Humanities

Here Be Dragons: Asian Myths And Fables

The genres of young adult and middle-grade literature are becoming more diverse, with new releases taking more and more inspiration from Asian myths and folklore. One of these is A Magic Steeped in Poison, which takes place in a fictional setting resembling ancient China. The novel features a curious type of magic based around brewing tea. It’s a premise that seems quite rare, and we should expect more fantastical settings once more authors embrace the untapped potential that lies in Asian mythology. Read full article here

Mystery no more: Portfolio allocation, income and spending in retirement

How do retirees manage their money? Apparently, very inefficiently. While it seems wise to save your money by only withdrawing the minimum required amount from retirement funds (as mandated by US tax law), an analysis by J.P. Morgan reveals that there’s not much to gain from this behaviour. It doesn’t support the spending habits of retirees, and leaves you with a big balance you’ll never get to use. Instead, they encourage withdrawing as much money as needed to upkeep spending habits, making better use of your savings. Read full article here

Earliest European Hunting Dogs Supported Their Weak

Dmanisi is a treasure trove of Early Pleistocene fossils, including those of surprisingly altruistic hunting dogs. Being hypercarnivores — eating exclusively meat, vertebrate flesh in this instance — disabled, injured, or old Eurasian hunting dogs (a now extinct species) were unlikely to survive on their own. So, the unveiling of a member of the species with “numerous congenital disabilities” surviving to adulthood suggests that these hunting dogs cared for the weakest members of their pack, likely allocating food for them despite being incapable of contributing to the hunt.
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Academia Trained You‚ but the World Needs You

Academics forced to leave academia often feel like failures. The environment fostered by higher education both pins the blame on aspiring professors for not being able to get into academia, and leaves those who wish to transition out of academia in the dark as to where they can move on next. For those who feel lost, however, “Lead from the Outside” offers a new perspective: it’s possible to transform systems even as academic outsiders, through humanities work.
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Really bloody excellent omens…

Before Good Omens had even been published, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett had already started plotting the hit novel’s sequel in a shared hotel room during the World Fantasy Convention in Seattle. However, it never materialized after the authors went their separate ways… until now. Neil Gaiman could not contain the secret anymore; a sequel to the story is in the works as a second season to the globally-acclaimed television adaptation.
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Can We Ever Know The True Version of Our Parents’ Life Stories?

“It was layering and deepening and broadening but the memories I had are still there, unchanged, they’ve just been added to.” After recollecting memories, combing through old journals, reading letters, and interviewing loved ones, Lilly Dancyger came to realize that there was no singular truth encapsulating her parents’ lives. By accepting that her dad was both wonderful to her but terrible to others, a weight was lifted from her, realizing that many things can be true at once. Read full article here

How Law and Order helped Florida girl confront alleged kidnapper

Maybe television isn’t all that bad for you. A would-be kidnapper was caught in Florida because his target stained his arm blue with slime. The girl, Alyssa Bonal, quickly smeared as much of the blue slime she was playing with when the kidnapper grabbed her, after remembering the importance of evidence in a crime, a lesson she learned by watching the show Law and Order. Read full article here

Harvard Launches International Scientific Task Force to Prevent Pandemics at the Source

It seems that an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Research shows that by preventing habitat loss and regulating the wildlife trade, we can prevent a future pandemic from occurring for as little as 22 billion USD yearly, only 2% of the current economic and mortality costs related to COVID-19. In line with this, Harvard has launched an international task force to consolidate evidence to inform world policy makers on how to prevent future pandemics at the source. Read full article here

What’s the minimum number of people needed to survive an apocalypse?

It turns out that as little as 98 people can ensure the survival of humanity in an apocalypse. In a 2018 study, researchers concluded that a crew of 49 breeding pairs of unrelated people is just enough to ensure a genetically diverse population during a hypothetical 6,300-year journey to Proxima Centauri b, the closest Earth-like planet we could try to reestablish society in after an Earth-shattering apocalypse. Read full article here

New study suggests humans evolved to run on less water than our closest primate relatives

Our noses may have contributed to the success of early humans. A study has found that humans conserve water more efficiently compared to our primate cousins, which may have allowed our ancestors to hunt further away from watering holes. How? One hypothesis suggests that our more prominent noses, which started developing in Homo erectus, may have helped conserve water by condensing exhaled air into water vapor that’s then reabsorbed by our bodies. Read full article here

FASCINATING READS, SUMMARISED

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