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With roots in the 17th century, traditional Japanese origami mines beauty from rules, limitations and, ultimately, mathematics. But there’s more to origami than just aesthetic value – scientists, engineers and designers have borrowed from the art form for a wide range of practical purposes. As this short from TED-Ed details, this includes a ‘starshade’ proposed by engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, intended to block exoplanet-hunting space telescopes from the glare of distant stars. Featuring appealing and instructive stop-motion visuals from the French animator Charlotte Arene, this short provides a nifty primer on how origami artists are able to fold square pieces of paper into near-infinite forms both beautiful and useful.
Values and beliefs
A funeral director takes in bodies that social stigma leaves unclaimed
Philosophy of religion
What Zen Buddhist riddles reveal about knowledge and the unknowable
Revisiting ‘Powers of Ten’ – what we’ve learned about the Universe since 1977
It’s a massive, winged Cretaceous beast – could a human ride one?
Dance and theatre
Technology, philosophy, randomness – how Merce Cunningham pushed dance to its limits
History of technology
Behold as a mechanical foghorn in Shetland awakes from its year-long slumber
Philosophy of mind
Embodied cognition seems intuitive, but philosophy can push it to some strange places
Animals and humans
An unflinching look at a provocative public dissection of a ‘surplus’ zoo lion
Models capture the world-warping physics of what happens when stars meet black holes