The big, beautiful world beyond our laptop screen is packed with incredible curiousities. Reading science blogs and listening to nerdy podcasts remind me of this time and time again. My memory often retains these educational knickknacks for a while, only to be forgotten later.
The solution was to write down my weekly learnings. Doesn’t that, they say, make learning easier?
1. James Webb Space Telescope’s images
What an exciting time to live in! Like a lot of kids, I always wanted to become an astronaut. Although this aspiration was never realised, my curiousity about the universe never waned.
Recently, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) captured images of galaxies coexisting in the universe. Unlike its predecessor, Hubble, JWST’s photographs are sharper and deep field despite the gas and space dust.
We can see the massive peaks and dark depths of the Carina Nebula which are seven light-years (66.22 trillion kilometres) high. HOLY FUCK, I know.
There is no one who looks as beautiful passing gas as the Southern Ring Nebula (interstellar clouds), 24250 trillion kilometres away. Its gaseous emissions create an orange ring that will make your jaw drop.
Equally jaw-dropping is the Stephan’s Quintet and SMACS 0723 galaxy cluster. The thousands of crisp images reveal neighbouring galaxies twinkling like the Prada Cleo Bag.
2. Small things leading to a significant change
My perspective was transformed by reading this idea in James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. Habits, even the smallest ones, determine your success (or failure). He urges you to focus on your identity and build a system than the outcome/ goal. Check out this impressive analogy shared by James Clear.
3. New gene editing tool?
CRISPR-Cas9 has been a hot topic for a while now. Researchers claim this technology can treat earlier incurable genetic diseases in humans and animals.
In case you are unfamiliar, CRISPR is a lab-made RNA added to the Cas9 protein.
The protein and RNA recognise the faulty DNA that requires replacement. Cas9 then introduces a new strand after cutting both DNA strands.
Currently, the new base editing tool cuts only a single strand of DNA and replaces the unwanted DNA letter. This technique, requiring fewer edits, will soon be tested.
4. Extinction of monarch butterfly
My dislike for butterflies is real. I think their captivating, vibrant exterior is really a ruse that distracts us from the creepy tentacles lurking beneath.
A while ago, it wasn’t their vibrant colours, but rather the dwindling population that caught attention. This was stated in a study performed during the winter migration of the Monarch butterfly.
However, a recent investigation conducted in spring showed these numbers have made up for their losses in winter. The results have sparked a very ‘monarchical’ debate about whether the butterfly is becoming less migratory during winter.
Bottom line: Although monarch butterflies aren’t imminently extinct, like every other species, they still need to be protected from climate change.