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Hummingbirds, SETI, and a Lego Microscope: Lux Recommends #234

By Sam Arbesman, PhD

Welcome to Lux Recommends #234, this week’s edition of what we at Lux are reading and thinking about (want to receive this by email? Sign up here).

Articles

Hummingbirds Navigate an Ultraviolet World We Never See: “New research shows that the nectar-drinking birds use their enhanced color vision to distinguish sources of food.” — Adam G

My dad launched the quest to find alien intelligence. It changed astronomy: “Sixty years ago, on a chilly West Virginia morning, Frank Drake began to scan the stars for signals from faraway civilizations.” — Sam

Gigantic Circular Structure Found Near StonehengeAdam K

Build A Sophisticated Microscope Using Lego, 3D Printing, Arduinos, and a Raspberry Pi: “A DIY experiment at IBM Research–Europe became a valuable tool” — Sam

USA Tree DiversityAdam K

Protest misinformation is riding on the success of pandemic hoaxes: “Misinformation about police brutality protests is being spread by the same sources as covid-19 denial. The troubling results suggest what might come next.” — Deena

Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive’ Sam

The online competition between pro- and anti-vaccination views: “Although smaller in overall size, anti-vaccination clusters manage to become highly entangled with undecided clusters in the main online network, whereas pro-vaccination clusters are more peripheral. Our theoretical framework reproduces the recent explosive growth in anti-vaccination views, and predicts that these views will dominate in a decade.” — Lux Recommends reader Sarah Cone

How To Win Monopoly In 21 SecondsAdam K

Books

Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife: “from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and transcendence in the West, and its ever-present threat to modern physics. Here are the legendary thinkers — from Pythagoras to Newton to Heisenberg, from the Kabalists to today’s astrophysicists — who have tried to understand it and whose clashes shook the foundations of philosophy, science, mathematics, and religion.” — friend of Lux Guy Perelmuter

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