I got a gene-edited drug and it changed my life

I got a gene-edited drug and it changed my life

From Jimi Olaghere for MIT Tech Review: "I opened the mailbox and took out an envelope as thick as a Bible that would change my life. The package was from Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and it contained a consent form to participate in a clinical trial for a new gene-editing drug to treat sickle-cell disease. Before we knew it, my wife and I were flying to the study site in Nashville to enroll me and begin treatment. At the time, she was pregnant with our first child. I’d lived with sickle-cell my whole life—experiencing chronic pain, organ damage, and hopelessness. To me, this opportunity meant finally taking control of my life and having the opportunity to be a present father."

She left a yam on the Walmart customer service desk every week for 2 years

From Alice on Twitter: "Today, after almost 2 years of leaving a yam on the Walmart customer service desk nearly every week, I was approached by 2 managers who cornered me as I was headed to checkout. Without any other introduction, they looked me in the eyes and whispered “why yams?” My heart dropped. I said “Um.. it’s sort of like a prank!” and they both laughed. Ah, the jig is up I guess, so much for the yamming – but then they said “Oh no, don’t worry! We don’t mind.” They said "We don’t care, it was just driving us insane and we wanted to know who it was." They agreed to not tell anyone it’s me and they gave me permission to keep doing it because they also think it’s funny."

A group of radical artists smuggled political messages into Melrose Place

The cast of Melrose Place in a publicity shot, with shadowy figures sneaking in subversive art in the scene around them.

From Isaac Butler for Slate: " If you look closely at the Melrose Place episode in which Alison miscarries, you might notice something quite odd: There is a reference to abortion in the episode, but it’s visual instead of spoken. Alison Parker is draped in a quilt that bears the chemical structure of RU-486, the so-called abortion pill. And there are other odd props: A pool float in the shape of a sperm. A golf trophy that appears to have testicles. Furniture designed to look like an endangered spotted owl. All of these objects were designed by an artist collective called the GALA Committee. Outside of a select few insiders, no one—including executive producer Aaron Spelling—knew."

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Pigeon photographers captured some of the first photos of the Earth from above

From Andrea DenHoed for The New Yorker: "In 1907, while human flight was still being measured in metres and minutes, Dr. Julius Neubronner, a German apothecary, submitted a patent application for a new invention: the pigeon camera. The device was precisely what it sounds like—a small camera fitted with straps and equipped with a timer so that pigeons could carry it and take photos in flight. Neubronner first used the device on his own flock of homing pigeons, which he sometimes employed to deliver prescriptions. Later, he showed his camera at international expositions, where he also sold postcards taken by the birds. The images his pigeons captured are among the very early photos taken of Earth from above."

A gang member was convicted because he had a tattoo of the murder scene

The 8 Most Notorious Biker Gangs In The U.S. Have Pasts That Would Make ...

From ABC News: "Anthony Garcia, 25, was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder for the 2004 shooting at a liquor store in Pico Rivera, California. Garcia had avoided arrest for four years until he was picked up by police for driving with a suspended license in 2008. Because Garcia appeared to be an active member of the Rivera-13 gang, police snapped pictures of his tattoos, along with his mugshot. Garcia's tattoo captured the night of a shooting, from the Christmas lights outside the liquor store to the bent light post in the store's parking lot, to the convalescent home called the Rivera, next door to the liquor store."

A true believer’s flawed research helped legitimize home schooling

From Laura Meckler for the Washington Post: "Brian Ray has spent the last three decades as one of the nation’s top evangelists for home schooling. As a researcher, he has published studies purporting to show that these students soar high above their peers in what he calls “institutional schools.” But Ray’s research is nowhere near as definitive as his evangelism makes it sound. His samples are not randomly selected. Much of his research has been funded by a powerful home-schooling lobby group. A community of home-school alumni has arisen in recent years to forcefully reject this form of education. Among these critics is someone Ray knows well: his oldest daughter, Hallie Ray Ziebart.

Bear cub with balloon stops traffic

Acknowledgements: I find a lot of these links myself, but I also get some from other newsletters that I rely on as "serendipty engines," such as The Morning News from Rosecrans Baldwin and Andrew Womack, Dan Lewis's Now I Know, Robert Cottrell and Caroline Crampton's The Browser, Clive Thompson's Linkfest, Noah Brier and Colin Nagy's Why Is This Interesting, Maria Popova's The Marginalian, Sheehan Quirke AKA The Cultural Tutor, the Smithsonian magazine, and JSTOR Daily. If you come across something interesting that you think should be included here, please feel free to email me.