Points of Interest #25

August 20, 2016 

“Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.”

These words by Richard Feynman to describe the intricate and interconnected mysteries that science tries to understand. Small fragments—in DNA, ruins, dirt, etc.—slowly build up over time, and through toil, diligence, and endless revision, they form a cohesive picture of what happens, and why. These small fragments are, in a way, the miracle of science; the scientist asks simple questions that somehow add up to profound and complex answers about nature. This week we’re looking at simple questions with complex answer, which is to say, we’re looking at science.

An illustration of a jockey racing a horse next to a strand of DNA.

DNA by a nose. (img via Nautilus)


Scientist Emmeline Hill bred her love of science and horses together to find the common genes in winning horses. Some say horse breeding still comes down to a feeling, you be the judge.

Now we take you under the sea to check out mammal politics. Killer whales have been bullies of the ocean for sometime but humpback whales are taking a stand. See how these humpback whales try to protect a grey whale calf from an attack.

Mr Sandman, bring us a dream, a dream where we find out why we need to sleep. Scientists found an ion channel in fruit flies, which they’ve dubbed the Sandman, that turns the need to sleep on and off. This means we are one step closer to figuring out the mysteries of sleep.

Merlin Sheldrake, plant scientist and winner of the Plannerzone awesome-name award, calls it the social network of plants; you might think of it as a forest. This article talks about the relationship of mycorrihizal fungi and the rest of the forest on the floor of Epping Forest in London.

Prehistoric bling: The oldest gold object (c. 4,500 B.C.E. to be exact) has been unearthed in Bulgaria. And a Balkan Copper-age civilization emerges with it.

An exterior daytime photo of Muji in New York City

Do you speak Japanese? If you do you’re eligible to apply to live in Muji’s Window House for 2 years (for free) and then get Muji furniture for life. Check out this customer-driven approach to architectural innovation.


Wiki of the Week: Sandman

“The Sandman is a mythical character in Dutch, and Central and northern European folklore who puts people to sleep and brings good dreams by sprinkling magical sand onto the eyes of people while they sleep at night.”