Conversation Piece, December 3, 2017

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Enjoy our Sunday series, Conversation Piece, a NUVO–curated digest of things on the Internet we think you’ll want to talk about.

A good seed. The Royal Botanical Gardens, an 87-year-old swath of parkland headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, is home to an underground wall of whimsical drawings, mostly dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, depicting planet-sized cauliflowers, floating blossoms, and happy farmers dwarfed by tomatoes. Once considered disposable, these illustrations from the RBG’s 30,000 horticultural periodicals are finally being put to good use. Learn how, here.

Did you hear the one about the cow and the rabbi? A refresher for those unfamiliar with this particular biblical tale, but Ezekial once prophesized that God will reside in a “third temple”—a miraculous abode only accessible to mortals if they have cleansed themselves with water mixed with the ashes of a sacred red heifer. But how does one get a perfectly red sacred heifer? Good question. Jerusalem-based rabbi Chaim Richman didn’t know—so he has started a crowdfunding campaign to genetically engineer one himself. To be sacrificed, which is hard luck for the cow. Read more, here.

Consider the scallop. If you’ve only ever seen a scallop seared on a bed of saffron risotto, you would be forgiven for thinking the creature was without eyes. Not so—a scallop’s eyes are myriad, tiny, frilled around the edges of their shells, and more powerful than scientists had anticipated. In fact, a team of Israeli researchers recently discovered that scallop eyes contain two retinas and a sophisticated structure not unlike that of a deep space telescope—they are weirdly complex. Find out why, here.

Rejected cartoons. Landing a cover for The New Yorker is many an illustrator’s dream, sometimes pitching for years without receiving a reply. The odds of making it are slim, but thanks to the work of three illustrators, now there is at least the option of having one’s rejected cartoons featured on new website The Not Yorker, a “repository for runners-up” chronicling images that have been pitched and passed over by the publication. See them, here.

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December 3, 2017
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