Roundtable

The Rest Is History

Turkey, Project Dustbunny, and the worst year ever.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, November 23, 2018

Autumn Landscape with a Flock of Turkeys, by Jean-François Millet, c. 1872. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac D. Fletcher Collection, Bequest of Isaac D. Fletcher, 1917.

• On proteins and the past: “In 2015, researchers at the Folger Shakespeare Library, in Washington, DC, swabbed the gutter of a Bible from 1637 and found DNA belonging to at least one Northern European, who had acne. The library did not publicize the experiment, which it code-named Project Dustbunny, partly because it took a moment to digest the implications.” (The New Yorker)

• In case you were wondering which year to be gladdest you weren’t alive to experience, this article has a potential answer. (Science)

• The fortieth anniversary of the Jonestown massacre: “Even still, in America, Jonestown is largely seen as a white catastrophe; in Guyana, it’s viewed as a distinctly American one, a late twentieth-century experiment in colonialism. In both tellings, and in the many books and films, black people are seen en masse, without individual stories of their own that might tell us something about how private entities learn to prey on black people when civic institutions fail them, and how joy can sometimes be found within that. So I went looking for names.” (Mother Jones)

• The Gold Nugget Museum in Paradise burned down in the California wildfires. (Smithsonian.com)

John Smith’s dreams for New England. (Atlas Obscura)

• A recipe from Alice B. Toklas. (Literary Hub)

• What the FBI thought of twenty-first century literature. (Harper’s Magazine)

• On turkey: “Maybe the weirdest thing about the turkey-pardon tradition—and there are a lot of weird things about it—is its origins. They can be traced directly back to, of all things, the Iran-Contra scandal.” (NPR)

• Using technology to identify soldiers in Civil War photographs. (Slate)

• This week in obituaries: William Goldman, “one of America’s leading chroniclers of the rural life,” a famous pianist, a famous trumpeter and flugelhornist, and Professor Wrong.