In Death Watch for Stranger, Becoming a Friend to the End

Final Days: A new program pairs volunteers with people with terminal illnesses who would otherwise die alone. The program in New York was started by a childbirth maven who, inspired by Dr. Sherwin Nuland’s reflections on death, wondered why there should not be ‘midwives’ to accompany people’s departure from the world as there are to accompany their entry. “There’s no rental agency for friends, for when you’re sick and staring death in the face.” —New York Times

Contractor faulted after workers tape together warhead explosives

“Workers at the only U.S. factory for dismantling nuclear weapons risked an explosion this month by taping together broken pieces of high explosive being removed from the plutonium trigger of an old warhead, federal investigators said.

The unorthodox handling of the unstable explosive increased the risk that the technicians would drop it and set off a ‘violent reaction,’ the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board said Tuesday in a letter to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.” —CNN

It is worth pointing out that we are talking about the risk of a nuclear explosion here; that is the ‘potentially unacceptable consequence’ federal investigators cite. Another in a series of stories illustrating that our weapons are too dangerous to be managed by human beings, in the face of our inevitable fallibility and stupidity. (I’ll refrain from beating a dead horse with a gratuitous reference to the ‘WMD-is-us’ theme here…)

In Death Watch for Stranger, Becoming a Friend to the End

Final Days: A new program pairs volunteers with people with terminal illnesses who would otherwise die alone. The program in New York was started by a childbirth maven who, inspired by Dr. Sherwin Nuland’s reflections on death, wondered why there should not be ‘midwives’ to accompany people’s departure from the world as there are to accompany their entry. “There’s no rental agency for friends, for when you’re sick and staring death in the face.” —New York Times