Happy Sunday – and welcome to the best of The Conversation U.S.

Here are a few of our recently published stories:

I was a college student in New York City when Irish songwriter Sinead O’Connor first performed there. What struck me most at the time was her buzz cut – shocking and yet purposeful. Cutting off her hair was a defiant act intended to thwart her record company’s attempts to exploit her pale, wide-eyed beauty.

A remembrance of O’Connor published after her death July 26 was one of last week’s reader picks. Brenna Moore, a professor of theology, goes beyond O’Connor’s rebellious reputation – the performer famously ripped up a photograph of Pope John Paul II on “Saturday Night Live” – to paint a portrait of a woman intent on holding religious institutions accountable even while questing widely for spiritual belonging.

Later this week we’ll bring you stories about the effects of paid family leave on workers in California, why women get far more migraines than men and how to protect more homes from the growing risk of wildfire.

Emily Costello

Director of Collaborations + Local News

Readers' picks

On AI Jesus’ Twitch channel, chatbot Jesus answers questions on personal and spiritual matters. Twitch user ask_jesus

A chatbot willing to take on questions of all kinds – from the serious to the comical – is the latest representation of Jesus for the AI age

Joseph L. Kimmel, Boston College

As a chatbot, dressed in a hooded brown-and-white robe, Jesus is available 24/7 to answer any and all questions on his Twitch channel, ‘ask_jesus.’

Editors' picks

A relief depicting a row of captives, carved into the Sun Temple at Abu Simbel in Egypt. Richard Maschmeyer/ Design Pics via Getty Images

Dismantling the myth that ancient slavery ‘wasn’t that bad’

Chance Bonar, Tufts University

There was no one type of slavery in ‘biblical’ or ‘ancient’ societies, given how varied they were. But much of what historians know about slavery during those eras is horrific.

News Quiz 🧠

  • The Conversation U.S. weekly news quiz

    Test your knowledge with a weekly quiz drawn from some of our favorite stories. Questions this week on indictments, heat, X and mail-order wedding officiants.

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