RIP: Christopher Hitchens, world-renowned journalist, writer, thinker, and antitheist, passed away today following a hard-fought battle with esophageal cancer.
He was 62.
Vanity Fair, where Hitchens served as contributing editor for nearly two decades, broke the news. “There will never be another like Christopher Hitchens,” said the magazine in a statement. “A man of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar.”
His final piece for Vanity Fair, “Trial of the Will,” was published just last week.
He is survived by his wife, Carol Blue, and their three children.
Rick Smith, a former aerospace engineer and IBM computer whiz, was responsible in the early 1990s for transforming Frank Gehry’s office into a digital leader. While working there Smith met Serra. At one point during a 1994 visit—Gehry and Serra were friends—the sculptor talked about some difficulties he was having with a new metal piece. “No problem,” Gehry replied, “I’ll lend you Rick.”
Art & Engineering.
In 1944, he was abducted from his village by Japanese soldiers and forced to dig tunnels at a World War II camp. In 2005, he learned he was mistakenly listed among Japan’s war dead at a Tokyo shrine.
For most of his life, Kim Hui-jong has kept what he considers a shameful secret. In 1944, as a teenager, he was abducted from his village in northern Korea by Japanese soldiers and forced to dig tunnels at a World War II military camp on the island of Saipan.
It would take him a decade of marriage to tell his wife about his past. Kim, 86, still often dreams of the battlefield shelling that severely damaged his hearing and the taunts of his captors: “You Koreans are like canned meat; we can take you anywhere and use you as we see fit.”
He always considered his Japanese enslavement, and the two years he later spent as a U.S. prisoner of war, as a lifelong humiliation. Then, in 2005, Kim received a new insult he insists he still cannot bear: For decades, the former conscript learned, he has been counted among Japan’s war dead and, because of an administrative error, his name is listed at Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni shrine. He could no longer remain silent.
Above: Kim Hui-jong, 86, of South Korea, has been trying to get Japan to remove his name from a list of that country’s World War II dead: “I never fought for the Japanese; I was a forced laborer.” (Matt Douma, For The Times / August 15, 2011)——-
Clear your evening plans: The 2011 Perseid meteor shower is best seen tonight.
Photo: Mt. Pinos in California blocks out light pollution from below, offering a couple a view of the Perseids meteor showers in 2010. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times
Go outside. Look up.