2. Fill a 12-inch skillet two-thirds full of water and add about 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a simmer. Drop in the asparagus and cook 1-2 minutes. After 1 minute, test stalks with a knife - you want them to have some resistance, to be slightly crisp. Drain the asparagus immediately in a colander. Rinse with cold running water to cool.
3. Lay out asparagus on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Roll gently to coat. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Copyright © 2012. From the An Early Summer Picnic menu.
Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, is studying whether the experience of being a virtual cow will make people feel more empathy. "[Our previous work] showed that if you had occupied the avatar of another person, you showed empathy toward them," Bailenson says. "But no one had ever tried this with another species."