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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).


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


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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