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.
Inside QAnon, the Conspiracy Cult that’s Devouring America (from Los Angeles Magazine): “It was the latest example of a modern phenomenon: politics and pedophilia and anonymous internet warriors descending suddenly on unsuspecting people and companies. Until recently, few knew much about QAnon. The right-wing conspiracy movement emerged in 2017 as a result of cryptic clues posted on the internet that portray a world in which Donald Trump works secretly to vanquish a coven of global elites, including top Democrats and Hollywood celebrities, who torture children, traffic them for sex, and even eat them. Flagged as a violent threat by the FBI, banned from Twitter and TikTok, and avidly courted by the Trump campaign, QAnon has become the most potent force in American politics that most Americans have never heard of. In a few short years, QAnon-associated accounts have metastasized on Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok at an unprecedented rate. The pandemic has further fueled its growth, uniting anti-vaxxers and COVID deniers with the Sandy Hook skeptics already part of QAnon’s growing coalition. That coalition apparently also includes everyone from Roseanne to porn queen Jenna Jameson to former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. (The general, a QAnon icon, recently released a video of himself and his family earnestly reciting the QAnon pledge.)”
A 200-pound tortoise named Sparkplug broke out of his enclosure and wound up 30 miles away from his Alabama home (from CNN): “Harris and his wife, a school teacher and school principal, respectively, were at school when Sparkplug made his escape. Harris said the hard-shelled runaway must’ve pushed up against the fence until he broke the chain link apart and let himself out.
“I wasn’t worried about anything hurting him,” Harris said, noting Sparkplug’s shell armor and scaly legs. “I was worried about when it got cold.”
Sparkplug relies on artificial heat during the fall and winter months to regulate his body temperature. Without that, Harris worried he’d freeze.”
New York Nightmare: Man Falls Through Sidewalk Into Rat-Filled Chasm (from the New York Times): “On Saturday just past noon, Leonard Shoulders strolled up to a bus stop in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx. A handful of people stood around, waiting for their rides or looking down at their phones — an unremarkable scene.
But then a hole suddenly opened up on the sidewalk and Mr. Shoulders, 33, plunged into it. Stunned bystanders who rushed to the edge of the chasm faced a ghastly sight: Mr. Shoulders had dropped 12 to 15 feet into an underground vault teeming with rats.”
A Christian Foster Home Had a Troubling Past. Trump Gave It Millions to House Immigrant Kids Anyway. (from Type Investigations): “The new federally funded facility, known as New Day Resiliency Center, is located in a former Walmart in nearby Raymondville, Texas, where the award was greeted with enthusiasm—it was slated to bring 600 new jobs to the economically strapped Rio Grande Valley. (Among those to cash in was Wayne Lowry, the former chair of Sunny Glen’s board of directors and the college roommate of its current executive director, Chase Palmer; his staffing and logistics company, SOG International, was contracted to help run New Day. Lowry did not respond to an interview request.) Immigrant rights advocates in the region, however, were unfamiliar with Sunny Glen, or its troubling track record of citations from state regulators for health and safety “deficiencies.””
Photos: Police Stand By As Caravans Of Trump Supporters Block Bridges, Threaten Counter-Protesters (from Gothamist): “Some New Yorkers saw evidence of bias in the NYPD’s hands-off treatment of the Trump caravan, compared to their violent response to peaceful anti-Trump demonstrators.
Kalin Callaghan, a 36-year-old electrician living in the Rockaways, said she joined a small group of demonstrators in Belle Harbor to protest the pro-Trump convoy as it passed. When she pointed out that many of their licenses plates had been illegally covered, one of the uniformed NYPD officers responded that he was “not here for enforcement,” she told Gothamist.”
Huge spider assumed extinct in Britain discovered on MoD training site (from the Guardian): “The great fox-spider is a night-time hunter, known for its speed and agility, as well as its eight black eyes which give it wraparound vision. The critically endangered spider was assumed extinct in Britain after last being spotted in 1993 on Hankley Common in Surrey. The two-inch-wide (5cm) arachnid had previously also been spotted at two sites in Morden Heath in Dorset. These are the only three areas in Britain, all in the comparatively warmer south, where it has been recorded.”
James Randi & The Horror of the Skeptic Movement (from Hayley Is A Ghost): “I personally do not think that James Randi was the champion of critical thinking and rational thought that many people have been celebrating him as. His takedowns of people like Peter Popoff, Uri Geller, James Hydrick and more are admirable and were great achievements, but I hold the controversial opinion that if you think ‘Darwinism’ is the solution to issues in society and that some people in society are lesser than you because they’re ‘stupid people’, then that should hang over you like a very dark cloud.
You should be the guy who exposed Peter Popoff but who thinks similarly to those who promote Eugenics. You’re the guy who showed up Uri Geller but thinks “stupid people” should be left to die of their own so-called stupidity. That people all across the Skeptic Movement have ignored this elephant in the room or have played lip service to it only to forgive Randi of this horror is in itself horrifying.”
How a Philly Ob-Gyn Ended Up Delivering a Baby Gorilla (from The Atlantic): “For gorillas, labor is not the obvious, painful process that it is in humans. Females will still move about, eat snacks, and do whatever it is that gorillas normally do. Their behavior is so normal that only trained observers can tell that something important is happening, which is why most gorilla births—even in captivity—are seldom recorded or witnessed. In this case, zookeepers noticed a few unusual signs. Kira started stretching her arms above her head and making squatting motions. Aha, they thought, she’s in labor. The process typically lasts from 6 to 12 hours, but by Friday morning, Kira still hadn’t given birth. More worryingly, she looked rather ill—she had become inactive, and she had lost interest in food. The zoo needed an ob-gyn.”
Dinosaur asteroid’s trajectory was ‘perfect storm’ (from the BBC): “We know that the target rocks, in what is now the Gulf of Mexico, contained huge volumes of sulphur from the mineral gypsum. When this material was thrown high into the atmosphere and mixed with water vapour, it produced a “global winter”.
And the angle of attack ensured this environmental crisis was intense and prolonged.”
Philly police pulled a woman from SUV during unrest, beat her, separated her from her child, and handcuffed her at the hospital, attorney says (from the Philadelphia Inquirer): “Philadelphia civil rights attorneys Kevin Mincey and Riley H. Ross III are representing the woman and the toddler, who they said were both injured as police pulled them from an SUV shown in a now-viral video from the 5200 block of Chestnut Street at about 2 a.m. Tuesday. The video depicts at least 15 police officers swarming a vehicle, bashing in the windows, pulling out the driver and another passenger, beating them, then appearing to remove a child from the backseat.”
That’s all for this week. But stop by again for more reading material that you might find interesting. Until then, have a great weekend, stay safe, and happy reading!