Quickies: Free Love Communes Powered by Sex, the Alleged “Long-Lost Mayan City”, and Epigenetics
- Why scientists are infuriated with a New Yorker article on epigenetics – “There are a lot of challenges in science writing, but one of the main ones is this: Research more often yields streams of caveats, not elegant conclusions. This fact makes trouble for another truth: As a writer, it’s your job to take a reader from the beginning to the end of a piece as elegantly as possible.”
- Chart of the Day: Civil Rights Protests Have Never Been Palatable to White People – “White people have been racist for a very long time. White people have also long been delusional about this fact. Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee co-founder Julian Bond once said that public opinion about the civil rights movement could be boiled down to one sentence: ‘Rosa sat down, Martin stood up and then the White folks saw the light and saved the day.’ A new Washington Post review of polling data challenges that false narrative.”
- That Long-Lost Mayan City a Teen Found Isn’t Lost … or a City – “How can you resist a headline like ‘Quebec teen may have discovered long lost Mayan city’? Alas, the story going viral today is too good to be true, according to archaeological experts. The supposed lost pyramid? More likely an abandoned field.” From Amy.
- The Female Ghost Buster Who Rooted Out Spiritual Fraud for Houdini – “Impressed by her faculties of logic, resourcefulness and quick wit, Houdini invited Rose to join the team of about 20 salaried undercover investigators that he referred to as ‘my own secret service.’ This clandestine team traveled ahead of Houdini’s touring schedule, visiting towns and cities where he was due to perform and infiltrating the local Spiritualist “scene” to gather evidence of fraud. These details were passed on to Houdini, who would then expose the fraudsters during his shows.”
- Inside the 19th-Century Free Love Commune Powered by Electric Sex, Eugenics and Delusions of Immortality – “John Humphrey Noyes so fervently believed sleeping around could lead to immortality that he convinced 300 people to join him in a utopian socialist community built on that very principle, in upstate New York. As he saw it, promiscuous ‘interlocked contact’ between men and women—in the form of a polyamory scheme he called ‘Complex Marriage’—would generate enough spiritual energy to propel the human race into some sort of electrically powered, divinely connected eternal life. And that’s only the beginning of the 19th-century Oneida Community founder’s randy theology.”
- Sheryl Sandberg Admits She Got It Wrong with ‘Lean In’ – “It is scary, and absurd, to think about how many people in our own country aren’t valued enough to have adequate benefits, like paid leave. Sandberg does acknowledge her own privilege, as she does not have the same financial struggles many single moms face, stating that she should have written more about women raising children alone.”