Sophie Benjamin, engagement editor
“Cade’s hypothesis was that there are two elements in urine which could be causing toxicity.
“‘If you add lithium to uric acid you get a thing called lithium urate,’ DeMoore says.
“‘When he added lithium and injected the guinea pigs, something wonderful happened.
“‘I did a wonderful interview with his wife where she describes that moment in his shed, when John called her in and said “the guinea pigs are quiet, they are relaxed, I can turn them over.”‘
“The next step from discovering that lithium calmed the guinea pigs was clear.”
Jason Whittaker, publisher
“For the next eight hours, with American airspace completely cleared of jets, a single blue-and-white Boeing 747, tail number 29000—filled with about 65 passengers, crew and press, and the 43rd president, George W. Bush, as well as 70 box lunches and 25 pounds of bananas—traversed the eastern United States. On board, President Bush and his aides argued about two competing interests—the need to return to Washington and reassure a nation and the competing need to protect the commander in chief. All the while, he and his staff grappled with the aftermath of the worst attack on American soil in their lifetimes, making crucial decisions with only flickering information about the attacks unfolding below. Bush struggled even to contact his family and to reach Vice President Dick Cheney in the White House bunker.
“The story of those remarkable hours — and the thoughts and emotions of those aboard — isolated eight miles above America, escorted by three F-16 fighters, flying just below the speed of sound, has never been comprehensively told.”
Sally Whyte, journalist
“A century later, this question is relevant as ever but has evolved significantly. Ever since their first collision, film and text have been integrated in myriad styles and for a variety of storytelling and stylistic functions. Reading a book aloud, as a narrative framing, is an old trope in cinema. It’s everywhere from Disney films like Sleeping Beauty (1959) to more recent classics like The Princess Bride (1987).
“’You’ve Got Mail in 1998 was the first to seriously tackle the way digital communication could impact lives,’ Noah Gittell wrote for The Atlantic in 2014, ‘but being adapted from an earlier film — 1940’s The Shop Around the Corner in which two characters fell in love using letters — it treated email merely as an old communication style reincarnated.’”
Cassidy Knowlton, editor
“She had been feeling the impact of policing on every moment of her life since July 6, the day an officer pulled over her boyfriend, Philando Castile, in the suburb of Falcon Heights for at least his 46th minor traffic stop in the past 13 years. ‘Again?’ Diamond remembered saying to Castile that day, as the officer asked to see his license and registration. Castile, 32, reached down toward his waistband, where he kept not only his wallet but also a gun that he was licensed to carry. The officer shot him four times, and then Diamond took out her phone to record, just as she had done during a few of Castile’s other traffic stops. ‘Stay with me,’ she told her boyfriend, as blood spread across his white T-shirt and she started to live-stream on Facebook.
“For those next 10 minutes of video, she had become both the emotional catalyst and the cleareyed narrator in the debate over American policing: somehow composed, somehow cordial, continuing to live-stream even as the officer aimed his gun in her direction and screamed profanities, telling him ‘yes, sir’ and ‘I will, sir’ and ‘no worries’ while she spoke into the camera and contradicted his version of the shooting in real time.”
Dan Wood, subeditor
“Obtaining an abortion when you live rurally isn’t just a logistical issue. In their research, Doran and Hornibrook found the very notion of abortion tends to come pre-attached with stigma, silence, and fear. They say rural doctors tend to be more conservative, which is also a deterrent for some women.”Even people who weren’t really anti-abortion and believed in women’s rights to access health care stay silent,” Doran says. “Because it’s such a politically contested area. Which is ridiculous.”
“‘Out bush,’ said one woman from their study, ‘there is still a lot of stigma about getting information in the first place, and certainly something that is not talked about. I reckon there’s a higher rate of teenagers having births because of the stigma.’ Another described feeling a ‘bucketload of shame’ after her abortion, saying she ‘felt isolated and alone.'”
Myriam Robin, journalist
“Simpson sought to be post-racial in a world that was not. His myriad achievements—becoming the premier running back in college football, the first NFL running back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, one of the first black pitchmen for corporate America—did not mark the erosion of the great wall between black and white Americans. It marked Simpson’s individual success at hurdling that wall. Landing on the other side, Simpson, a product of public housing in inner-city San Francisco, found reinvention as a celebrity. He became wealthy. He courted the attentions and advice of affluent businessmen. And though he’d married Marguerite Whitley, who was black, the same year he arrived at the University of Southern California, he now courted white women. ‘What I’m doing is not for principles or black people,’ Simpson told Lipsyte. ‘No, I’m dealing first for O. J. Simpson, his wife, and his babies.’
“And yet, during his trial, whenever I walked the streets of D.C., I saw black people broadcasting their support as though he were one of them. Vendors hawked RUN OJ and FREE OJ SIMPSON T‑shirts. Community activists, for whom Simpson had previously had no use, offered fervent defenses of him. When the verdict was announced, national-news cameras came to Howard Law School to record what turned out to be a jubilant response to Simpson’s acquittal. I found all of this very frustrating. I was 19 years old. I was the kind of militant black kid who flirted with Louis Farrakhan, Frantz Fanon, and veganism and who believed ‘What should black people do?’ was a question that could be asked in earnest. The answer, I was sure, would open a new era of black excellence. The support of Simpson was a step backward. It struck me as unintelligent, politically immature, and ill-advised.”
Bernard Keane, politics editor
“When people become too weak to cough or swallow, some start to make a noise in the backs of their throats. The sound can be deeply disturbing, as if the patient is suffering. But that’s not what it feels like to the person dying, as far as doctors can tell. In fact, medical researchers believe that the phenomenon—which is commonly called a death rattle—probably doesn’t hurt.
“Ultimately, because most people lose awareness or consciousness in their last few hours or days, it’s hard to know for certain how much patients are suffering. ‘We generally believe that if your brain is really in a comatose kind of situation, or you’re not really responsive, that your perception — how you feel about things — may also be significantly decreased,’ says David Hui, an oncologist and palliative-care specialist who researches the signs of approaching death. ‘You may or may not even be aware of what’s happening.'”
Josh Taylor, journalist
“If the films I re-enacted as a kid could humanise mutants and aliens, maybe there was hope for us. But portrayals of ethnic minorities worked in stages, I realised, so I’d have to strap in for a long ride.
“Stage one is the two-dimensional stereotype – the minicab driver/terrorist/cornershop owner. It tightens the necklace.
“Stage two is the subversive portrayal, taking place on ‘ethnic’ terrain but aiming to challenge existing stereotypes. It loosens the necklace.
“And stage three is the Promised Land, where you play a character whose story is not intrinsically linked to his race. There, I am not a terror suspect, nor a victim of forced marriage. There, my name might even be Dave. In this place, there is no necklace.
“I started acting professionally during the post-9/11 boom for stage-one stereotypes, but I avoided them at the behest of my 18-year-old self. Luckily, there was also a tiny speck of stage two stuff taking shape, subverting those same stereotypes, and I managed to get in on the act.”