Tokyo travel tips, day 1: Airbnb in Shinjuku and an adorable curry restaurant

Carla and I just returned from a one-week trip to Tokyo. It was my sixth visit to Japan’s capital, and it was my favorite. For the next few days, I’ll be writing about recommended things to do there. See them all here.

We arrived at Narita airport about 1:30pm Tokyo time. At the airport, I noticed a lot of vending machines selling SIM cards with high-speed data. You can get a week’s worth of unlimited data for less than $10 a day. If your phone is locked, you can rent a wi-fi hot spot for about the same amount. I used a wi-fi hotspot to consult Google Maps many times every day to navigate around the city. Google Maps will also tell you which trains to use to get from one place to another. We also used Yelp to find restaurants and learn when they open and close.

There are several ways to get from Narita to Tokyo (about 50 miles). A taxi or Uber costs almost $300 and you will have to deal with traffic. There are also luxury buses, which can take you right to your hotel (provided you are staying in one of the major ones.) My favorite way to get to Tokyo from the airport is by train. Both the Narita Express ($28) and the Skyliner ($22) have terminals inside the airport. They are convenient and fast. The Skyliner is faster and cheaper, but stops only at the Ueno and Nippori stations. The Narita Express stops at more places, including Shibuya and Shinjuku. We took the Narita Express because we were staying near the Shinjuku Station.

At Shinjuku station we took a taxi to our Airbnb. I’ve taken a lot of taxi rides in Japan, and in 100% of the cases the following five things were true:

1. The driver didn’t understand a word of English. (Hand your phone to him with the address displayed on the screen. He’ll enter the address in his navigation system.)

2. The car was immaculate inside and out.

3. Th driver was a man.

4. The driver got confused if I tried to tip him.

5. The driver automatically opened and closed my door for me. Do not try to open and close the yourself because it will strain the mechanism and annoy the heck out of the driver.

Cars drive on the left side of the road in Japan, by the way.

We took a very short ride to our Airbnb (right next to Yoyogi Park, home to the famous Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine) and took the elevator to the 9th floor. Here’s what the place looked like, along with views from the balcony:

At $225 a night, (here’s a referral code you can use to get a $40 Airbnb credit. I’ll get $20 in credit if you use it) it’s much cheaper than many hotels in the area. It has a kitchen, a loft with two futons, a bedroom with two large beds, a dining area, a Japanese style tub, and a washer/dryer. It also includes a wi-fi hotspot that you can take with you as you travel around Tokyo.

By the time we got settled in and took a shower after 16 hours of travel, we were hungry and sleepy. I looked on Yelp and found a place called Vegetable Curry Camp just a few minutes walk from our place. It was a cute tiny restaurant in the basement. They had boxes of fresh vegetables next to the front door, and the decor was “1960 American campground.” We got sizzling skillets of fresh vegetable curry and plates of rice. The bill for both of us was less than $20. (In fact, many of the restaurants we went to were a lot cheaper than places in Los Angeles).

On the way back, we stopped at one of the ubiquitous konbini (コンビニ, short for convenience store) to buy eggs and onigiri (rice filled with fish or other fillings) for breakfast the next morning. We slept like logs.

Stayed tuned for day 2, to find out about Meiji Jingu and the interesting little stores in Harajuku.

Carla and I just returned from a one-week trip to Tokyo. It was my sixth visit to Japan’s capital, and it was my favorite. For the next few days, I’ll be writing about recommended things to do there. See them all here.

We arrived at Narita airport about 1:30pm Tokyo time. At the airport, I noticed a lot of vending machines selling SIM cards with high-speed data. You can get a week’s worth of unlimited data for less than $10 a day. If your phone is locked, you can rent a wi-fi hot spot for about the same amount. I used a wi-fi hotspot to consult Google Maps many times every day to navigate around the city. Google Maps will also tell you which trains to use to get from one place to another. We also used Yelp to find restaurants and learn when they open and close.

There are several ways to get from Narita to Tokyo (about 50 miles). A taxi or Uber costs almost $300 and you will have to deal with traffic. There are also luxury buses, which can take you right to your hotel (provided you are staying in one of the major ones.) My favorite way to get to Tokyo from the airport is by train. Both the Narita Express ($28) and the Skyliner ($22) have terminals inside the airport. They are convenient and fast. The Skyliner is faster and cheaper, but stops only at the Ueno and Nippori stations. The Narita Express stops at more places, including Shibuya and Shinjuku. We took the Narita Express because we were staying near the Shinjuku Station.

