This Man Searched for the Yeti for 60 Years—and Found It


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A local hunter I worked with said he thought what I’d found was a tree bear. I’d never heard of a tree bear in this region. Suddenly we had an explanation for where the thumb came from. A bear that lives in a tree forces an inner digit down so it can make an opposable grip. Normal bears cannot make an opposable grip. But if you’re spending a lot of time in the tree, you train that one thumb to grab a branch or break bamboo. So I spent two years trying to figure out whether it was a species, sub-species, or a juvenile bear.

The complete article

SIMON WORRALL — National Geographic

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These Twins, One Black and One White, Will Make You Rethink Race


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Modern science confirms “that the visible differences between peoples are accidents of history”—the result of mutations, migrations, natural selection, the isolation of some populations, and interbreeding among others, writes science journalist Elizabeth Kolbert. They are not racial differences because the very concept of race—to quote DNA-sequencing pioneer Craig Venter—“has no genetic or scientific basis.”

And yet 50 years after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., racial identity has reemerged as a fundamental dividing line in our world.

Why the North Pond Hermit Hid From People for 27 Years


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Got this link from Ankit’s FB post. Had a discussion with another friend yesterday on the meaningless pursuits of modern life. Also reading “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari where he explains why agriculture revolution was very bad for average people.

Chris Knight left because there was no good spot for him in this world. If you don’t fit in and you’re a murderer, they put you in jail. When you don’t fit in because of mental problems, there are other facilities for you. This is a guy who was extremely bright, but just did not fit in. Some people said, can’t we just give him a little bit of land and a few bags of groceries, and let him live peacefully?

 

Sometimes, when I’m driving in my car with my three kids fighting in the back and I’m late for an appointment, stuck in traffic and the radio is blaring bad news, a thought runs right through my heart and soul: It’s not Knight who’s crazy, it’s the rest of us. Maybe the operative question isn’t why Chris left society, but why the rest of us don’t.

The complete article

Simon Worrall — National Geographic

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This Tiny Country Feeds the World


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Could not help but share this great piece from National Geographic about a small country doing wonders with its sustainable farming practices.

Seen from the air, the Netherlands resembles no other major food producer—a fragmented patchwork of intensely cultivated fields, most of them tiny by agribusiness standards, punctuated by bustling cities and suburbs. In the country’s principal farming regions, there’s almost no potato patch, no greenhouse, no hog barn that’s out of sight of skyscrapers, manufacturing plants, or urban sprawl. More than half the nation’s land area is used for agriculture and horticulture.

The complete article

Frank Viviano — National Geographic

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What Makes a Genius?


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What is it that makes someone a genius? If it was just intelligence we would have many more geniuses around. “Some minds are so exceptional they change the world. We don’t know exactly why these people soar above the rest of us, but science offers us clues.”

But monumental intelligence on its own is no guarantee of monumental achievement, as Terman and his collaborators would discover. A number of the study’s participants struggled to thrive, despite their towering IQ scores. Several dozen flunked out of college at first. Others, tested for the study but with IQs that weren’t high enough to make the cut, grew up to become renowned in their fields, most famously Luis Alvarez and William Shockley, both of whom won Nobel Prizes in physics. There’s precedent for such underestimation: Charles Darwin recalled being considered “a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect.” As an adult he solved the mystery of how the splendid diversity of life came into being.

The complete article

Claudia Kalb — National Geographic

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The New Europeans


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Europe is changing fast. Immigrants and refugees in all countries of Europe are growing each year. Today’s needull looks at the this change.

Germans have a word for what Franklin was afraid of: Überfremdung, or “overforeignization.” It’s the fear that home will become unrecognizable, because there are too many strangers in it, talking in strange languages and behaving in strange ways. Most of us, if we look into our hearts, can probably at least imagine the feeling. In Germany this past year it has been on fiery display. There have been large nighttime rallies and flaming rhetoric by right-wing orators in Dresden and Erfurt. There have been hundreds of attacks on refugee shelters, most still empty—although just days before Merkel’s press conference drunken thugs lobbed a Molotov cocktail into a child’s bedroom at a shelter in Salzhemmendorf, near Hanover.

The complete article

Robert Kunzig — National Geographic

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