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How plagues shaped the world (The New Yorker)
by Isaac Chotiner
Epidemics have changed the course of wars and revolutions, altered class dynamics, and brought out the best and worst in humans. The effects of any given disease depend a lot on the societies it encounters.

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Why we love dung beetles (Atlas Obscura)
by Sandra MacGregor
Elephants are fine, but if you go to see the wildlife in South Africa, don’t forget another fascinating, charismatic, family-oriented species: the flightless dung beetle.

The real-world politics of Outlander’s romance (Nursing Clio)
by Catherine Medici
Dina Gabaldon’s wildly popular Outlander series hinges on marriage between Scottish and English characters in the eighteenth century. That reflects an issue that really was crucial to the politics of the time.

When forests stop absorbing carbon (The Guardian)
by Fiona Harvey
In the 1990s, tropical forests removed 46 billion tons of carbon from the air. In the 2010s, it was just 25 billion. Land-clearing and feedback loops created by warming trends will turn the forests into net carbon producers in the coming decades.

What tech can’t tell us about our minds (Aeon)
by Allen Frances
Technical advances like the Human Genome Project and functional MRIs have opened fascinating windows into the functioning of the brain. But focusing too much on these tools may cause researchers and clinicians to ignore important but low-tech ways of viewing mental functioning.

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