Cats might actually be onto something here…

Happening in the world: Cats enjoy plants like catnip and silver vine, not just for the high, but because they can also help the felines ward off mosquitoes, a new study led by a Japanese biochemist suggests. This study is the first to draw a direct link between the plants, which have previously been shown to be insect-repellant, and the protective benefit for cats. However, there could still be several other reasons, experts caution, for cats’ often amusing love of catnip. (NYT)

Happening in the US: Amazon has offered to help facilitate the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the US, the company’s chief executive announced in a letter to President Joe Biden. In exchange, the company has requested that its workers, the majority of which are unable to work from home, be prioritized for the vaccine. The government has yet to respond to the offer from the company, which has been critiqued for insufficient safety conditions for its workers during the pandemic. (BBC)

Happening in NYC: As the pandemic affects student attendance nationwide, the city’s Department of Education announced that around 2,600 students have fallen out off the radar of the public school system this year. These students, advocates say, are also those likely to benefit most during the pandemic from the support systems schools offer. The Department emphasized its dedication to reconnecting with these students and ensuring they can receive both the education and support services the public school system offers. (Gothamist)

Happening in our community: Today from 2 to 3:30 pm EST, the Brown Institute at Columbia will be hosting a talk called “Roles for Computing in Social Justice with Rediet Abebe, Harvard and UC Berkeley.” The talk will examine how—and if—computing can play a role to advance social change and a more equitable system. To learn more and register, click here.

Image of a cat vibing with some catnip via Wikimedia Commons