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Weekend Reads 4/1/17

A Mistranslated Word Led To Some Of The Best Fake News Of The 20th Century

Giovanni Schiaparelli was an Italian astronomer who, upon observing Mars in 1877, claimed to see channels running over the planet’s surface. In time, this would be recognized as an illusion, but “in time” was several decades. His word choice to describe the channels — “canali” — was mistranslated in English as canals. So when Percival Lowell (founder of the Lowell Observatory) read that there were canals on Mars, he ran with it, considering them actual irrigation systems after his initial observations of the planet in 1894.

Critical thinking is one for the history books

Rather than hope that a general exposure to academia would produce critical thinking skills, the authors took matters into their own hands, designing a course that used history and archeology to critically analyze a variety of epistemically unwarranted ideas that have kicked around for a while: the existence of Sasquatch, the Bermuda Triangle, mummies' curses, the lost continent of Atlantis, ancient aliens, and more. All of these were handled critically, with a focus on evidence, credibility of sources, and so on.

Who me, a mystic? The Mysticism of Everyday Life: Responding to Becky Eldredge

Mystics are not unique persons, but persons who take the time to focus on God’s presence in their lives and the world. Mystical experiences can happen in everyday life – driving children or grandchildren to school, cooking breakfast, reading the paper or watching the news, gazing at the ocean, or following the flight of an osprey. If, as Christian theologians have affirmed, God is present everywhere, then any encounter can be a gateway to heaven.

5 packaging materials you didn’t know are difficult to recycle

Not all paper, metal, glass and plastic packaging is created equal, and many common items that seem to fall in the "recyclable" category are far from it. Knowing to “watch out” for these common household waste items will help you prevent contamination at your local municipal recycling facility (MRF) and ensure that the items you do recycle are kept at their highest value at all times.

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