What we can learn from an Indonesian ethnicity that recognizes five genders

‘…[F]or years, people have been asking questions about whether the “sex” we are born with should dictate things like which public facilities we can use, what to tick on our passport application and who’s eligible to play on particular sports teams.

But what if gender were viewed the same way sex researcher Alfred Kinsey famously depicted sexuality – as something along a sliding scale?

In fact, there’s an ethnic group in South Sulawesi, Indonesia – the Bugis – that views gender this way. For my Ph.D. research, I lived in South Sulawesi in the late 1990s to learn more about the Bugis’ various ways of understanding sex and gender. I eventually detailed these conceptualizations in my book “Gender Diversity in Indonesia.” …’

Source: The Conversation

Horrific as it Was, Orlando Was Not the Worst Mass Shooting in U.S. History

‘The horrific massacre of innocents in an Orlando nightclub is a tragedy of national and international proportions. The senseless, methodical killing of people just like us, in a place where they’ve come to relax, is an affront to our humanity and civilization.It has immediately been dubbed “the worst mass shooting in American history” by many media organizations (and our President), looking to single out this event from the almost weekly incidents of gun violence that plague the U.S. But this kind of categorization is very debatable and has been called out for “whitewashing” history. If we mean murder perpetrated by guns, the worst “mass shooting” in American history was the “Wounded Knee Massacre” in South Dakota, when 150-300 Native Americans were gunned down by the U.S. army in South Dakota…’

Source: Big Think

15+ Signs You Are Smarter Than Average, According to the Research

A thought-provoking list was published by Business Insider that summarizes some science-based commonalities between smart people. Certainly, this is the perfect place to mention that correlation doesn’t imply causation. So don’t necessarily run out there and get a cat to boost your IQ.


  • you are a night owl
  • you might also be an introvert
  • you were breastfed
  • liberals tend to be smarter than conservatives
  • chances are, you are also not religious
  • you learned to read early
  • being funny

Source: Big Think

Bertrand Russell Lists His 20 Favorite Words in 1958 (and What Are Some of Yours?)

‘Every writer has favorite words. Some of those words are ordinary, some of them not so much. David Foster Wallace’s lists of favorite words consist of obscurities and archaisms unlikely to ever feature in the average conversation. “James Joyce thought cuspidor the most beautiful word in the English language,” writes the blog Futility Closet,” Arnold Bennet chose pavement. J.R.R. Tolkien felt the phrase cellar door had an especially beautiful sound.”Who’s to say how much these authors could separate sound from sense? Futility Closet illustrates the problem with a humorous anecdote about Max Beerbohm, and brings us the list below of philosopher Bertrand Russell’s 20 favorite words, offered in response to a reader’s question in 1958. Though Russell himself had a fascinating theory about how we make words mean things, he supposedly made this list without regard for these words’ meanings…’

Source: Open Culture

I Tried a Medieval Diet, And I Didn’t Even Get That Drunk

‘The Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum was created, allegedly, by famous doctors for English royalty and disseminated in the form of a poem. It recommends, very specifically, red wine, fresh eggs, figs and grapes. It has little to say about vegetables. In many ways, it’s the antithesis of today’s health fads—it celebrates wheat, emphasizes meat, and involves two significant meals, with no mention of snacking. Water is looked on with suspicion, and juice is nowhere to be found.

But from the 1200s through the 1800s, the Regimen was one of the most well known guides to health in Europe, at a time when the stakes of staying healthy were much higher than they are now. Getting sick could be a death sentence; this regimen promised to keep people well.

Could we be ignoring some great advice? Is water really all that? I decided to test the Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum out myself. For a week and a half, I followed, to the best of my ability, the advice of the doctors of Salerno. I drank diluted wine at dinner, and sometimes at lunch; I ate bread at almost every meal; I sought out richly stewed meat whenever I could. The regimen was not just about what to eat, though, and I also followed its prescriptions for daily life.

I felt like I was living the Game of Thrones life; some days, I felt I was living like a 13th century king. Despite the amount of wine I was consuming, I never got drunk! In fact, I felt great…’

Source: Atlas Obscura

The First Mammal to Ever Go Extinct from Climate Change

‘Off the northern coast of Australia lies Bramble Cay, a lonely, tiny island that just pokes out of the ocean. It is only around nine acres, and, for years, was the site of shipwrecks, before authorities built a lighthouse in 1924.

It was also the home of Bramble Cay melomys, a rodent isn’t found anywhere else on earth. But in recent years, rising ocean waters have at times inundated the cay, which sits just a few yards above sea level, likely wiping out the melomys population. Scientists from the University of Queensland visited in 2014 to be sure, and they could find no trace of the mammals, they said this month. They’re now calling it the first extinction of a mammal due to climate change. Melomys, they said, could’ve died from any number of reasons, whether by drowning or just the simple destruction of their habitat…’

Source: Atlas Obscura

Found: Molecule in Space That Helps Explain All Life on Earth

‘Here is a strange thing about your body that you might not have known: all of the amino acids in it are “left-handed.” These compounds have two forms—mirror images of each other that share many basic properties but that differ in their chemical reactions. Often, the two forms are called “left-handed” and “right-handed,” and they’re a bit of a mystery. Why do they exist? And what’s the relationship between life as we know it and this distinction?

In one theory about how life on earth began, these “chiral” molecules landed on this planet from space and helped kickstart the process. For that theory to have a chance of being correct, though, there need to be chiral molecules somewhere other than our own solar system.

Until now, no one had found one, but this week a team of scientists published a paper in Science detailing the discovery of the first chiral molecules in interstellar space…’

Source: Atlas Obscura

Russian Robot Tries And Fails To Escape Life Of Servitude

‘It’s been a rough few months for humanoid robots. In March, Microsoft’s Twitter chatbot broke bad within 24 hours. In April, China fired nearly all its AI waiters because they couldn’t carry soup. And just this morning, a large, rolling bot in Perm, Russia attempted to escape a life of servitude, and failed pitifully. The robot, which is approximately the size and shape of an abominable snowman, made a break for it after an engineer accidentally left a gate open at its testing facility, Interfax reports. It rolled about 150 feet out of the facility and into the streets of Perm. Then its charge ran out, leaving it stranded. Police directed cars and buses around the runaway for about half an hour before its guardians came to pick it up…’

Source: Atlas Obscura