States Consider Longer School Recess, and the Adults Aren’t Complaining

Four years ago, Lucy Dathan moved to New Canaan, Conn., where she enrolled her three children in public elementary school. They met new classmates. Their teachers were attentive. But something was amiss: Recess was limited to a 20-minute break after lunch, or about half the time as at their previous school, in California. Ms. Dathan…

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Trilobites: How the Icefish Got Its Transparent Blood and See-Through Skull

The Southern Ocean around Antarctica was once warmer. Then about 30 million years ago, the temperature dropped. Few fish could survive temperatures that were just above seawater’s freezing point, and they either migrated to warmer waters or went extinct. One bottom-dweller held on. Through the power of natural selection, its descendants developed traits that let…

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Matter: These Mice Sing to One Another — Politely

High in the mountains of Central America lives a little known creature called Alston’s singing mouse. This rodent, which spends its life scuttling around the floor of the cloud forest, may not seem like it has much to tell us about ourselves. But the mouse produces remarkable songs, and researchers have discovered some profound similarities…

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Wine School: Back to the Supermarket: Looking for the Good

In our recent exploration of crowd-pleasing American red wines, I tried to sharpen the contrast between processed, mass-produced bottles, like the three we tried, and the simpler agricultural wines that are our usual focus. The experience raised a natural question: Are big-production wines necessarily mediocre at best? The answer is, of course not. I pointed…

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Wine School: The Hills Have Valtellina

If you ever doubt the value that humanity has placed on the fermented juice of the grape, take a look at the labor-intensive, death-defying challenges that people have accepted to tend vines on some of the most perilous hillsides in the world. Whether in the Mosel Valley of Germany, the Northern Rhône Valley of France…

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Goodbye, Park Slope. The Clay Pot Has Had Enough.

When Bob and Sally Silberberg opened the Clay Pot in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in 1969, Seventh Avenue was dotted with bars. Some had been there for decades, when the neighborhood was home to dock workers living in single-room occupancies. It was an unlikely location for a hippie pottery store. “We had a teapot show,” Mr.…

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Social Q’s: Too Much Kissing in the Kitchen

I am 62 and no prude. Honest! I am also a grandmother with a part-time job, so I help out my daughter with child care twice a week. I am often sitting in the kitchen with my daughter and 5-year-old grandson when my son-in-law comes home and exchanges a passionate, open-mouthed kiss with my daughter.…

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Australia Fare: The Long Paddock Gets Small-Town Australian Cooking Right

LINDENOW, Australia — Along the crest of a ridge overlooking the wide Mitchell River valley in East Gippsland, Victoria, there’s a small town. It’s like many communities in this part of the world: a handful of houses, a general store, a pub and more than a few empty storefronts. But the view from that ridge…

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