One of the things I like best about writing science fiction is doing the research. This weekend I've been reading about gravitational waves for a short story I'm writing that involves inter-dimensional travel...I already did a bit of reading on "multiverse" theories, but decided to work something I'm calling a "gravitational pulse" into the tale, and gravitational waves are giving me the basis for the concept.
Elephant grief isn't exactly fun to read about or see (there are photos and videos online that are positively heartbreaking), but I have a story idea that requires me to understand it as best I can (without spending weeks or months in the field getting in the way of real researchers). Doing so has heightened my belief that hunting elephants should be banned worldwide and elephant hunters should be shot on sight in the field, or arrested if possible. There are plenty of ways to prevent dust-ups between humans and elephants without resorting to the killing of elephants. It's hard not to believe that elephants will become extinct within my lifetime.
Speaking of extinct, I've also done a bit of research on dinosaurs for a story (or maybe a series of stories and novels...we'll see) that's been a lot of fun. I can't get too deep into why, but it involves dinosaurs and their evolution had they not died out.
And then I've been reading a lot about humanity's early ancestors, such as Neanderthals and "hobbits" and Denisovians...again, for a story that I don't want to get too deep into here while I'm writing it. It's fascinating to imagine what civilization might have been like had the various branches of humanity (and I use that term broadly, obviously) had continued to advance separately...