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, 27 Mar 2015 20:53:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Kenguru Wheelchair-Accessible Electric Vehicle Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:10:03 +0000 Made especially to give wheelchair users a way to drive independently, the Kenguru Wheelchair-Accessible electric vehicle goes up to 25mph with a range of 45-60 miles, perfect for driving to the grocery store or for meeting up with friends at a local restaurant. With an estimated 1.7 million wheelchair users in the US, this zero-emission concept car could make a difference for many people when it goes into production.

Originally from Budapest, (Kenguru is Hungarian for kangaroo), the Pflugerville, Texas-based car company is helmed by former European carmaker Istvan Kissaroslaki, and former intellectual patent attorney and current Community Cars, Inc CEO Stacy Zoern.

Zoern tells their story in this 2012 Translogic video:

The EV will sell for around $25,000. Read more at NYT in 2013: An E.V. That Wraps Around a Wheelchair.

Related videos: test driving an early version of Google’s driverless car, Paralyzed Woman Controls Robotic Arm With Thoughts, and the story of Richie Parker, NASCAR racing team engineer.

Thanks, @s_munro8. ]]> 0 The Slow Mo Guys: CD shattering at 170,000 frames per second Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:17:25 +0000 In this slowest episode of The Slow Mo Guys ever, Gav and Dan spin a CD at 23,000 revolutions per minute (rpm), causing it to shatter rather spectacularly. The results were filmed with a Phantom V2511 at 28,500 frames per second, 61,960 fps, and 170,600 fps… that last one is 6,824 times slower than real time.

Watch more spinning videos and more slow motion videos, including more Slow Mo Guys: Bouncing oobleck, how a slinky falls, huge puddle splash, and a gravity-defying cat.

via @aatishb.

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Cal Academy: Trogloraptors & How Science Works Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:12:39 +0000 In 2010, some amateur cave explorers discovered a relatively large six-eyed, hook-legged, orangey-brown spider in a Southern Oregon cave. In 2012, the spider was named Trogloraptor marchingtoni or Trogloraptor (which means “cave robber”), and it was unique enough to be declared a new taxonomic family of spider.

That in itself is pretty interesting, but it’s also an excellent starting point for finding out how new discoveries can become documented science. In this California Academy of Sciences video, Curator of Arachnology Charles Griswold explains the behind-the-scenes “pinball machine” process of Science in Action: How Science Works.

Related reading: 189 New Species Described By Cal Academy in 2012.

Related videos: A newly-discovered species of cartwheeling spider, Skull of the Olinguito, the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect, discovering a second species of giant mantas, and more from Cal Academy. ]]> 0
The Fanciest Bird in the World: Superb Lyrebird Thu, 26 Mar 2015 05:55:59 +0000 Captured on video by Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Anastasia Dalziell and University of Western Sydney’s Justin Welbergen, this is a male Superb Lyrebird, an Australian songbird who is not only a fancy dancer, as shown, but can also skillfully mimic the sounds of the environment around it. From The Lab of Ornithology:

On a carefully cleared patch of the forest floor, he begins the courtship display by fanning elaborate tail plumes over his head and quivering them to achieve a shimmering effect. He then coordinates a precisely timed song-and-dance sequence, and finishes off with a rapid-fire recital of songs borrowed from other species. When the evolutionary pressure to impress mates is at its strongest, the results can look and sound downright bizarre.

…As bizarre as a bird that sounds like a chainsaw. You may know the Lyrebird from the famous BBC Earth clip with Sir David Attenborough. Listen to it mimic a camera shutter, a kookaburra, a car alarm, and more:

Related exploration: The Lab’s All About Fancy Males interactive feature.

Related videos: Bird Song Hero and The Birds of Paradise Project. ]]> 0
The Reinvention of Normal: Dominic Wilcox’s quest for new ideas Thu, 26 Mar 2015 05:01:05 +0000 This mini-documentary showcases the quest for new ideas by Hackney-based artist, inventor, and designer Dominic Wilcox, who remixes the familiar world into a more whimsical and wondrous one with objects that he creates. Toothbrush maracas? An umbrella with plant pots? A Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car? A football smoothie blender? YES.

Watch The Reinvention of Normal by filmmaker Liam Saint-Pierre, then explore more of Wilcox’s wonderfully “ridiculous” ideas. For example, we want one of these: The Xylophone Bin.

And these: Wizard of Oz-inspired ‘No Place Like Home’ GPS shoes.

Watch more videos about inventions and ideas, including Yuri Suzuki’s Music Kettle, Sketchbook Machines by Maarten Koopman, all sorts of Rube Goldberg machines, The Writer by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, the Janicki Omniprocessor, and all things Strandbeest.

via It’s Nice That. ]]> 0 Helen Ahpornsiri’s intricate pressed fern illustrations Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:22:42 +0000 Assembled with patience, imagination, and a steady hand, Helen Ahpornsiri creates intricate pressed fern illustrations of honey bees, pheasants, magpies, spiny seahorses, weevils, moths, Totoros, and other creatures. Watch her assemble the miniature fern bee above, and a tiny robin, below, in time lapse.

