Simplicity and Complexity: they aren't opposites. There's always more than meets the eye.

Welcome to the August 6 edition to The Digest.

We often find ourselves trying to simplify our lives.

Tesler’s law explains that complexity is a constant in life, though. Striving for simplicity in a user’s system interaction only leads to increasing the complexity behind the scenes. Using an app to turn your lights on and off may be more convenient, but the technology is much more elaborate than flipping the light switch. Even more, simplicity is not a reflection of functionality, nor do users always need the simplest design. Simple design means less user control. Check out more lessons from Tesler’s law on why the simple life may not be what we expect, or want. Link.

Self-mending Metal? No, it’s not science fiction.

Researchers at Texas A&M  University and Sandia National Laboratories claim to have observed metal healing itself from a fatigue crack at the nanoscale, with the help of a 40nm platinum sheet. Because fatigue cracks—microscopic tears in the material due to overuse—are one of the primary ways that machines break down, these findings have implications for how metal structures are assessed and repaired. While unbreakable forever-lasting machines aren’t out of the realm of possibility for the future, old-fashioned repairs will have to do for now. Link.

Humans are visual creatures.

We’re also explorers, and “explorers want to map their discoveries”. There’s no better example of this than Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance man himself. Leonardo’s ability to closely observe and depict nature, his keen eye for capturing motion, and ability to see mentally in 3D has delighted enthusiasts and fascinated experts across centuries. Among those is Martin Kemp, whose works on Leonardo offers a new perspective on how artists and scientists have intuited visual truths in the past and reminds us that our present is connected to the past. Link.