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Remembering Harry Kalas

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I don't think I've ever waxed sentimental here in all the years I've been blogging for mentalfloss.com, but with the sudden death of Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas this week, I've been feeling kind of blue. I used to listen to Harry in bed, after my bedtime, on a small AM transistor radio shaped like a boat. To tune in a station, you had to move the rudder. To up the volume, you had to adjust the position of the lifesaver. For years, from the age of seven or eight, I kept a journal, mostly filled with Phillies' highlights ("Schmidt homered and Harry K. screamed "˜THAT BALL IS OUTTA HEEEEEERE!' again and it was really really exciting!"). Yes, it was slugger Mike Schmidt that motivated me to pen a journal entry, but it was Harry Kalas who etched that homerun in my soul forever and his death on Monday shook me in a way I didn't expect.

In recent years, with MLB.com allowing me to hear my hometown station over the Internet, I always tried to tune into the fourth inning because that was the only inning Harry called on the radio (most other innings he called on TV).

Hearing that voice always brought me back to a simpler time, when baseball felt somehow holy—when stars like Mike Schmidt stayed with one team for their entire career and earned a fair-sized paycheck, enabling most anyone to afford a game. I'm talking before free agents became the norm, before 24-hour sports coverage became the norm, before you could buy nachos and garlic fries at a game, before asterisks.

His voice also brought me back to a simpler time in my own life, which is probably the number one reason I bought the MLB.com yearly radio pass in the first place. He was the thread that connected the present, old, jaded version of me, with my youth, with the happy-go-lucky, innocent version.

And Harry wasn't just the Hall of Fame voice of the Phillies since the early '70s, he was the voice of NFL Films, touching millions outside the Philadelphia area, narrating so many of their great highlight films over the last three decades.

Here are two short clips for those who never heard the man, or don't remember what his voice sounded like. It's remarkable that, over the course of more than 100 years, the Phillies only won two World Series rings, in 1980 and in 2008. Harry was part of the team for both, and I can't help but wonder if they'll ever be able to win another without him.


Shot of Harry in the booth, calling the final pitch of the 2008 World Series


Harry at work, narrating an NFL film

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science
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.

1. SHE WAS BORN TO, AND FOR, GREATNESS.

A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.

2. HER PARENTS' MARRIAGE WAS A MODEL FOR HER OWN.

Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

3. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE AN UNSTOPPABLE PAIR.

Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.

4. THEY FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE.

The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.

5. SHE WAS NOT CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO.

Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.

6. SHE WORKED HERSELF TO DEATH.

Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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iStock

After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like Delivery.com or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with Delivery.com or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]

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