The Kid Should See This Smart videos for curious minds of all ages: Science, art, nature, animals, space, technology, DIY, food, music, animation, and more Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:41:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Can you power your home with a bicycle? Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:35:35 +0000 Could you power your house with the energy that’s created from pedaling a bicycle? First, let’s find out how much energy a house uses and how much energy one bicycling person can store in a battery.

Skunk Bear‘s Adam Cole visits astrophysics professor and NPR blogger Adam Frank in Rochester, New York, former bicycle capital of America, to assess the situation. NPR has more:

“…the discovery of fossil fuels did something amazing. If we look at our house example, we see that the energy running into our homes from some distant power stations is the equivalent to having about 40 people pedaling bicycles for us. Those little sockets in the wall that we plug our stuff into give us the power of 40 servants. (If I included the electrical inefficiencies, that number goes up to about 50 servants.)

We are all, literally, living like kings.

But, as we know, using that much energy has consequences for the planet in the form of climate change. The trick now is to figure how to keep a reasonable level of power available to everyone by using energy sources that have less planetary blowback.”

Possible solutions: Fourth graders create a solar powered classroom, and Moving Windmills: The William Kamkwamba story. ]]> 0
Cannon cloud collisions for Art & Inactivism Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:37:08 +0000 Two clouds rush toward each other and collide before dissipating in this installation by Mitchell F. Chan. Titled Something Something National Conversation (In 2 Characters Or Less), the crashing forms of water vapor are featured in his Art & Inactivism exhibit at Toronto’s Angell Gallery from December 10, 2016 until January 7, 2017. The accompanying vocalizations are from Infinite News Feed, an exhibit piece that algorithmically-generates a musical score of words from the day’s news headlines.

Watch these DIY inspirations next: How to make a homemade vortex cannon (large), make smoke rings with a simple DIY vortex cannon (medium), and how to make a cloud in your mouth (small).

And more art: A time lapse of Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing 797 and the jazz of a helium ball & charcoal.

via Gizmodo. ]]> 0 How to Understand Power – TED Ed Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:12:23 +0000

Every day, we move and operate within systems of power that other people have constructed. But we’re often uncomfortable talking about power. Why? Eric Liu describes the six sources of power and explains how understanding them is key to being an effective citizen.

From writer, educator, and civic entrepreneur Eric Liu and TED Ed, this is How to Understand Power: where it comes from, how it’s exercised, and what you can do to be more powerful in public life.

Next: I Will Be A Hummingbird, a story from Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai.

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Why all world maps are wrong Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:05:21 +0000 How do you make something round into something flat without distorting it? Something round, like a globe or a planet, is three dimensional. Something flat, like a paper map hanging on the wall, is two dimensional. If you try to peel the outside of the globe off like an orange peel, it would be a challenge to get that orange peel to lay flat like a paper map.

This is the problem with every map you’ve ever seen, including Google Maps: They’re all distorted in an attempt to flatten something spherical. Example: The Mercator Projection, which shows Greenland as larger than all of Africa and Alaska as larger than Mexico, just to name two of many misrepresentations. Vox’s Johnny Harris explains.

Related exploring: We’re big fans of Check it out.

Next: Globe Making (1955). ]]> 0
How Do Reindeer and Elk Get Their Astounding Antlers? Thu, 08 Dec 2016 05:46:45 +0000

What if you had to grow 20 pounds of bone on your forehead each year just to find a mate? In a bloody, itchy process, males of the deer family grow a new set of antlers every year, use them to fend off the competition, and lose their impressive crowns when breeding season ends.

From Deep Look, learn about Northern California’s Tule elk and the life cycle of their bone and velvet weapons: How Do Reindeer and Elk Get Their Astounding Antlers?

Follow this with Arctic Cowboys: Hitch a Ride with Reindeer Herders in Finland and what’s the difference between horns and antlers? ]]> 0
Four pro-chef pastry recipes that are super easy to make Thu, 08 Dec 2016 05:25:42 +0000 If you want to help with preparing brunch for guests or make breakfast in bed for your favorite adults, then check out these four super easy pastry recipes that’ll make your dishes look like the work of a pro chef… and that might spark your interest in being one.

With some ready-made puff pastry dough, or any made from scratch, you can bake up some Pinwheels, Egg Tarts, Pull-Apart Rolls, and Fruit Hand Pies, via Bon Appétit.

More easy food: How to make individual Mac & Cheese cups, how to make a Caramelized Apple Tarte Tatin, and how to make pickles.

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Widow birds bounce and leap for attention Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:03:02 +0000 Sporting their long and glossy tails, male Jackson’s widowbirds (Euplectes jacksoni) can be found leaping straight up in the tall grasses of Kenya and Tanzania. The reason for their leaps: to impress a female during mating season.

Watch a dramatized moment from the Maasai Mara National Reserve in this clip from Planet Earth II: Grasslands, narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

Watch more clips from Planet Earth II, more jumping, more birds, more mating, and this: Male Blue Manakins wait in line to impress a female.

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Feynman’s Building Blocks of Thermodynamics Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:26:52 +0000 Thermodynamics — ‘thermo’ meaning heat and ‘dynamics’ referring to work —is the branch of physics that focuses on the relationship between heat and other kinds of energy. This video from The Royal Institution introduces the first of four laws of thermodynamics: that energy can’t be created or destroyed, but will instead be converted or transferred:

In this unique animation, chemist Andrea Sella recalls one of Richard Feynman’s descriptions of the law. In a classic analogy, Feynman imagines a child with a set of building blocks, and a mother struggling to ensure he doesn’t lose any. Each day, the total number of blocks remains the same, although some do stray from their original location.

