Illustration for article titled Kotaku Off-Topic: Obituary Edition

In upstate New York I worked with a guy who read the New York Times obituaries every day. "I learn more about the world in which we live by reading the obituaries rather than the news," he told me.

  • Inventor of the Easy Bake Oven dies - Ronald Howes Sr. taught a nation of 'tweenage girls how to bake with a lightbulb.
  • Mystery writer Dick Francis died last weekend. This guy was a staple of beach tote bags and bedside table. Dick Francis was a jockey leading Britain's 1956 Grand National when his mount - owned by the Queen Mother - inexplicably fell, spread eagle. Francis later went on to publish nearly 50 crime thrillers. He had dropped out of school at age 15.
  • Al Haig dies - Lots want to talk about how Haig, as secretary of state, presumed to overstep the line of succession with his "I am in control" remark during the Reagan assassination. More notably, Haig as Nixon's chief of staff was the hatchet man during the Saturday Night Massacre. Haig probably also brokered the deal that put Ford in office in return for Nixon's pardon, although this has never been confirmed.
  • William E. Gordon, built the Arecibo Radio Telescope, dies. Gordon's creation, which began operation in 1963, mapped Venus and discovered the first extrasolar planets. In 1974 it beamed this message into space at the M13 globular star cluster, in hopes that extraterrestrial life might receive and understand it.

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