3 Good Things: Three rings, $300,000 and a red-letter day

Karlotta Freier / For The Times

number one

Back to the big top

Remember when “the circus” meant “fun”? It lost its luster when our culture grew more aware of animal exploitation, but the experience never needed to be about elephants on parade. Now the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus is coming back to life after closing in 2017. New and improved — now no animals! I’m glad future generations will have a chance to attend. Any child will tell you that the true joys of the circus are, after all, quite simple: popcorn and cotton candy.


number two

Idea scouts

Who knows where good ideas come from? Well, Kristala Prather is going to make some educated guesses. Her day job is chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and now her sideline is spotting the germ of a theory, some undeveloped thought some colleague might have, that would benefit from a grant. She and 16 other “scouts” have been assigned by the nonprofit Hypothesis Fund to award $300,000 for fledgling ideas related to climate change or health. Sounds like a smart way to place bets.

number three

Special delivery

One graduating senior at Dillard University had already scheduled a pretty ambitious weekend earlier this month: walk across the stage on a Saturday morning, induce delivery of her baby that evening. Well, babies aren’t always considerate of such precise plans, and Jada Sayles went into labor the night before. She didn’t get to walk across the stage, but she did get a graduation ceremony to remember. The president of the New Orleans-based university, Walter Kimbrough, heard about the blessed event and visited to confer Sayles’ diploma right there in the hospital.

And one more ...

Here’s an invention for those of us who don’t have the dexterity of a Chipotle artist: tortilla tape to keep wraps wrapped long enough for you to actually eat them. The students at Johns Hopkins University who invented it are calling it Tastee Tape. Now, the description isn’t that appetizing — “food-grade fibrous scaffolding and organic adhesive” — but neither is the sight of a friend’s carnitas dribbling all over the place. This sounds like progress to me.