Appeasing Denmark’s elves (Atlas Obscura)
by Sam O’Brien
Over time the Danish “house elf” known as nisse has transformed from a temperamental, sometimes murderous creature to a friendly Christmas icon. But families still make sure to give it a ritual offering of sweet porridge.
Noise-canceling moths (Physics World)
by Sam Jarman
How can you evade a predator that uses echolocation? Some moths have developed wing scales that scatter and dampen sound waves. Their technique could offer humans some tips for efficient soundproofing.
The continuing return of phrenology (Nursing Clio)
by Courtney Thompson
Judging people’s character by the shape of their heads is a notoriously dumb, destructive idea. So why do researchers keep doing it?
Embracing “disability” (Aeon)
by Joanne Limburg
What does it mean to check a box that says you’re disabled? A right to accommodations? An invitation to skepticism and stigma? Or maybe a claim to a politicized identity shared by 15 percent of the world?
Of COVID-19 and cookies (The Atlantic)
by James Hamblin
Is it OK to bring cookies to your neighbors this holiday season? Maybe. At least, it’s pretty clear the cookies themselves won’t cause any problems.
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