Wonder on the Web

Issue 36: Links to amazing stuff.

Poland’s Crooked Forest

There’s no real consensus about why all of the trees in this grove—about 400 of them—grow with a 90-degree bend at the base, facing due north. The prevailing explanation is more practical than phenomenal: farmers in the 1930s bent the saplings for a specific construction project, shipbuilding. But it certainly does make you wonder. And these eerie photos from Kilian Schönberger are just too cool to pass up. (via Colossal)

Tokyo Reverse

Here’s a day’s worth of “slow TV” footage of one guy walking around Tokyo. He peruses an outdoor market, strolls through a park, takes selfies with strangers, rides an escalator, etc. Sounds less than thrilling, except that everyone and everything else (i.e.: the traffic) is moving backwards. What’s it like to go against the grain? This video illustrates it well—and offers a pretty unique tour of Japan’s capital city.

Glamour Shots of Spiders

If you haven’t had your fill of close-ups of bug life in previous issues, a photo series promises to “show a whole new side of spiders.” Michael D. Kern has photographed thousands of them in his career, and his portfolio showcases spider traits you’d probably never notice in their usual shadowy setting, like the fact that many spiders have remarkably iridescent underbellies.

Pleiades in Person (More Cool Stuff from Tokyo)

Greek philosophers (and a lot of early Christian writers, too) used dance as a metaphor for the harmony of the cosmos—heavenly bodies moved in intricately choreographed orbits, preserving the order of the universe in a great celestial dance. In this video, Tokyo-based performance company Enra brings a constellation to life, thanks to amazingly synchronized dancing and interactive lighting technology that makes it seem like the light is coming from the dancers themselves. You might even find yourself feeling wistful, à la C. S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory:

We do not want merely to see beauty … [we want] to become part of it. … [I]f we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendor of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy.

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Also in this Issue

Issue 36 / November 26, 2015
  1. Editor's Note from November 26, 2015

    Issue 36: What smells so good, the other First Thanksgiving, and birds that gather to remember. /

  2. Oh, How He Smells Us

    Sniff and see that the Lord is good. /

  3. The First Thanksgiving We Don’t Remember

    Bad fortune, divine chastisement, and mercy after the Pilgrims feasted with the Wampanoag. /

  4. Bird Brained

    You know you can’t fly. But they may have you beat on memory, too. /

  5. Living Things

    “Our poems / Are like the wart-hogs” /

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