The science of smells (NPR)
by Terry Gross
Why does cat pee smell so bad? Why does roasted meat taste so good? And why does a rainy day smell like anything at all? Science writer Harold McGee has the answers.
What are childhood and old age for? (Aeon)
by Alison Gopnik
Humans stand out in the animal world for how long we spend in childhood and old age. Those years of vulnerability on both ends of the lifespan could be the key to our species’ most important advantages, too.
The Black warrior queen who gave California its name (Atlas Obscura)
by Rebecca Johnson
California’s namesake, Queen Calafia, is the griffin-riding queen of a fantastic island inhabited only by Black women. But why did a sixteenth-century Spanish writer invent her, and what does her story say about that era’s concept of race?
When dolphins take the blame for sexual violence (The Atlantic)
by Sushma Subramanian
In the Brazilian Amazon, pink river dolphins known as botos have long been associated with supernatural sex crimes. Now those beliefs are lifting, but not necessarily to the botos’ benefit.
What cow breeding has to do with COVID vaccinations (The Washington Post)
by Joanna Radin
Pfizer’s newly developed COVID-19 vaccine must be kept at a consistently freezing temperature through the whole supply chain. That might be possible thanks to systems developed for distributing…bull semen. And this wouldn’t be the first time cows contributed to vaccinations.
Got a hot tip about a well-researched story that belongs on this list? Email us here.