The Kid Should See This Cool videos for curious minds of all ages: Science, art, nature, animals, space, technology, DIY, food, music, animation, and more Thu, 27 Nov 2014 01:43:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 It’s Okay to Be Smart: Where Do Birds Go In Winter? Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:35:53 +0000 Where do birds go for the winter, and when did we first figure out where they were disappearing to every year? Do they go to the moon, or are they off to fight battles with goat-riding armies? (Spoiler alert: Those theories are for the birds.) Joe Hanson of It’s Okay to Be Smart investigates bird migration, the seasonal journeys of our feathered friends to warmer climates.

Watch related videos: more kinds of migration, including TED Ed’s Bird migration, a perilous journey and Come fly with me: the physics of why birds fly in V-formation.

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Kokichi Sugihara’s Impossible Rooftop & Folding Ladder Illusions Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:39:48 +0000 File under impossible objects, this is the Impossible Rooftop Illusion or “Anti-Gravity Two Sided Roof” by Meiji University’s Professor Kokichi Sugihara in 2013. Using computer software, Sugihara creates award-winning, perception-bending 3D models that seem to defy geometry. While the structures look impossible from one angle, viewing them from another angle reveals the illusion. Of the computer-designed impossible motions, he writes:

“Computational illusion” is aimed at studying human visual illusions mathematically. If we could reveal how and under what conditions human visual illusions occur, we would be able to numerically express the strength of visual illusions and control the quantity.

Here’s one more, via Folding Ladder.

Watch related videos about perception and optical illusions. There’s also more of Sugihara’s work in the archives, and the article at The Illusion Machine That Teaches Us How We See.

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Ocean Moon, Ocean World: The water beneath Europa’s icy surface Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:56:10 +0000 Thanks to Earth-bound telescopes and flyby data collected “about the surface, about the interior structure, and about the magnetic field around Europa” by multiple spacecrafts, scientists strongly believe that there’s a liquid ocean of water beneath the Galilean moon‘s icy surface. It’s an amazing possibility, but why is it an important one?

In this video from NASA JPL, Europa: Ocean World, astrobiologist Kevin Hand explains the connections between Earth and Europa, and why we want to know more about what’s below this moon’s crust:

“Where you find the liquid water, you generally find life.”

Related watching about other moons, about Europa, and about searching for life underwater: The Top 5 Places to Look for Alien Life, Testing a Space Rover Under Alaskan Ice, When a Volcano Erupts Underwater, and Searching for Life in Iceland’s Frigid Fissures.

via @ReidGower. ]]> 0 Deep Look: The Crazy Cribs of Parasitic Wasps Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:55:52 +0000 These tiny wasps have a wonderful trick: they prompt oak trees to grow galls, abnormal plant tissue structures that shelter wasp eggs, by injecting a chemical under the tree’s skin.

If that was the end of the story it would already be an incredible feat of nature, but perhaps what’s more incredible is the diversity of growths themselves: lumps, warts, balls, knobs, tubes, cones, disks, and other unexpected shapes. Furry, fuzzy, rough, scaly, brittle, wrinkly, pink, brown, yellow… the descriptions go on and on. There’s even a name for the study of plant galls: cecidology.

Check out some examples in this episode of Deep Look: The Crazy Cribs of Parasitic Wasps. Are there any galls in your neighborhood? If you find some, tweet us a photo!

Related watching: more Deep Look and a few more wasp videos.

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Physics Girl: How to make a Crazy Pool Vortex Mon, 24 Nov 2014 09:53:46 +0000 Have a plate, a pool, and some food coloring? In this experiment, Physics Girl makes strange black circles form by briefly dragging a plate through the pool. On a sunny day in still water, those black circles can be seen traveling the length of the pool. What’s creating this unique phenomenon?

File under vortices and DIY: Those circles hint at a half vortex spinning below the water’s surface. Watch as she adds food coloring to its ends and explains all of the details, then be sure to try this physics experiment the next time you’re at the pool in the sun.

Related videos: The Physics Behind a Curveball and more vortices.

via @jtotheizzoe. ]]> 0 The Red Thread (Akai Ito): A single line tells a story Mon, 24 Nov 2014 08:31:37 +0000 Activities and adventures, pulling apart, coming together, the joys of childhood: In Kazuhiko Okushita‘s Red Thread (2010), an animated line stretches and curls from scene to scene, visualizing moments of youth, growing up, and circling back around again. The single stroke drawing technique, known as ippitsugaki in Japanese, takes on new visual and metaphorical possibilities when animated.


