April 30, 2021


A friend and I were talking about parenting during the pandemic when my 4-year-old interrupted us with, "That's boring, let's talk about our birthdays."

Clearly my daughter.

-- iksplor Founder | Karissa Akin

weekly survival tip

How about learning something new, perhaps with your child at your side?

trail talk

We know, you might see this and say, really ladies?? But this post-mortem on Kimye – the nearly 10-year long relationship between Kim Kardashian and Kanye West that is now ending in divorce – is actually a pretty fascinating review of one of pop culture’s most influential celebrity marriages. The article argues that although Kim and Kanye are both larger-than-life personalities with flawed pasts, super egos, gobs of money and more, theirs was an actually relatable love story “worth rooting for.” But it became more than that, “it was also a story about power,” the author, Allison P. Davis, writes. “And it was that tale, with its moments of conquest and cross-promotion, of influence and wealth amassed, of equal playing fields, and of reversals, that became the most interesting to watch.” Now we’ll have to see what the next story, the divorce story, reveals…

In totally other news, this article by Walter Isaacson for Time Magazine, about the mRNA technology used to develop the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against Covid-19, is well worth your time. It’s from January, so some of the info about vaccine approvals and such is a bit dated. But ignore all that. And don’t let yourself be daunted by the relatively hefty science involved here either. The deep dive into how researchers have harnessed the power of mRNA, or messenger RNA – nucleic acid that contains information from DNA for making proteins – is pretty incredible. Not only have these scientists been able to use mRNA to protect humans against covid, but their ability to “code messenger RNA to do our bidding will transform medicine,” Isaacson writes. Brilliant minds are now using the technology to fight cancer and other viruses, bacteria and pathogens harmful to humans. RNA can also be “engineered” to edit specific genes and has effectively been used this way to actually cure sickle cell anemia. It’s transformative stuff and makes reading about cytoplasm and enzymes and nanoparticles and the like, well, pretty exciting really.

trail matters

If you’ve ever tried to explain climate change to your children and felt, um, not quite up to the task, this interactive guide from the New York Times might be the assist you need. Thanks, Times. With a visually appealing design, a nice scroll feature and simple, short bits of text, the piece is a great way to talk about why the climate is warming, how it started, what impacts we’re seeing as a result and what our collective future could look like if we either do nothings or take decisive action now. It’s kid-friendly and adult-level interesting too. Not an easy dunk, but these journos did it.

trail mix

How about some new books for spring? We looked to our favorite professor, Emily Oster, for a reading list that includes books about pregnancy and fertility, children’s brain development and other family / child-related topics. Of course she included her new tome, “The Family Firm,”which explores how a classic business school framework can help parents make key decisions for their elementary school-aged children. Her post also includes an interview with Abigail Tucker, author of the new book, “Mom Genes.”Available now, the book is about “the evolutionary science of how being a mother changes our brains.” Mom brain? Yup, it’s real. And Tucker explains why. Check out the book list and interview here.

yard sale