The Kid Should See This Cool videos for curious minds of all ages. Sat, 20 Sep 2014 17:01:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 AsapSCIENCE: Paper Towel vs Hand Dryers Sat, 20 Sep 2014 16:59:01 +0000 Washing your hands properly with soap and water successfully rids your hands of nearly all traces of bacteria.

After the soap and water, drying your hands with a hand dryer is most efficient. You can help prevent deforestation, use less energy, and reduce carbon emissions by not drying with a sheet from the 13 billion pounds of paper towels that America alone uses.

However, if you don’t get to wash your hands properly, this ASAPScience vid explains the stats behind Paper Towels vs Hand Dryers, and ends with one of our favorite conservation tips: shake your hands 12 times, fold only one sheet of paper towel, and dry. That’s it.

In the archives, more ways to conserve: save water, reduce food waste in your home, recycle, compost, and don’t wash your jeans. ]]> 0
Georges Méliès: L’homme à la tête de caoutchouc (1901) Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:00:12 +0000 L’Homme à la tête de Caoutchouc (The Man With The Rubber Head) was directed by film pioneer Georges Méliès in 1901.

The special effects might not look surprising now, but the superimposition and scale change film techniques were both groundbreaking at the time. From

Méliès achieves this by a simple trompe l’oeil effect: the background remains static throughout, but the superimposed element (Méliès’ own head) is filmed with a camera that is moving towards and away from it. Because the background fools us into thinking that the film has been shot entirely from a fixed camera position (as are the vast majority of Méliès’ films), the illusion is instantly convincing. Like all experienced stage performers, Méliès knew that a single head-inflation wouldn’t be enough – so he contrives to include two…

…Deservedly regarded as one of Georges Méliès’ supreme masterpieces, The Man with the Rubber Head represented one of his most significant technical advances since the not dissimilar The Four Troublesome Heads (Un Homme de têtes, 1898).

In the archives, more silent films, including Méliès’ Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon). ]]> 0
First Evidence for Water Ice Clouds Found Outside Solar System Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:08:56 +0000 Take a (peacefully quiet) tour through and beyond our solar system to visit a neighboring brown dwarf — a sort of failed star that’s too large to be called a planet — called W0855. A team of scientists, led by Carnegie’s Jacqueline Faherty, captured and combined 151 photos taken over three nights. Those images indicate that W0855 has frozen clouds of sulfide and water. This is a first:

Water ice clouds exist on our own gas giant planets–Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune–but have not been seen outside of the planets orbiting our Sun until now…

The object, named WISE J085510.83-071442.5, or W0855, was first seen by NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Explorer mission and published earlier this year. But it was not known if it could be detected by Earth-based facilities.

“This was a battle at the telescope to get the detection,” said Faherty.

Chris Tinney, an Astronomer at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, UNSW Australia and co-author on the result stated: “This is a great result. This object is so faint and it’s exciting to be the first people to detect it with a telescope on the ground.”

What will the next generation of more powerful telescopes reveal?

Related watching: The Giant Magellan Telescope, Laniakea: Our home supercluster and How can we know anything about distant exoplanets?

via ]]> 0 Shake Your Silk-Maker: The Dance of the Peacock Spider Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:29:04 +0000 When a peacock spider dances, how do we know that it’s a really, really good dancer? From their colorful, iridescent body displays, to their wide variety of dance moves, to the different rhythms that they “sing” while courting, can we decode the unique complexity of their communications?

To answer that question, Science Friday visited UC Berkeley grad student Madeline Girard and the dozens of peacock spiders that she’s collected from Australia. Girard is cataloging and translating the mating rituals of each peacock spider species, and it’s a big project: there are 43 different species with different kinds of dances and decision-making standards.

After this, watch more spider vids, including more dancing peacock spiders.

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Animated Life: Seeing the Invisible Thu, 18 Sep 2014 04:53:59 +0000 “Everything that you can actually see with your eye is just the smallest sliver of life on this Earth. Most of life is invisible…”

And so begins the exquisite paper-puppetry of Seeing the Invisible, a video by Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck for The New York Times and Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s BioInteractive. This is the story of citizen scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek:

In 1674, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek looked at a drop of lake water through his homemade microscope and discovered an invisible world that no one knew existed. He was an unlikely pioneer — a haberdasher and city official by trade. In this film, we celebrate this 17th-century citizen scientist and a discovery that would ultimately change our view of the biological world, and our place in it.

When it comes to life on earth, we tend to think of ourselves as center stage. But as many microbiologists will tell you, that’s not true. There are 10,000 times more microbes in our intestines than human beings on the planet. Not only are we way outnumbered, these tiny creatures keep us alive, partly by donating genes and proteins that we rely on, scientists say. Also surprising: New studies indicate that their behaviors are more sophisticated than many people suspected. And Leeuwenhoek gave us the first glimpse.

