'Viking' was likely a job title among diverse people, says DNA study

"The results change the perception of who a Viking actually was," said project leader Professor Eske Willerslev.

DNA from a female skeleton named Kata found at a Viking burial site in Varnhem, Sweden, was sequenced as part of the study

Västergötlands Museum
  • A team of international researchers spent years analyzing the DNA of 442 people, most of whom lived during the Viking age.
  • It's the largest DNA analysis of Viking remains to date.
  • The results show that Vikings were more genetically diverse than previously thought.
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Malcolm Gladwell live | How to re-examine everything you know

Join Radiolab's Latif Nasser at 1pm ET on Monday as he chats with Malcolm Gladwell live on Big Think.

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Is this the end of the myth of American exceptionalism?

In his new book, "American Rule," Jared Yates Sexton hopes to overturn a centuries-long myth.

Photo: Mike Focus / Shutterstock
  • In "American Rule," Jared Yates Sexton wants to eradicate the myth of American exceptionalism.
  • Since its founding, Sexton writes that America has been constructed to protect the wealthy elite.
  • In this interview, the writer suggests that facing up to our tragic history affords us an opportunity to build something new.
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How viral social media memes trigger real-world violence

What responsibility should government authorities and Big Tech take in policing the spread of sedition-oriented content?

Credit: Christian Buehner on Unsplash
  • It can be hard to believe that comical images online are enough to rile people up enough that they'll actually attack.
  • Originating in the darker corners of the internet, Bugaloo is now prominent on mainstream online platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
  • The Network Contagion Research Institute's recent series of Contagion and Ideology Reports uses machine learning to examine how memes spread.
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8 must-read books on the psychedelic experience

Psychedelics are going mainstream. Here's your reading list.

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Culture & Religion
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring into psychedelics companies right now.
  • With loosening restrictions on clinical research, new therapeutic modalities are being investigated for anxiety, depression, and more.
  • The psychedelic literature is rich with anecdotal accounts and clinical studies.
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How kings created Angkor Wat—then lost it

The major temples seem much more interesting than what also appears on the landscape: apparently random mounds of earth.

Photo by James Wheeler on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
Over a thousand years ago, the ancient Khmer civilization emerged as a powerful cultural and political force in what is now Cambodia and came to dominate much of Southeast Asia.
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Pattern recognition influences religious belief, according to new study

Christians and Muslims that pick out unconscious patterns are more likely to believe in a god.

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Culture & Religion
  • Georgetown researchers found strong implicit pattern learning implies belief in a god.
  • The study included American Christians and Afghani Muslims, representing two different religious and cultural backgrounds.
  • Further research on polytheistic religious believers could provide insights into a cognitive basis of religion.
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