1. Is fancy coffee over?
One chain, Locol, is brewing its coffee to the standards of high-priced Intelligentsia but selling it for a dollar a cup. "There's an extreme democratization that I really want to make happen in coffee," Tony Konecny, the head of Locol's coffee operation, told the New York Times. "Coffee still thinks that mass appeal is a sign of selling out and inauthenticity, but everybody wears Levi's." (NYT)
2. Should marriage have a renewal contract after two years?
According to a recent survey, many millennials think so. "Until death do us part" means something different in the modern world, where people live longer and are more independent than they were hundreds of years ago when this vow was written. While it's not for everyone, this mindset shift could potentially help in taking the pressure and shame out of alternate lifestyles where people choose to live outside of convention. (QZ)
3. The most unexpected player in the fight against climate change? Whales.
Not only are whales just generally amazing creatures, but they are also capable of absorbing the carbon in our oceans that contributes to climate change. "The deep ocean stores a lot of carbon, so it's worth looking at the contribution of animals in conservation efforts," says Angela Martin, project lead with Blue Climate Solutions. Yet another reason to protect the whales and their habitats. (Scientific American)
4. Have we finally figured out a way to erase fearful memories?
Weizmann Institute scientists have now managed to erase one type of memory...in mice. After the procedure, the mice resumed their earlier fearless behavior, "forgetting" they had previously been frightened. This research may one day help extinguish traumatic memories in humans, for example, in people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. (Science Daily)
5. Is it possible for humans to adjust to modern life?
Psychologically, yes. While these aren't genetic changes (as those take too many generations to manifest), it turns out that behaviorally, we're a quick study. Throughout human evolution, we see evidence of humans adapting, learning, and thriving in new habitats, which suggests that we're able to cope with new the challenges that modern life throws at us. (Psychology Today)
6. Avocados are too popular for their own good.
Brooklyn's newest avocado restaurant opened yesterday and was a little too successful, completely exhausting their ripe avocado supply within 3 hours. They're trying to ripen the backup avocados as quickly as possible, throwing bananas into the mix to hasten the process. (Eater)
7. We've long thought that behavioral evolution was as slow as physiological evolution. Turns out, we might be wrong.
Until recently, it was believed that the human fear of animals like snakes and spiders was partly genetic (suggesting a slow behavioral adaptation), but new information suggests that those fears are affected by social learning. On top of that, the fear of predator species by prey is entirely learned in the prey's lifetime. What does that mean for us? "If moose can get behaviorally adapted to their changing environment within a generation or two, the same is almost certainly true of humans." (Psychology Today)