OJ Simpson’s father was a San Francisco drag queen known as Mama

From SFist: “OJ Simpson’s father, who came out as gay and was largely absent from the family once Simpson turned four years old, became a local drag queen known as Mama Simpson. A documentary on OJ interviewed one of his childhood friends, Calvin Tennyson, who recalled a visit he and OJ made to Jimmy Lee Simpson’s apartment. “When his dad opened the door, he was in a bathrobe, which is not a crime. But then his dad kind of opened the door more, and there was a guy in the back in a bathrobe too. So it was obvious that his dad was gay.” A book about OJ quoted a source as saying Mama Simpson frequently dressed in drag and “everyone knew he was O.J.’s dad.”

What happened when a journalist went undercover as a high school student

From The Chronicle: “San Francisco Chronicle reporter Shann Nix probably should have been on her honeymoon in September 1992 when she took on an assignment she would still be thinking about decades later. Nix, then 26, changed her home answering machine, instructed her new husband to act like her father if he answered the phone and then went undercover for a month, posing as a student at George Washington High School in San Francisco. The result was the four-part “Undercover Student” project, a front-page exposé that today is both increasingly fascinating and increasingly shocking. It had an impact on a lot of people, including students who are now adults, and the reporter herself. And 32 years later, they still have a lot to say about it.”

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Can a simple infection cause psychiatric illness in teens? Some doctors say it can

From Undark: “Their son’s symptoms appeared, seemingly out of the blue: He’d meticulously line up pencils in groups of five, recite prayers unrelentingly, make homework illegible as he had to erase or cross out every C, D, and F. Eating, too, became a chore. If he had a contaminating thought while taking a bite, he’d have to spit out the food, wash his mouth, and try again, but the new bite couldn’t have touched the old one. Their pediatrician asked an intriguing question: “Has he had any unusual infections recently — you know about PANDAS, right?” The term was short for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections, first outlined in 1998.”

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Notorious crime kingpin reveals details about his whereabouts in Google reviews

Kinahan cartel civil war breaking out behind bars as infamous gang ...

From Bellingcat: “One of the world’s most wanted men, a notorious narco kingpin whose gang is implicated in multiple murders, has left a trail of Google reviews providing valuable new insights into his movements and whereabouts over the past five years. Christopher Kinahan Sr is the head of the notorious Kinahan Organised Crime Group, which originated in Ireland and is known as the Kinahan Cartel. Police believe the gang has amassed profits of over $1 billion through the trade of illegal narcotics, arms trafficking and money laundering. The US Government is currently offering a collective $15 million bounty for information leading to the arrest of Kinahan and his two sons.”

The treadmill was originally a device for rehabilitating prisoners

Treadmills atonement

From JSTOR Daily: “Two hundred years ago, the treadmill was invented in England as a prison rehabilitation device. It was meant to cause the incarcerated to suffer and learn from their sweat. It would mill a bit of corn or pump some water as a bonus. William Cubitt, a civil engineer raised in a family of millwrights, created the treadmill in 1818. Early attempts at the treadmill’s design took many forms, including two wheels you walked on whose cogs interlocked. But his most popular edition involved a wide wheel. Prisoners pressed down with their feet on steps embedded in the wheel, which moved it, and the treadmill was hooked up to subterranean machinery that ground corn.”

Scientists are still puzzled by the gobs of gelatinous goo that fell in 1994

a child holding gelatinous ocean creature similar in texture to oakville blobs

From IFLScience: “On August 7, 1994, the Oakville Blobs first arrived. They rained down from the sky in flecks of goo smaller than a grain of rice, but at such a high volume that they became visible across the ground and on shed roofs, including that of Oakville resident Sunny Barclift. One theory was that it had something to do with blowing up jellyfish. Bombs were being dropped in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Washington by the 354th Fighter Squadron at the time, and the chief of police received a tip-off that detonating a school of jellyfish might be the source of the Oakville Blobs. Several Oakville residents became ill with similar flu-like symptoms after coming into contact with Oakville Blobs, but whether this was a direct consequence can’t be known for certain.”

Dad sends mom Photoshopped pics whenever she asks how the kids are

Acknowledgements: I find a lot of these links myself, but I also get some from other newsletters that I rely on as “serendipity engines,” such as The Morning News from Rosecrans Baldwin and Andrew Womack, Jodi Ettenberg’s Curious About Everything, Dan Lewis’s Now I Know, Robert Cottrell and Caroline Crampton’s The Browser, Clive Thompson’s Linkfest, Noah Brier and Colin Nagy’s Why Is This Interesting, Maria Popova’s The Marginalian, Sheehan Quirke AKA The Cultural Tutor, the Smithsonian magazine, and JSTOR Daily. If you come across something interesting that you think should be included here, please feel free to email me.

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