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 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 04:04:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Inside a Wilson Football Factory: How a NFL football is made Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:32:13 +0000 When Jane Helser started sewing around 150 handmade footballs per day at the Wilson Sporting Goods factory in Ada, Ohio, it was 1966. She was 19 years old.

For the next 48 years, as presidents, football players and moon missions came and went, Helser worked four 10-hour shifts every week, stitching leather panels together, four at time, to form the bodies of footballs that would be used in games that she rarely watched.

…but she’s been to nine Super Bowl games. “When I’m at a Super Bowl and I walk into the stadium at kickoff time, and I see that football sitting down there on that field, I get goosebumps because I sewed that football.”

Now retired, Helser explains how American footballs are handmade at the Wilson Football Factory in this video from The New York Times.

Related videos: More balls, more sports, more factories, and more about how things are made.

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Gravity Glue: Balanced rock sculptures by Michael Grab Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:12:28 +0000 Michael Grab has been balancing rocks since 2008, and has since gone viral from what seems to be the gravity-defying nature of his balanced stone sculptures. In fact, Grab’s meditative art works with gravity by slowly arranging the rocks until he finds unseen resting positions. From his site:

Balance requires a minimum of THREE contact points. Luckily, every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a NATURAL TRIPOD for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the vibrations of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest “clicks” as the notches of the rocks are moving over one another. In the finest “point-balances”, these clicks can be felt on a scale smaller than millimeters, and in rare cases can even go undetected, in which case intuition and experience become quite useful. Some point-balances will give the illusion of weightlessness as the rocks look to be barely touching. But if you look very close, you may be able to see the tiny notches in which the rocks rest.

Though the sculptures often look so steady that one might wonder if they’re actually glued, you can see them fall apart naturally in the video after around 4m25s. File under patience and practice.

Watch this next: a Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque artist Maedir Eugster.
Try this next: How to Make Balancing Sculptures.

via BoingBoing. ]]> 0 The Electric Sausage: A static electricity demonstration Mon, 26 Jan 2015 06:30:55 +0000 Perhaps you’ve experimented with static electricity by using a balloon, paper clippings, your hair, a pencil, a plastic bag, or a Van de Graaff Generator… but have you ever used a sausage to see static electricity in action?

From Storycog and the National STEM Centre, watch as Michael de Podesta demonstrates static electricity and charge with an everyday object that we don’t usually associate with electricity. Have a hot dog in the fridge, some thread, and a balloon? Try this simple experiment at home or at school.

File under: atoms and science demos. Next: watch more static electricity vids.

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Hydrophobic metal made with laser-etched microscopic patterns Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:36:15 +0000 Scientists from the University of Rochester have created water-repelling metal by laser-etching nanostructures into the surface. Watch as water droplets bounce like water balloons off of the metal’s super-hydrophobic surface.

More effective than Teflon, applications of this microscopic metal-etching could be game-changing in a wide variety of industries. It would also be safer and more durable than using temporary chemical coatings that leach and wear off. From Live Science:

Laser-etched coatings on airplanes could prevent dangerous ice from building up on the wings. Etched surfaces could also be used to keep toilets clean in developing countries, where water is scarce —a use that has drawn interest from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which helped fund the work.

In previous work, the researchers used a similar laser-patterning technique to turn metals black by making them very optically absorbent. The combination of these light-absorbing and water-repelling properties could produce more efficient solar panels that wouldn’t rust and would require less cleaning, the researchers said.

Collecting rainwater would be much easier, too. Do you think the drops trap air and release tiny bubbles the way they do on more porous surfaces? What would you use this futuristic, multifunctional metal for?

File under innovation and biomimicry. Related videos: Leidenfrost Mazes, the fantastic fur of sea otters, turning poop to potable water, revolutionizing sanitation in India… and speaking of nanostructures, what gives the Morpho Butterfly its magnificent blue?

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Spanish Air Force jets land in formation: View from the seventh jet Fri, 23 Jan 2015 00:41:26 +0000 In June of 1985, five Spanish-built CASA C-101 Aviojet training jets took off from San Javier Air Base to test their formation flying abilities. Ten days later, Patrulla Águila (Eagle Patrol) made their first public flying demonstration, and by 1988, they had adopted the seven plane formations that they practice today.

This video of Spanish Air Force’s Patrulla Águila aerobatic display team, above, shows exactly what it looks like to be in that seventh C-101 Aviojet. The video below shows what it’s like to loop with the team.

Watch this next: Flying in a F-16 Fighter Jet with the USAF Thunderbirds.

h/t Sploid.

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Wild Inside the National Zoo: Reptile Rejuvenation Thu, 22 Jan 2015 21:23:03 +0000 In this episode of Wild Inside the National Zoo, Reptile Rejuvenation, we get to meet three kinds of cold-blooded creatures that are warmly cared for: Aldabra Tortoises, a Grand Cayman iguana, and a Komodo Dragon named Murphy. Biologist Matt Evans and Reptile Keeper Kyle Miller demonstrate how these reptiles are groomed and washed at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Related zoo care: How to take a hyacinth macaw’s heartbeat, Raising Red Panda Cubs Tink & Henry, and Cougar vs. a frozen salmon.

