July 6, 2018

Weekend reads: The US has a 1.39 billion-pound cheese surplus. Here's how that happened.

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    Music education may help kids with language skills. Teaching kids music might help improve their language skills, according to a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). For the study, researchers randomly assigned a group of 74 Mandarin-speaking children to three groups—one that received piano lessons, one that received reading training, and a control group that received no extra training. After six months, the researchers found students who received piano lessons and students who received reading training were better at differentiating between spoken words and vowel sounds than the control group. However, the students who received piano lessons were much better at "consonant-based word discrimination," which correlated with the group's responses to differences in musical pitch, Denise Powell reports for ABC News. 

    Long day? Go find a nap pod. Nap York, a chain of wellness cafes in New York, offers customers the chance to take a nap in one of its public sleeping spaces called "nap pods." According to Stacy Veloric, the director of marketing for Nap York, the company aims to help the one-third of Americans who don't get enough sleep recharge. "Coffee is just a quick fix. Once the caffeine wears off, you're still tired," she said. "Taking a nap, you can actually recharge yourself and you're rebooted." Nap York charges customers a starting price of $15 per half-hour to use their nap pods, which come in business-class or first-class.  

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    That's a lot of cheese. The United States has a 1.39 billion-pound cheese stockpile—the largest recorded since regulators started tracking cheese stocks 100 years ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to analysts, the rise in cheese is due in part to excess supply of cow's milk, which is stored more easily as cheese. Cows are producing more milk, due to "better genetics," according to the Washington Post's "Wonkblog," while consumers are drinking less milk. As for the type of cheese behind the record-breaking tally? Experts suspect non-American, non-Swiss cheeses: largely mozzarella. 

    New life for old bones. Staff at the Smithsonian are "re-excavat[ing]" some of the institution's dinosaur fossils as part of a renovation project at the American Museum of Natural History, Ed Young writes for The Atlantic. Some of the fossils were discovered upwards of a century ago, when standards from preservation weren't quite what they are today. Gorgosaurus, for instance, has been stored in a mount made to look like rock, on top of real rock, plaster, chicken wire, and fibers that were part of the jacket used to move the beast when it was first found. With the renovation, the museum will use new modelling tools to stage the dinosaurs to appear more lifelike. For instance, Tyrannosaurus will be eating a Triceratops.

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