Pig Kidneys, Pong, and Starling Murmurations: Lux Recommends #300

2 min readOct 22, 2021

By Sam Arbesman, PhD

Welcome to Lux Recommends #300, this week’s edition of what we at Lux are reading and thinking about (want to receive this by email? Sign up here).


The Inside Story of Pong and the Early Days of Atari: “Installed in a bar in Sunnyvale, California, the first Pong prototype was so popular that the flood of quarters jammed the machine.” — Adam K

When Did Things Happen?Sam

Obsidian ‘Spirit Mirror’ Used by Elizabeth I’s Court Astrologer Has Aztec Origins: “Tudor polymath John Dee used the artifact in his attempts to communicate with angels and apparitions” — Sam

In a First, Surgeons Attached a Pig Kidney to a Human — and It Worked: “A kidney grown in a genetically altered pig seemed to function normally, potentially a new source for desperately needed transplant organs.” — friend of Lux Nicky Sid

Research as UnderstandingSam

A blind man can perceive objects after a gene from algae was added to his eye: “Researchers are trying to genetically reengineer people’s retinas to restore vision.” — Ina

Order Flocking Out of Chaos: “A physicist-turned-photographer captures the incredible harmony of starling murmurations.” — Sam

This Is How Everyday Sexism Could Stop You From Getting That PromotionDeena

Cellphone data shows that people navigate by keeping their destinations in front of them — even when that’s not the most efficient routeSam


Bewilderment by Richard Powers: “The astrobiologist Theo Byrne searches for life throughout the cosmos while single-handedly raising his unusual nine-year-old, Robin, following the death of his wife…With its soaring descriptions of the natural world, its tantalizing vision of life beyond, and its account of a father and son’s ferocious love, Bewilderment marks Richard Powers’s most intimate and moving novel. At its heart lies the question: How can we tell our children the truth about this beautiful, imperiled planet?” — Sam


Free Guy: “A bank teller discovers that he’s actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game.” — Adam G


DIY Cardboard Plastic Ball GunSam

The Balloon World CupAdam K

The Most Important Device in the Universe Sam

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