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Good Reads: From domestic violence, to lion survival, to the cost of Medicare

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Why do lions live in prides when many other big cats (like jaguars, cougars, and tigers) lead a solitary life?

“Continual risk of death, even more than the ability to cause it, is what shapes the social behavior of this ferocious but ever jeopardized animal,” writes David Quammen for National Geographic. “The lion is the only feline that’s truly social, living in prides and coalitions, the size and dynamics of which are determined by an intricate balance of evolutionary costs and benefits.”

Mr. Quammen followed a group of researchers in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, where the highest concentration of the world’s 35,000 lions live. They use 40 years of data to uncover patterns of lion behavior in such wild, harsh conditions.

An app to end global poverty?

There are applications that know what you want before you do. But can Silicon Valley’s ingenuity apply to ending global poverty? In Foreign Policy, Charles Kenny and Justin Sandefur raise some doubts. They point out that technology has already done much to improve lives in the developing world – think vaccines, radios, bicycles, and cellphones. But many well-intentioned high-tech projects (like One Laptop Per Child or Soccket) fail to meet the reality on the ground. Despite the fact that extreme poverty has decreased by half, millions of people still die from preventable diseases.

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