At Shinjuku station we took a taxi to our Airbnb. I’ve taken a lot of taxi rides in Japan, and in 100% of the cases the following five things were true:

1. The driver didn’t understand a word of English. (Hand your phone to him with the address displayed on the screen. He’ll enter the address in his navigation system.)

2. The car was immaculate inside and out.

3. Th driver was a man.

4. The driver got confused if I tried to tip him.

5. The driver automatically opened and closed my door for me. Do not try to open and close the yourself because it will strain the mechanism and annoy the heck out of the driver.

Cars drive on the left side of the road in Japan, by the way.

We took a very short ride to our Airbnb (right next to Yoyogi Park, home to the famous Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine) and took the elevator to the 9th floor. Here’s what the place looked like, along with views from the balcony:

At $225 a night, (here’s a referral code you can use to get a $40 Airbnb credit. I’ll get $20 in credit if you use it) it’s much cheaper than many hotels in the area. It has a kitchen, a loft with two futons, a bedroom with two large beds, a dining area, a Japanese style tub, and a washer/dryer. It also includes a wi-fi hotspot that you can take with you as you travel around Tokyo.

By the time we got settled in and took a shower after 16 hours of travel, we were hungry and sleepy. I looked on Yelp and found a place called Vegetable Curry Camp just a few minutes walk from our place. It was a cute tiny restaurant in the basement. They had boxes of fresh vegetables next to the front door, and the decor was “1960 American campground.” We got sizzling skillets of fresh vegetable curry and plates of rice. The bill for both of us was less than $20. (In fact, many of the restaurants we went to were a lot cheaper than places in Los Angeles).

On the way back, we stopped at one of the ubiquitous konbini (コンビニ, short for convenience store) to buy eggs and onigiri (rice filled with fish or other fillings) for breakfast the next morning. We slept like logs.

Stayed tuned for day 2, to find out about Meiji Jingu and the interesting little stores in Harajuku.

Favorite tools of Danielle Applestone, CEO of Other Machine Co.

Our guest this week on the Cool Tools Show is Danielle Applestone. Danielle is a material scientist, co-founder and CEO of Other Machine Co., the leading manufacturer of high-precision desktop CNC milling machines. Formerly, Danielle ran a DARPA project to develop digital design software and manufacturing tools for the classroom. Danielle’s team took that technology and launched Other Machine Co. in 2013.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

monarch

Monarch Instrument Examiner 1000 ($1,200)

“I came across this electronic stethoscope as part of our manufacturing process. We would get motors from a manufacturer that looked balanced and met a spec, but once we put the whole machine together, sometimes a machine would have a lot of vibration and we didn’t know how to quantify that vibration or to know what was good or what was bad. … There’s a lot of intuition when you’re putting something complicated together like “Well, it feels right,” or “It doesn’t feel right.” That’s really hard to do so we found this amazing thing, which cut a ton of time out of our manufacturing process and now we have beautiful graphs of everything. We know exactly what things vibrate and which ones don’t. You can use it on musical instruments. It’s an amazing tool. Once you have one you realize how much you needed one in your life.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 2.39.16 PM

Bicycle inner tubes with holes in them

“I came across bicycle inner tubes with holes in them through a friend who had made a sail boat that was attached only with these bicycle inner tubes —it was a catamaran. The reason why they’re so important is they are waterproof, they stretch, and you don’t have to tie them in knots, so you can latch things together really quickly and then undo them, and make a new configuration. … They’re used a little bit like a bungee cord, but bungee cords are really expensive and you have to make do with the hooks whereas if you take a long inner tube that has a hole in it — you’re not going to use it anyway — slice it up into strips. It’s like a variable length bungee cord, but it also doesn’t have the hooks so you can just wrap it around itself and tuck it under and it’ll stay put.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 2.44.44 PM

The Encyclopedia of Country Living ($20)

“This is a great tool. This is so comprehensive for every little thing. I moved out into Kentucky and lived on 1200 acres for a while and didn’t have much. It was the go-to for, “Okay, we need to build a shanty for chickens. We need to learn how to clean a chicken.” It has everything, like “How to bury your own dead.” … The thing that’s magic about this book is it has the right level of detail, just enough to get yourself in trouble. … It’s just enough to get you going and then you can kind of DIY the rest. I still use it. The pages are all rained on, and moldy, and whatever, but it’s well loved.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 2.50.03 PM

