4 Reasons You Need to See Yesterday’s Google Doodle

Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek Is More Than Just the Father of Microbiology

You may know that yesterday’s Google Doodle celebrated Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s 384th birthday.  What you may not know is how important he is to your visual lifestyle.


Source: Google (see the animated Google Doodle here)

Now That’s Just Gross

I still remember the first time I used a microscope in grade school.  The teacher had us look at samples of our own saliva.  I think it was just for the shock value.

If you have ever done this, you know the bacteria in our mouths are easily seen through microscopes.  They wriggle and squirm through the slide.  I was both fascinated and disgusted by what I saw.

I got my own microscope that Christmas, and I had a lot of fun with it.  It came with slides of plant cells and insects, and I made other slides from mud puddle water.  It opened up a whole new world.

How Do You Spell That, Again?

According to Wikipedia, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek was born in the Dutch Republic in 1632.  He’s known as the father of microbiology, and made over 500 different lenses for 200 or so microscopes.  At first, he made lenses to see small fabric threads in his previous business.

He then used his lenses to see things no one had ever seen before, including muscle fibers, microscopic details of bees, and blood flow through capillaries.  He recorded his findings in more than 560 scientific letters.  He became a well known scientist.

That changed when he discovered single-celled bacteria in pond water.  He called them “animalcules.”  Other scientists were skeptical, ridiculing him and even questioning his sanity.  The Royal Society of London sent several scientists to van Leeuwenhoek’s home to investigate.  He was proven right, and was offered membership in the Royal Society.

So why celebrate a man who was born nearly 400 years ago?  Here are 4 great reasons:

  • His contributions to science: Every time I see a patient, I use many lenses.  Your eye doctor uses a microscope to check your eyes too.  I regularly examine blood flow in eyes.  Much of this would not be possible without van Leeuwenhoek’s curiosity and exploration.
  • His contributions to medicine: Think about the last time you were sick.  It’s not a big deal to head to your doctor for medicine.  In van Leeuwenhoek’s day, no one knew bacteria existed.  And without that knowledge, who would discover the host of antibiotics that keep us healthy today?
  • His contributions to optics:  van Leeuwenhoek made his own microscope lenses by melting and reshaping glass.  His lenses were far superior to the standard lenses of his day.  This understanding of lenses has advanced microscopes, telescopes, cameras, and yes, even your glasses!
  • His persistence: Before him, no one had ever seen bacteria.  The world was so skeptical he may as well have announced a Martian invasion.  But he knew what he saw, and he persisted in reporting his findings until he was heard and taken seriously.  In short, he never gave up.

Unfortunately, van Leeuwenhoek didn’t trust people.  He never shared his lens making techniques (it took until well into the 20th Century to duplicate them).  And, he never showed his best lenses to visitors.  That’s one thing I hope you don’t copy.  If you’re living the visual lifestyle, you know that people are beautiful and helping one another is important.

Although Antoni van Leeuwenhoek didn’t share, we’re still reaping the visual benefits of his work centuries later.

Question: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen in a microscope (or telescope)?  Please tell me about it in the comments below.


Author’s Note: Historical information about Antoni van Leeuwenhoek sourced from the following Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonie_van_Leeuwenhoek

Netflix Is Changing How You Watch Movies – Again

A New Deal Surprises - and Irritates - the Movie Industry

If you’re living the visual lifestyle, watching movies might be high on your list of activities.  If so, you’re going to like what Netflix is doing next.


Movies By Mail

Years ago, a friend introduced me to Netflix.  “It’s great,” he said, “For one monthly fee, I list movies I like and they mail a few at a time.  I watch them when I want and mail them back when I want more.”

I admitted this was a good fit for his movie habits (obscure Bollywood musicals).  But I was skeptical.  I didn’t want to be in the mood for suspense yet only have comedies in the mailer.

So I didn’t jump in right away.  I signed on after Netflix began streaming movies in 2007.  Any movie I wanted whenever I wanted it, instantly?  Now that’s more like it.

Netflix Comes Full Circle

Netflix has changed the movie industry again and again.  Although it started with movie distribution, they began making their own productions, beginning with House of Cards.  Since then, they’ve earned critical acclaim for several shows.

It hasn’t always worked.  Netflix has apologized for premature price hikes and the Qwikster debacle that alienated millions of subscribers.  Still, bumps are expected when you’re overturning an entrenched industry that has been ruled by the old guard for decades.

