The Kid Should See This Cool videos for curious minds of all ages. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:25:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 NASA’s Rover of the Future Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:21:26 +0000 Omni-drive and suit ports will be just two of the NASA rover features available to future astronauts as they explore Mars or near-Earth asteroids. This Rover of the Future is an ever-evolving Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) that could house two astronauts in shirtsleeves for up to 14 days. The first concept was built in 2008. From

The surface SEV is designed to require little or no maintenance, be able to travel thousands of miles climbing over rocks and up 40 degree slopes during its ten year life. The vehicle frame was developed in conjunction with an off-road race truck team and was field tested in the desert Southwest with 140 km of driving on rough lava…

Some of the new technologies to be developed for the surface and in-space concepts include new batteries, new fuel cells, advanced regenerative brakes, active suspension, gaseous hydrogen/oxygen RCS system, automated rendezvous and docking, and new tire technologies.

Click to check out the rover concept components, via Wikipedia:


In the archives: more NASA and all kinds of vehicles, including testing this space rover under Alaskan ice, landing on a comet with Rosetta Spacecraft, and Curiosity’s Seven Minutes of Terror.

Bonus: how astronauts (currently) put on space suits.

via Smithsonian Channel.

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The Crazy Circle Illusion: How are these dots moving? Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:54:22 +0000 In this Brusspup mind-bender, you may think you see a circle of eight white dots rotating around the inside of a larger red circle, but you’re actually witnessing something else, and you may not believe it unless you see it explained… but then you still might not believe it.

To quote Phil Plait: “For most illusions there’s a moment when your brain can see what’s going on and the illusion shatters, but not with this one.”

Related watching: more optical illusions, including Kokichi Sugihara’s impossible motion illusions, as well as Brusspup’s amazing anamorphic illusions and the Amazing T-Rex Illusion.

via Bad Astronomy.

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ScienceTake: How an Embryo Grows Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:29:28 +0000 From a single cell to a whole organism, how do animals grow into such diverse and complex creatures from their embryonic beginnings? What if we could follow and map a human’s development from a single cell to the estimated 100 trillion cells that make us who we are as adults? How do embryos grow?

Above, The New York TimesScienceTake shows us a glimpse of software “that can trace the life and movements of every single cell.” Beautifully rendered in rainbow colors, the visualizations are the work of researchers at HHMI‘s Janelia Farm research campus. Thus far, they’ve modeled the development of fruit flies, zebra fish and mice, but with more research, this kind of cell tracking might lead to a better understanding of the human nervous system and inherited genetic disorders.

In the archives: more cells and more about the human body.

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The San Francisco Fire Department’s Ladder Shop Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:01:58 +0000 In a windy city that has narrow streets and a lot of high voltage power lines, aluminum ladders may not be the best choice for fighting fires. Watch how ladder builder Jerry Lee makes and repairs antique-looking, handmade, wooden ladders for the San Francisco Fire Department, one of few departments in the country to continue using them: The Ladder Shop (2010).

In the archives: more firefighters and more things that are handmade.

via Metafilter.

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Changing shifts at le Phare de Kéréon Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:40:02 +0000 How do lighthouse keepers switch shifts when the lighthouse isn’t connected to the mainland? We’ve seen how the tumultuous sea can almost overtake lighthouses during a storm, but the sea can be challenging even in more fair weather. Watch how lighthouse guards move to and from their solitary towers in this footage at le Phare de Kéréon, a lighthouse located in the Iroise Sea off the coast of north-western France, from the 2006 French documentary Il était un phare… by Thierry Marchadier.

There are more lighthouses in the archives:

via Reddit.

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Noodles & the principle of halving — The Ring of Truth: Atoms Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:29:09 +0000 Chef Kin Jing Mark demonstrates how to make super-thin noodles and helps introduce the principle of halving in this clip from the PBS miniseries The Ring of Truth: An Inquiry Into How We Know What We Know – Atoms (1987). MIT astrophysicist and professor Philip Morrison narrates:

If atoms exist in patterns in space, we should somehow be able to measure their size. We approach the division of matter by the attractive process of halving, and halving, and halving it again… Twelve foldings produced 4,096 fine noodles, and if Chef Mark could have stretched the dough 30 more times, the noodles would have reached atomic thickness.

The Ring of Truth was written by Morrison and his wife, noted art and science educator Phylis Morrison. You might also recognize Philip’s voice from Charles and Ray Eames’ Powers of Ten.

Watch molten gold transform into gold leaf, another clip from the series, and don’t miss the Eames’ Mathematica film 2ⁿ (1961), which demonstrates the exponential growth of numbers raised to powers.

via Kottke. Thanks @djacobs.

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ExpeRimental: Homemade Lava Lamp & Rubber Band Cannons Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:12:42 +0000 Explore the densities of liquids and household objects with Olympia Brown and her daughter Viola. This is episode two of ExpeRimental, a new science-at-home series by the Royal Institution of Great Britain that aims to help parents and young children be active participants in science. From science teacher and series director Alom Shaha in The Guardian:

…looking closely at the world, asking questions, and actually experimenting by identifying variables and seeing what happens when you change them… The emphasis in our films is on how to stimulate children’s curiosity and encourage them to start thinking like scientists and engineers.

Learn how to make a homemade lava lamp, explore the densities of citrus fruits and aluminum foil in different forms, and get some help with what questions to ask along the way (pdf).

Here’s another that we can’t wait to try: Rubber band cannons.