X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer

“Yeah, well we just went from just about the lowest tech to the highest tech thing I’ve ever laid my hands on. … What’s great about this tool is it’s super useful for telling what’s on the surface of materials. I used to be a material scientist and I worked on lithium ion batteries. The surface is where all the action is. There’s not a lot of techniques out there that are nondestructive. Usually, if you invent a material, you have a sample, you have to crush it up or put it on a slide, you have to do something to it that mixes the surface in with the bulk. Sometimes, you don’t want that. … The X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer is amazing because you can just put a sample in and it’s nondestructive …. How it works is you take a beam of x-ray, so you shoot photons at the surface of your material and those photons have enough energy to pick off electrons. A photon goes in, ejects an electron, and then there’s a collector that collects that electron and measures the kinetic energy, measures how fast it was moving. Then, if you know the energy of your x-ray going in, and the energy of that electron that you caught, you can just subtract and figure out how tightly bound was that electron to my surface. What’s cool about that is if you know how tightly a molecule was hanging onto it’s electron, you can tell what that molecule was. Whether it was a sulfur dioxide, or sulfur monoxide, the electrons that are swimming around those molecules will be held differently depending on what those molecules are. … The place that I used one was at the University of Texas at Austin. They’re quite common, but they’re usually at universities, or national labs … They’re millions of dollars.”

Our guest this week on the Cool Tools Show is Danielle Applestone. Danielle is a material scientist, co-founder and CEO of Other Machine Co., the leading manufacturer of high-precision desktop CNC milling machines. Formerly, Danielle ran a DARPA project to develop digital design software and manufacturing tools for the classroom. Danielle’s team took that technology and launched Other Machine Co. in 2013.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

monarch

Monarch Instrument Examiner 1000 ($1,200)

“I came across this electronic stethoscope as part of our manufacturing process. We would get motors from a manufacturer that looked balanced and met a spec, but once we put the whole machine together, sometimes a machine would have a lot of vibration and we didn’t know how to quantify that vibration or to know what was good or what was bad. … There’s a lot of intuition when you’re putting something complicated together like “Well, it feels right,” or “It doesn’t feel right.” That’s really hard to do so we found this amazing thing, which cut a ton of time out of our manufacturing process and now we have beautiful graphs of everything. We know exactly what things vibrate and which ones don’t. You can use it on musical instruments. It’s an amazing tool. Once you have one you realize how much you needed one in your life.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 2.39.16 PM

Bicycle inner tubes with holes in them

“I came across bicycle inner tubes with holes in them through a friend who had made a sail boat that was attached only with these bicycle inner tubes —it was a catamaran. The reason why they’re so important is they are waterproof, they stretch, and you don’t have to tie them in knots, so you can latch things together really quickly and then undo them, and make a new configuration. … They’re used a little bit like a bungee cord, but bungee cords are really expensive and you have to make do with the hooks whereas if you take a long inner tube that has a hole in it — you’re not going to use it anyway — slice it up into strips. It’s like a variable length bungee cord, but it also doesn’t have the hooks so you can just wrap it around itself and tuck it under and it’ll stay put.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 2.44.44 PM

The Encyclopedia of Country Living ($20)

“This is a great tool. This is so comprehensive for every little thing. I moved out into Kentucky and lived on 1200 acres for a while and didn’t have much. It was the go-to for, “Okay, we need to build a shanty for chickens. We need to learn how to clean a chicken.” It has everything, like “How to bury your own dead.” … The thing that’s magic about this book is it has the right level of detail, just enough to get yourself in trouble. … It’s just enough to get you going and then you can kind of DIY the rest. I still use it. The pages are all rained on, and moldy, and whatever, but it’s well loved.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 2.50.03 PM

X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer

“Yeah, well we just went from just about the lowest tech to the highest tech thing I’ve ever laid my hands on. … What’s great about this tool is it’s super useful for telling what’s on the surface of materials. I used to be a material scientist and I worked on lithium ion batteries. The surface is where all the action is. There’s not a lot of techniques out there that are nondestructive. Usually, if you invent a material, you have a sample, you have to crush it up or put it on a slide, you have to do something to it that mixes the surface in with the bulk. Sometimes, you don’t want that. … The X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer is amazing because you can just put a sample in and it’s nondestructive …. How it works is you take a beam of x-ray, so you shoot photons at the surface of your material and those photons have enough energy to pick off electrons. A photon goes in, ejects an electron, and then there’s a collector that collects that electron and measures the kinetic energy, measures how fast it was moving. Then, if you know the energy of your x-ray going in, and the energy of that electron that you caught, you can just subtract and figure out how tightly bound was that electron to my surface. What’s cool about that is if you know how tightly a molecule was hanging onto it’s electron, you can tell what that molecule was. Whether it was a sulfur dioxide, or sulfur monoxide, the electrons that are swimming around those molecules will be held differently depending on what those molecules are. … The place that I used one was at the University of Texas at Austin. They’re quite common, but they’re usually at universities, or national labs … They’re millions of dollars.”

