34 articles
  • finished-yeast hero

    How Can Microscopic Yeast Draw the Nautilus Logo? The New Art of Bio-Pointillism

    Behold this magazine’s logo in glorious living color! Each dot of pigment is a cluster of yeast cells growing on the “canvas” of a Petri dish.This organic painting was created by Michael Shen, who’s currently working on his PhD in the NYU synthetic biology lab run by Jef Boeke*. It’s the latest work in a new artistic […]
  • goth chicken ayam cemeni hero

    Inside the Goth Chicken: Black Bones, Black Meat & a Black Heart

    In the historical novel The Black Tulip, written by Alexandre Dumas, an honest and decent Dutch tulip fancier is nearly brought to ruin by his quest to breed a purely black flower. More precisely, his misadventure is due to the dastardly schemes of his neighbor, who, frantic with spite and jealousy over the plants, frames […]
  • 88 butterfly hero

    A Riot of Color Lurking in the Amazon

    Imagine a tropical rainforest and the picture that appears in your mind’s eye is probably filled with green and brown. It’s true that those colors dominate the landscape, but a closer look at some of the jungle’s inhabitants reveals tremendous variation. I just returned from a trip to the Amazon, and here are some of […]
  • cats1

    Splotchy Cats Show Why It’s Better to Be Female

    If you’ve never really noticed the wide range of colors that can adorn the domestic cat, you might want to spend some time skimming through the official color charts of the Cat Fanciers Association website. According to the association, which claims to maintain the largest registry of pedigreed cats, cats can come in seal lynx […]
  • Pantone colors of the year

    Two Ideas for Predicting the Next Color of the Year

    In each of the past 16 Decembers, Pantone has announced a “color of the year.” The company, famous for its system for standardizing colors around the world, has chosen hues as different as vibrant Fuschia Rose (2001) and understated Sand Dollar (2006) to encapsulate the visual and psychic spirit they believe will prevail during the […]
  • Secret Garden adult coloring book hero

    Is Coloring Within the Lines the New Meditation?

    I sit motionless on the hardwood floor. My legs are crossed in a full lotus position and the back of my hands rest on top of my knees with my pointer fingers pressed slightly against my thumbs. My posture reflects the small Buddha statue in front of me. And together, our shadows dance on the […]

  • blue water quarry photo hero

    The Powerful Allure of the Deep Azure

    There was a place in Iowa in 1995, tucked away in the dark-green fields of soybeans and corn, where a flooded rock quarry shimmered aquamarine. I stood on its edge one hot summer day with two friends. Like most teenagers, we were drawn to the rebelliousness of it. To get there, we had to trespass […]

  • Urken_HERO-1

    Chasing James Bond’s Hummingbird

    I venture to Cuba in search of the world’s smallest bird.

  • Humphries_HERO

    Have We Hit Peak Whiteness?

    Our obsession with cleanliness is running afoul of scientific reality.

  • Vandermeer_HERO-2

    The Terrifying Uncertainty in Jeff VanderMeer’s Sci-Fi

    How the best-selling author brings his incredibly strange worlds to life.

  • Ingenious Mazviita Chirimuuta

    Why Ancient Greeks Might Have Had Much Different Colors Than We Do

    As a philosopher who studies the meaning of color, Mazviita Chirimuuta is well aware that philosophy can easily get stuck on that topic. In her recent book, Outside Color, Chirimuuta tries to move beyond one of the major hang-ups when thinking about color, arguing that the property should be defined not by the world outside or inside […]