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Weekend Reads 1/2/21

A resolution for 2021: Be a better ancestor

“What I’ve found is that the language of legacy seems to motivate people across different social realms with different backgrounds,” he said. (A small study from 2015 found that prompting people to think about how they’ll be remembered made them more likely to support personal and political action to cut carbon emissions.)

Why Jane Goodall reminds me of Dorothy Day

But what Goodall learned in the forest and continues to preach is the truth that there is no “animal” world and “our” world—there is only the world, about which she speaks in religious terms. “Being out in the forest,” she says, “I had this great sense of a spiritual awareness, of some spiritual power. . . . You cannot help but understand how everything’s interconnected.”

The year shopping changed forever

There’s a reason people who previously shunned online shopping for stores are now sticking with it: It’s typically much more convenient than browsing through rows of aisles to track down what you need. But the acceleration in online shopping this year — which otherwise would have taken several years to happen — will have profound consequences on the way millions of Americans work; the way corporate power is concentrated; and the way local communities are reconstructed to account for the decline of retail store chains like department stores and the malls they’ve long anchored.

Does it snow in space?

The best-studied examples occur right next door on the Red Planet. Scientists have already observed snowfall several times on Mars. With an average temperature of about minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 60 degrees Celsius), the nearby planet is certainly cold enough for snow. In 2008, NASA's Phoenix lander caught water-ice snow — the fluffy stuff we're used to on Earth — falling near the planet's north pole.

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