We already knew birds can count, but what about plants? Is this idea so surrealist? No, it isn’t because research says the carnivorous plant with a suggestive name, Venus Flytrap (also referred to ‘Dionaea muscipula’), snaps its jaws shut only when the tiny hairs on the surface of the trapping structure formed by two lobes have been stimulated twice within a 20-second window. An additional stimulation primes the trap for digestion. Five stimulations trigger the production of digestive enzymes – and more additional hairs’ stimulations mean more enzymes.
Did you know that Fibonacci had a golden retriever who inspired his spiral aptly called “Golden Spiral”? (Hey, I am joking!)
The Fibonacci spiral is frequently regarded as an approximation to the “golden spiral”, which is a logarithmic spiral whose growth factor is ø, the golden ratio.
“Why do the digits look like they do?” to answer this recurrent question one may find on the web many strange and diverse theories on the origin of the shapes of our modern, Hindu-Arabic numerals. Unfortunately, most if not all of those theories are patently false! One that went viral claims: “Our present method of writing figures is based on an early Arabic geometric design (see below) where each digit contains its own number of corners or angles, for instance the digit 1 contains one angle, the digit 3 has three angles, the digit 7 has seven angles and so on.” It’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s just plain nonsense!
Let us leave aside these abstruse theories, as there are a whole range of serious and documented books on the origin of numbers, including Georges Ifrah’s excellent book “Universal History of Numbers“.
However, there is nothing preventing us from finding or inventing original and / or fun typographic methods to create numbers, like the one illustrated below, which requires only two stylized numerals: a 4 and a 8.
Diaethria phlogea, the “89’98 butterfly”, is a species of butterfly of the Nymphalidae family. It is found in Colombia, South America. The markings on its wing can resemble a painted number: an 89, a 98 or even an 88.
If you had a circle the size of the observable universe, and you wanted to compute its circumference with an accuracy equal to the size of a proton, the number of digits of π that you would need is only 43. NASA scientists, for instance, keep the space station operational with only 15 or 16 significant digits of pi… That means that on a day-to-day basis, you can ignore far more of them!