Categories
Culture & Society Nature

Oxygen in the house: Barcelona opera house reopens with performance to over 2,000 plants

No, this is not an article from The Onion.

To mark Spain’s lifting of lockdown restrictions, Barcelona’s Liceu Opera House reopened for the first time in three months with a performance to 2,292 potted plants.

The three classical musicians performed Puccini’s “Crisantemi” to “reaffirm the value of art, music and nature” after Covid-19 lockdowns.

Even more, the plants will be donated to the city’s healthcare workers.

You love to see it! Watch the full performance below.

Categories
Architecture & Design

Yarn artist Liisa Hietanen makes human embroidered figures

Knitting is a popular hobby in Finland. But 30-year-old artist Liisa Hietnanen takes the practice to a whole new level.

She uses wool to create life-size crocheted sculptures of the neighbors in her village.

“The slow handcraft techniques work as a counterforce to the accelerating pace in different areas of life,” says the
artist, who uses photographs and face-to-face meetings to help create these fiber people.

“To me the more important values in my works are not likeness or resemblance.

“The works are rather about encountering someone very concretely, seeing the other for real and getting to know them slowly. I see these as relevant values and balancing actions especially in contrast to quick stirs and thin encounters in social media.”

Check out more of Hietanen’s creative vision below.

Categories
Culture & Society Health Nature

Natural light prevents myopia

A report issued in Nature reveals that staying inside is the leading cause of myopia.

The finding refutes the myth that nearsightedness is the result of intense reading sessions and screen activity.

Myopia is prevalent in East Asian countries, where the focus on studying means staying indoors rather than benefiting from the outside environment.

According to another study in journal Lancet, 90% of young adults in China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea are nearsighted compared to 30% in Britain.

Outdoor light is beneficial to the eyes because it triggers the release of dopamine in the retina.

One myopia researcher recommends spending at least three hours a day in natural light, even if means sitting under a tree.

But what scientists really needed was a mechanism: something to explain how bright light could prevent myopia. The leading hypothesis is that light stimulates the release of dopamine in the retina, and this neurotransmitter in turn blocks the elongation of the eye during development. The best evidence for the ‘light–dopamine’ hypothesis comes — again — from chicks. In 2010, Ashby and Schaeffel showed that injecting a dopamine-inhibiting drug called spiperone into chicks’ eyes could abolish the protective effect of bright light 11 .

Categories
Animals Culture & Society Nature

Neanderthals were great hunters but poor artists

Neanderthals were great hunters but poor artists.

According to a study done by UC Davis psychology professor Richard Coss, Neanderthals used basic spear hunting techniques to capture tame prey.

Meanwhile, Homo Sapiens developed the ability to throw spears as a result of chasing more elusive game in the open grasslands of Africa.

Homo Sapiens were also careful planners, sharpening their hand-eye coordination by drawing out hunting scenes on cave walls.

43,900-year-old hunting scene found on island cave of Sulawesi, Indonesia (Science News)

Such artistry not only made modern humans better visualizers and hunters, but it also helped them develop smarter brains.

Historian and author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Yuval Noah Harari also argued that while Neanderthals might have had larger brains and finer tools than their fellow Homo Sapiens, they lacked the cognitive abilities for language.

Homo Sapiens developed rounder skulls and bigger parietal cortexes that allowed them not only to translate visual images but share stories through word of mouth.

Categories
Architecture & Design Culture & Society

Time travel back to New York City, 1911

In 1911, Swedish film company Svenska Biografteatern recorded its trip to New York.

Fortunately, the footage survived and most recently was speed-corrected (slowed down) and reproduced with the ambient audio of street sounds of car horns, horses, and police whistles to give us a sense of the environment back then.

There’s also a color version of the 8-minute long video restored via neural networks, featuring 60 frames per second and 4k image resolution.

Some observations:

  • Notice all the people wearing hats
  • The streets look a bit empty compared to today’s zoo
  • Cable powered trolleys
  • The kids go nuts when the camera is on them. Nothing’s changed!

This might be the closest we get to time travel.