8 Things You Need To Know This AM — Aug 31 2015

Photo: David Sandison / The Independent/Rex/REX USA.
The world lost renowned Dr. Oliver Sacks, 82, to cancer on Sunday morning. The British-born neurologist was best known for making the oddities of the brain fascinating to everyone by publishing his extraordinary findings in books like Awakenings (which became the 1990 Robin Williams movie) and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. (The New York Times)
The last season of Downton Abbey premieres in the U.K. this September and the latest trailer for it will NOT let you forget that the end is nigh. We don't even know what's happening in the show other than people looking really nostalgic and Mr. Carson caressing an empty bed. Tug on those heartstrings a little harder, why don't you? SNIFF. (YouTube)
On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the "tweetstorm" from reporter Michael Grunwald deserves some attention. He had been reporting on the Army Corps of Engineers for years before the New Orleans disaster, so he knew that what happened to the city was not due to Mother Nature, but rather, "1,800 people died because the Corps flood protection failed. They were victims of bad engineering and bad priorities." (Storify)
Ahead of President Obama's visit to Alaska this week, the situation faced by a barrier island above the Arctic Circle is eye-opening evidence of what climate change means to some citizens. Due to rising sea level and thinner ice, the Alaskan village of Kivalina will be completely underwater in 10 years. (Los Angeles Times)
Before your next visit to the doctor, you might want to read about how many practitioners in large medical groups have a huge incentive to see more patients than might be deemed safe. In the case of one orthopedic surgeon in New York, this may have become a deadly problem. The doctor was said to be scheduling 24 surgeries a day — using them as "human cash registers" — regardless of the risks to their health. (Vice)
Speaking of financial incentives in the medical world, the story of how getting flibanserin, the so-called "female Viagra," to market is a bit disturbing. There was a whole lot of lobbying going on before the F.D.A. finally approved the drug — and flibanserin isn't as effective as you might expect. (On the Media)
New York Post reporter Amber Jamieson would like you to know that posing topless in Times Square all day is not as demeaning as you might think. "I’ve never had more compliments in my entire life," she says, after working "undercover" as one of the painted desnudas for a day. (New York Post)
Oh, noes, Zac Efron! According to data from Box Office Mojo, We Are Your Friends just became the third-worst wide-release opening in box office history. Its $1.8 million haul this weekend places it behind Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure and Delgo, neither of which we even remembered existed until now. (Entertainment Weekly)

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