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The sad truth is that the conquest and capture of Africans and their sale to Europeans was one of the main sources of foreign exchange for several African kingdoms for a very long time. Slaves were the main export of the kingdom of Kongo; the Asante Empire in Ghana exported slaves and used the profits to import gold. Queen Njinga, the brilliant 17th-century monarch of the Mbundu, waged wars of resistance against the Portuguese but also conquered polities as far as 500 miles inland and sold her captives to the Portuguese. When Njinga converted to Christianity, she sold African traditional religious leaders into slavery, claiming they had violated her new Christian precepts. –“Ending the Slavery Blame-Game,” Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York Times
Still smarting from the 1975 “Pepsi Challenge” taste-test battle, Coca-Cola Co. launches “Project Kansas,” a top-secret mission to reformulate Coke. President-Chief Operating Officer Robert Goizueta appoints Coca-Cola USA head Brian Dyson, who taps marketing chief Sergio Zyman to head the endeavor. Mr. Zyman and company test a new, sweeter version of the flagship cola with 190,000 nationwide taste tests at a cost of $4 million. At a bottlers’ meeting in Atlanta back on April 22, 1985, Mr. Zyman announced from the stage that Coke was changing its taste. The next day Coca-Cola revealed the new, sweeter taste to financial analysts and the media. But word of the new product finally leaks out and Pepsi dispatches its own press assault on the same day claiming victory. “The other guy blinked,” Pepsi says in ads saying Coke reformulated its brand to taste “more like” Pepsi. –“New Coke: One of Marketing’s Biggest Blunders Turns 25,” Abbey Klaassen, Advertising Age
Though it may seem paradoxical, the “gay agenda” today is fundamentally conservative. Neither gay activists nor mainstream conservatives will be happy to admit this, of course. Those in the conservative movement resistant to making peace with the main criteria of this program—the extension of civil marriage rights, the right to serve openly in the military, the right to adopt children, and the acceptance of homosexuality itself as a benign, naturally occurring feature of humanity—continue to think of the gay rights movement as it was in its heyday of the immediate post-Stonewall era. They see gay people as threats to the traditional American family structure and social order, which, to be fair, most of the prominent gay activists at the time were….Today, there are no calls for free love or the sanctifying of bathhouses as battlegrounds for civil rights. The young gay activists protesting today do so in order to get married. They want to join a bedrock institution, not tear it apart. –“A Conservative Conundrum,” James Kirchick, The Advocate
More from TedRoss:
Discussed in this essay:
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt. 352 pages. $28.
The extinction symbol is a spare graphic that began to appear on London walls and sidewalks a couple of years ago. It has since become popular enough as an emblem of protest that people display it at environmental rallies. Others tattoo it on their arms. The symbol consists of two triangles inscribed within a circle, like so:
“The triangles represent an hourglass; the circle represents Earth; the symbol as a whole represents, according to a popular Twitter feed devoted to its dissemination (@extinctsymbol, 19.2K followers), “the rapidly accelerating collapse of global biodiversity” — what scientists refer to alternately as the Holocene extinction, the Anthropocene extinction, and (with somewhat more circumspection) the sixth mass extinction.
Percentage of Americans who say they would not enjoy spending time with their own clone:
Astronomers recorded the most powerful pulse of radiation ever observed; the radiation was emitted from a pulsar 12,000 light-years from Earth and was “capable of totally vaporising and ionising all known materials, shredding them into hot plasma.”
Alberta dentist Michael Zuk, the owner of a molar that belonged to John Lennon, revealed that he hoped to clone a new Lennon and raise him as a son. “Hopefully keep him away from drugs,” said Zuk, “but, you know, guitar lessons wouldn’t hurt.”
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Science’s crisis of faith