Monthly Archives: October 2020

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It’s time to end the LeBron James-Michael Jordan debate Another title and James’ accomplishments outside of basketball have elevated his stature in the pantheon of Black athlete activists By winning his fourth NBA title, LeBron James has not only just leaped into history, he’s also leaped over Michael Jordan in the heated, ongoing debate over which player is greatest. James scored 28 points and had a triple-double Sunday to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the franchise’s 17th NBA title. There has not been another NBA superstar to lead three different teams to a championship: not Jordan, not Magic Johnson, not Kobe Bryant. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the Milwaukee Bucks to a title and then helped the Lakers win five, but no one has matched James. And none of them had to compete in the bizarre atmosphere of a bubble. This NBA championship has been like no other and has been […]

Life, in Dog Years My father always pampered his pets. So when he fell ill and moved in with us, it was no surprise that his corgi came to rule our home. What I didn’t expect was for Trilby to care for me after Dad was gone. Trilby at the author’s Houston home on February 25, 2019. Photo by Matt Rainwaters. My father came to live with my husband, John, and me when he was 86, after he took a tumble on our stairs and broke his hip on Thanksgiving Day 2013, just before 26 of our friends were set to arrive for dinner. The fall was probably fortuitous, because his memory was already slipping, and leaving him alone in his apartment was becoming increasingly challenging. John, who often knows me better than I know myself, noted that we were facing down one of life’s toughest choices: either I could […]

Are Aliens Hiding in Plain Sight? Several missions this year are seeking out life on the red planet. But would we recognize extraterrestrials if we found them? ‘You can’t hunt for something if you have no idea what it is.’ In July, three unmanned missions blasted off to Mars – from China (Tianwen-1), the US (Nasa’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover) and the United Arab Emirates (Hope). The Chinese and American missions have lander craft that will seek signs of current or past life on Mars. Nasa is also planning to send its Europa Clipper probe to survey Jupiter’s moon Europa, and the robotic lander Dragonfly to Saturn’s moon Titan. Both moons are widely thought to be promising hunting grounds for life in our solar system – as are the underground oceans of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Meanwhile, we can now glimpse the chemical makeup of atmospheres of planets that orbit […]

This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic There’s something strange about this coronavirus pandemic. Even after months of extensive research by the global scientific community, many questions remain open. Why, for instance, was there such an enormous death toll in northern Italy, but not the rest of the country? Just three contiguous regions in northern Italy have 25,000 of the country’s nearly 36,000 total deaths; just one region, Lombardy, has about 17,000 deaths. Almost all of these were concentrated in the first few months of the outbreak. What happened in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in April, when so many died so quickly that bodies were abandoned in the sidewalks and streets?* Why, in the spring of 2020, did so few cities account for a substantial portion of global deaths, while many others with similar density, weather, age distribution, and travel patterns were spared? What can we really learn from Sweden, […]