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Oldest Holocaust survivor's story nominated for Oscar

Photo dated July 2010 made available by the makers of the Oscar nominated documentary The Lady in Number 6, in which she tells her story, of Alice Herz-Sommer, believed to be the oldest-known survivor of the Holocaust, who died in London on Sunday morning at the age of 110. Herz-Sommers devotion to the piano and to her son sustained her through two years in a Nazi prison camp. (AP) The world's oldest Holocaust survivor died last week.

Alice Herz-Sommer was 110 years old.  She was an amazing lady—she lived entirely alone in a tiny London flat and played the piano for hours every day, practicing her beloved Bach and Beethoven.  Seven decades ago she was a successful concert pianist in central Europe when she received her deportation summons from the Nazis.  Her mother and husband had already been taken to Auschwitz by the time she and her five-year-old son were sent to the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp.

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Facebook now offers 51 different gender options

Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison demonstrates expanded options for gender identification at her company's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 (Credit: AP/Noah Berger)There was a day when those who created a profile on Facebook had to specify whether they were male or female.  Now there are 51 gender options, listed alphabetically from "Agender" (someone who does not identify with any gender) to "Two-spirit" (people who have both masculine and feminine characteristics).  Other designations include "Androgynous," "Gender Questioning," and "Pangender."

Some are reacting positively.  One advocate claims that, in a world dominated by binaries (Democrat or Republican, Left or Right), Facebook is acknowledging the complexity of the real world.  Others are less impressed.  One critic noted: "What if you identify as a pine cone or a chicken or a weed whacker?  Facebook doesn't offer those options."

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Olympian with wife and child has an 'alternative lifestyle'

David Wise, US freestyle skier, holds up the American flag after his gold medal run in the freestyle skiing halfpipe event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, February 18, 2014 (Credit: NBCOlympics.com) Yesterday I wrote on David Wise, the husband and father who won a skiing gold medal at the Winter Olympics.  NBC reported the story this way: "David Wise's alternative lifestyle leads to Olympic gold."  What makes a lifestyle "alternative"?  According to Wikipedia, it is "a lifestyle diverse in respect to mainstream ones, or generally perceived to be outside the cultural norm. . . . Usually, but not always, it implies an affinity or identification with some matching subculture (examples include hippies, Gypsies, goths and punks)."

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Youth pastor wins Olympic gold

First placed David Wise of the U.S. reacts during the men's freestyle skiing halfpipe finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, February 18, 2014. (Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson) David Wise is the most unusual "black sheep" in the Olympic Games.  The New York Times calls skiers "models of branded dishevelment marketed as easygoing and athletic slackers, usually longhaired and clothed in flannel, like guitarists from a jam band enjoying a day in the snow."  By contrast, Wise is a 23-year-old husband and father whom his competitors call "vanilla."  The Times describes him as "counterculture to the counterculture.  He is the undude."  He agrees: "People kind of look at me as the black sheep.  I don't necessarily live the lifestyle that goes along with skiing."

He also happens to be the best in the world at what he does.  In the freeski pipe, where athletes perform incredible aerial acrobatics while skiing up and down a snow-covered U-shaped arena, Wise has won back-to-back X Games titles and a world championship.  One of his "tricks" involves spinning 3½ times in the air before landing on his skis and continuing his run.  This week, his signature trick helped him win gold at the Sochi Olympics.

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An Olympic champion's amazing conversion

Kelly Clark, the 30 year old American snowboarder and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, poses for a photo with the Team USA puppy, days before her event in the Olympic village (Credit: Kelly Clark via Instagram) Kelly Clark won bronze at this year's Winter Olympics, the only snowboarder ever to win three medals.  (She won gold in 2002 and bronze in 2010).  When she won her gold medal, she was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team.  Three years later, she won first place at the World Cup.  But her life was as dark as her athletic prospects were bright.

"I achieved the highest in my sport.  I was famous," she says.  "I had money.  I had an Olympic gold medal.  Everything that anyone could have wanted, and I found out that wasn't what I was looking for."  She turned to drinking and partying, but nothing filled the void in her soul.

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