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Day January 4, 2006

Last Days of a Leper Colony

Between the tears and memories of hundreds of funerals, Paul Harada finds some comfort in the feeling that his dead friends and neighbors are now free.

“In fact, I think these are the lucky ones – they’re not going to suffer any more,” he said.

Stricken with leprosy as a teenager, Harada was torn from his family and banished to this isolated peninsula on the island of Molokai to die. Today, Harada, 76, is one of the last 40 elderly patients of Kalaupapa, where thousands from the Hawaiian islands were quarantined from society over the last century.

Harada has had the option of leaving this place of exile for decades. Yet, he chooses to stay.

“I’m all crippled. What am I going to do outside?” said Harada, raising his nearly fingerless hands to his aged, tanned face. “How am I going to live?”

Kalaupapa was once a sprawling and lively community with a population of more than 1,000. Now graves outnumber patients nearly 200 to 1.

After being diagnosed with leprosy, now known as Hansen’s disease, Harada was forced by the Territory of Hawaii from his home on Kauai to Honolulu before being shipped to Kalaupapa on June 29, 1945, with five other young men and two middle-aged women.

Playboy in Braille

brailleplayboy.jpg

Safe for work unless you are blind.
(via Kottke.org to whom I thank for the nice mention yesterday)

Buoy Identification

In case you ever wanted to know what was the significance of different types of buoys.

(via Information Junk)

Exhaustive List of English Words That Can be Spelled Using Chemical Symbols

26,812 of them.

(Thanks PVC)

The 50 Best Robots Ever

Wired’s list of fictional and real robots.

(via The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire)


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