Mysteries of Life: Harper’s Findings

In Harper’s August hard copy, I found a number of odd facts which made me stop and wonder. I have thoughts.


A plume of water six thousand miles long is escaping the sixth largest moon of Saturn.

Water in the outer reaches of our universe. Doesn’t this mean something about the possibility of life out there? And that plume! I keep having a vision of this. Occasionally, I think, a Las Vegas hotel?


[S]elf-reported ethnoracial discrimination was correlated with increased suspiciousness and a high risk of psychosis.

This is the fact I took to most vigorously, because it seems to corroborate one theory I dug up about why members of my family voted for Trump. Remember the enlarged amygdalas? No? How lucky you are that I can’t forget them.

The new fact — and a startling one — is that racism correlates with “a high risk of psychosis.” A lot of us had grasped this but our grasp was heretofore anecdotal.

Oklahoma police responding to a cry for help found an upset goat.

Aww. Did I ever tell you about the baby goat I fell in love with while on Laucala, Malcolm Forbes’ own Fijian island? No? Remind me to. (There are photos.)

Question: why was the goat upset?


Sexually frustrated mass shooters kill more female victims.

Totally unsurprising but how doubly sick is this?

Boss Tweed was not responsible for the destruction of Central Park’s dinosaur statues.

Who said he was? I mean, Boss Tweed had enough against him so that he went to prison, escaped but was returned to prison on Ludlow Street, where he died.

But “Central Park’s dinosaur statues”? I know I’m asking too many questions but did you know there were dinosaur statues in Central Park? I didn’t. But this is exactly what Google is for. And Google gave me Ars Technica which provided the full story.

So it wasn’t Tweed but was a Tammany Hall cohort, Henry Hilton:

Co-authors Victoria Coules and Michael Benton of the University of Bristol in England also found no evidence of a religious motivation for the destruction, i.e., opposition to the then-nascent field of paleontology and its associated implications for evolutionary theory, which were deemed “blasphemous” by some religious leaders. Rather, it seems to have been one of many “crazy actions” by Hilton. “We find that Hilton exhibited an eccentric and destructive approach to cultural artifacts, and a remarkable ability to destroy everything he touched, including the huge fortune of the department store tycoon Alexander Stewart,” Coules and Benton wrote. “Hilton was not only bad but also mad.”

Sadly, the statues never made it into the park itself. They were beaten to death in the studio of the sculptor who made them.

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