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Friday Links: Cute Kittens, Mistaken Maples, and Siberian Hermits

January 31st, 2013 · 8 Comments ·

Happy Imbolc or St Brighid’s Day, the awakening of the land to the coming spring. The days are getting longer and lighter! My friend Waverly has a great blog post about this part of the wheel of the year.

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Credit: Flickr / Merlijn Hoek

The Power of Cute: New research has revealed that looking at cute images of baby animals doesn’t just make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but can actually improve your work performance and help you concentrate. With her endless love of all things cute and cuddly, Claire’s going to end up a Zen master!

Hobbit Legalese: One lawyer provides an incredibly detailed analysis of Bilbo’s contract with the dwarves.

The Influence of Austen: A recent study has found that Jane Austen, author of “Pride and Prejudice, “ and Sir Walter Scott, the creator of “Ivanhoe,” had the greatest effect on other authors, in terms of writing style and themes.

Canadian Bill Features Norway Maple: Canada’s launched a new twenty dollar bill, featuring a maple leaf. But according to Canadian botany professor Julian Starr, “This could not be confused with a native species of Canada. It basically looks like a Norway maple.”

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How Much Do Cats Kill?  Cute or not, new research indicates that they kill a lot, a fact that is written up in very different styles by The Oatmeal, by Nature, by The New York Times.

Best of 2012 Journalism: The Byliner has pulled together their list of the top 102 pieces of journalism from last year. Many great reads on this list.

Natalia-and-Agafia40 Years In The Siberian Forest: Speaking of compelling reads, this new story in Smithsonian is almost unbelievable: a single family, living in the woods of Siberia for 40 years without any contact with other humans. Their pots and metal implements wear out, yet they survive. One is there still.

More Cute:  Oh, you want a little more cute to improve your concentration? Well conveniently, our friend Trileigh Tucker, a fellow nature blogger and great photographer, just went to Antarctica and met these baby fur seals:

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Fur-Seal-baby-Fortuna-Bay-S-Georgia-Jan-5-2013-9120953-TT-480

Friday links

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