Distant cosmic body renamed over Nazi backlash

The object, originally dubbed "Ultima Thule," was renamed to "Arrokoth" due to the connection between the word "Thule" and the Nazis.

NASA
  • When the New Horizons probe originally visited Arrokoth, the most distant celestial body to have ever been visited by a spacecraft, NASA researchers nicknamed the body "Ultima Thule."
  • Thule refers to a distant mythological civilization. Although it originated in ancient Greek and Roman literature, the Nazis co-opted the term to refer to a mythological homeland of the Aryan people.
  • The new name, Arrokoth, is Powhatan for "sky."
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Is the end near? Podcaster Dan Carlin discusses his new book.

The host of Hardcore History has written his first book, The End Is Always Near.

Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images
  • In his debut work of nonfiction, Dan Carlin discusses the last 6,000 years of apocalyptic moments.
  • The podcaster talks about the choices we're collectively facing in view of the historical record.
  • Carlin warns against judging past deeds on current standards, as we're setting a bad precedent on future generations.
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How did Africa get its name?

These maps show surprising juxtapositions of ancient and modern toponyms of the Mother Continent.

Image: Hansueli Krapf, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • "Africa" is just one of the ancient names that competed to define the entire continent.
  • Geographical terms like Sudan, Maghreb, and Guinea have remarkably wide and changeable areas of application.
  • Newly independent African nations sometimes adopted names of former kingdoms – even faraway ones.
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Study claims to identify the homeland of all modern humans

A DNA study looks for the home of the earliest modern humans.

Credit: Justin Hall/Wikimedia
  • A DNA study traces the homeland of modern humans to the Makgadikgadi-Okavango wetland.
  • The area is shared by the modern-day countries of Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
  • The researchers drew conclusions from the mitochondrial DNA of humans living in that area today, but some scientists question their methodology.
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Why America’s Christian foundation is a myth

A new book by constitutional attorney Andrew Seidel takes on Christian nationalism.

Image Source: Ericsphotography / Getty Images
  • A new book by attorney Andrew Seidel, 'The Founding Myth: Why Christian nationalism Is Un-American', takes on the myth of America's Christian founding.
  • Christian nationalism is the belief that the United States was founded as a Christian nation on Christian principles, and that the nation has strayed from that original foundation.
  • Judeo-Christian principles are fundamentally opposed to the principles on which America was built, argues Seidel.
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