Capturing a Monsoon in a Scent (Atlas Obscura)
by Zinara Rathnayake
The origins of Indian scented oils known as attars may go back as far as the Indus Valley Civilization. Today, the unique process of making natural perfumes that capture the scent of rain remains a point of pride in the town of Kannauj.
Investigating Genetic Tricksters (Quanta Magazine)
by Saugat Bolakhe
A growing body of studies show the evolutionary importance of genes that jump from one species to another. The “selfish” genetic elements that make this possible use remarkable tricks to keep reproducing themselves in different contexts.
The Insect Studies of Charles Henry Turner (Knowable Magazine)
by Alla Katsnelson
In recent decades, scientists have dramatically revised their understanding of animals’ cognition and capabilities. If more researchers had followed Black zoologist Charles Henry Turner’s insect experiments more than a century ago, we might have gotten to this point much more quickly.
What X Marks (The Conversation)
by Peter Schumer
Why do we use “X” to refer to something unknown or mysterious? To find the answer, some look to the multicultural history of algebra. But the real answer might come down to a quirk of French printing technology.
What are Carbon Offsets For? (Vox)
by Angus Chapman and Desné Masie
Individuals and companies can “offset” their carbon emissions by paying for the preservation of forests or the purchase of cleaner stoves in the Global South. Two economists trace carbon credits around the world to investigate whether this is a step in the right direction or a confusing scam.
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