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Weekly round-up

The rock and roll casualty who became a war hero‘ – Clay Tarver, New York Times

“‘Is this you?’ It was a photo of the biggest band in the world, Nirvana. Kurt Cobain had just killed himself, and this was a story about his suicide. Next to Cobain was the band’s onetime second guitarist. A guy with long, strawberry blond curls. ‘Is this you?’

Everman exhaled. ‘Yes, Drill Sergeant.’

And that was only half of it. Jason Everman has the unique distinction of being the guy who was kicked out of Nirvana and Soundgarden, two rock bands that would sell roughly 100 million records combined. At 26, he wasn’t just Pete Best, the guy the Beatles left behind. He was Pete Best twice.

Then again, he wasn’t remotely. What Everman did afterward put him far outside the category of rock’n’roll footnote. He became an elite member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, one of those bearded guys riding around on horseback in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban.”

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Learning to live with my son’s autism‘ – David Mitchell, The Guardian

“The book that helped me the most to “think Dutch” about my own son’s autism was written by a 13-year-old Japanese boy called Naoki Higashida. It’s called The Reason I Jump. The author would be classed as severely autistic, and writes by pointing to a “cardboard keyboard”, one character at a time. A helper transcribes the characters into words, sentences and paragraphs. Part one adopts a Q&A format, where the author answers questions about life with his condition. Reading it was illuminating and humbling; I felt as if my own son was responding to my own queries about what it’s like to live inside an autistic mind. Why do you have meltdowns? How do you view memory, time and beauty?

For the first time I had answers, not just theories. What I read helped me become a more enlightened, useful, prouder and happier dad. Part two of the book is a story, I’m Right Here, about a boy called Shun who discovers he’s dead and can no longer communicate.”

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 ’Falling short: seven writers reflect on failure‘ – inc. Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, and Will Self, The Guardian

“To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one. It follows that to continue writing is to accept failure as simply a part of the experience – it’s often said that all political lives end in failure, but all writing ones begin there, endure there, and then collapse into senescent incoherence.” (Will Self)

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The 10 nerdiest jokes of all time‘ – Salon

“Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?”

“Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French cafe, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, ‘I’d like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream.’ The waitress replies, I’m sorry, Monsieur, but we’re out of cream. How about with no milk?’”

“Day 19, I have successfully conditioned my master to smile and write in his book every time I drool.” — Pavlov’s Dog

…and more!

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What even is a futurist‘ – Benjamin Cooper, Junkee

“As we approach 2020, the size of the chip is getting so small that we can actually turn anything into a computer. We can have them in walls, in cars — but the significant part of computation will continue to be not how do we do something cool, but how do we use all of that intelligence to make people’s lives better.”

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And Ira Glass, host of This American Life, on the art of the interview ahead of his show’s 500th episode.

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(Top images by Ian Allen/New York Times and Joe Giron/Corbis)