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Weekend Reads 12/28/19

The surprisingly complicated physics of why cats always land on their feet

"The falling cat is often sort of a sideline area in research," physicist and cat lover Greg Gbur told Ars. "Cats have a reputation for being mischievous and well-represented in the history. The cats just sort of pop in where you least expect them. They manage to cause a lot of trouble in the history of science, as well as in my personal science. I often say that cats are cleverer than we think, but less clever than they think."

From Jesus' Time: The 10 Most Interesting Biblical Discoveries of 2019

Israel and its neighbors are a rich archaeological ground. Hardly a month goes by without the excavation of some 2,000-year-old bit of human history. This past year was no exception. Archaeologists uncovered new mosaics, altars, churches and villages with ties to ancient Hebrew and Biblical texts. They also found new secrets in texts themselves.

Sen. Murkowski ‘disturbed’ by McConnell’s approach on impeachment

 

“To me, it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense,“ Murkowski said, adding: “I heard what Leader McConnell had said; I happened to think that that has further confused the process.”

Was the Christmas Star real?

However, if we grant the author of Matthew – who assuredly was not an eyewitness at the Nativity – a little artistic license, the “star” might not have appeared literally in the way described. In that case we can consider some natural, astronomical possibilities. In fact, there is some uncertainty about the use of the word for star in the Greek manuscript. Some contend that the word could have meant or implied an object other than a physical star.

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