Summary of “I spent 2 years cleaning houses. What I saw makes me never want to be rich.”

I worked for a company cleaning houses for two years.
I found the houses on little winding roads, the hidden keys tucked under gnomes or rugs.
I had 20 clients and two or three houses a day to get to, anyway.
If I cleaned houses quicker than the girl who’d replace me, clients would want to continue paying the lower rate.
The owner spent a lot of time in the hospital, and so his house stayed clean, except for dust that settled on the kitchen counters and the dining room table.
I saw the lady from the Porn House after cleaning one time, at the store.
I got used to the loneliness these houses held.
I vowed never to have a house bigger than I could clean myself.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Scientists stunned by discovery of ‘semi-identical’ twins”

A pair of twins have stunned researchers after it emerged that they are neither identical nor fraternal – but something in between.
The team say the boy and girl, now four years old, are the second case of semi-identical twins ever recorded, and the first to be spotted while the mother was pregnant.
An ultrasound of the 28-year old mother at six weeks suggested the twins were identical – with signs including a shared placenta.
In the case of identical, one egg is fertilised by one sperm, but the resulting ball of cells splits in two, giving rise to two offspring with identical genetic material.
Faced with a puzzling scenario, Gabbett and colleagues report in the New England Journal of Medicine that they took samples from the two amniotic sacs, allowing them to investigate the genomes of the twins during the pregnancy.
“Then what happens is that little ball of cells splits into two, and that is why you have twins,” said Gabbett, adding that these offspring have a greater genetic similarity than fraternal twins, but are not identical.
The only previously reported case of sesquizygotic twins came from the US in 2007, discovered after one of the children was born with ambiguous genitalia.
“We traditionally categorise twins as either identical or non-identical, and this is a third type of twinning characterisation,” he said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Bite-sized: 50 great short stories, chosen by Hilary Mantel, George Saunders and more”

It is a much deeper and more biblical story than that and, like any great work of art, resists reduction.
A wonderful sampling of her stories is available in Women in Their Beds: New & Selected Stories.
Among the handful of short stories closest to my heart, I’ve chosen “The Love of a Good Woman” by Canadian writer Munro, from her 1998 collection of that name.
William Trevor has influenced me more than any other writer, and it’s impossible for me to name one story by him that is an absolute favourite.
Key to a great short story is the tension and torsion created within each sentence.
Before her wedding day, as Machado expertly builds the atmosphere of foreboding, the narrator notes that, “Brides never fare well in stories. Stories can sense happiness and snuff it out like a candle”.
Maupassant, probably the only short-story writer as influential as Chekhov, wrote in two modes: short, impressively constructed but one-dimensional stories with trick endings, and longer, more interesting work.
Narayan, who wrote more than 200 short stories, called them “Concentrated miniatures of human experience in all its opulence”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Are These Bad Habits Creeping Into Your Writing?”

Many writers rely more heavily on pronouns than I’d suggest is useful.
For me this sort of thing comes under the heading Remember that Writing Is Not Speaking.
I’ve always cherished it, and I like to haul it out whenever I can, as it celebrates the skill of a writer who’s not often complimented on his writing.
Writers’ brains, I’ve noted, have a tendency to play tricks when the writer isn’t paying attention, and in copyediting I’ve occasionally run across weird little puns, echoes, and other bits of unconscious wordplay.
For fiction written in the past tense, here’s a technique for tackling flashbacks that I stumbled upon years ago, and writers I’ve shared it with have tended to get highly excited: Start off your flashback with, let’s say, two or three standard-issue had’s, then clip one or two more had’s to a discreet “‘d”, then drop the past-perfecting altogether when no one’s apt to be paying attention and slip into the simple past.
Much of the unpublished material had been presented to us in photocopies of Jackson’s characteristic all-lowercase first drafts-I imagine her clattering away at her typewriter in bursts of determined creativity, not bothering to reach for the shift key-and no writer dead or alive deserves to have their material sent to press without at least some review.
I assured the book’s editors, who happened to be two of Jackson’s grown children and literary executors, that being a lifelong devotee of their mother’s work and having read and reread her writing for decades, I knew Jackson’s voice as well as any copy editor could hope to know it.
B: The more specific a writer gets in providing details down to the nuclear level, the more likely it is that at least some of those details are going to be incorrect.

The orginal article.

Summary of “I spent 2 years cleaning houses. What I saw makes me never want to be rich.”