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Pagurus Bernhardus hermit crabs change their shells Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:50:40 +0000 When a common marine hermit crab (Pagurus bernhardus) grows, it starts to look for slightly larger shells that it can live in. We know that it wants to carry around something more comfortable and appropriately-sized, but what else factors into a hermit crab’s new shell choices? Is it their mood? Is it the look of the shell? Perhaps it’s something about the shell’s interior that they like?

Get a peek at a hermit crab’s abdomen (a crabdomen?!) as these two hermit crabs make the move, above and below:

Related videos: Shelby changes shells, a hermit crab named Godzilla, this Caribbean hermit crab mass migration, and a time lapse classic featuring this molting Japanese spider crab.

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Help your local honey bees: Plant a bee-friendly garden Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:21:37 +0000 Pollinators like the honey bee are a huge part of how our food grows, but recently, honey bee populations have been in decline due to what scientists believe might be a mix of pesticide and fungicide use, pathogens, parasites, and environmental stressors. In support of Sierra Club Canada’s Save the Bees campaign, Polyester Studio animated a beautifully-illustrated promo to encourage the planting of bee-friendly gardens.

Here’s a short list of bee-friendly blooms for spring: Crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula, wild lilac, coreopsis (below), germander. In summer: Bee balm, cosmos, echinacea, snapdragons foxglove, hosta, russian sage. In autumn: Zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel, goldenrod. Happy honey bee example:

What else you can do to help: Avoid using herbicides or pesticides, support bee-friendly farming, and learn more about farming with native bees.

Related reading: What do bees pollinate? And yes, you heard that line in the video correctly: Bees can recognize human faces.

Related watching: More videos with bees, including their waggle dance. Plus: How to Create Your Own Monarch Butterfly Rest Stop.

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What makes that fresh rain smell? MIT films rain drops to find out Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:27:26 +0000 Why do we smell that fresh earthy scent before and/or after it rains? With high-speed cameras, MIT researchers have filmed rain drops, and believe that the footage explains petrichor, the “pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.” From

Using high-speed cameras, the researchers observed that when a raindrop hits a porous surface, it traps tiny air bubbles at the point of contact. As in a glass of champagne, the bubbles then shoot upward, ultimately bursting from the drop in a fizz of aerosols.

The team was also able to predict the amount of aerosols released, based on the velocity of the raindrop and the permeability of the contact surface.

The researchers suspect that in natural environments, aerosols may carry aromatic elements, along with bacteria and viruses stored in soil. These aerosols may be released during light or moderate rainfall, and then spread via gusts of wind.

Suddenly the rain has additional dimensions. What else is in that fresh rain smell? According to Live Science in 2013, plant oils, actinomycetes, and ozone (which smells similar to chlorine) might also contribute.

Related videos: Drops and rain. Plus: How many smells can you identify?

via BBC Earth.

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Lemon bars with olive oil and sea salt Thu, 22 Jan 2015 03:49:24 +0000 Savory, tart, bitter, and sweet from The New York Times: Melissa Clark demonstrates how to make lemon bars with a sophisticated twist by adding olive oil and flaky sea salt. She writes:

My mother wasn’t a baker, but she did make some mean lemon bars when I was growing up, using a recipe straight out of a Charlie Brown cookbook.

They were simple things, a buttery crust pressed into the pan and topped with beaten eggs, lemon and sugar, then baked. Ultra-sweet, crunchy on top and gooey within, they were our staple contribution to bake sales and potlucks, and all my grade school friends adored them.

This recipe is not for those lemon bars, as much as they still appeal to my inner 8-year-old. This is for something more grown-up… They are complex and sophisticated, tangy and tart, where the other ones were gentle and sweet…

Although these are designed for adults, don’t be afraid to serve them to children. My 6-year-old loves these newfangled lemon bars just as much as my mother does.

You can find the recipe here.

More recipes: Pear and Gorgonzola Crostinis, Caramelized Apple Tarte Tatin, and how to make pickles.

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How Small Is An Atom? Wed, 21 Jan 2015 19:46:13 +0000 Using a strand of hair, your fist, rice and sand grains, as well as the room you’re sitting in right now (assuming it’s not a huge gymnasium), let’s try to visualize the basic building block of everything around us: Atoms.

Atoms are very weird. Wrapping your head around exactly how weird is close to impossible – how can you describe something that is SO removed from [a] human’s experience? But then again, they kind of make up everything, so let us try anyways.

How Small Is An Atom? Spoiler: Very Small, another information packed video from the designers, journalists, and musicians at Kurzgesagt. (Kurz gesagt, by the way, means “in a nutshell” or “to make a long story short” in German.)