Related videos: these stop motion tissue paper animals, USAWALTZ, The Cloudy Dog Talks About…, and the always-experimental work of Norman McLaren.

via Spoon and Tamago. ]]> 0 The elusive Black Seadevil Anglerfish: Rare video footage by MBARI Mon, 24 Nov 2014 01:57:39 +0000 Six hundred meters down in Monterey Submarine Canyon, off the coast of California, a ROV from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute captured this incredibly rare video footage of a 9 cm long, female Deep-Sea Anglerfish, specifically a Melanocetus or Black Seadevil. MBARI Senior Scientist Bruce Robison reports, “We believe that this is the first video footage ever made of this species alive and at depth.”

Slow-moving and tiny-eyed, this elusive fish is an ambush predator, using its bioluminescent lure to attract unsuspecting prey before inhaling them into its large, tooth-filled mouth.

Watch this next: 3D scanning an anglerfish’s final meal.

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Frozen bubbles: Ice crystals form on bubbles in real time Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:52:42 +0000 Watch ice crystals form in real time on these spinning and floating soap bubbles, filmed in -40°C weather in Northern Sweden. The crystalized spikes grow outward quickly as the low sun lights the surfaces of the spheres.

Luckily, the internet is chock-full of videos that show how bubbles freeze. File under when physics looks like magic, and fall down a frozen bubble rabbit hole:



Watch more ice crystal videos on this site.

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Planet Earth in 4K: Time lapse images taken by an orbiting satellite Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:40:43 +0000 This video truly illustrates why our Earth is called The Blue Marble. Taken every 30 minutes over Indian ocean from May 15th to May 19th, 2011, these images by the geostationary Elektro-L weather satellite have been compiled into an incredibly high resolution time lapse: Planet Earth in 4K resolution.

The animation was edited together by James Tyrwhitt-Drake, who also created a stunning 4K time lapse animation of the sun. From his video notes:

To answer frequently asked questions; why are city lights, the Sun, and other stars not visible? City lights are not visible because they are thousands of times less bright than the reflection of sunlight off the Earth. If the camera was sensitive enough to detect city lights, the Earth would be overexposed. The Sun is not visible due to mechanisms used to protect the camera CCD from direct exposure to sunlight. A circular mask on the CCD ensures that only the Earth is visible. This mask can be seen as pixelation on Earth’s horizon. The mask also excludes stars from view, although they would not be bright enough to be visible to this camera.

Related reading: The Overview Effect, “a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface.”

It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void”, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, astronauts claim, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.

There are more videos to watch: Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, animated, Departing Earth, a view from Messenger Spacecraft, Further Up Yonder: A Message From ISS To All Humankind, and Phases of the Moon.

via Sploid.

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Wild Inside the National Zoo: Raising Red Panda Cubs Tink & Henry Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:39:31 +0000 This is the story of Tink and Henry, two of ten red panda babies that were born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 2014. Both cubs had early health problems, prompting zoo keepers to take immediate action: around the clock medical support and hand-rearing. Henry especially struggled, and was on oxygen for a month after he had stopped breathing. Thankfully, with constant care, both cubs are now healthy and thriving.

Native to the cool, temperate forests high in the eastern Himalayas and south-western China, red pandas are tree dwelling mammals that eat a lot of bamboo in addition to fruit, acorns, roots, and eggs. Despite their bamboo-filled diet, name, and adorable eye patches, they are not related to Giant Pandas. From Scientific American:

…it wasn’t until the last ten or fifteen years that scientists settled upon just where red pandas fit on the evolutionary tree of life. It was clear that red pandas were members of the taxonomic “infraorder” Arctoidea, placing them in a group with bears, pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walrus), raccoons, and mustelids (weasels, skunks, otters, and badgers). Research published in 2000 in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution determined that they were not most closely related to bears or to raccoons as had been previously suggested. Instead, red pandas form their own phylogenetic family, alongside skunks, raccoons, and mustelids. From a genetic perspective, they’re more like the skunks and raccoons you might find in your own backyard than the giant pandas with whom they share habitats.

Related watching: More zoo videos, more veterinarians at work, and all kinds of conservation efforts.

