Science: Reviving Retinas, Floral Chocolates, First Life From RNA + Proteins

Reviving retinas to understand eyes

Research efforts to learn more about diseases of the human eye have been hampered as these organs degrade rapidly after death, and animal eyes are quite different to those from humans. 

To address this, a team have developed a new method to revive retinas taken from donors shortly after their death. They hope this will provide tissue for new studies looking into the workings of the human eye and nervous system.

Research article: Abbas et al.

8:05 Research Highlights

A technique that simplifies chocolate making yields fragrant flavours, and 3D imaging reveals some of the largest-known Native American cave art.

Research Highlight: How to make a fruitier, more floral chocolate

Research Highlight: Cramped chamber hides some of North America’s biggest cave art

10:54 Did life emerge in an ‘RNA world’?

How did the earliest biochemical process evolve from Earth’s primordial soup? One popular theory is that life began in an ‘RNA world’ from which proteins and DNA evolved. However, this week a new paper suggests that a world composed of RNA alone is unlikely, and that life is more likely to have begun with molecules that were part RNA and part protein.

Research article: Müller et al.

News and Views: A possible path towards encoded protein synthesis on ancient Earth

17:52 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the ‘polarised sunglasses’ that helped astronomers identify an ultra-bright pulsar, and how a chemical in sunscreen becomes toxic to coral.

Nature: A ‘galaxy’ is unmasked as a pulsar — the brightest outside the Milky Way

Sustainability: Island Of Tilos, Aegean Sea, Greece

The remote Greek island of Tilos has pioneered a recycling plant that could act as a blueprint for other islands — including popular holiday destinations — that struggle with waste disposal. (May 11)

Tílos is a small Greek island and municipality located in the Aegean Sea. It is part of the Dodecanese group of islands, and lies midway between Kos and Rhodes. It has a population of 780 inhabitants.

Top NYC Art Exhibits: Eric Zener, Gallery Henoch

Eric Zener – Rising – May 5 – 28, 2022

Gallery Henoch is pleased to present Rising, an exhibition of new paintings and resins by Eric Zener, which will run May 5 – 28, 2022.

Zener appropriates the natural world to portray moments of personal decision and change. “He uses vast expanses of water and sprawling forests as signifiers of this realm of forces greater than ourselves. In his canvases we find divers suspended midair or swimmers plunging into deep blue water. Each of these subjects are consumed by their activity, and we can savor this state of immersion vicariously through Zener’s work,” observes Peter Brock in the exhibition brochure.

The artist reveals little about the individuals appearing in his paintings: their faces are turned away or obscured. With the focus shifted away from their identity, we are encouraged to consider our relationship to their experience.

While many of the paintings depict figures situated in water, a number of them explore the mysteries of nature devoid of human presence. In these the viewer is introduced to a world characterized by densely forested views or disturbed water. In these works, Zener finds a “connection to an ephemeral experience” that transcends the personal.

Eric Zener lives and works in the Bay Area and has been exhibited in the United States and internationally for over 25 years.

Celebrity Culture: History Of The Côte d’Azur, France

The Côte d’Azur stands for glamour and luxury, for film festivals and stars, for yachts and villas. The most famous personalities of the last century met here. The Côte owes its unique mythos to their loves and passions.

The Côte d’Azur boasts a breathtakingly gorgeous landscape. But its mythos is more than the sum of it beautiful parts. The whole world associates the narrow coastal strip on the French Mediterranean coast with sun, stars and scandals. In Saint Tropez, a former fishing town, a new and newly sensual art of living was popularized thanks to the young Brigitte Bardot.

On the eastern part of the coast, Oscar winner Grace Kelly conquered the principality of Monaco with her marriage to Prince Rainier. The matchmaker? The Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis, who wanted to burnish the dwarf state’s image. One of the most glamorous film festivals in the world was established in Cannes. After that, it seemed everyone came to the Côte. At the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, the paths of the famous crossed again and again.

For 150 years the hotel has been home to artists, queens and kings, divas and stars. Since 1969, the hotel has been owned by the German industrialist family Oetker. Maja Oetker describes her personal memories of the past 50 years. To this day, the Côte d’Azur has lost none of its appeal. It is more than just a place: it is an entire mythos.

English Country Homes: The Abington ‘Hunting’ Lodge On River Granta

Nestled in a private corner of the award-winning village of Great Abington is Abington Lodge: Where over 19 acres of gardens and grounds meet with elegant interiors and wonderful ancillary accommodation.

