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Myalgic encephalomyelitis (also known as chronic fatigue syndrome), a condition that’s often postviral and similar to what some long Covid sufferers appear to have, can be so debilitating that it leaves those who have it with a sense of desperation. That wasn’t apparent during a recent demonstration, says New York Times columnist Zeynep Tufekci, as sufferers picketed and chanted, some in wheelchairs or using canes, wearing red shirts with slogans like “Still sick, still fighting.” They gave their best shot at civil disobedience, but instead of being arrested, they were largely ignored.
King Tut died long ago, but the debate about his tomb rages on
More than three millennia after Tutankhamun was buried in southern Egypt, and a century after his tomb was discovered, Egyptologists are still squabbling over whom the chamber was built for and what, if anything, lies beyond its walls. At the center of the rumpus is Nicholas Reeves, a former curator at the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who believes there are rooms hidden behind the northern and western walls in the treasure-packed burial vault. He says the tomb belonging to King Tut is merely an antechamber to a grander sepulcher for Tutankhamun’s stepmother and predecessor, Nefertiti.
This collector specializes in old train tickets and other ephemera
For those with a fetish for the past, the International Antiquarian Book Fair is a veritable orgy of delight. Held within the creaking hall of the Park Avenue Armory in April, the fair teemed with objects that have somehow made it through the centuries: colored cosmografias and uncertain maps, giant tomes with brass fittings shaped like lace-cuffed hands, sepia-toned drawings of human anatomy. But David Lilburne, a rare book seller, waved it all off. “Rare books are fine but what I really like is ephemera,” Lilburne said in an Australian twang, by which he meant disposable paper goods, like postcards and train tickets.
Swarming bees may potentially change the weather, new study suggests
Research shows that bees produce so much electricity they may affect local weather patterns. The finding, which researchers made by measuring the electrical fields around honeybee hives, reveals that bees can produce as much atmospheric electricity as a thunderstorm. This can play an important role in steering dust to shape unpredictable weather patterns; and their impact may even need to be included in future climate models. Insects’ tiny bodies can pick up positive charge while they forage, in some cases from the friction of air molecules against their rapidly beating wings.
Inside the proton, the most complicated thing you could possibly imagine
More than a century after Ernest Rutherford discovered the positively charged particle at the heart of every atom, physicists are still struggling to fully understand the proton. High school physics teachers describe them as featureless balls with one unit each of positive electric charge. College students learn that the ball is actually a bundle of three elementary particles called quarks. But decades of research have revealed a deeper truth, one that’s too bizarre to fully capture with words or images. “This is the most complicated thing that you could possibly imagine,” said Mike Williams, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “In fact, you can’t even imagine how complicated it is.”
How the mountain Jews of Azerbaijan have endured for centuries
Deep in the Azerbaijani foothills of the southern Caucasus Mountains lives one of Europe’s most interesting communities, the Red Village Mountain Jews. On the one hand, the village is connected to the rest of the world through its own expatriates. While only 500 people live here in the winter, the village balloons to over 3,000 in the summer, when its many sons and daughters return from Moscow, Brooklyn, Tel Aviv and Baku. On the other hand, the village remains fairly isolated. Even seven decades of Soviet assimilation policies and 30 years of Azerbaijani nation-building have barely diluted its distinct identity.