The Dragon Witches of Renaissance Germany: "In 1652, a woman from Saxony who claimed to be able to identify witches explained to the authorities that she’d seen a number of women from her neighborhood having sex with a flying dragon." Seems to have been an explanation of why some people were richer than others.
High-resolution 360 degree panoramic photo of the Perseverance landing site on Mars.
Threatened by a long-term drought, some people in late Neolithic China responded by improving their irrigation systems and diversifying the crops they grew, leading to a major rise in population in the early Bronze Age. People have been adapting to climate change for as long as we have existed, sometimes with great success.
Kevin Drum does some math, estimates that 700,000 American women have dropped out of the workforce to take care of children during the pandemic.
The "darkness to light" festival at Salisbury Cathedral, delightful photographs from 2014.
The thing to wear for winter outdoor social distancing, at least for the rich, is a jacket from Norwegian Wool (New York Times)
The saga of 2,4 dinitrophenol, a "mitochondrial uncoupling agent" that can either cause weight loss or kill you.
Delightful photographs of firefly mating season in Japan.
Why are young adults in the US having less sex? "Among young women, the decline in the frequency of drinking alcohol explains about one quarter of the drop in the propensity to have casual sex. Among young men, declines in drinking frequency, an increase in computer gaming, and the growing percentage who coreside with their parents all contribute significantly to the decline in casual sex."
Review of Jordan Peterson's new book (The Atlantic). Not very interesting about the book but more so about Peterson's life.
Pondering Elon Musk's plan to settle people on Mars, Shannon Stirone says this is a ridiculous way to help humanity: "Mars is a hellhole. . . . Mars will kill you." (The Atlantic)
How Jeff Bezos and Martin Baron transformed the Washington Post from a struggling regional newspaper with a shrinking subscriber base to a global news website with more than 3 million subscribers. (New York Times) Honestly I think that while Donald Trump was a disaster in most ways he was the greatest gift the news industry has received in a generation or two. The appetite for crazy conspiracies certainly grew, but so did the appetite for serious reporting, and I suspect most of the people who bought new subscriptions during 2020 will keep the habit.
The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London has a web site with photographs of their historic glove collection.
Ice on wind turbine blades, and how to cope with it.
Making Heidelberg, Germany a car-free city (New York Times)
The "charter city" of Prospera is being launched on an island off Honduras; the backers are hoping to create a business-friendly, international hub.
Computer modeling confirms the old theory that the deaths of nine Russian hikers in the 1959 Dyatlov Pass Incident were caused by an avalanche. (National Geographic)