#20 Digest World News about Tech, Science, Culture and Social

Every 2 weeks ELK team picks the most captivating, forward-looking and inspiring articles from the best media around the globe to share with you in our digest. Learn what the world is talking about today! Please vote for your favorite article in the comments (and also share articles that inspired you).

Digest curated by our teacher Svyatoslav Tugeev

Tech

Rolling Cubes

Self assembly as a concept has long been a dream – instead of us building something, things would build themselves, like magic. So, inevitably, robotics tries to chase that dream and produces more and more interesting results. This time – cubes, that have swarm-like behaviour and are able to assemble into structures as well as climb up and down. An experiment now it might one day be how, for example, bridges are built, especially in an emergency. 

3D Printing for the blind

3D printing is still pretty hot. Materials, methods, everything is still being experimented with. But the industry is already developed enough for the issues of accessibility to be raised. What if someone who is unable to see wants to join in? How can they see what the result will look like? The answer is simple. Let them touch the virtual model.

 

Science

Rat behind the wheel

Now, first of all, a fluffy rat driving a tiny car is adorable and we can all agree on that. However, what is the point of that, apart from aesthetics? Well, as it turns out, this strange experiment actually provides a lot of useful information in behavioural studies, which could also mean finding a lot about ourselves. And the best part? The rats actually enjoy driving, as their stress levels show.

Science behind the monsters

With Halloween just behind us, memories of monsters are still fresh. Some classic ones, like vampires, mummies and werewolves appear every year, being the classic staple of our culture. But what actually stands behind those images? Where did they come from and how much do they have to do with reality? Smithsonian has published an article examining the real science connected to the classic monsters and we are gladly sharing it with you.

Unbreakable rainbow

There is a really pretty layer that lines the insides of mollusk’s shells. It is called “Nacre” and not only is it very pretty, shining with all the colors of the rainbow, but also surprisingly resilient. Understanding how it works could mean the ability to create a unique material, which could be used for many different purposes. And now, according to this article, we are beginning to crack this uncrackable material.

 

Social

One million trees

Elon Musk appears in the news again. He often does that for quite unusual reasons, so this one could be considered quite usual for him, all things considered. He has bought, as the title suggests, one million trees. The story is quite interesting and involves a youtube channel, which started with watching paint dry and is now famous for eye-grabbing philanthropy. 

Exercising elderly

It is a common sight in China – large groups of elderly exercising together in parks. There are even special playgrounds for the elderly, where they can use the equipment at their leisure, not worried that they will be asked to leave. Other countries, however, are slow to follow, but already there is research being conducted into how the result can be achieved most efficiently. Culture, as the research shows, actually does not play that big of a role. Location of a park, its type and features are much more important in getting the elder generation to exercise.

 

Culture

Dia de los muertos

Halloween takes many different forms around the world, and many other traditions have become intertwined with it. A few days after Halloween in Mexico is celebrated “Dia de los muertos”, or “Day of the dead”. It has many interesting and unusual attributes, from sugar skulls to colorful perforated paper. Each has special meaning and interesting history behind it. Smithsonian magazine offers explanation for those curious about this beautiful holiday.

First lines

Every book has to start somewhere, and some do it much better than others. A good beginning captivates the reader, hooks him into following the story, captures their imagination. Some beginnings even became so iconic, that just mentioning them brings in mind everything that follows. BBC has published a beautiful article on the best first lines in english-language fiction which we are glad to offer to you today. 

P.S. 

Halloween around the world

With Halloween having just passed, BBC has offered readers a small photo reportage on what form it took all around the world, from Yorkshire to Mexico City to Bangkok. 

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