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What Do Cells Know? (Aeon)
by Philip Ball
Separate some developing skin cells from a frog embryo, and they can develop into something very different from a tadpole or a frog. While we often think of our bodies’ development as a question of cells putting themselves in order according to a DNA blueprint, the truth may be much weirder.

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Beyond “Poet Voice” (Los Angeles Review of Books)
by Marit J. MacArthur, Howard Rambsy II, Xiaoliu Wu, Qin Ding, and Lee M. Miller
Amanda Gorman’s performance at President Biden’s inauguration introduced many white audiences to spoken word poetry. What happens when academics take this popular form as seriously as poems delivered in a monotone?

Traces in the Desert (Atlas Obscura)
by Gitit Ginat
For nomadic Bedouins, analyzing obscure clues in the desert landscape was a key to herding, navigation, and keeping the peace. Today, their descendants employ the same skills for new purposes.

How Do We Learn to Read? (The New Yorker)
by Jessica Winter
For decades, many school districts taught reading using methods with little proven value. Now many are changing their approaches, raising questions about how much curricula matter and the many factors that affect kids’ ability to learn this most crucial skill.

Covering Serena Williams (The Conversation)
by Erin Whiteside
Serena Williams changed tennis. She also changed sports journalism, forcing reporters who were often pointedly apolitical to start seeing larger forces at work in the world of sports.

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