes stylebook says too. Which is that except for purely astronomy-planetary science contexts, such as listings of Earth along with other named planets as in Jupiter, Mars, etc., our world's name starts with e. Now I learn. The essay concerns foraminifera and other shelled plankton. How beautiful they are. What marvelous gauges they are for dating marine sediments. So delicate .... yes, so delicate. While Carroll does not use the term, the disturbing conclusion prompts thoughts of the Anthropocene; wot have we wrought?
- Sindya N. Bhanoo:Ancient Dairy Farmers Of the Green Sahara ; A short take on a big archeological discovery that also got attention elsewhere last week (a paper was in Nature, other coverage at LiveScience, DiscoveryNews, for two). Here's a forced transition: Maybe it should be a World Heritage Site. Bhanoo's story is a natural complement to another, in the front section of the Times, by Isabel Kershner: A Palestinian Village Tries to Protect a Terraced Ancient Wonder of Agriculture.
- James Gorman: Falling in Love May Take a Lifetime of Research ; A graceful salute to the scientific temperament and the often-happenstance way that biologists find a class of organisms to which to devote themselves. The hed is not quite accurate, as the love (dunno if that's quite the right world, but devotion works too) that is the topic tends to appear long enough before the end of a career for it to be fruitful.
- Benedict Carey: Brain Banks for Autism Face Dearth ;
PLus, a few notable items off NYT's Green Blog:
- Hilary Rosner:Goodbye to Mountain Forests? ; Encapsulates succinctly an issue that has been nibbled at in so many incremental news stories that the public seldom has gotten the big picture. This little blog item won't rectify that, but it is clear as gin poured from a bottle fetched from the freezer. (The Salt Lake Tribune did win a monster journalism prize for writing, long, on the topic).
- Adeshina Emmanuel: A Tragicomic Take on Cape Wind ; I'm with the guy who says just build the damned thing already.
- John Broder: U.S Grants a Keystone Pipeline Permit ;
As usual, lots more. Whole Section ;
- Charlie Petit