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November 5, 2021

Weekend reads: How the pandemic has changed our dreams

Daily Briefing

    How animals ended up with tusks, why taxi drivers are the latest subject of Alzheimer's research, and more.

    Vivian Le's reads

    How the pandemic has changed our dreams. It's easy to see the effect the pandemic has had on people's waking lives, but what about their dreams? Writing for the New York Times Magazine, Brooke Jarvis describes the different ways people's dreams have changed over the course of the pandemic, as well as the research trying to explain why we dream at all.

    What happened to these ancient whales? Whale stranding, which occurs when whales end up trapped on beaches or in shallow waters, has puzzled researchers for years, but whale fossils buried in the desert may be the key for finding an answer. Writing for Vox, Byrd Pinkerton explains how researchers are analyzing ancient whale fossils to discover how they died—and how this might apply to living whales today.

    Alyssa Nystrom's reads

    How exactly did animals end up with tusks? According to a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, two evolutionary adaptations created the pathway for the development of tusks. Writing for the New York Times, Asher Elbein explains how elephants, whales, deer, pigs, walruses and more got the impressive teeth they use to fight, forage—and even flirt. 

    The latest subject of Alzheimer's research? Taxi drivers. To become a fully licensed taxi driver in London, candidates must first pass a series of exams described as the most difficult memorization test in the world. Writing for the Washington Post, Cathy Free details how a University College London project called Taxi Brains is studying London cabbies to find out if their brains hold clues that could further Alzheimer's disease research.

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