This Pulitzer winning article about a serial rapist is more than just an account of crime and investigation, but an insight into our very own stereotypical mindset.
But her misdemeanor had made the news, and made her an object of curiosity or, worse, scorn. It had cost her the newfound independence she was savoring after a life in foster homes. It had cost her sense of worth. Each ring of the phone seemed to announce another friendship, lost. A friend from 10th grade called to ask: How could you lie about something like that? Marie — that’s her middle name, Marie — didn’t say anything. She just listened, then hung up. Even her foster parents now doubted her. She doubted herself, wondering if there was something in her that needed to be fixed.
The complete article
T. Christian Miller, ProPublica and Ken Armstrong, The Marshall Project
Trailer of Unbelievable (Netflix Series)
With all of European media harping about immigration issues in Europe, it is ironic that the latest studies show that almost ALL indigenous Europeans descend from immigrants, most of them from what is now known as the Middle East. This article, by Science, explores the history of migration in Europe, examines the different studies being done by genetic researchers and surprises us with their findings.
When the first busloads of migrants from Syria and Iraq rolled into Germany 2 years ago, some small towns were overwhelmed. The village of Sumte, population 102, had to take in 750 asylum seekers. Most villagers swung into action, in keeping with Germany’s strong Willkommenskultur, or “welcome culture.” But one self-described neo-Nazi on the district council told The New York Times that by allowing the influx, the German people faced “the destruction of our genetic heritage” and risked becoming “a gray mishmash.”
In fact, the German people have no unique genetic heritage to protect. They—and all other Europeans—are already a mishmash, the children of repeated ancient migrations, according to scientists who study ancient human origins.
Full Article Here
Science – Ann Gibbons
Original Scientific Paper – Available for Download
Today’s Needull is the very last article written by the renowned Pulitzer-winning journalist Alex Tizon, his last masterpiece before he succumbed to prolonged illness last month. In the article, he writes about Lola, his household ‘slave’ in the US, who was also his nanny-cum-cleaner-cum-cook-cum-gardener. Lola had joined Alex’s family from his native country, where her family was a victim of classism and casteism spanning generations. In the article, Alex revisits Lola’s past after her death and during his journey through his native Philippines, also takes us on a journey of realisation. As a UAE resident who knows many such ‘slave-owners’, it is an emotional eye opener of sorts for me. Hope it’s the same for you.
We landed in Los Angeles on May 12, 1964, all our belongings in cardboard boxes tied with rope. Lola had been with my mother for 21 years by then. In many ways she was more of a parent to me than either my mother or my father. Hers was the first face I saw in the morning and the last one I saw at night. As a baby, I uttered Lola’s name (which I first pronounced “Oh-ah”) long before I learned to say “Mom” or “Dad.” As a toddler, I refused to go to sleep unless Lola was holding me, or at least nearby.
I was 4 years old when we arrived in the U.S.—too young to question Lola’s place in our family. But as my siblings and I grew up on this other shore, we came to see the world differently. The leap across the ocean brought about a leap in consciousness that Mom and Dad couldn’t, or wouldn’t, make.
Full Article Here
The Atlantic – Alex Tizon
70 years ago, the biggest murder trial in history took place as Nazis were brought to justice for the Holocaust. Benjamin Ferencz, at 97 , is the last surviving prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials and has fought for the victims of war crimes all his life. In today’s Needull, an interview by famous CBS reporter Lesley Stahl, he talks about his journey from an immigrant who did not know a word of English to being the main force behind prosecuting 22 members of Einsatzgruppen, Nazi extermination squads responsible for the deaths of more than a million Jews, and many thousands of Gypsies, partisans and others.
Only one piece of film is known to exist of the Einsatzgruppen at work. It isn’t easy viewing…
Benjamin Ferencz: Well, this is typical operation. Well, see here, this– they rounded ’em up. They all have already tags on ’em. And they’re chasing them.
Lesley Stahl: They’re making them run to their own death?
Benjamin Ferencz: Yes. Yes. There’s the rabbi coming along there. Just put ’em in the ditch. Shoot ’em there. You know, kick ’em in.
