How tree DNA helped catch a poacher, the unhealthy Facebook habits affecting people's lives, and more.
How tree DNA was used to catch a poacher. Trees can't fight back against illegal logging operations, but they may be able to catch the perpetrators in the aftermath. Writing for the Washington Post, Adela Suliman explains a first-of-its-kind case of tree DNA evidence being used in a federal criminal trial.
Can you speedrun enlightenment? Neurofeedback, brain stimulation, and synthetic psychedelics are all ways people have been trying to increase their mindfulness and reach a higher state of consciousness, but does any of it even work? Writing for Vox's "Future Perfect, Sigal Samuel examines the rise of "spirit tech" and whether they might lead to true enlightenment—or just a pale shadow of it.
Do you really need to ditch your scented candles? While scented candles release vapors and particles into the air that can be unsafe in large doses, research suggests that typical candle use is not harmful to your health. Writing for the New York Times, Melinda Wenner Moyer explains why you don't need to be concerned about "hidden dangers" if you occasionally burn scented candles.
Do you have an unhealthy Facebook habit? If so, you're not alone. According to research conducted by Facebook, 1 in 8 users—roughly 360 million individuals—compulsively engage in what the company calls "problematic use." Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Georgia Wells, Deepa Seetharaman, and Jeff Horwitz explain how the social media app can be harmful to sleep, work, relationships, and parenting.
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