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How a West African queen fought colonial powers (Longreads)
by Anne Thériault
In seventeenth-century West Africa, Queen Njinga fought off Portuguese colonizers and other enemies with physical skill in battle, strategic religious conversion, and the murder of some of her relatives.

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Would we know an inhabited planet if we saw one? (The New Yorker)
by Adam Mann
Since 1992, there’s been no U.S. government funding for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, turning it into more of a hobby than a discipline. That could change soon. The trouble is, scientists hoping to find aliens don’t really know what to look for.

The monarchs’ one weird trick (The New York Times)
by Carl Zimmer
How did monarch butterflies start eating poisonous milkweed? Turns out, it took just three mutations. And now scientists can transform fruit flies to give them the same superpower.

Jane Austen and the modern marriage (The Atlantic)
by Shannon Chamberlain
Did Jane Austen really romanticize marriage? Kind of. But her view of what made a partnership successful, and why good marriages were important, weren’t really in line with the experts of her time.

The dangers of dry streambeds (NPR)
by Dan Charles
In Kansas, Colorado, and other places all over the world, streams are drying up. The increasing use of water for irrigation, combined with warmer, dryer conditions, is a threat to all the life that depends on small waterways.

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