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Coral Reefs, Mathematical Snowflakes, and the Climate of Game of Thrones: Lux Recommends #112

By Sam Arbesman, PhD

Welcome to Lux Recommends #112, this week’s edition of what we at Lux are reading and thinking about (and want to receive this by email? Sign up here).

Why Do We Need to Sleep? “At a shiny new lab in Japan, an international team of scientists is trying to figure out what puts us under.” — Zack

In Silico Flurries: This is a wonderful exploration of mathematically-generated snowflakes. — Sam

Scientists model the climate in Game of Thrones: ‘The climate in Game of Thrones is incredibly weird, not least because of the strange timing of the oddly-long seasons. A group of climate scientists from the Universities of Bristol, Cardiff, and Southampton decided to figure out what’s going on by making a climate model of the world — based on the weather data they could scrounge from George R. R. Martin’s novels. They wrote it up as a mock academic paper authored by the GoT character “Samwell Tarly”.’ — Sam

Medieval illustrations of what Europeans thought elephants looked like: “For his Elephas Anthropogenus project, Uli Westphal collected European illustrations of elephants dating from the fall of Rome to the end of the Renaissance, a period of time when very few people actually knew what an elephant looked like.”— Sam

Rise of Bitcoin Competitor Ripple Creates Wealth to Rival Zuckerberg: “At one point on Thursday, Chris Larsen, a Ripple co-founder who is also the largest holder of Ripple tokens, was worth more than $59 billion, according to figures from Forbes. That would have briefly vaulted Mr. Larsen ahead of Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg into fifth place on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.” — Peter

Single metalens focuses all colors of the rainbow in one point: One of the items preventing your phone from getting thinner is the optical package of the camera lens. This research paves the way for a flatter future. — Zack

How Bryan Fogel Accidentally Documented the Russian Olympic Doping Scandal: Extraordinary story of a documentary filmmaker who unwittingly pulled the threads to unravel one of biggest conspiracies in history of sport.— Peter

Food-safety expert warns latest bizarre Silicon Valley $60 ‘raw water’ trend could quickly turn deadly: Not The Onion: “The raw-water trend is similar to people’s obsession with raw milk or opposition to vaccines. While they lack scientific evidence, they’re convinced that they are correct, in part because they have failed to see the repercussions of life without scientific advances.” — Alex

512-Year-Old Shark, Believed To Be Oldest Living Vertebrate, Found In North Atlantic Adam K

Chasing Coral: Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.” Also see this article (recommended by Adam K) with a map of the reefs in danger. — Zack

Time lapse of cell divisionAdam K

The art and science of carnival games and how to win them Sam

Extremely Good Dog Takes Itself Sledding Zack

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