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Why humans are so nice, and so mean (Vox)
by Sean Illing
Humans evolved big brains not to solve problems rationally but to coordinate cooperative action, according to psychologist William von Hippel. That might explain why we’re very good at caring what people think, being both empathetic and cruel, and crafting overblown stories to stir each other’s emotions.

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The many faces of U.S.-China relations (The Washington Post)
by Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman
Who’s responsible for the arrest of an executive of Chinese communications company Huawei? The answer reveals the divided nature of the U.S. federal government when it comes our highly complex relationship with China.

The tree made of blood that’s amazing the nation (The Atlantic)
by Haley Weiss
A strange blood clot emerged from a man’s lungs in the precise shape of the right bronchial tree. Is that amazing or just really gross?

The real Mary Queen of Scots (Slate)
by Alex Barasch
The new film Mary Queen of Scots traces the rise and fall of one of the few female ruling monarchs of Europe. But did the rivalries, sexual drama, and murders really play out the way they’re presented onscreen?

The effective, organic transformation of language (Aeon)
by Lane Greene
English speakers used to pronounce “meet” the way we now say “mate.” When that vowel shifted, other vowels also changed shape to keep the language intelligible. But how does that kind of transformation happen when there’s no single authority on what makes English correct?

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