A Couple of Interesting Things I Recently Learned

Trees

Last week Uttar Pradesh planted 49 million trees…in a single day. Remarkably 800,000 citizens participated, which might be the most surprising aspect of the story. I’ve never heard of 800,000 citizens coming together for a single volunteer event on a single day. Jonah Busch calculates that roughly 100,000 tons of carbon will be offset as a result. Source here.

Ferrets

I’m reading The Master Algorithm and just read that in the year 2000 researchers rewired the brains of ferrets so the ears connected to the visual cortex and the eyes connected to the auditory cortex. But over time those parts of the brain learned to understand the new signals: the visual cortex learned to hear and the auditory cortex learned to see. I thought that was pretty amazing! Also curious how in the world you rewire a brain.

Human Echolocation

Also via the The Master Algorithm comes the story of Ben Underwood who uses human echolocation to “see” (yes, just like bats). This is almost too strange to imagine, but I’ve linked to the video below. Note that Ben has completely lost his eyes to cancer so there is no way he can be “faking.”

Noma’s Michelin Rating

I’m an extremely inchoate foodie that loves Top Chef. Currently making my way through Chef’s Table and doing some side research. Surprisingly, I learned that the restaurant Noma, run by chef Rene Redzepi and routinely ranked as the best restaurant in the world,  only has two Michelin stars (out of a possible three). The discrepancy comes from the fact that “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list is put together by Restaurant Magazine, while Michelin gives out the star ratings. Apparently, this is a well-known dispute in the high-end food world. The discrepancy is quantifiable. Noma is currently the 5th best restaurant on the 50 Best list (down after a number of years ranked as Number 1). However, receiving only two Michelin stars means Michelin believes there are 119 better restaurants in the world.

By the way, Noma serves live ants on its menu.

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