Ultra-rich are sorry that Obamacare is still law of the land

People in the 400 highest-income households are gnashing their teeth today. If the repeal of Obamacare hadn’t stalled, they stood to get tax cuts of about $7 million each. Mother Jones made this graph based on a report from the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities.

You know what really gets me? Even among the millionaires, repeal will only net them about $50,000. That’s like finding spare change in the sofa cushions for this crowd. Is clawing back a few nickels and dimes really worth immiserating 20 million people?

People in the 400 highest-income households are gnashing their teeth today. If the repeal of Obamacare hadn’t stalled, they stood to get tax cuts of about $7 million each. Mother Jones made this graph based on a report from the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities.

You know what really gets me? Even among the millionaires, repeal will only net them about $50,000. That’s like finding spare change in the sofa cushions for this crowd. Is clawing back a few nickels and dimes really worth immiserating 20 million people?

Upright guitar stand for under $9

I have a Fender Telecaster but no case or stand. It usually sits on a couch. I finally broke down and bought the ChromaCast CC-MINIGS Universal Folding Guitar Stand with Secure Lock for $8.96 on Amazon. It’s got a 4.5-star rating on Amazon with over 1,200 reviews.

I have a Fender Telecaster but no case or stand. It usually sits on a couch. I finally broke down and bought the ChromaCast CC-MINIGS Universal Folding Guitar Stand with Secure Lock for $8.96 on Amazon. It’s got a 4.5-star rating on Amazon with over 1,200 reviews.

Scott Weaver’s incredible toothpick sculptures

By day, Scott Weaver is a grocery store clerk. When he’s not working, he’s making elaborate sculptures out of toothpicks and Elmer’s Glue. His tool is a nail clipper. His largest work is called “Rolling Through the Bay.” It’s a 9-foot sculpture of San Francisco. You drop a marble in it at the top, and it will take a rolling tour through Coit Tower, Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, and other landmarks. It took him over 3,000 hours over a 30-year-year period to make it, and it has 105,387 and 1/2 toothpicks.

I saw Scott’s work at Maker Faire a few years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. This video is part of an excellent series called “Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Made.”

By day, Scott Weaver is a grocery store clerk. When he’s not working, he’s making elaborate sculptures out of toothpicks and Elmer’s Glue. His tool is a nail clipper. His largest work is called “Rolling Through the Bay.” It’s a 9-foot sculpture of San Francisco. You drop a marble in it at the top, and it will take a rolling tour through Coit Tower, Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, and other landmarks. It took him over 3,000 hours over a 30-year-year period to make it, and it has 105,387 and 1/2 toothpicks.

I saw Scott’s work at Maker Faire a few years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. This video is part of an excellent series called “Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Made.”

The Poisoned Wine Problem

https://youtu.be/S2BB52xc_cc

You are a king and have invited 1,000 guests to a party. Each guest has brought one bottle of wine. But before any of the wine has been opened, your chief spy takes you aside and tells you that he is certain that one, and only one, bottle of wine contains a poison that will kill anyone who drinks even a drop. The poison takes one hour to kick in. The king has 10 prisoners he doesn’t mind killing. How does he use them to identify the poison wine and get rid of the bottle (and the person who brought it) so he can get on with the party?

In this video of Scam School, Brian Brushwood gives the answer.

Image: @threetails via Twenty20

https://youtu.be/S2BB52xc_cc

You are a king and have invited 1,000 guests to a party. Each guest has brought one bottle of wine. But before any of the wine has been opened, your chief spy takes you aside and tells you that he is certain that one, and only one, bottle of wine contains a poison that will kill anyone who drinks even a drop. The poison takes one hour to kick in. The king has 10 prisoners he doesn’t mind killing. How does he use them to identify the poison wine and get rid of the bottle (and the person who brought it) so he can get on with the party?

In this video of Scam School, Brian Brushwood gives the answer.