Lesley Stahl: Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
This footage came to light years later. At the time, Ferencz just had the documents, and he started adding up the numbers.
Benjamin Ferencz: When I reached over a million people murdered that way, over a million people, that’s more people than you’ve ever seen in your life, I took a sample. I got on the next plane, flew from Berlin down to Nuremberg, and I said to Taylor, “General, we’ve gotta put on a new trial.”
Full Interview Here
The actual video interview on CBS 60 Minutes
Bonus Read: Interview in Guardian where Ben talks on current issues
This is another interesting ‘Rare Needull’ I came across in a monthly column at Hazlitt. In this interesting piece, the author examines her varied instances of failures, including her experience with a failed marriage, and how these experiences have affected her outlook on life and her ongoing recovery. The reason why you should read it is simple because her story is your story – after all, haven’t we all failed before!!
Marriage is presumed to be forever. After we married, my husband and I drove to Malibu and sealed our vows inside a bottle, and tossed them out to sea. In our minds, they were promises made like offerings to the universe. Our marriage was a sacred bond between us, so pure, the purest form of love we’d ever felt. We thought it would last for eternity.
Full Article Here
Hazlitt – Sarah Gerard
In Hollywood movies, when aliens invade our innocuous little blue planet, they usually have a ludicrous motivation. Sometimes they’re after our water or want to colonise us or are just being plain nasty. Space travel is incredibly difficult and expensive — so why would aliens actually bother to come and invade us? Today’s Needull is an interesting book-excerpt that will give you a more logical perspective on alien attacks.
As an astrobiologist I spend a lot of my time working in the lab with samples from some of the most extreme places on Earth, investigating how life might survive on other worlds in our solar system and what signs of their existence we could detect. If there is biology beyond the Earth, the vast majority of life in the Galaxy will be microbial—hardy single-celled life forms that tolerate a much greater range of conditions than more complex organisms can. To be honest, my own point of view is pretty pessimistic. Don’t get me wrong—if the Earth received an alien tweet tomorrow, or some other text message beamed at us by radio or laser pulse, then I’d be absolutely thrilled. So far, though, we’ve seen no convincing evidence of other civilizations among the stars in our skies.
But let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that there are one or more star-faring alien civilizations in the Milky Way. We’re all familiar with Hollywood’s darker depictions of what aliens might do when they come to the Earth: zapping the White House, harvesting humanity for food like a herd of cattle, or sucking our oceans dry. These scenarios make great films, but don’t really stand up to rational scrutiny. So let’s run through a thought experiment on what reasons aliens might possibly have to visit the Earth, not because I reckon we need to ready our defenses or assemble a welcoming party, but because I think considering these possibilities is a great way of exploring many of the core themes of the science of astrobiology.
Full Book-Excerpt Here
LIT HUB – Lewis Dartnell
I was in high school when Dolly was born. Despite Dolly being a domestic sheep, from TIME to National Geographic, all the magazines had Dolly on its cover. Her birth was a milestone as this feeble lamb was the first mammal ever to be cloned. But then, maybe due to our ignorance or because of other discoveries taking prominence, we rarely heard anything on cloning, except sporadic false claims of human cloning and television debates on the morality of it.
Well, it’s time to get updated. Today’s Needull, an article from The Economist, helps you catch up with the developments in cloning technology post Dolly and reveals why, sooner than we think, a human ‘clone’ won’t be just a subject of clichéd Hollywood movies.
The fuss among scientists was due to the fact that many believed cloning animals was impossible. John Gurdon of Oxford University had cloned frogs by nuclear transfer in 1958—but his creations never developed beyond the tadpole stage. All efforts to do the same in mammals had failed. These failures had led biologists to believe that, although all cells in a body shared the same genetic material, they were not equally capable of the same reproductive feats. “Stem cells”, such as those found in early embryos, could develop into the various sorts of specialist cells found in skin, muscle or nerves. But those “differentiated” cells could not change back into stem cells. Development was a one-way street.
Full Article Here