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Minute Earth: Why Do Rivers Curve? Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:35:28 +0000 “…All it takes to turn a straight stretch of river into a bendy one, is a little disturbance and a lot of time, and in nature there’s plenty of both.” In this Minute Earth episode, narrated by science writer Emily Elert, watch as water pushes against soft soil, shifting rivers into the meandering squiggles that we can observe on maps from high above around the Earth.

Watch this next: Ecosystem Engineers: How do beavers build dams?

via @aatishb. ]]> 0 How to fold The World’s Best Paper Airplane Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:04:46 +0000 If you want to fold the world’s best paper airplane, how do you know it’s the best? Watch the video! In 2012, former Cal Berkeley quarterback Joe Ayoob officially broke the Guinness World Record by flying a John Collins designed paper airplane 69.14 meters (226 feet, 10 inches) — that’s 5.95 meters or 19 feet, 6 inches farther than the previous record. Now try to break Ayoob’s record…

In this how-to video, Paper Airplane Guy and world record-breaking paper airplane designer John Collins demonstrates how to make the “Suzanne”.

For more DIY folding, check out more of Collins’ work in his book The New World Champion Paper Airplane Book: Featuring the Guinness World Record-Breaking Design, with Tear-Out Planes to Fold and Fly.

Related DIY on this site: How to make a paper airplane that flies far – Strike Eagle and How to make an Air Surfing Foam Walkalong Glider.

via Boing Boing.

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The Curiosity Show: Matchstick Triangle Puzzle Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:07:53 +0000 Get out some matchsticks or toothpicks and some Play-Doh! Deane Hutton, science educator and co-host of Australia’s The Curiosity Show, sets up two challenges that requires some hands-on creative thinking:

1. How do you make four triangles with six matchsticks?
2. How do you make seven triangles with nine matchsticks?

For the video above, hit pause at 30 seconds to solve the first challenge on your own, and then try this will power-building third challenge: Don’t watch the video below until you’ve solved the second challenge!

The Curiosity Show celebrated science, technology and things to make and do from 1972-1990, and now shares clips on their YouTube channel for today’s generation of viewers.

Watch more videos about triangles and other shapes, or watch another clip with Deane: How does a music box work?

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More Evidence Birds Can Count: Where’d that other mealworm go? Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:07:03 +0000 Researchers are eagerly tricking wild New Zealand robins, but it’s FOR SCIENCE! Watch as this box with a sliding trick drawer helps Alexis Garland and Jason Low at Victoria University of Wellington observe the behavior of a robin after it’s offered two mealworms. The experiment was set up like this:

After clearly showing a robin that she was dropping two mealworms in a circular well in the box, Dr. Garland would slide in the drawer. It covered the two worms with an identical-looking circular well containing only one worm.

When the researcher moved away and the robin flew down and lifted off a cover, it would find only one worm. The robins pecked intensely at the box, behavior they didn’t show if they found the two worms they were expecting.

So here’s the big question:

If birds and mammals can count, does this mean some kind of mathematical ability goes back to a common ancestor before the dinosaurs? Or did two separate paths lead to the same abilities?

Read more about the research at The New York Times: One Mealworm, Two mealworms: More Evidence Birds Can Count.

Related watching, this incredibly smart bird: a wild crow solves a complicated eight-part puzzle to get to its food.

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AMNH: Shelf Life – 33 Million Things Mon, 17 Nov 2014 17:43:43 +0000 What if you could open up a drawer full of hundreds of pinned insect specimens to study them under a microscope, or unscrew the jar cap to scan a curious creature that swam in the deep sea decades ago? For collectors everywhere, this is a lovely series from the American Museum of Natural History: Shelf Life, episode 1 – 33 Million Things.

From centuries-old specimens to entirely new types of specialized collections like frozen tissues and genomic data, the Museum’s scientific collections (with more than 33,430,000 specimens and artifacts) form an irreplaceable record of life on Earth, the span of geologic time, and knowledge about our vast universe.

33,430,000 specimens and artifacts!!

Related watching, so many videos about museum specimens: 3D scanning an anglerfish’s final meal, Anatomy of Preservation: From a Specimen to an Object of Study, and Preserving the Forest of the Sea.

And deep in the archives, both The Fungarium and Millennium Seed Bank Partnership and Cabinet of Wonders: Alfred Russel Wallace’s personal cabinet.

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