05/03/2013 11:25 am ET

Table Talk: The Cicadas Are Coming

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This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

Over the next few weeks, East Coasters are going to get some very loud visitors: hundreds of millions of cicadas. Most cicadas spend the majority of their lives underground, and there are several different types of the insect. Roughly every 17 years, for about six weeks, "Brood II" cicadas come to the surface to mate and lay their eggs. The mating calls of the cicadas can be up to 100 decibels -- comparable to the sound of a passing subway train. Although their noise is irritating, cicadas are not dangerous. Once the temperature consistently hits 64 degrees, it’s only a matter of time before our new temporary neighbors make their appearance.

Questions for discussion:
  • Do you live in an area that will be affected by this? Have you seen any cicadas yet?
  • Are there any other animals you can think of that disappear for many years at a time?
  • Do older members of your family remember what it was like the last time the "Brood II" cicadas came out?

In her cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.