The Rest Is History

Sleep learning, Viking cat skeletons, and medicinal breast milk.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, December 21, 2018

Prosperity: Ding Gu Dreaming of a Pine Tree, by Yashima Gakutei, c. 1824. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Caroline and Jarred Morse.

• Scientists virtually re-created a pre-Incan temple; we previously had no idea what it looked like. (Gizmodo)

• The best facts Kathryn Schulz learned from books in 2018. (

• On hypnopaedia. (The Believer)

• Before Walt Whitman died, the New York Times provided constant updates of what his sickly body was able to ingest: “A small piece of toast was all he ate during the day.” (New York Times)

• Suffering from eye problems—or anything, really? This seventeenth-century physician recommends breast milk. (JSTOR Daily)

• This week in unexpected headlines: viking cat skeletons reveal a surprising growth in the size of felines over time. (Science)

• The story of a nun from Illinois who came to New York City in the 1980s to care for AIDS patients. (WNYC)

• Context for the latest news on the Russia meddling front: “The beginning of the Cold War coincided with the beginning of the civil rights movement, and the two became intertwined—both in how the Soviets used the racial strife, and how the Cold War propelled the cause of civil rights forward. ‘Early on in the Cold War, there was a recognition that the U.S. couldn’t lead the world if it was seen as repressing people of color.’ ” (The Atlantic)

• The history of blind items. (The Ringer)

• A short video on the history of fat, long a friend to humans. (Aeon)

• This week in obituaries: Penny Marshall, Nancy Wilson, and Oribe, a man who found his muse in big hair.