Ahpornsiri studied illustration at university, but inspired by paper cutting and collage, her fern illustrations began as experiments. In an email, she writes:

“When drawing a Fern Weevil in ink one day, just for a personal project, I wondered if I could create one with real fern. I already had some beautiful fronds from a Japanese Painted Fern pressed and waiting to be used for something. I have been collecting, pressing and making ever since!”





You can see more of her work (we also love these birds made from stamp collections) on her site, @HelenAhpornsiri, and at Etsy where she sells prints.

Try these videos next: Irving Harper’s Works in Paper and Kelli Anderson’s Paper to Plants. ]]> 0
The science of solar eclipses: How do solar & lunar eclipses work? Tue, 24 Mar 2015 16:53:05 +0000 How do solar & lunar eclipses work? And why don’t we get eclipses every month? This Vox explainer is packed full of really interesting information about the remarkable science of solar eclipses.

Find out how 5.1 degrees of the moon’s tilted orbit path makes a huge difference, how a lot of annular (vs total) solar eclipses are in our near future, and how Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong left mirrors off the moon so that we could measure the moon’s distance! Those measurements have told us something about our relationship with the moon in 600 million years.

In case you missed it, watch the BBC Stargazing Live 2015 Solar Eclipse video, and make future viewing plans with these lists of solar eclipses and lunar eclipses in the 21st century.

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Four jellies that diffract rainbow light like iridescent spaceships Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:12:55 +0000 Monterey Bay Aquarium has a brilliant YouTube channel for viewing all sorts of beautiful and hard-to-believe creatures. A case in point: these four jellies. Above, The Lobed Comb Jelly, who looks like it’s shimmering with neon lights.

These ctenophores (not to be confused with Cnidaria or jellyfish) diffract light from their locomotory cilia, producing a pulsing rainbow effect, “much like sunlight glancing off a CD” — iridescence (not bioluminescence).

You can see this spaceship-like quality in the fragile spotted comb jelly, too:

The Bloodybelly Comb Jelly video below is from 2009, 30 years after one was first collected off the coast of San Diego, California. They can be deep red, purple, or black, which may hide any bioluminescent prey that it eats, keeping it stealthy in dark waters.

Finally, watch the Beroe forskalii, nicknamed “oven mitt jelly” because its shape allows it to fold over on itself. Fullscreen HD-worthy:

In the archives: KQED Quest’s Amazing Jellies and MBARI’s There’s no such thing as a jellyfish.

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How Many Stars Are There? – It’s Okay to Be Smart Tue, 24 Mar 2015 01:41:50 +0000 How many stars can our eyes see on a dark night? How many stars can we see with something even more powerful than our eyes? How many stars exist?? And how are grains of sand a part of this?! Joe Hanson and PBS Digital Studio unleash the magic of astronomy in this excellent episode of It’s Okay to Be Smart: How Many Stars Are There?

Watch these videos next: The largest, sharpest image ever taken of the Andromeda Galaxy and The Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D.

Then be sure to watch these related vids: How do we study the stars & measure extreme distances in space? What happened to the Milky Way? The Beauty of Space Photography, and the incredible Solar System, Milky Way, Laniakea: Our home supercluster. ]]> 0
White Out, an abstract watercolor animation by Jeff Scher Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:57:14 +0000 Animated from 2,250 watercolor paintings on a wide variety of paper, White Out is by painter and experimental filmmaker Jeff Scher, who writes:

Snow is particularly joyful in how it transforms everything it covers. The brightness of its white forces the iris in your eye to shut way down, and suddenly everything that isn’t snow is in silhouette or defined by shadow. The world becomes a high-contrast graphic representation of itself. This distillation of form allowed me to focus on painting pure motion in relation to the winter landscape…

The music is by Shay Lynch, and wonderfully captures the endless cascade of the montage while giving the film a kind of emotional elegance in spite of its vaudevillian pratfalls.

Related experimental vids: The Red Thread, The Rink, Paint Showers, and Oskar Fischinger’s Optical Poem.

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ExpeRimental: Microwave cake in a mug + How to make play dough Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:48:47 +0000 In this easy ExpeRimental science experiment for kids (and adults who want a cylindrical pancake with their morning coffee), we learn how to make microwave cup-cakes… or really, mug-cakes.

And what happens if we leave one ingredient out? By not adding baking soda, or an egg, or the oil, you can investigate the chemistry of the cakes by comparing the results. Download the recipe card and info sheet (both pdfs), and maybe add some bananas, or dried cranberries, or chocolate chips, or some oats, or thinly-sliced apples… for scientific purposes, of course.

