Weekend reads: Why puppies are so squeezable, NYC’s most fashionable kids, proof that writing is hard for everyone

Kathleen Escarcha's reads

New York Times photographer Marcy Swingle hit the streets to find the city's most fashionable kids. For two months, Swingle photographed 48 students with style in neighborhoods around the city. Some of the trends she spotted include vintage, sequins, rainbow, and athleisure. Swingle also asked students to describe their style, inspirations, and hobbies. Browse through the responses and photo gallery here.

Ever wanted to name a new salamander? An orchid? You can—if you're the highest bidder. Conservation nonprofit Rainforest Trust is auctioning off the rights to name 12 newly discovered plant and animal species from South America. The nonprofit will use the funds to help save the species from extinction. But some scientists worry commercializing the field and letting Westerners name biodiversity in another country's ecosystem could make taxonomy a cutthroat business.  

Emily Arnim's reads

You know that overwhelming feeling of wanting to just squeeze the life out of your dog? "The desire to nibble your pets is usually not discussed in polite company" but "lots of people share these impulses toward dogs, babies, or other wee things they find excruciatingly adorable," writes Amanda Mull for The Atlantic. In fact, it has a name—"cute aggression"—and scientists are working to understand its neurological basis. Several researchers suspect that experiencing cuteness in this way essentially reminds us to take care of the small, vulnerable creatures that rely on us to meet their needs.

Furhat Robotics is in the process of developing robots capable of interacting with humans with more empathy than your run-of-the-mill voice assistants, like Siri or Alexa. The software company aims to build robots that pick up on human social cues to illicit honest responses from patients in a doctor's office or to soothe irate shoppers, for example. "We've seen research that shows that in certain situations people are more comfortable opening up and talking about difficult issues with a robot than with a human," says Samer Al Moubayed, chief executive of Furhat Robotics.

Kristin Tyndall's read

Writing can be hard for everyone—including famous writers. Lin-Manuel Miranda recently shared a tweet he wrote in 2009 while working on Hamilton, now a Broadway hit that’s been running for two years and still sells out almost every night. In the tweet, Miranda is refreshingly honest about the effort that went into writing the musical: “spent the entire day working on one couplet about George Washington… It’s hard converting whole swaths of history into a hot 16 bars.”


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