JANUARY 24, 2020

It’s been an eventful January already, but we’re still in a “new year, new you” frame of mind (for help sticking to your intentions in 2020, hear our listening recommendations on the new episode of Audicted). And hey, happy Lunar New Year to those who celebrate! Let’s unpack the week.

So...iguanas fell from the sky

The National Weather Service in Miami issued an unusual alert earlier this week: Falling iguanas possible tonight. Ever curious about natural phenomena, we dug into this mysterious missive to learn that iguanas start to stiffen and fall out of trees when temps drop to the 30s and 40s (!). But don't assume they're dead—when frozen iguanas thaw, they can feel threatened and bite. These fascinating facts have us reaching for one of our favorite recent listens about strange animal behavior.

In other animal-adjacent news...

Do androids dream of electric sheep? Or do artists dream of humanoid lambs? All we know is, we’re legitimately terrified of the newly restored Lamb of God in the Ghent Altarpiece, the 15th-century masterpiece credited as the world’s first major oil painting. The viral restoration one-ups our previous favorite, Ecce Homo, by being alarmingly detailed and, apparently, totally accurate. Turns out Great Courses professor Dorsey Armstrong was right—medieval imagination was lit!

Maybe the (screen-obsessed) kids are alright?

Editor Courtney has always espoused an everything in moderation approach to screen time for her kids (and all so-called vices, if we’re being honest), which is why she latched onto a new report stating there doesn’t seem to be any evidence base that would explain the level of panic and consternation around the psychological effects of glowing screens on children. Scientists pored through 40 studies on screen time to conclude that, per the New York Times, the phone is just a mirror that reveals the problems a child would have even without the phone. 🤯 For Courtney’s recommended listens on mindful parenting, check out audible.com/parentallistening.

We'll just be over here swooning…

A handful of choice photos from a recent awards event had the gossips buzzing about the possible reunion of one of America's all-time favorite former celebrity couples. Whether this becomes the greatest shipping success of 2020 or not, we thought it was urgently important that everyone know there's a whole genre of romance dedicated to second chance stories, and now feels like the ideal time to escape. We can dream, right?

What about a royally happily ever after?

Following their romantic courtship and fairy-tale wedding, no one could have predicted the bombshell announcement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are stepping away from royal life—unless you’re romance writer Alyssa Cole. It’s a plot twist familiar to the author of the Reluctant Royals series, where princesses save princes and royal lovers escape their gilded bubbles and dysfunctional families. In a recent op-ed for The Washington Post, Cole applauds the Sussexes’ royal rebellion: In this new storybook ending, people don't have to wallow in the toxic mire because that's how things are in this family. Black women don't have to stay strong in the face of racist vitriol as some kind of perverse toll for being in the public eye. You can pack your bags and leave, and even the disappointment of the queen of England can't stop you. We couldn't have written it better ourselves!

In other news