What if we swap out baking powder and the egg for some salt and food coloring? In the video below, we take similar ingredients and make something completely new to play with: How to make play dough, mixtures, solutions, and chemical reactions. Find the corresponding info sheet here (pdf).

The Royal Institution‘s ExpeRimental series is produced and directed by Alom Shaha, who also collaborates on excellent classroom science demo videos.

Watch this next: How to make electric dough.

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Solar Eclipse 2015: BBC Stargazing Live Video Fri, 20 Mar 2015 19:40:11 +0000 From the BBC’s astronomy series Stargazing Live with Professor Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain, with Liz Bonnin narrating the process, watch the March 20th solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. It’s a short but stunning highlight video.

If you missed the live event, here’s a list of 21st century solar eclipses for making future viewing plans. From The New York Times:

Edward Bloomer, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, said the event was significant, as it was relatively rare that a huge portion of the planet could see at least a partial eclipse, including most of Europe, and parts of North Africa and the Middle East.

He said he had been up since 7 a.m., looking through protective viewing glasses. “For some eclipses, you have to be in the middle of the ocean to see it, or it will only cast a shadow on the east of Russia,” he said. “This one was great, as so many people on the earth could see it.”

He added that it was rare for the earth, the sun and the moon to perfectly line up, creating a so-called syzygy effect.

Above, from the European Space Agency (ESA):

As Europe enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on the morning of Friday 20 March 2015, ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 minisatellite had a ringside seat from space. Orbiting Earth once approximately every 100 minutes, Proba-2 caught two eclipses over the course of the morning.

Proba-2 used its SWAP imager to capture the Moon passing in front of the Sun. SWAP views the solar disc at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths to capture the turbulent surface of the Sun and its swirling corona.

Read more about solar eclipses on Wikipedia, and for more photos and video of the event, including a quick vid of the International Space Station passing in front of the sun during the eclipse, visit Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog.

Watch this next: Strange & beautiful shadows created by the May 2012 annular solar eclipse. ]]> 0 Didn’t It Rain: Sister Rosetta Tharpe Live in Manchester (1964) Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:35:24 +0000 Playing her electric guitar under the eaves of an abandoned train station in rainy Manchester, England, Sister Rosetta Tharpe performed Didn’t It Rain.

An American singer, songwriter, and The Godmother of Rock & Roll, Tharpe’s performance was one of many on a 1964 Blues and Gospel Train tour through Europe that also included the great Muddy Waters. Her slightly impromptu performance was a standout for many who watched on 7 May, 1964. From the, a memory from TV producer Johnnie Hamp:

The station was dressed up to look like one from the American South, but typically for Manchester, the weather did not echo that area’s dustbowl conditions. Shortly after the train which carried the audience the few miles south from Manchester’s city centre pulled in, a storm lashed the station.

Mr. Hamp says the downpour would have been his worst memory of the show had it not led to his best. “Sister Rosetta came to me and asked if she could change her opening number to Didn’t It Rain?,” he said. “When she strapped on her guitar, it was astounding.”

You can find her performance on the American Folk-Blues Festival: The British Tours 1963-1966 DVD or as an MP3 single. Her musical performances influenced Bob Dylan, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and many other musicians.

Related watching: Etta James: Something’s Got a Hold On Me.

via Brainpickings. ]]> 0 Fig. 1: How Much Sugar Are You Really Eating? Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:18:21 +0000 The average American eats 19.5 teaspoons (82 grams) of sugar every day… that’s around 66 pounds of sugar every year for each person. How are we consuming that amount? From Fig. 1 by University of California, learn more about the sugar that’s in our foods, from the added sugars in our yogurt to the difference between fruit sugars and soda sugars.

Above, How Much Sugar Are You Really Eating? We’ll soon have a better idea as Nutrition Facts labels are redesigned to share more useful information. Nutritional biologist Dr. Kimber Stanhope walks us through the improvements.

Below, Is Sugar in Fruit Different Than Sugar in Soda? (Spoiler: yes.)

Visit this site next:

Watch this TED Ed next: Sugar: Hiding in plain sight.

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Joyous String Quartet: Firework and Vivaldi’s Summer (Presto) Thu, 19 Mar 2015 07:15:49 +0000 From Joyous Music School in Long Island, New York, this is perhaps the youngest string quartet ever: The Joyous String Quartet. Above, they perform Katy Perry’s Firework. Below, from Antonio Vivaldi‘s The Four Seasons, the quartet performs Summer – Presto:

Watch these next: Landfill Harmonic, Don’t You Worry Child for 5 Cellos, Ebene Quartet for NPR Music Field Recordings, and The Sea Pig – Songs for Unusual Creatures featuring Kronos Quartet.

Bonus vid: How playing an instrument benefits your brain.

Thanks, @elakdawalla. ]]> 0