Essay: Pace by Kinzy Janssen

JMWW

My parents’ next-door neighbors keep binoculars on their window sill, next to a Birds of North America identification booklet. In the center of their lawn, an orange extension cord pumps electricity to a birdbath like a vein to a giant heart.

This is how my mom and dad can tell that Stan and Lisa are really serious about birds.

My parents are fascinated by this sudden pursuit yet unwilling to join, as if to do so would necessitate crossing a threshold. Today, they watch their neighbors watching the birds, watch Stan unhinging birdfeeder roofs and scooping birdseed, watch Lisa hanging suet in the maples, almost tripping over the family dog at her feet.

From their windowed vantage point, my mom and dad hold mugs of coffee and lean in close, their rings sometimes tapping against the glass.

How did they get so old? My mom asks.

*

When I was…

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Komodo National Park – Here Be Dragons…

Incidental Naturalist

In 2007, a Komodo dragon killed an eight-year-old boy.  This was the first fatal attack on a human by one of the giant lizards in 33 years. “The Komodo bit him on his waist and tossed him viciously from side to side,” a national park spokesman, Heru Rudiharto, said.  “The boy died from massive bleeding half an hour later.”

This is the stuff of legends; huge reptiles capable of killing human beings, living on a remote Indonesian island. This may have been the first fatal attack for a while but it is just one of many attacks on people that have resulted in serious injury.

My childhood fascination with nature grew out of watching the behaviour of amphibians. Like many children, I learned about cycles of life by watching frog spawn become tadpoles and finally crawl out of the water on frogs’ legs. This interest naturally extended to the…

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When You Lose Weight, Where Does it Go? The Answer May Surprise You

Mitch Kirby

Recently, I was sitting and thinking about all of the diet and exercise suggestions that constantly bombard us from all sides. While trying to determine which techniques would likely yield the largest benefits, I decided to start from the beginning and attempted to answer a seemingly simple question: When we lose weight, where does the weight go? When the fat from our waistline disappears, what happens to it? Answering this question was actually way more difficult than I imagined at the start, and forced me to think back to my time as a molecular biology major in order to answer the question effectively.

After uncovering the answer for myself, I asked others to think about the question to see if the solution was more obvious to them than it was to me. Shockingly, even many physicians I asked were unable to answer this question accurately and completely. Below are the most popular answers…

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Dean Potter – one of America’s best known extreme athletes – has been killed during a stunt in California.

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Extreme sport pioneer
The world of extreme sport has paid tribute to a climber that
continuously pushed the limits of what was possible,
sometimes controversially.
He drew criticism in May 2006 after he made a “free solo”
climb of Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch, prompting outdoor
clothing company Patagonia to drop its sponsorship of him.

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I have a vested interest.

Tenure, She Wrote

In the fourth grade, I was obsessed with marine science and sonar technology, and I’d spend Saturday afternoons watching The Hunt for Red October instead of Saved by the Bell. That summer, I toured a Navy sub in dry dock– my first time! — and I asked the officer leading the tour when we’d be going to the sonar room. “Sorry, kid. It’s classified,” he said. Masking my disappointment, I replied that it was okay, because I was going to be a sonar technician when I grew up, and I could wait until then. “But they don’t let girls on subs,” was the officer’s surprised reply, as he looked at me as if I’d sprouted horns. When I asked why not, he told me I wouldn’t want to be stuck on a sub with a bunch of smelly guys anyway. My “Then…why aren’t there submarines for just girls?” got no reply.

So, I have a vested…

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The sex school breaking taboos in Kyrgyzstan

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When Rakhat Kenjebek kyzy opened Kyrgystan’s
first sex school three years ago, she wasn’t sure
how it would be received. The topic had been
taboo since the days of the Soviet Union, and everyone
was sceptical about whether her business would survive.
But these days the Jade Gift school, which offers courses
on sexual fantasy and “playing the flute” – a metaphor
for oral sex, has more than 150 students between the
ages of 18 and 66. It has proved so popular that it is
moving to bigger premises and has opened a branch in
neighbouring Kazakhstan.
“I never expected this to become a full-time job,” said 31-
year-old Kenjebek kyzy.