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Headlines edition

Thursday headlines: Skating for Godot

The delta variant is one of the most contagious respiratory viruses known. Is it as contagious as chicken pox? Not really. / NPR

Parents in Japan are sending bags of rice that weigh the same as their newborn babies to relatives who are unable to visit. / The Guardian

California will become the first state to require all teachers to show proof of vaccination or submit to weekly tests. / The Wall Street Journal

Theories on why California is handling delta much better than Texas or Florida. / The Los Angeles Times

A study finds pornography use trending downward during the pandemic, for both men and women. / Archives of Sexual Behavior

A profile of the last dirty picture show in Los Angeles (also one of L.A.'s oldest beekeeper). / Popula, L.A. Taco

Muralist Mona Caron grows a 20-story Joe Pye weed over Jersey City. / Colossal

Last year's stimulus checks should have had a profound effect on poverty—and that's exactly what researchers are finding. / Vox

A psychologist says some people are born lucky, with genetic variants that predispose them to academic achievement, stable jobs, higher incomes, and greater well-being. / Texas Monthly

Related: Is Britain becoming more meritocratic than America? / The Economist

A sociologist explains why conservatives have embraced Hungary's Viktor Orbán, "the ultimate twenty-first-century dictator." / The New Yorker

A technology writer invites a robot dog into her home. "I did not believe, of course, that the dog had any kind of internal experience." / The Guardian

James Surowiecki finds tips on office politics in literature. Also, a novelist has thoughts on the skateboarding life. / 1843 Magazine, The Paris Review

About 100 out of 120 minor league baseball teams have adopted an alter ego based on a regional food. / Atlas Obscura