Next, use blueberries, a grapefruit, and the Earth to visualize atoms: TED Ed’s Just how small is an atom? ]]> 0
XCAR Films: How to drive the Ford Model T Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:06:08 +0000

“At one point, over half the cars in the U.S. were Model Ts. They were used for business, for pleasure, for everything really. Even in World War I, they were praised for their abilities. Ford’s dream of freeing farmers from fields was coming true, and it also meant that city dwellers could go out and explore the countryside.

“There was a knock on effect, too: When the T entered production, the roads were terrible. The only paved street would probably be a town’s main street. As more people drove, more roads were paved, so not only did the Model T allow people to go traveling, it literally changed the landscape due to its popularity.”

Get a mini-history lesson about American industrialist Henry Ford, his vision for mobilizing the masses in a whole new way, as well as his revolutionary approaches for making cars, specifically the very popular Ford Model T. Then get a close up look at how this 1915 “Tin Lizzie” works. XCAR Films demonstrates How to Drive The Car That Moved The World.

Watch this next: Behind the Scenes of How the Tesla Model S is Made.

via The Awesomer. ]]> 0 AMNH: Shelf Life – Six Ways To Prepare a Coelacanth Wed, 21 Jan 2015 07:26:08 +0000 The Coelacanth, pronounced see-luh-kanth, is a prehistoric-looking fish that scientists thought had gone extinct 66 to 80 million years ago, until one was discovered in a fisherman’s haul near the Chalumna River by South African museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer:

On 22 December 1938, she received a telephone call that such a fish had been brought in. She went to the docks to inspect the catch of Captain Hendrik Goosen. “I picked away at the layers of slime to reveal the most beautiful fish I had ever seen,” she said. “It was five foot long, a pale mauvy blue with faint flecks of whitish spots; it had an iridescent silver-blue-green sheen all over. It was covered in hard scales, and it had four limb-like fins and a strange puppy dog tail.”


Since this discovery, two coelacanth species have been found along the Indonesian and eastern African coastlines. The latter’s Latimeria chalumnae population is critically endangered… which brings us to the video above.

From the American Museum of Natural History, this is Shelf Life: Six Ways To Prepare a Coelacanth. Ichthyology Curator Melanie L. J. Stiassny explains how a 1962 specimen and its quintuplets, properly prepared for study in a variety of ways, can continue to provide answers about its species (and ours) for generations into the future.

We love these behind-the-scenes videos from AMNH. Watch their previous episodes: 33 Million Things and Turtles and Taxonomy.

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The largest, sharpest image ever taken of the Andromeda Galaxy Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:31:51 +0000 Thanks to the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, enjoy this “fly through” of the largest and most detailed image ever taken of the Andromeda galaxy.

This 4K video by YouTuber Daveachuk explores just one third of the Andromeda galaxy, showcasing “over 100 million stars and thousands of star clusters embedded in a section of the galaxy’s pancake-shaped disc stretching across over 40,000 light-years.” It was composed of 1.5 billion pixels from 411 separate Hubble images. The first image was created by Cory Poole.

Though it’s a bit dizzying, the video is worth watching until the end while remembering that each of those bright dots is a star like our own sun. Next, zoom in and out on your own with this high-definition panoramic view of the Andromeda Galaxy.

Also called Messier 31 or M31, Andromeda is the closest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way, where we live within our solar system.

Learn more about Earth’s cosmic address: Solar System, Milky Way, Laniakea – our home supercluster, then go behind-the-scenes with PBS Off Book: The Beauty of Space Photography.

via @ElonMusk.

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Wonders in the Sky: A murmuration of starlings in slow motion Tue, 20 Jan 2015 18:39:23 +0000 When a seemingly-delicate, shimmering flock of starlings moves like a cloud of living smoke in the sky, it’s called a murmuration. The video above, filmed in in Utrecht, The Netherlands by Alpaca Media, is a beautiful example of how thousands of birds can somehow communicate their movements almost instantaneously. From the Mother Nature Network:

Often the behavior is sparked by the presence of a predator like a hawk or peregrine falcon, and the flock’s movement is based on evasive maneuvers. There is safety in numbers, so the individual starlings do not scatter, but rather are able to move as an intelligent cloud, feinting away from a diving raptor, thousands of birds changing direction almost simultaneously. The question that has had scientists stumped is how a bird, tens or hundreds of birds away from those nearest danger, sense the shift and move in unison?

The secret lies in the same systems that apply to anything on the cusp of a shift, like snow before an avalanche, where the velocity of one bird affects the velocity of the rest… “The change in the behavioral state of one animal affects and is affected by that of all other animals in the group, no matter how large the group is. Scale-free correlations provide each animal with an effective perception range much larger than the direct interindividual interaction range, thus enhancing global response to perturbations.”

Related vids: more starlings and more swarms.

via Nerdist.

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