It’s time once again for news and views that you can peruse. It’s time once again for your regularly scheduled Weekly Reader! Got some hot links, blog posts, or articles from a local paper you’d like to share? Head over to the comments and let us know.
No, Traffickers Are Not Abducting Millions of Children to Harvest Their Essence (from Love Joy Feminism via Patheos): “What started as something completely fringe—cryptic writings on message boards like 4chan that claim to come from a source from inside the government—is increasingly going mainstream, and it’s using real (if misguided) public concern about child trafficking to do so. (Remember pizzagate? The claim that a pizza chain was being used to store children as part of a child trafficking ring that served the Clintons? That’s all part of this.) The movement has become known by the label of its cryptic founder: QAnon.”
Stop Training Police Like They’re Joining the Military (from The Atlantic): “The nation is now debating how to “fix” American policing, and much of the criticism of current police practices relates to the paramilitary aspects of policing. It’s an important critique, but one that often focuses narrowly on police uniforms, weapons, and equipment, rather than on underlying issues of organizational culture and structure. If we want to change policing, we need to also turn the spotlight onto police academies, where new recruits are first inculcated into the folkways of their profession.”
Why Do We Keep Using the Word “Caucasian”? (from Sapiens): “To answer that question, it is helpful to understand where the term came from and its impact on our society. The term “Caucasian” originated from a growing 18th-century European science of racial classification. German anatomist Johann Blumenbach visited the Caucasus Mountains, located between the Caspian and Black seas, and he must have been enchanted because he labeled the people there “Caucasians” and proposed that they were created in God’s image as an ideal form of humanity.”
Trump Emerges as Inspiration for Germany’s Far Right (from the New York Times): “Mr. Trump was neither in the embassy nor in Germany that day — and yet there he was. His face was emblazoned on banners, T-shirts and even on Germany’s pre-1918 imperial flag, popular with neo-Nazis in the crowd of 50,000 who had come to protest Germany’s pandemic restrictions. His name was invoked by many with messianic zeal.”
Massive mystery holes appear in Siberian tundra — and could be linked to climate change (from CNN): “Scientists are not sure exactly how the huge hole, which is at least the ninth spotted in the region since 2013, formed. Initial theories floated when the first crater was discovered near an oil and gas field in the Yamal Peninsula in northwest Siberia included a meteorite impact, a UFO landing and the collapse of a secret underground military storage facility.
While scientists now believe the giant hole is linked to an explosive buildup of methane gas — which could be an unsettling result of warming temperatures in the region — there is still a lot the researchers don’t know.”
Asking America’s Police Officers to Explain Abusive Cops (from The Atlantic): “The episodes illuminate why police and their critics often see the same events very differently. For example, one anecdote concerns a man in the back of a police car who told his arresting officers that he was having trouble breathing. They ignored him. He died. Many who watched the video saw callous cops who placed no value on a human being’s life. But police officers who watched the same tape saw two cops who thought that their seemingly healthy arrestee was faking, as so many people fabricate medical conditions to avoid being taken to jail.”
New Engineering Report Finds Privately Built Border Wall Will Fail (from ProPublica): “Company president Tommy Fisher, a frequent guest on Fox News, had called the Rio Grande fence the “Lamborghini” of border walls and bragged that his company’s methods could help Trump reach his Election Day goal of about 500 new miles of barriers along the southern border.
Instead, one engineer who reviewed the two reports on behalf of ProPublica and The Texas Tribune likened Fisher’s fence to a used Toyota Yaris.”
Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ (from The Atlantic): “Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.”
We finally have a new US maternal mortality estimate. It’s still terrible. (from Vox): ““Maternal mortality is a sentinel public health indicator, and is one of the few health measures included in the United Nations Sustainable Health Goals,” said Marian MacDorman, a research professor at Maryland Population Research Center who has been studying the maternal mortality rate. “The 11-year gap in the United States producing an official maternal mortality rate was a national embarrassment.””
One shot of coronavirus vaccine likely won’t be enough (from CNN): “It’s not surprising that the coronavirus vaccine will likely need two doses. Many vaccines — including childhood vaccines for chickenpox and Hepatitis A and an adult vaccine for shingles — require two doses.
Some require even more — children get five doses of the DTaP vaccine, which protects them against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.”
That’s all for this edition. But I’ll be back next week with more information that might catch your fancy. Until then, happy reading and stay safe!