You should read this for December 31, 2021:
Art, Music, and Film
“I didn’t want anyone to know it was me”: on being Joni Mitchell’s “Carey” For 50 years, the “mean old daddy” immortalised in one of Mitchell’s best-loved songs has been an enigma. Now he tells his side of the story.
Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language
Boy whose case inspired The Exorcist is named by US magazine
Ronald Edwin Hunkeler died last year, a month before his 86th birthday, after suffering a stroke at home in Marriottsville, Maryland.
In adult life, Hunkeler was a Nasa engineer whose work contributed to the Apollo space missions of the 1960s and who patented a technology that helped space shuttle panels withstand extreme heat.
Oldest ink pen in Ireland is discovered by archaeologist during excavation in Burren
The pen discovered by Dr Comber, is made up of a hollow bone barrel with a copper-alloy nib inserted into one end. It was found in an 11th-century layer inside the cashel, and caused quite a stir when it was discovered. No ink pen of this form or early date has previously been found, and most evidence of early literacy in Ireland is associated with the Church, not with secular society.
Climate Change | Climate Repair
Scientists caution against giving animals as gifts to developing countries
“As a result, farm animals are bought in great numbers by generous donors. Unfortunately, this can result in unintended consequences. The animals must be fed and they need a lot of water, and in so many places water is getting more and more scarce thanks to climate change. Veterinary care is often limited or totally lacking.”
Coronavirus | COVID-19
COVID Notes #8 (Special Masks Edition)
Food and Drink
The 900-year history of vodka: how a medieval elixir became the toast of Hollywood This is actually an ad, paid for by Gray Goose Vodka. Back in the day, this kind of advertisement was called an advertorial. It’s clearly labeled as paid content, but it’s well-written and worth reading.
H/T/ to @WritePads: Wall Street Journal Wine Couple Donate Life’s Work to UC Davis Library
History and Archaeology
Large Roman fort built by Caligula discovered near Amsterdam
The fortified camp appears to have been established by Emperor Caligula (AD12 to AD41) in preparation for his failed attempt to take Britannia in about AD40, but was then successfully developed and exploited by his successor, Claudius, for his own invasion in AD43.
Egyptian pharaoh’s mummified body gives up its secrets after 3,500 years
“We show that Amenhotep I was approximately 35 years old when he died,” Saleem said. “He was approximately 169cm tall [5ft 6in], circumcised, and had good teeth. Within his wrappings, he wore 30 amulets and a unique golden girdle with gold beads.
“Amenhotep I seems to have physically resembled his father … he had a narrow chin, a small narrow nose, curly hair, and mildly protruding upper teeth.”
Ancient mass migration transformed Britons’ DNA
Prof David Reich from Harvard Medical School in Boston, US, who led the research, told BBC News: “We estimate that about half the DNA of people in the Iron Age in Britain comes from these new migrants. What that means is if you trace back the ancestors of these Iron Age Britons 20 generations before the time they lived, half of them would not be living on the island of Great Britain.”
As for where the initial migrants originated in continental Europe, their closest matches are with ancient populations in France. But says Prof Reich, “We don’t yet have adequate sampling to directly confirm that or to see where exactly in France it would be.”
When the newcomers arrived, the existing British population traced most of its ancestry to people who arrived at the end of the Neolithic, around the time Stonehenge was being built. They were part of a tradition known as the Beaker Culture.
Science and Nature
How your brain copes with grief, and why it takes time to heal
Largest ever giant millipede fossil found on UK beach “Weighing 50kg and 2.7 metres long, Arthropleura walked the earth 326m years ago and may have been a hunter”
Referral link: Curiosity Stream delivers shows across the full spectrum of the non-fiction genre to demystify science, nature, history, technology, society, lifestyle and more. $19.99/year for thousands of films (or $2.99/month).
Don’t deactivate your Facebook account. You need to delete it permanently
Deactivating your Facebook account temporarily freezes it, which is useful if you want a brief hiatus. But that does nothing to prevent the company from tracking your online activity.
To fully separate from Facebook, deleting your account is the only answer. Deleting it also severs ties to Facebook Messenger, the platform’s chat app. (If you want to also get rid of Instagram and WhatsApp, which are Facebook properties, you’ll have to do that separately.) We’ll explain some things you’ll need to consider before going through the process, which requires time and patience.
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The team observed that the figurines crafted at the Ribe workshop are very similar to images on tapestry fragments found in the Oseberg ship burial in Norway, which also dates to the early ninth century A.D. Given that the Oseberg tapestries are generally understood to depict a ceremonial procession, Deckers and his team surmise that the figurines represent people participating in a ritual in which gender norms were upended.
Pay It Forward and Make It Better
A man strung Christmas lights from his home to his neighbor’s to support her. The whole community followed.
Stuff I Wrote
December from Walters W. 425
Inside a hollow library book, a secret library
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