She was a real-life version of the heroine from Queen's Gambit

She was a real-life version of the heroine from Queen's Gambit

From Slate: "When Bobby Fischer was still a brash wunderkind, Lane was a bona fide grown-up media star. In 1961 alone, she was interviewed on the Today show, was profiled in the New York Times Magazine, and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She was touted as a great American hope against the scary Russians. Lane marketed herself and, in the process, elevated chess’s profile in America. Disgusted by the game’s latent sexism, she criticized its leadership and advocated for equal pay. Then, as quickly as she’d arrived, she all but disappeared from the game. There were many similarities between the fictional Beth Harmon (played in the adaptation by Anya Taylor-Joy) and the real-life Lane. Both were tempestuous, driven, talented, and unafraid to take on men, the chess establishment, or the Soviets. And both endured turbulent childhoods."

An Ohio man who hid his identity for 30 years is accused of genocide in Rwanda

Exclusive: Rwanda Revisited – Foreign Policy

From CantonRep: "The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday arrested a Stark County man, accusing him of rape and genocide in Rwanda in 1994, an event that left about 800,000 dead. Eric Tabaro Nshimiye faces various federal charges that include obstruction of justice and offering false testimony in the 2019 Boston trial of his former classmate and now-convicted Rwandan genocide perpetrator Jean Leonard Teganya. Neighbors who live on his street expressed shock, describing a man who invited his neighbors to his house for graduation parties for his sons and served them African food. Children played soccer in the Nshimiyes' yard and he was known to mow the grass of his elderly next-door neighbor. Nshimiye said he was a victim during the genocide, but prosecutors say he was among the notorious perpetrators of crimes during the Rwanda genocide."

The first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone did it at 67

From Atlas Obscura: "From the start, Gatewood made little distinction between the trail she was hiking on and the larger territory she was walking through. She sought food and shelter from the world around her, whether that was picking berries on the trail or asking to spend the night on nearby farms. Rather than outfit herself in special gear, she wore sneakers and slung her few belongings in a duffel over her shoulder. Gatewood had spent virtually her entire life in a working Appalachian landscape, getting around by foot, making do with what was at hand. Her hike on the AT would play out as an extension of that life, an indulgence in something that she enjoyed, rather than a self-conscious expedition into nature. Asked why she undertook the trip, Gatewood answered, “Because I wanted to.” In 1957, Gatewood flew to Georgia again and thru-hiked the AT for the second time in three years, finishing a few weeks before her 70th birthday." 

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The prisoner who emailed himself out of prison

UCLA Law builds databases on prisons and COVID-19 | UCLA

From Now I Know: "On March 9, 2015, Neil Moore was in Wandsworth Prison, a maximum security prison in England, awaiting trial. He was charged with orchestrating a series of bank heists, with his modus operandi centering on fraud. He’d pretend to be a bank official and, via a bit of social engineering, convince (real) staffers at other financial institutions to wire him some cash. Using four different aliases — some male, some female — Moore ended up unlawfully acquiring £1,819,000 (about $2.65 million) in total, in eight such heists. On March 10, 2015, Neil Moore was released from prison. An official from Southwark Crown Court emailed Wandsworth to inform them that Moore had been granted bail. On March 13, 2015, attorneys (solicitors) went to Moore’s cell to interview him regarding his pending case. He, of course, wasn’t there. But he should have been. No one at Southwalk Crown Court had authorized his release."

Illustrations of madness: James Tilley Matthews and the secret Air Loom

From Public Domain Review: "In 1810 John Haslam, a London apothecary, published the first ever book-length description of a mad person’s delusions. James Tilly Matthews described a previously unimagined world of futuristic machines, “magnetic spies” and mass brainwashing, woven into a bizarre but undeniably well-informed narrative of the high politics behind the Napoleonic Wars. Although Haslam has been relegated to a footnote in the history of psychiatry, his account of Matthews’ inner world is still cited as the first fully described case of what we now call paranoid schizophrenia, and in particular of an “influencing machine”: the belief, or delusion, that a covertly operated device is acting at a distance to control the subject’s mind and body. For everyone who has since had messages beamed at them by the CIA, MI5, Masonic lodges or UFOs, James Tilly Matthews is patient zero."

Japan’s most famous marathon runner vanished in the middle of a race

From The Washington Post: "Reaching the Olympic starting line took weeks. Finding the finish took decades. And in between, the young long-distance runner, considered the “father of the marathon” in Japan, seemingly disappeared into thin air. It was just the fifth edition of the modern Olympic Games, and the temperatures in Stockholm were unforgiving that day. Shizo Kanakuri, the first Japanese athlete to qualify for an Olympics, carried the pride and expectations of his country into the race. Just getting from Japan was a two-week ordeal that required trains, boats and patience. The 20-year old had set what was widely believed to be the record for the marathon a year earlier. But barely 16 miles into the race, he vanished off the course. The Olympics eventually packed up and left town. The world would soon go to war, sporting events were canceled, and for decades in Sweden, Kanakuri was considered missing."

This pillar in an ancient Hindu temple rotates like it's part of a machine

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.