December 3, 2012 |
Hallucinations By Oliver Sacks Alfred A. Knopf. 352 pp. $26.95 --- Popular science becomes more intense, more engaging, and more profound when provided by a true expert. It is rare, indeed, when such an expert is also a talented writer. Psychiatrist and neurologist Oliver Sacks is that unique scientific raconteur, with a spellbinding gift for recording the experiences of his own patients and collecting remarkable personal anecdotes from colleagues, correspondents, and the literature.
April 27, 2011 |
Bet you didn't know the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal grew up in the shadow of Franklin Field. Maybe it's because you thought the incomparable Jesse Owens was the first. Or because the guy died of typhoid fever at 26 less than 5 months after his victory. Or because he won it in 1908. Maybe you only knew him as a doctor of veterinary medicine. He should have stood out because he didn't look like any of the other members of the Irish-American Athletic Club. Dr. John Baxter Taylor Jr. might have been the most interesting person nobody knew.
May 2, 2010 |
The home of George H. Scithers near 44th Street and Larchwood Avenue in West Philadelphia gave birth to lots of scary stories. From 1976 to 1982, it was where Mr. Scithers edited Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, until he resisted the publisher's requirement to move to Manhattan. From 1982 to 1986, Mr. Scithers made his home the editor's office for the magazine Amazing Stories, until the publisher insisted that he move to Wisconsin. If Mr. Scithers was going to live with ghosts and goblins, he wanted their sepulchral stench to be softened by the aroma of hot-from-the-grill cheesesteaks, sitting at his elbow.
June 1, 2003 |
Moments after bailing out of his B-17 bomber, Roy Allen was standing in the middle of a forest. His plane and his crew were gone, and he had little more than a few francs, a cloth map of France, and a tiny compass. His nylon parachute was still tangled in the trees above him. Remembering his training, Allen set out as quickly as he could to avoid detection. He removed his flight boots and started off into the woods. Little did he know that he had just taken the first steps of a long, perilous journey home from the war. The odyssey of Allen, an Eighth Air Force pilot from Philadelphia who was shot down outside Paris in 1944, hidden by the French Resistance, then apprehended by Nazis, is the subject of a new book, In the Shadows of War, by Thomas Childers, a history professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
October 4, 2000 |
The men in wheelchairs were painting pumpkins for Halloween on the fourth floor of the Southeastern Veterans Center when Glenn Makela strolled in. As commandant of the center, Makela is responsible for running the nursing home and personal-care residences that house 304 veterans and their spouses here. He is also responsible for making the residents feel at home. He ambled up to a few of the men as they painted and chatted with them. He stretched out his hand and placed it on a shoulder as he went along.
February 25, 1998 |
Call him the Miracle Baby. Eighteen-month-old Jonathan Waldick was sound asleep shortly after midnight Monday when a line of tornadoes spawned by violent El Nino-driven thunderstorms set down on Kissimmee in central Florida. His four-year-old sister, Destiny, was sleeping nearby with their grandmother, Shirley Driver. Trees, including the top of a massive oak, crashed around the modest house as swirling pieces of metal, glass, lumber, insulation and dirt filled the air and hail and rain beat down.
February 17, 1997
Theo Wilson didn't care much for the O.J. Simpson trials, even though they were just the twisted extensions of some of the courtroom battles that made her famous. She disapproved of the zoo-like atmosphere surrounding the Simpson case. But she lived for verdicts, and I think she would have loved Philadelphia Daily News reporter Jim Nolan's description of the end of the civil jury's "three-month game of Clue. " Jim wrote: It was O.J. Simpson. At the condo. In the Bruno Magli shoes.
November 10, 1995 |
As the Atlantic 10 prepares to begin its 20th season with about its 20th different group of teams, the league arguably is America's best basketball- only conference. But how good is that, exactly? No A-10 team has yet made it to the Final Four. A few of the new teams will struggle to win 10 games this season. Some of the old teams never have won consistently. So, the A-10 is not the Big East, which is undergoing a renaissance. And it's not the Atlantic Coast Conference. It is the third-best conference in the East and, certainly, one of the 10 best in the country.
April 1, 1995 |
To reach the home of Desmond T. Doss near Rising Fawn, Ga., you take the Desmond T. Doss Medal of Honor Highway. The folks around there are mighty proud of their neighbor up on Lookout Mountain. As a 20-year-old in 1945, the shy, slim Seventh-Day Adventist became one of the most famous and unusual heroes of World War II. A strict believer in the Sixth Commandment - Thou shalt not kill - he refused to bear arms. But he was willing to serve as a medic, one of the most dangerous jobs the Army had to offer.
March 4, 1993 |
In 1984, faced with the prospect of mandatory service in her country's armed forces, Chanty Jong decided to leave Cambodia. So one night, she and 23 others walked across the border from Cambodia into Thailand. But a crying baby tipped off border guards, who began shooting at the escapees, driving them into a minefield. Fourteen were killed. "Some of them got shot by the soldiers, and some of them got killed by the mines," said Jong, now 26, her voice calm as she retells the story.