Here is what I am reading today:

“To many, Temple Grandin is the public face of autism. Grandin’s story has significantly increased autism awareness around the world, and has increased society’s appreciation of the unique and positive characteristics of the autistic mind. But Grandin is much more than just a label: in addition to being an activist, Grandin is also an author, professor, and highly regarded animal scientist for her innovative methods for handling livestock. Grandin was listed in Time Magazine as one of the 100 most infuential people in the world (in the “Heroes” category), and was also recently played by Claire Danes in the Emmy-winning HBO movie about her life, titled Temple Grandin.”

“Last year, 146 American girls were named Khaleesi. That’s a 450% jump in the name’s usage from 2011, and before that year it was completely unknown.

If you’re not familiar with the name Khaleesi, you’d be excused for guessing that it’s Arabic, like Khalilah, or perhaps from Western Africa, like Kwasi. In fact, the name comes from the Dothraki language. Except it’s not a name in that language, but a common word meaning “queen.” And Dothraki isn’t a natural language, but a handful of words created byGame of Thrones author George R. R. Martin for his imagined Dothraki people. (A language-creation specialist has since elaborated on Martin’s vocabulary for the tv version of his fantasy epic.)”

“The habitable zone of a nearby star is filled to the brim with planets that could support alien life, scientists announced today (June 25).

An international team of scientists found three potentially habitable planets around the star Gliese 667C, a star 22 light-years from Earth that is orbited by at least six planets, and possibly as many as seven, researchers said. The three planet contenders for alien life are in the star’s “habitable zone” — the temperature region around the star where liquid water could exist. Gliese 667C is part of a three-star system, so the planets could see three suns in their daytime skies.”

“When it comes to friendship it may be quantity, not quality, that matters — at least for Barbary macaques in a crisis. Scientists have long known that sociable humans live longer than their solitary peers, but is the same true for animals?

A harsh natural experiment may offer some answers. It also raises intriguing questions about the type of social ties that matter.

Endangered Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) in the mountains of Morocco are accustomed to cold, but the 2008–09 winter was devastatingly hard for them. Snow covered the ground for almost four months instead of the usual one, and the monkeys, which eat seeds and grasses on the ground, began to starve.”

“The appearance of cutlery can affect perception of a food’s taste, reports BioMed Central’s open access journal Flavour. Food tastes saltier when eaten from a knife, and denser and more expensive from a light plastic spoon. Taste was also affected by the color of the cutlery.”


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