1. Here’s a long read about the best and worst of humanity and an Arkansas woman, Ruth Coker Burks, who falls under the “best” category:

For about a decade, between 1984 and the mid-1990s and before better HIV drugs and more enlightened medical care for AIDS patients effectively rendered her obsolete, Burks cared for hundreds of dying people, many of them gay men who had been abandoned by their families. She had no medical training, but she took them to their appointments, picked up their medications, helped them fill out forms for assistance, and talked them through their despair. Sometimes she paid for their cremations.

2. In less weepy links, there’s a new book of Tolkien’s early sketches coming out and Wired has some pictures and more info.