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The Buzz Cut: A Pile of Martian Dirt May Soon Be the Most Expensive Thing on Earth

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Jun 5, 2021

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Image Credit: NASA

In The Buzz Cutwe bring you a round-up of all the weird, controversial, and wonderful stories we’ve been reading all week.


NASA is inching close to fulfilling its pipe dream: to bring soil from Mars back to Earth in the next decade. The cost of bringing back one kilogram of soil, you ask? Something north of $9 billion, which roughly translates to Rs. 900 crores, making it the costliest thing that fits in the palm of one’s hand.

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Mare of Easttown makes for a powerful watch, but it betrays a pattern common among HBO thrillers: it takes a murder to offer a nuanced, rich look at women’s lives. Sharp ObjectsBig Little Lies, The Undoing, and now Mare, HBO seems to have made a “cottage industry” out of this theme.

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Almost 58,000 Indians die of snake bites every year. The life-saving cure, an anti-venom, is hard to find and harder to extract; the crisis also betrays the urban-rural divide: “Rich people don’t get bitten, folks in cities usually don’t get bitten. It’s sort of stayed under the radar. Now, these preventable deaths have inspired more scientific innovation.

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This is a story of murder, lies, and betrayal around the serial killer who came to be known as Hannibal. It involves the FBI, who banked on a high-value snitch they thought might help them catch Scott Kimball. Kimball is currently serving a 70-year-sentence, but his hubris remains intact; he tells a reporter: “Those feds are so fucking stupid.”

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Recently, people in China started a trend of “lying flat” as an act of defiance against the 24×7 work culture. The symbolic rebellion stemmed from a constant burnout — which we know all too well — to quite literally depict the need for a lifestyle change that involves, well, lying down.

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NBA playoffs in the U.S. are opening up to in-person viewers, but the hostility of fans in the past — one emptied a popcorn bucket on a player’s head, another spat on someone’s ankle — is primed for reckoning. “Spectator sports rely heavily on the playacting of hatred, drawing power from performed animosity,” but perhaps a new, (post) pandemic world can help change that.

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An abortion subreddit that functioned as a safe haven for advice and resources in the U.S. witnessed a power struggle among two moderators. It felt like the subreddit would be banned forever owing to the barrage of complaints. One of the moderators recalls: “Of all the Internet drama I’ve ever been a part of, and I’ve been on the Internet since I was like 12, this is the weirdest.”

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The landscape of the northernmost town on Earth, the Longyearbyen on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, is changing because of climate change. Locals recollect a rapidly changing reality: “In 2008 it was typical to see snow every month. Seas would freeze every year. Neither of those is true any more.

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Written By Saumya Kalia

Saumya Kalia is Associate Editor at The Swaddle. Her journalism and writing explore issues of social justice, digital sub-cultures, media ecosystem, literature and memory as they cut across socio-cultural periods. You can reach her at @Saumya_Kalia.

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