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.
Scientists Find a Mysterious ‘Ghost Lineage’ In the DNA of West Africans (from Discovery magazine): “Instead of hunting for ancient human fossils across Africa, the scientists looked for genetic traces of ghost lineages in modern Africans. They compared 405 genomes from modern people from West Africa with ones from fossils of Neanderthals and Denisovans, focusing on DNA that stood out from the West African genomes roughly as much as Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA did from modern human genomes overall.”
When history is a fable: Distorted accounts of the lives of Johns Hopkins and other famous men have consequences, historians say (from the Baltimore Sun): “Some in the university community and beyond have downplayed the finding, arguing that it’s hardly news that a wealthy white man owned enslaved people in mid-19th century Baltimore. Others have said it shouldn’t erase the legacy of someone who left $7 million in his will to create a university and, among other things, start an orphanage for Black children. The contrast between narrative and reality has left some stunned and hurt.
But to Little and others, what hurts most is that a distorted portrayal of Hopkins survived so long in the first place.”
Why I Distrust Parents of Estranged Children (from Medium): “I told my mother many times how she had affected me. Each time, I naively hoped she would listen to me and say sorry. All I wanted was her to acknowledge the years of psychological abuse and admit it was her fault so I could stop blaming myself. But she refused to take responsibility. So one day I cut ties, and she had the audacity to act as if it came out of nowhere.
I begged my father many times to believe me over my mother. He didn’t. After what felt like the one-hundredth time, I cut ties for the sake of my mental health. He insists he has no idea why I don’t talk to him.
Both of my parents know the truth. But they don’t want to face it. Telling stories to other people where they paint themselves as the victims is more comforting. And those people lap it up and feel sorry for them.”
A Political Obituary for Donald Trump (from the Atlantic): “The most mendacious of Trump’s predecessors would have been careful to limit these thoughts to private recording systems. Trump spoke them openly, not because he couldn’t control his impulses, but intentionally, even systematically, in order to demolish the norms that would otherwise have constrained his power. To his supporters, his shamelessness became a badge of honesty and strength. They grasped the message that they, too, could say whatever they wanted without apology. To his opponents, fighting by the rules—even in as small a way as calling him “President Trump”—seemed like a sucker’s game. So the level of American political language was everywhere dragged down, leaving a gaping shame deficit.”
The Bizarre Story of the Liberty Dollar (from Indianapolis Monthly): “NotHaus began to design a new system of cash based on gold and silver. He sketched out the paper bills, experimented with molds that would make the coins, and used his savings to buy thousands of ounces of gold and silver bullion. By the summer of 1998, all he needed was a name for his newly minted operation and a more centralized U.S. location than Hawaii for its headquarters. The Liberty Dollar began its life under the clunky moniker “National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve” (NORFED). And as he began to publicize his plan among libertarian and anti-establishment groups, NotHaus received the break he needed: a call from a man named Jim Thomas of Evansville, Indiana.”
Dinosaur fossils could belong to the world’s largest ever creature (from CNN): “Paleontologists discovered the fossilized remains of a 98 million-year-old titanosaur in Neuquén Province in Argentina’s northwest Patagonia, in thick, sedimentary deposits known as the Candeleros Formation.
The 24 vertebrae of the tail and elements of the pelvic and pectoral girdle discovered are thought to belong to a titanosaur, a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs, characterized by their large size, a long neck and tail, and four-legged stance.”
The Strange and Dangerous World of America’s Big Cat People (from Longreads): “It’s not the first time I’ve seen this world up-close; I spent the better part of eight years investigating wildlife trafficking around the world. During my travels, I visited farms in China and Laos where tigers are raised like pigs, examined traditional medicine in Vietnam, ate what I was told was tiger bone “cake,” and tracked some of the world’s last remaining wild tigers in India. Almost everywhere I went, tigers were suffering and their numbers were on the decline because of human behavior. Until recently, though, I had no idea the United States was part of the problem.”
11 kinds of Bible verses Christians love to ignore (from Salon): “The Bible is chock-a-block with do’s and don’ts. Some of them are simply statements of universal ethical principles, like do to others what you would have them do to you, or don’t lie, or don’t covet your neighbor’s possessions. But from a moral standpoint most of them are simply useless or even embarrassing—especially if you think God could have used the space to say don’t have sex with anyone who doesn’t want you to, or wash your hands after you go to the bathroom.”
QAnon’s Antisemitism, Explained (from Hey Alma): “QAnon forums repeatedly reference not only the Elders of Zion, but the idea of a “Zionist-occupied government,” which is yet another antisemitic conspiracy theory that says Jews control governments of Western states.
‘The perfect target’: Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy (from The Guardian): “According to Shvets, Joy-Lud was controlled by the KGB and Kislin worked as a so-called “spotter agent” who identified Trump, a young businessman on the rise, as a potential asset. Kislin denies that he had a relationship with the KGB.”
Spurred By The Capitol Riot, Thousands Of Republicans Drop Out Of GOP (from NPR): “In the week from Jan. 6 through Jan. 12, about 4,600 Republicans changed their party status in Colorado, according to a CPR News analysis. There was no comparable effect with any other party. CPR News was able to contact dozens of them by tracking changes in the state’s voter file.”
That’s all for today. Drop by again for more articles you’ll definitely want to read! Or at least bookmark. Until then, stay safe and happy reading!