A list of intriguing things
One: The lead image above is a very cool example of an optical illusion that’s all about perspective. The image taken by photographer Kenichi Ohno won the Nature in Japan contest. What makes it astonishing is that there is no Photoshop involved:
In the upper right-hand corner, there is a cream-coloured wall. What we see below the wall is its reflection in the water and the position of the photographer has allowed for a perfectly straight “cut” in the composition, so one side is all water and the other side is the wall and its reflection.
Petapixel has a more extended explanation of how the photo was taken.
Two: For decades, Japanese priests at the Enjuin temple in Okayama have been unable to identify a small blackened mummy—which looks “like a monkey-mermaid hybrid”—with scales down its back. Here’s what it looks like:
Scientists used 3D imaging to finally figure wtf it is. And here’s the amusing—and most anticlimactic thing: it’s not an animal but a man-made object—made of fish parts. But here’s where it gets more interesting. It is most likely a version of merfolk mentioned in Japanese mythology. These ‘dolls’ were made back in the 16th century and were supposed to bring good luck. FYI, if you’re not freaked out enough, here’s a 3D version of this made-for-Halloween creature. (Vice)
Three: Technology moves at such dizzying speed that it’s sometimes hard to separate fact from science fiction. A good example: Overture Life. The company uses a Sony PlayStation 5 controller to position a robotic needle—to inject an egg with sperm. Yes, this is the next generation of IVF—delivered by a robot rather than an expensive embryologist. But that’s just the first step.
Overture… has filed a patent application describing a “biochip” for an IVF lab in miniature, complete with hidden reservoirs containing growth fluids, and tiny channels for sperm to wiggle through. “Think of a box where sperm and eggs go in, and an embryo comes out five days later,” says [chief innovation officer] Santiago Munné… He believes that if IVF could be carried out inside a desktop instrument, patients might never need to visit a specialized clinic, where a single attempt at getting pregnant can cost $20,000 in the US. Instead, he says, a patient’s eggs might be fed directly into an automated fertility system at a gynaecologist’s office.