It’s hard to tell what’s best about Grade II-listed Abington Lodge, in Great Abington —whether the idyllic setting in a little more than 19 acres of parkland and paddocks coursed by the River Granta, the 8,600sq ft interior with magnificent spiral staircase and floor-to-ceiling sash windows or the intriguing history: the house was once a hunting lodge for Richard, Earl of Grosvenor, whose wife scandalised Georgian Britain for her relationship with the Duke of Cumberland.

Abington Lodge, which is currently on the market via Cheffins with a guide price of £3.5 million, has eight bedrooms in the main building, and also comes with a two-bedroom coach house, two self-contained apartments, a striking indoor pool and a stable block.

The Getty: Photographer Imogen Cunningham

May 11, 2022 – In this episode of Getty Art + Ideas, Getty photographs curator Paul Martineau discusses Imogen Cunningham’s trajectory, focusing on key artworks made throughout her life.

“When Cunningham passed away, I think in part her reputation was based on her personality, the fact that she had lived so long, the fact that she was full of witty quips, and she wouldn’t let anyone boss her around. But I think in some ways that eclipsed the work.”

Born in Portland, Oregon, in 1883, photographer Imogen Cunningham joined a correspondence course for photography as a high schooler after seeing a magazine ad. Over the course of her 70-year career, Cunningham stirred controversy with a nude portrait of her husband, photographed flowers while minding her young children in her garden, captured striking portraits of famous actors and writers for Vanity Fair, and provided insight into the life of nonagenarians when she herself was in her 90s. Although photography was a male-dominated field, Cunningham made a name for herself while also supporting the work of other women artists. Her long, varied career is the subject of the new exhibition Imogen Cunningham: A Retrospective at the Getty Center.

Preview: Times Literary Supplement – May 13, 2022

Times Literary Supplement May 13, 2022 – Raphael: worn out by love, or work? | James Hall [reviews] Antonio Forcellino’s newly translated biography of the “most rounded, efficient and consistently accomplished of Renaissance artists”

Housing: Why U.S. Homes Are So Expensive (CNBC)

Prices for the American dream home have skyrocketed. The U.S. housing market has been an unlikely beneficiary from Covid-19. The pandemic encouraged city dwellers to move to the suburbs as families looked for home offices and bigger yards.

Segments: 00:00 – Why the U.S. is facing a housing shortage (May 2021) 12:37 – How suburban sprawl shapes the U.S. economy (February 2022) 25:49 – How did rent become so unaffordable in the U.S. (December 2021) 34:46 – Is the U.S. in a housing bubble? (September 2021)

“Everybody expected housing to really sort of dry up with the rest of the economy,” said National Association of Home Builders CEO Jerry Howard. “And in fact, the opposite has happened. People who have been sort of scared out of the cities by the pandemic.”

With homeowners unwilling to sell, a record low supply of homes for sale has forced buyers into intense bidding wars. According to the National Association of Realtors, the U.S. has under built its housing needs by at least 5.5 million units over the past 20 years. That’s a stark comparison to the previous housing bubble in 2008 when overbuilding was the issue. Higher costs for land, labor and building materials including lumber have also impacted homebuilders.

However, according to most experts, the market is shaping up to look more like a boom rather than a bubble. “We say bubble because we can’t believe how much prices have gone up,” CNBC real estate correspondent Diana Olick said. “A bubble tends to be something that’s inflated that could burst at any minute and change and that’s not really the case here.” And America’s suburbs are sprawling again.

Over the 20th century, real estate developers built large tracts of single-family homes outside of major cities. The builders were following mortgage underwriting standards first introduced by the Federal Housing Administration in the 1930s. Over the century, those guidelines created housing market conditions that explicitly shut out many minorities. Experts say it is possible to update these old building codes to create equity while fixing some, but not all of the problems of American suburbia.

In 2021, single family housing starts rose to 1.123 million, the highest since 2006, according to the National Association of Home Builders, however, options for prospective homebuyers remain lean. Experts say the problems of America’s housing market relate to past policy decisions. In particular, they say restrictive zoning codes are limiting housing supply.

Walking Tour: Shinjuku City In Tokyo, Japan (4K)

Shinjuku City encompasses the buzzing clubs and karaoke rooms of neon-lit East Shinjuku and upscale hotel bars and restaurants in the Skyscraper District. Tokyo Metropolitan Building has a popular observation deck, and Mount Hakone rises over tranquil urban parkland. Galleries, theaters, and bookstores attract students from busy campuses. New National Stadium is a high-tech sports venue built for the 2020 Olympics. 

Morning News: Italy’s PM Draghi Visits Biden, China Lockdown, Eurovision

Italy’s prime minister Mario Draghi heads to Washington to meet Joe Biden. Plus: Beijing and Shanghai ratchet up coronavirus restrictions, a look ahead to the Eurovision Song Contest and a review of today’s papers.