Ben Palmer's reads
Once social distancing ends, what will society look like? As we inch closer to a post-pandemic world and a return to some semblance of normal, scientists and researchers are asking: What will society look like? Writing for the Washington Post, Marlene Cimons looks back at how the aftermath of the 1918 influenza pandemic led to the Roaring Twenties—and how the United States might be in for the Roaring 2020s.
Vaccines have given us a small talk topic. After a year of stilted conversation, Americans are using the newly authorized vaccines as a stepping-stone back into small talk, Ian Bogost writes for The Atlantic. Bogost takes a look at how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our conversation—and how the newfound "vaccine discourse shows how badly people…want and need small talk."
José Vasquez's reads
Get ready for billions of cicadas to surface from underground. In the coming weeks, billions of cicadas—from a group called Brood X—are going to emerge from underground in 18 states, Jesus Jiménez writes for the New York Times. Jiménez answers seven top questions about Brood X, including where you can expect to see these periodical cicadas, whether you can eat them, and how long you'll hear their mating song.
Should schools rethink start times? Amid the pandemic, schools throughout the United States adopted remote learning, giving many adolescents an extra hour or more of sleep—which, according to sleep experts, served as a "'natural experiment'" on whether schools should start later, Katherine Ellison writes for the Washington Post. Ellison explains how the past year of remote learning could offer enough evidence to convince school officials to "follow scientists' guidance to begin the school day no earlier than 8:30 a.m."