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Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy’s cover story on the unlikely bond between former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton–and their plans for 2016–drew praise from readers yearning for more collaboration in politics. “This is how our world is supposed to be: working together, enjoying each other’s company, supporting each other,” wrote Pam Leibensperger of Uniontown, Ohio. Carolyn Walker of Sacramento even called for a bipartisan ticket with both Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. Others, however, said the presidential friendship shouldn’t distract from bigger issues in politics. James Day of Silverton, Ore., suggested the real story is elsewhere: “Congress has an approval rating of 19%.”


Jeffery Kluger’s call to accept that not all children will be extraordinary drew comments from parents and teachers alike. John Roberts of Opelika, Ala., a retired educator, wrote, “Too many times, I’ve witnessed children’s aspirations be torpedoed by their parents’ desires to tell them what’s best for them.” The New York Times’ Frank Bruni agreed, noting in a column that giving kids the “wiggle room to find genuine passions” is key. Meanwhile, Nathan Daniel Fisher, a 19-year-old from Charlotte, N.C., wrote that he identified with the story’s subjects: “The parental overinvestment and overplanning in my life has become so extreme that I can’t imagine making an authentic career decision.”


How do you train animals to perform “human” tasks? That’s the question behavioral psychologists Marian and Keller Breland set out to answer in the 1950s, ditching the conventional tactic of punishment in favor of a reward system. At their I.Q. Zoo facility, the husband and wife successfully taught a hamster to swing from a trapeze, a raccoon to play the piano (below) and more. The groundbreaking results eventually helped popularize humane animal-training techniques that are still used today. For other examples, visit


In our series This Is Now a Thing, we check out the science of recent health trends (like those below). See more at

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FATwater Water with special oil; claims to hydrate more than regular water does
Charcoal juice Drinks with charcoal powder; meant to help digestion and skin
Hair burning Scorches split ends; supposed to make hair look smoother

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This appears in the August 17, 2015 issue of TIME.

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