The political storm over hyphens in early 20th century America.
Interesting obituary for American anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, who died on April 5.
Digital visualizations of The House of Four Gardens by Marc Thorpe, an unrealized neo-Moorish design for a house separated from its garden only by glass walls, stunning if (I suspect) ultimately unlivable.
The scissor-cut art of Joanna Koerten and the female artists of the Dutch Golden Age.
Six-minute video of a mother bear trying to control a cub who refuses to stay with her. I empathize with the mother.
African American roots music with Rhiannon Giddens: Shake Sugaree, Wayfaring Stranger, and an original song, Julie. By the way, "Wayfaring Stranger" is an actual folk song, author unknown, probably written in the early 1800s.
Benin's contemporary bronze casters, trying to continue their ancient tradition in a very different world.
This web site calculates the duration and cost of journeys between cities in the Roman Empire. Eboracum to Sirmium is 54 days and costs 2300 denarii.
A new robot can swim, walk on land, and cross ice with ease, thanks to a strange undulating propulsion system.
Mike Tyson says psilocybin cured him of depression and violent tendencies.
And Zoe Boyer says her depression was cured by Ketamine: "When my brother got his first pair of glasses, he marveled that he could see individual leaves on trees. Ketamine felt a lot like that. To be in awe of simple pleasures felt like reason enough to live, and I was overcome with a quiet revelation: this is what it means to be content." (New York Times)
From the Library of Congress Cartography blog, a fascinating Russian map of the military road over the Caucasus, c. 1900.
Reconstructing shattered jade artifacts from the Cenote of Sacrifice at Chichen Itza.
Students who sue their high schools for "miscalculating" their GPAs and naming someone else valedictorian (New York Times).
Provincial legislators demand that Quebec have its own emoji.
Italy is staging a new "maxi trial" of organized criminals, this time targeting the 'ndrangheta of Calabria, which has supplanted the Sicilian mafia as the largest and richest criminal organization in Europe.
Terrible sandstorms in Mongolia have killed at least nine people and many thousands of livestock.
The Plant List: I accidentally discovered this week that the most up-to-date list of all the plant species in the world is kept online at theplantlist.org. From this I learn that there are 242,000 "unresolved" plant names, that is, there is no agreement if they are species or not.
Intelligent discussion of gerrymandering and the impact on redistricting of the way the census bureau is trying to keep our data private.
Between the political turmoil, the riots, the pandemic, the rise in violent crime, and whatever else, Americans are buying guns like never before; in one week in April, the federal system processed 1.2 million background checks. Half the purchases are by women. In 2016, 32% of American households owned a gun; now 39% do. (New York Times)
When it achieved independence in 1971, Bangladesh was so poor some people said it couldn't be a viable country; I remember reading that it was nothing but a "vast rural slum." Now it is substantially richer per capita than Pakistan, and seems to have just passed India.
TerraPower, a company founded by Bill Gates, just received approval from Wyoming to build its first new design nuclear reactor in the state. Details of how the system works at the company web site. For Gates this is all about fighting climate change, but for that to work the reactor will have to be built on budget or at least close, something that has been very difficult to do in the US.
Infrastructure: the two rail tunnels under the Hudson river opened in 1910. A plan for new rail tunnels was first mooted in the 1950s, got serious attention and preliminary studies in the 1990s, and became critical in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy flooded the existing tunnels. But then Chris Christie killed the plan because he said the funding scheme was unfair to New Jersey, and then Trump refused to issue a go-ahead. Now Biden has. But even if that sticks the tunnels won't be open until at least 2026, and Amtrak says they will have to shut down one of the existing tunnels for repairs by 2024. And NYC transportation planners say even this $11.6 billion plan is inadequate and are calling for more.