This consistent fact – that the blocks cannot be created or destroyed – allows the mother to calculate how many blocks are in a box without even looking. And this consistent fact, that energy itself is also always conserved, lays the foundation for one of physics’ greatest rules.

This animation is part of the Ri’s Thermodynamics Advent Calendar for 2016.

Next: Watch more illuminating Ri videos on this site.

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Strain Wave Gearing LEGO Great Ball Contraption (GBC) Module Tue, 06 Dec 2016 07:36:29 +0000 Behold another excellent Great Ball Contraption (GBC) from LEGO enthusiast Akiyuki, this one with Strain Wave Gearing. Akiyuki explains:

Strain wave gearing consists of three components: a wave generator, a flex spline, and a circular spline. Wave generator, flex spline, and circular spline can be recognized as the light bluish ellipse in the center, the yellow cup, and the dark bluish gray outer ring, respectively, in the GBC module.

The number of teeth on the flex spline and circular spline are 32 and 36, respectively. The reduction ratio is calculated using the following formula:

Reduction ratio = (circular spline teeth – flex spline teeth)/flex spline teeth
= (36 – 32)/32
= 1/8.

The wave generator is used as the input, and the flex spline is used as the output…

When the mechanism of interest was applied to the GBC module, the desire was for the movement of the balls to resemble that of the mechanism. I used wave motion of the flex spline to transfer the balls in order to use the strain wave gearing mechanism in GBC module. This differs from the actual strain wave gearing that uses only the reduced rotation of the flex spline as the output.

The chucks attached to the front-facing edge of the flex spline are used to grasp the balls. The balls move in tandem with the wave movement of the flex spline, which is the highlight of the module.

Watch more engineering videos. Plus, don’t miss LEGO Great Ball Contraption: 17 different modules of incredible and GBC at Japan Brickfest 2016.

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Metal crystals forming in time lapse Tue, 06 Dec 2016 06:56:25 +0000 From Italy-based chemistry student Emanuele Fornasier, this is Crystal Birth, one of the many chem vids he’s created as a video and photo enthusiast. He writes:

This video is the beginning of a long term chemistry project involving metal crystals. These stunning structures are the result of a chemical reaction where the metal is deposited from the solution onto the metal surface. It takes from a few hours to a couple of days to generate a crystal. This process is carried out very slowly by an electric current: layer by layer the crystal is born.

The Beauty of Science team has been working on their own metal crystal growth time lapse vids via metal displacement reactions with a microscope. This is Black (Lead) and White (Silver):

Previously from BOS: Beautiful Chemical Reactions and Crystallization2.

via Colossal. ]]> 0 ChainFORM, robot modules that can transform Mon, 05 Dec 2016 15:36:31 +0000 Can one system of tiny robo-modules attached together in a line transform into multiple tools, interfaces, and creative opportunities? This is ChainFORM from a team at MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group, a hardware system that includes touch detection, angular detection, visual output, and motor actuation within each module. The project is an expansion on the lab’s 2015 LineFORM project:

What would you program ChainFORM to turn into?

Next: InFORM. Plus these: Modular, self-assembling robots from EPFL and MIT, Sticky Actuator: Inflatable stick-on pouch motors, and Can A Thousand Tiny Swarming Robots Outsmart Nature?

via Prosthetic Knowledge. ]]> 0 What’s inside my pocket camera? – Tinker Friday Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:34:03 +0000 What’s inside my pocket camera? What’s inside my flashlight thingy? What’s inside my mobile phone pouch? Cairo-based product designer Dina Amin asks these questions every week for her Instagram side project called Tinker Friday. The answer: A delightful stop motion film made from what she finds.

Follow Dina Amin on Instagram and Facebook.

In case you missed it: More Tinker Friday stop motion vids on this site. ]]> 0
Can you solve the airplane riddle? Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:23:11 +0000

Professor Fukanō, the famous scientist, has embarked on a new challenge – piloting around the world in a plane of his own design. There’s just one problem: there’s not enough fuel to complete the journey. Luckily, there are two other planes to help. Can you help the professor fly for the whole trip and achieve his dream, without anyone running out of fuel and crashing? Judd A. Schorr shows how.

Think symmetrically for this TED Ed: Can you solve the airplane riddle?

Related problem solving: 10 Brainteasers to Stretch Your Brain.

Next: Can you solve the locker riddle? Can you solve the temple riddle? How about the Matchstick Triangle Puzzle? ]]> 0
You Can’t See This (Mind Tricks) Mon, 05 Dec 2016 08:39:36 +0000 Our brains and eyes aren’t always showing us everything that’s available to see. Instead, learning, memory, and expectation changes our vision to fit as much as we can comprehend in any given moment. In this AsapScience, we’re introduced to a series of optical illusions and misperceptions, and learn more about why these brain benders happen: You Can’t See This.

Next: Brusspup’s Crazy Circle Illusion and AsapScience’s Can You Trust Your Eyes? ]]> 0
Can Bird Poop Make Clouds? Fri, 02 Dec 2016 05:45:04 +0000 How does bird poop potentially help to keep our climate just a wee bit cooler? In this episode of Gross Science, Anna Rothschild helps connect tens of millions of seabirds in the Arctic to 40,000 metric tons of ammonia to the difference between dark clouds and light clouds to the planet’s climate story.

File under Gross Science, clouds, and poop, three of our favorite topics.

Speaking of poop, watch these: Sea cucumbers are underwater vacuum cleaners, Much A-Doo About Poo, the GPS-navigated rolling of the dung beetle, and explore wastewater treatment with LeVar Burton & Reading Rainbow. ]]> 0