Neurologist and Author Oliver Sacks Is Slowly Dying. True To Himself, He Wrote A Beautiful Piece About It

Oliver Sacks, who is to neuroscience and psychiatry what Carl Sagan was to astronomy and astrophysics, is staring into the maw of death. Cancer has already taken over a third of his liver, and it is certain the disease spells the end for the famed neurologist, now 81, who took us on many a wondrous trip through the marvels and terrors of the human mind.

A prolific, consummate chronicler of other people’s states of minds, he’s now written about his own in what are literally his dying days.

Since hearing his prognosis, Sacks says,

I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.

On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.



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Pastor With One Kidney, No Spleen, a Partial Pancreas, and Seizures, Credits God After Surviving Decades of Tumors

Almost his entire adult life, pastor Scott Erdman has been battling the clusters of cancerous cells that, he says, ravaged his body.

First, while still a young man, he had a malignant lump removed from his armpit. Years later, he developed

… three brain tumors, all in highly sensitive areas of the brain,

one of which was “the size of an orange.” The surgery to remove the tumors was successful,

… but Erdman began having seizures unexpectedly. The first grand mal seizure, the type that involves physical seizing of the body, occurred while he was driving.

He and fellow motorists survived.

Two years after his brain surgery, another tumor appeared. Fortunately, the imaging technology had improved enough so that doctors were able to find the brain tumor, remove it, and have Erdman out of the hospital in two days. …

Cancer returned in 1994, and Erdman had to have his left kidney, spleen, part of his pancreas, and some lymph nodes removed.



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A 10-Hour Walk Through Paris Wearing a Yarmulke Yields… Not Very Much in the Way of Overt Discrimination, Actually

Was I watching the same viral video as the writer for the New Zealand Herald did?

Zvika Klein, a reporter for Jewish news outlet NRG, silently walked in the city for ten hours wearing a kippah — also known as a yarmulke — on his head and a tzitzit (knotted ritual tassels). … He spent a day in Paris with a bodyguard while photographer Dov Belhassen documented the day using a GoPro camera hidden in his backpack. …

And the shocking hidden camera footage shows antisemitism is rife in the French capital as he is seen harassed and intimidated.

I don’t doubt that anti-Semitism, especially by Muslims, is very real, and it shocks the conscience. It took me no time at all to remember the murder of a rabbi and three young schoolchildren in Toulouse three years ago; and of course there was last month’s terrorist bloodbath that claimed the lives of four Jews at a kosher Paris deli. Last July, pro-Palestine demonstrators in Paris repeatedly attacked Jewish shops and a synagogue, while chanting “Gas the Jews.” Hateful graffiti is frequently spray-painted on Jewish property in France, from cars to gravesites.

But the negative moments that Klein experiences during his 10-hour walk, which he distilled into a 90-second YouTube summary, are by themselves hardly enough to make the case that anti-Semitism is “rife” in France. Most of the interactions are ambiguous; the perceived insults opaque and even a little mystifying; and it’s rarely even clear whether the sentence snippets caught by the microphone are directed at Klein, or happen to be part of some street-tough dialog between bystanders.



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Two Men Were Stabbed After Giving the Wrong Answer To “Are You Muslim?” Guess How the Media Responded

I wonder if a crime like this will prompt editorial writers and much of the Twittersphere to ask whether Muslims “pose a threat to civil society.” Or whether the pundits will publish headlines that say “This should be a wake-up call to Muslims.”

Of course not. They would never (and they’d be right). But are atheists written about that way? Actually, yes. Yes, we are. Isn’t that an interesting difference?

The stabbings of two people at a Detroit-area bus stop began with what police said was a simple question: Are you Muslim?



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New York Rabbi Mendel Epstein Goes on Trial For Running a Divorce Racket Involving Kidnappings and Cattle Prods

Jewish gets – divorce decrees that, after a marriage fails, can only be provided by the husband – have been the subject of much controversy and even violent crime for years. A woman cannot get remarried under Jewish law unless she can produce a get. But after a marriage goes bad, husbands often withhold the prized document out of spite; or they use it as a bargaining chip in child-custody or alimony disputes. To spur them into compliance, a little extrajudicial persuasion (read: violence, or the threat thereof) may have to be applied.

In 2013, a Brooklyn rabbi named Mendel Epstein was arrested for having organized, in exchange for a king’s ransom, the kidnapping and torture of men who wouldn’t otherwise agree to their wives’ requests for a get.

Two years earlier, New Jersey rabbi David Wax and his wife Judy had been nabbed for allegedly kidnapping and assaulting an Israeli national from whom they were trying to extract a get. The prosecution said that the Waxes administered hours of beatings, breaking the man’s nose; and that they showed their victim a body bag, promising that they would bury him alive if he did not do as instructed.

Epstein and his thugs — including his son David – are now facing the music in secular court.



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