I worked for a company cleaning houses for two years.
I found the houses on little winding roads, the hidden keys tucked under gnomes or rugs.
I had 20 clients and two or three houses a day to get to, anyway.
If I cleaned houses quicker than the girl who’d replace me, clients would want to continue paying the lower rate.
The owner spent a lot of time in the hospital, and so his house stayed clean, except for dust that settled on the kitchen counters and the dining room table.
I saw the lady from the Porn House after cleaning one time, at the store.
I got used to the loneliness these houses held.
I vowed never to have a house bigger than I could clean myself.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Yotam Ottolenghi’s super-cheap recipes for students”

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan on a medium-high flame, then saute the onions, stirring often, until softened and lightly browned – about seven minutes.
Turn the heat to medium, cover the pan and leave to simmer gently for about 25 minutes, until the vegetables are completely soft.
Add the chard stems and cook for five minutes, until softened.
Add half the chilli and the remaining garlic, cook for two minutes, then stir in the chard leaves, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and cook for four minutes, until wilted.
Fry for about two minutes, until it’s golden brown underneath and bubbles are starting to form on the top, then flip and cook for another two minutes on the other side, until golden and cooked through.
Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar and cream dissolve – about two minutes.
Whisk on high speed for about eight minutes, until the mixture resembles semi-stiff whipped egg whites, then gently fold in the coconut cream until well combined.
Remove the clingfilm from the coconut flake tray and bake for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until deep golden and crisp.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The people who moved to Chernobyl”

Less than two hours’ drive from the capital Kiev, along the perimeter of the exclusion zone, it’s not just families looking for opportunities in these ghost towns, but also entrepreneurs.
Every day Vadim Minzuyk walks his dog along the high wire fence marking out the beginning of the exclusion zone.
“It’s like living in the north of Finland or Alaska,” says Vadim.
In his former hometown of Horlivka, eastern Ukraine, Vadim was a businessman turning over a million dollars a year.
Vadim remembers looking out of his back window to see the rebels erecting a barricade right against his garden fence.
After evacuating his children, Vadim and his wife soon followed.
For several months, living off savings, Vadim travelled around Ukraine looking for ways for his family to start again.
Vadim even re-employed seven of his former workers from Donbass, offering them accommodation by converting one of his houses into a hostel.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Marshall Project”

After two trials and a plea bargain, Andrew was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
One evening, Andrew bolted out of the hotel room and turned over a table where two women were sitting.
J.J.L. II. Shortly after Webdale’s death, Michael Winerip, a reporter for The New York Times, obtained Andrew Goldstein’s 3,500-page psychiatric file-“Given to me by people who see his treatment record as a harrowing testament to the failures of the mental-health system.” In the two years before Webdale died on the tracks, Goldstein had attacked at least 13 other people, including two psychiatrists, a nurse, a social worker, and a therapy aide.
The defense witness, Dr. Spencer Eth, was straightforward: When Andrew pushed Kendra, he was having an “Acute exacerbation of severe psychotic symptoms” because he had failed to take his antipsychotic meds.
The prosecution’s expert, Dr. Angela Hegarty, argued that Andrew was a “Relatively mild” schizophrenic and his symptoms were “Substantially in remission.” A psychopath with a resentment of women-that was the real Andrew, a conclusion that Hegarty reached, she told the jury, by conducting interviews with people who had firsthand knowledge of him.
The prosecutor worked Hegerty’s testimony into a thriller-worthy narrative: A calculating predator, Andrew was reminded when he saw Kendra of a woman who, weeks before, had teased him, leaving him frustrated.
These days, medicated Andrew can’t quite wrap his head around what psychotic Andrew did.
The woman had blonde hair, so the prosecution surmised that Andrew was thinking of the stripper when he saw Kendra and that brought on a fit.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ubang: The Nigerian village where men and women speak different languages”

In Ubang, a farming community in southern Nigeria, men and women say they speak different languages.
Dressed in a brightly coloured traditional outfit, a red chief’s cap and holding a staff, Chief Oliver Ibang calls over his two young children, eager to demonstrate the different languages.
It is not clear exactly what proportion of words are different in the two languages and there is no pattern, such as whether the words are commonly used, related or linked to traditional roles for men or women.
God’s plan was to give each ethnic group two languages, but after creating the two languages for the Ubang, he realised there were not enough languages to go around, he explains.
“So he stopped. That’s why Ubang has the benefit of two languages – we are different from other people in the world.”
“They hardly speak pure Ubang languages without mixing an English word.”
“We need text books in Ubang languages – novels, art, films – and they should allow us to teach the languages in schools,” he says.
“If the languages die, then the Ubang people will exist no more.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mathematicians solve age-old spaghetti mystery”

If you happen to have a box of spaghetti in your pantry, try this experiment: Pull out a single spaghetti stick and hold it at both ends.
In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report that they have found a way to break spaghetti in two, by both bending and twisting the dry noodles.
They carried out experiments with hundreds of spaghetti sticks, bending and twisting them with an apparatus they built specifically for the task.
So Heisser built a mechanical fracture device to controllably twist and bend sticks of spaghetti.
A clamp at one end can be rotated to twist the dry noodle by various degrees, while the other clamp slides toward the twisting clamp to bring the two ends of the spaghetti together, bending the stick.
Heisser and Patil used the device to bend and twist hundreds of spaghetti sticks, and recorded the entire fragmentation process with a camera, at up to a million frames per second.
In the end, they found that by first twisting the spaghetti at almost 360 degrees, then slowly bringing the two clamps together to bend it, the stick snapped exactly in two.
From his model, he found that, if a 10-inch-long spaghetti stick is first twisted by about 270 degrees and then bent, it will snap in two, mainly due to two effects.

The orginal article.