Find the corresponding info sheet here (pdf), and find new episodes at

There are more experiments, demos, and DIY science projects in the archives, including these related videos: Liquid Stacking and Homemade Vortex Cannon.

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Mr Rogers: How Crayons Are Made Thu, 17 Jul 2014 18:03:47 +0000 Mix hot liquid wax, hardening powder, and some color pigment. Pour the mixture into a mold of small cylinders, and after it cools, pop them out! Label them, collate them, and box them. This classic 1981 crayon factory visit from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood is an excellent addition to our factory and How Things Are Made video collections. Watch as Mr. Rogers narrates.

We love when the same story is told from different perspectives. Don’t miss Sesame Street: how crayons are made — a shorter, wordless version with an equally wonderful soundtrack — and Bert Haanstra‘s Oscar-winning, jazz-filled short film Glas.

via It’s Okay to Be Smart.

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Making a wooden lampshade from a tree stump Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:47:34 +0000 Watch New Zealand-based woodturner Sören Berger turn a radiata pine tree stump (originally cut down for firewood) into a unique, hand-crafted lampshade. On a lathe, he painstakingly alternates between shaving the exterior and hollowing out the sapwood center until the shade is evenly translucent and refined. The stump’s wood chips can then be used for heating or in the garden.

In the archives: How Kokeshi Dolls are made.

via Doobybrain.

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Inside a Baby Sloth Orphanage and Rescue Center Wed, 16 Jul 2014 13:22:10 +0000 At the Asociación Panamericana para la Conservación in Gamboa, Panama, Yiscel Yángüez and Néstor Correa work day and night to rescue and relocate hundreds of wild animals a year. Their specialization: rescuing, raising, and releasing sloths. Correa emphasizes:

“All the animals that we have were rescue animals, every single one. So it’s very important for people to understand that we work in wildlife, and these animals are not pets. Once these animals are ready to go back to the wild, they will.”

Watch as they nurse the orphans in their care, relocate a sloth trying to cross a busy Panama highway, and in an emotional goodbye, release a sloth they’ve raised since it was just a few months old.

In the archives: more animal rescues and recoveries.

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The World Cup Brazil 2014 Flip Books Wed, 16 Jul 2014 04:24:31 +0000 These hand-drawn flip books animate the top three goals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. File under flip books and sports.

What will you animate in your flipbook?

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Garlic: How Does it Grow? Tue, 15 Jul 2014 16:49:56 +0000 With a history of human use going back 7,000 years, garlic is a culinary and medicinal mainstay in Asian, European, African, Latin American and North American cultures, and yet many don’t know a lot about this pungent plant.

Get ready for some excellent farmland and factory scenes: In this episode of How Does It Grow?, Nicole Cotroneo Jolly explores where our garlic comes from.

In the archives: How cheese is made, how honey is made, and The Perennial Plate: Coconut Nose to Tail.
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Sea Chair Mon, 14 Jul 2014 20:36:45 +0000 Collecting plastic on the open sea and then making a small seat with it, all done from a fishing boat: Sea Chair, a project by Studio Swine and filmmaker Juriaan Booij, via Atlantic Video:

When plastic debris breaks down in the open sea, it can get trapped in large water currents known as gyres. Over time, those small bits of trash collect within gyres to form “garbage patches,” which pose a serious threat to marine ecosystems…

This September, an art project inspired by that threat will sail from the United Kingdom to the Canary Islands on a mission to collect usable plastic, melt it down, and transform it into furniture. The voyage won’t have a discernible effect on marine pollution, but nonetheless, it represents a creative approach to a serious environmental issue.

Studio Swine shares their blueprints here. In the archives, more projects from plastic: One Plastic Beach, turning scraps into soccer balls for village children, and Moser Lamps.

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Cookie-tin Banjo Mon, 14 Jul 2014 18:29:47 +0000 Cookie-tin Banjo by Benjamin Scheuer & Escapist Papers. Illustrations by Nicholas Stevenson.

In the archives, more banjos and more stories told through song: Grant Olney‘s Not From Body, Massimo Giangrande’s Paper Plane, and Nat Johnson’s Dog. Bonus: DIY instruments.

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The Leaf Mimic Katydid Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:48:12 +0000 Like the Uropyia meticulodina, this Leaf Mimic Katydid really commits to its ability to hide in plain sight. Filmed in the in the Ecuadorian Amazon’s Yasuni National Park, it’s holding as still as possible. From Krulwich Wonders:

They’re not content to just look like a plain green leaf. “That would be too easy,” says entomologist and wildlife photographer Piotr Naskrecki. “No, their bodies are perfect replicas of leaves that have been chewed up, torn, rotten, dried up, partially decayed, or covered by fungi. Some even have fake holes in their wings (fake, because the holes are in fact thin, translucent parts of the wing membrane.)”

…This isn’t, by the way, a standard act of mime. You won’t find thousands of katydids with the exact same bite-on-the-edge look. “No two individuals are alike,” says Piotr Naskrecki. In fact, “you can find individuals whose appearance is so dramatically different that one would feel justified to place them in different species.” But they’re not. These are, you should excuse the expression, artists: individuals pretending, in their very different ways, to be a leaf.

Because it’s the internet, someone put one on a turntable so that we could get a good 360 degree look at it:

Here’s another: Pterochroza ocellata, a peacock katydid that integrates more of the dead or diseased leaf look into it’s disguise:

There are more leaf disguises on Treehugger. In the archives: the leaf-tailed geckos of Madagascar, the Robust Ghost Pipefish’s camouflage, and the leaf-like Uropyia meticulodina.

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