Image: @threetails via Twenty20

“Obamacare is law of the land” as replacement fails in House

Republicans withdrew Trump’s favored legislative plan to replace Obamacare on Friday, understanding that they lacked the votes to pass it in the House of Representatives. This despite the president’s threat to leave Obamacare as law of the land if they did not give the American Health Care Act an up-or-down hearing today.

The GOP bill—a comically mangled “Obamacare Lite” stripped of everything people like about the original and little that they don’t—held only a 17% public approval rating, according to a Quinnipiac poll. It attempted to please both conservatives, who want unfettered profitability for insurance companies, and GOP moderates, who are wary of killing quite so many poor people as this would entail.

Trump, however, made clear that he isn’t blaming House Speaker Paul Ryan for its failure. https://twitter.com/costareports/status/845358347801055233

Run, Paul. Run!

Update:

The GOP’s health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act was scheduled for a House vote today, but was withdrawn just before. In an address, Speaker Paul Ryan said “we were close, but not quite there” and said that the United States would be living with Obamacare “for the foreseeable future.”

Republicans withdrew Trump’s favored legislative plan to replace Obamacare on Friday, understanding that they lacked the votes to pass it in the House of Representatives. This despite the president’s threat to leave Obamacare as law of the land if they did not give the American Health Care Act an up-or-down hearing today.

The GOP bill—a comically mangled “Obamacare Lite” stripped of everything people like about the original and little that they don’t—held only a 17% public approval rating, according to a Quinnipiac poll. It attempted to please both conservatives, who want unfettered profitability for insurance companies, and GOP moderates, who are wary of killing quite so many poor people as this would entail.

Trump, however, made clear that he isn’t blaming House Speaker Paul Ryan for its failure. https://twitter.com/costareports/status/845358347801055233

Run, Paul. Run!

Update:

The GOP’s health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act was scheduled for a House vote today, but was withdrawn just before. In an address, Speaker Paul Ryan said “we were close, but not quite there” and said that the United States would be living with Obamacare “for the foreseeable future.”

Incredible Afrobeat music from Mali


Founded in 1989, Mr Bongo is an exquisitely-curated indie record (and film) label that uncovers incredible Brazilian psych, rare soul, avant-jazz, and deeply groovy Afrobeat recordings and reissues them in beautiful and informative vinyl and CD packages. Based in Brighton, UK, the label’s latest compilation is titled The Original Sound Of Mali and the clips I’ve heard drive me wild. These 1970s and 1980s cuts from the war-torn West African country are so deeply groovy and raw, culled from tapes that the performers never expected would be heard beyond their local scene. Have a listen below. From an interview with David ‘Mr Bongo’ Buttle at Ran$om Note:



Going back to the beginning, I’ve always been inspired by Mali music. There’s a haunting, heavy quality to it. I used to work with Ali Farka Toure when I worked at World Circuit back in ’88, and I found out about Mali music then. So over the last 20 or 30 years I’ve been getting into the artists featured on this album; Idris Soumaoro, The Rail Band and so on. That process helped me find some of the people involved and start to license stuff. It took a long time; it’s taken about three or four years to put this together…


To a certain extent; the record is a document of a certain time that isn’t now. It’s good to draw attention to things though. Just by talking about Mali it opens up a lot of new stories, and that’s what inspired us initially. It’s an ever changing situation. I was really disappointed that the Timbuktu library got destroyed, and all those great documents got destroyed. Mali’s not a place you can go to that easily now. It’s not that safe. It’s really sad what’s happening there. We dedicated the album to Malick Sadibe, and the situation in Mali hasn’t been highlighted that much recently, I guess because we don’t have that Francophone connection in this country. We had that first splurge when the French troops first went in but that was quite a while ago. Hopefully this record will trigger some new interest. 6 Music made this the biggest compilation of the week, and there was a lot of good feedback from people calling in saying they’d like to know more about Mali, so maybe there is a bit of a knowledge gap that this can help fill.


The Original Sound of Mali (Mr. Bongo)



Founded in 1989, Mr Bongo is an exquisitely-curated indie record (and film) label that uncovers incredible Brazilian psych, rare soul, avant-jazz, and deeply groovy Afrobeat recordings and reissues them in beautiful and informative vinyl and CD packages. Based in Brighton, UK, the label’s latest compilation is titled The Original Sound Of Mali and the clips I’ve heard drive me wild. These 1970s and 1980s cuts from the war-torn West African country are so deeply groovy and raw, culled from tapes that the performers never expected would be heard beyond their local scene. Have a listen below. From an interview with David ‘Mr Bongo’ Buttle at Ran$om Note:



Going back to the beginning, I’ve always been inspired by Mali music. There’s a haunting, heavy quality to it. I used to work with Ali Farka Toure when I worked at World Circuit back in ’88, and I found out about Mali music then. So over the last 20 or 30 years I’ve been getting into the artists featured on this album; Idris Soumaoro, The Rail Band and so on. That process helped me find some of the people involved and start to license stuff. It took a long time; it’s taken about three or four years to put this together…


To a certain extent; the record is a document of a certain time that isn’t now. It’s good to draw attention to things though. Just by talking about Mali it opens up a lot of new stories, and that’s what inspired us initially. It’s an ever changing situation. I was really disappointed that the Timbuktu library got destroyed, and all those great documents got destroyed. Mali’s not a place you can go to that easily now. It’s not that safe. It’s really sad what’s happening there. We dedicated the album to Malick Sadibe, and the situation in Mali hasn’t been highlighted that much recently, I guess because we don’t have that Francophone connection in this country. We had that first splurge when the French troops first went in but that was quite a while ago. Hopefully this record will trigger some new interest. 6 Music made this the biggest compilation of the week, and there was a lot of good feedback from people calling in saying they’d like to know more about Mali, so maybe there is a bit of a knowledge gap that this can help fill.


The Original Sound of Mali (Mr. Bongo)


The mathematics of how sperm swim


A better understanding how a sperm swims its way toward an egg could help inform new treatments for male infertility. Researchers from the University of York have now come up with a mathematical formula to model how large numbers of moving sperm interact with fluid they’re swimming through. From the University:


By analysing the head and tail movements of the sperm, researchers have now shown that the sperm moves the fluid in a coordinated rhythmic way, which can be captured to form a relatively simple mathematical formula. This means complex and expensive computer simulations are no longer needed to understand how the fluid moves as the sperm swim.


The research demonstrated that the sperm has to make multiple contradictory movements, such as moving backwards, in order to propel it forward towards the egg.


The whip-like tail of the sperm has a particular rhythm that pulls the head backwards and sideways to create a jerky fluid flow, countering some of the intense friction that is created due to their diminutive sizes.

“It is true when scientists say how miraculous it is that a sperm ever reaches an egg, but the human body has a very sophisticated system of making sure the right cells come together,” (says University of York mathematician Hermes Gadêlha.)


“You would assume that the jerky movements of the sperm would have a very random impact on the fluid flow around it, making it even more difficult for competing sperm cells to navigate through it, but in fact you see well defined patterns forming in the fluid around the sperm.

Mystery of how sperm swim revealed in mathematical formula


(Animated GIF by Michelle Davis)


A better understanding how a sperm swims its way toward an egg could help inform new treatments for male infertility. Researchers from the University of York have now come up with a mathematical formula to model how large numbers of moving sperm interact with fluid they’re swimming through. From the University:


By analysing the head and tail movements of the sperm, researchers have now shown that the sperm moves the fluid in a coordinated rhythmic way, which can be captured to form a relatively simple mathematical formula. This means complex and expensive computer simulations are no longer needed to understand how the fluid moves as the sperm swim.


The research demonstrated that the sperm has to make multiple contradictory movements, such as moving backwards, in order to propel it forward towards the egg.


The whip-like tail of the sperm has a particular rhythm that pulls the head backwards and sideways to create a jerky fluid flow, countering some of the intense friction that is created due to their diminutive sizes.

“It is true when scientists say how miraculous it is that a sperm ever reaches an egg, but the human body has a very sophisticated system of making sure the right cells come together,” (says University of York mathematician Hermes Gadêlha.)


“You would assume that the jerky movements of the sperm would have a very random impact on the fluid flow around it, making it even more difficult for competing sperm cells to navigate through it, but in fact you see well defined patterns forming in the fluid around the sperm.

Mystery of how sperm swim revealed in mathematical formula


(Animated GIF by Michelle Davis)

How Darth Vader’s amazing final scene in Rogue One happened


Star Wars: Rogue One director Gareth Edwards tells the fascinating backstory behind Darth Vader’s brutal stroll down the hallway in Rogue One. (Wired)


And if you missed it yesterday, check out the Star Wars: Rogue One ending flow into A New Hope beginning.



Star Wars: Rogue One director Gareth Edwards tells the fascinating backstory behind Darth Vader’s brutal stroll down the hallway in Rogue One. (Wired)


And if you missed it yesterday, check out the Star Wars: Rogue One ending flow into A New Hope beginning.