So what’s new for Netflix?  A recent announcement has movie lovers tingling – and the theater industry crying foul.  Netflix has inked a deal with iPic Theaters.  Original Netflix movies will show in the luxury theaters the same day they’re available for streaming.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • In case your living room isn’t exactly luxurious: If you’re a Netflix fan (or movie fan in general) this could be great news.  Although Netflix has won critical acclaim for its productions, individual movie experiences vary depending on a number of factors at home.  Poor internet, outdated TV and sound equipment, and even a lumpy couch can distract people from enjoying their favorite flicks.
  • It’s all about choices: Bringing original movie content to luxury theaters is a natural move for Netflix.  They’ve released movies in theaters before, but this is a new step.  The simultaneous release of films on Netflix and in theaters gives movie lovers a choice about where – and how – they enjoy new movies.
  • Not everyone is happy: The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) says the Netflix-iPic deal is bad for business.  They prefer the “theatrical window,” which keeps movies in theaters for a while before they’re released for personal use.  But this is different.  Netflix is moving in the opposite direction, allowing movie lovers to choose home viewing or experience the same movie in a luxury environment.

In an era when online companies are turning to physical stores (think Warby Parker and yes, even Amazon) this move makes sense for Netflix.  A luxurious physical location offers an experience you can’t get at home.

People have different likes.  Some want to cuddle with family and watch movies on the sofa.  Others crave the night scene luxury theaters will offer.  More options for movie lovers means you win no matter which you prefer.

Although the deal was set at 10 releases, I expect Netflix will find success and partner with iPic and other theaters again.

Question: Would you prefer to watch Netflix movies in your own home or in a luxury movie theater?  Please let me know in the comments below.


You may also like:

Five Reasons You Need To Try a Luxury Movie Theater Experience

Five Reasons You Need to Try a Luxury Movie Theater Experience

The Movie Is No Longer the Star of the Show

How was your experience the last time you went to the movies?  If it was anything less than stellar, you may want to upgrade your theater:

A Wild Ride

When my daughter was three years old, I took her to her first movie.  It was at a standard theater, but we lucked out.  We got the biggest screen and stadium seating.

The first preview was for an animated movie about horses.  It began with a thundering stampede, and I could feel the audio vibrating my seat.  I looked at my daughter and she was holding on for dear life.

She was on the edge of her seat, gripping the arm rests with her little hands as hard as she could.  Her eyes and mouth were wide open.  She could hardly breathe.

When the preview was over, she became an excited bundle of grins and giggles.  I thought to myself, “Why can’t I feel like that at the movies any more?”

The Luxury Theater Experience

Theater groups are asking that same question, and many are catering to adults who want more out of their movie experience.

It’s no surprise that modern movie theaters are struggling to get moviegoers in the door.  According to a recent Vanity Fair article, this year may be the worst box office year yet.

Movie theaters have had competition ever since cable began delivering movies directly to consumers.  Then came the onslaught of other in-home movie options evolving from video tapes and DVDs to Redbox  and Netflix.  And it appears theaters are fighting a losing battle on all fronts.

But some are taking a very high road.  Luxury movie theaters aren’t new, but they are catching on, as their numbers have increased over the past few years.

Of course, content is just as important to your movie experience as the theater itself.  If you’re in the best movie house in the nation and your movie flops, then your experience will be a box office bomb too.

Still, you may want to try a luxury movie theater experience soon.  Here’s why:

  • Pampering: iPic Theaters offers two-seat luxury “pods” in their newest NYC location.  They’re complete with reclining leather seats, pillows and blankets, and seat-side service at the touch of a button.  Many upscale theaters seem more like posh hotels.
  • Food: Dinner and a movie just got easier.  Luxury theaters often boast full scale restaurants on site.  Moviegoers can dine and then see their movie, or have their food delivered to their seats.  Prefer counter service?  No problem – and we’re not talking wrapped sandwiches here.  iPic’s food is designed by acclaimed chef Sherry Yard, and includes mahi mahi tacos, turkey sliders, and toffee caramel cake.
  • Drinks: If the club life is more your style, you’re covered.  Theaters are adding full service bars that offer cocktails, wines, and craft beers on tap.  And yes, delivery to your seat is also an option.
  • Cleanliness: Forget about popcorn in your seat or your shoes sticking to the floor.  One aspect of luxury movie theaters you’re sure to enjoy is their cleanliness.
  • Other perks: Movie houses are going the distance to make sure you have a good time.  Some offer free popcorn, blankets, and pillows.  Others reduce distractions by prohibiting children, turning away latecomers, and even blocking cell service.

In a short video by USA Today, iPic Theaters CEO and founder Hamid Hashemi says “If you were watching a movie at home, this is how you would be watching it.”

Movies are a natural activity when you’re living the visual lifestyle.  If you’ve been disappointed in your movie experience, maybe it’s time to trade up.

Question: What’s your favorite movie experience?  Please let me know in the comments below.