In the archives, watch more cut-paper animations from Lichtman and Shattuck: The Animated Life of A.R. Wallace and Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale).

Thanks, @urbano_pp.
]]> 0 Sesame Street: Lupita Nyong’o Loves Her Skin Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:17:51 +0000 Ticklish, smooth, rough, elastic, protective, full of nerve endings to feel different textures and energies, and it comes in so many beautiful shades and colors… Elmo and his good friend Lupita Nyong’o talk about skin in this wonderful new clip from Sesame Street.

In the archives: more Sesame Street, including science experiments with Grover! Plus, watch more about touch, skin, the human body, and why wearing sunscreen is so very important — how the sun sees our skin.

via The Root. ]]> 0 How to make a mechanical snail coin bank Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:41:57 +0000 Designer Christopher Blasius makes small wooden machines and then shares his designs online, including plans that can be purchased. Watch as he carefully cuts, glues, drills, sands, paints, and precisely fits together a crank-operated wooden coin bank. It features a plexiglass side for easily viewing the gears and change, and a mechanical bobbing snail head that collects each coin.

In the archives: Paul Grundbacher’s wooden marble machines, a Binary Marble Adding Machine, Mekanikos vs. The Minotaur, and lots of gears.

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MIT’s electric cheetah-bot runs offleash Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:21:46 +0000 Quiet, efficient, and powerful: MIT’s robotic cheetah has a “custom-designed, high-torque-density” electric motor, and can run and jump around without being tethered to an external power source.

It’s also looking to earn its name: as researchers refine the robot’s bio-inspired locomotion — which is hinged on a bounding algorithm for each of the robot’s legs — they hope to increase its speed from 10mph (16kph) to 30mph (48kph). From Sangbae Kim, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT:

“Many sprinters, like Usain Bolt, don’t cycle their legs really fast,” Kim says. They actually increase their stride length by pushing downward harder and increasing their ground force, so they can fly more while keeping the same frequency.”

Kim says that by adapting a force-based approach, the cheetah-bot is able to handle rougher terrain, such as bounding across a grassy field. In treadmill experiments, the team found that the robot handled slight bumps in its path, maintaining its speed even as it ran over a foam obstacle.

“Most robots are sluggish and heavy, and thus they cannot control force in high-speed situations,” Kim says. “That’s what makes the MIT cheetah so special: You can actually control the force profile for a very short period of time, followed by a hefty impact with the ground, which makes it more stable, agile, and dynamic.”

…And it’s much quieter than Boston Dynamics’ WildCat (shown at 40s): Watch.

In the archives: a bionic kangaroo, sand fleas, a snake robot, a robot penguin, more robot cheetahs, and more robots.

via @m_m_campbell. ]]> 0 William Wegman’s ABC Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:37:28 +0000 ABC, the Sesame Street-featured Weimaraner alphabet by artist and photographer William Wegman. In addition to his paintings, Wegman is well-known for his photographs, videos, and books made with his dogs.

See more of his work with Weimaraners at Wegman World, a site for kids.

In the archives: more dogs and more alphabets.

h/t Jen Cegielski.

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Two weeks under the sea at Aquarius Reef Base Thu, 11 Sep 2014 20:01:13 +0000 Travel down to Aquarius Reef Base, the only underwater research lab on the sea floor, with Mission 31 aquanaut and scientist Liz Bentley Magee. In this NOVA PBS video, she explains what it’s like to live in this incredible marine habitat for two weeks, and how living 63 feet underwater gives scientists unprecedented local access to their underwater experiments.

Mission 31 made the news when Fabien Cousteau, mission leader and grandson of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, succeeded at safely living underwater for a record-breaking 31 days. Also accomplished on the June 2014 mission: three years worth of science and data collection.

During Mission 31, science partners Florida International University (FIU) and Northeastern University will collaborate to study climate change and the related challenges of ocean acidification; ocean pollution with an emphasis on the effects of plastics; and overconsumption of resources with specific focus on the decline of biodiversity. Cousteau’s Bonnet Rouge production team is also shooting short and long format documentaries for Mission 31.

For more on the mission — “a feat so rare, more people have lived in outer space than underwater” — check out this mid-mission visit with Cousteau:

Related reading: Pressure increases with ocean depth and Aquarius Lab – Habitat Structure.

Related watching: Swimming with huge Goliath Groupers, Researching the impact of sunken shipping containers, Searching for Life in Iceland’s Frigid Fissures, and Thailand’s Moken people have incredibly clear underwater vision. ]]> 0 The Kakapo: The world’s only flightless parrot is a very rare bird Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:47:41 +0000 Meet the Kakapo: a flightless, herbivorous, nocturnal parrot that also happens to be the world’s heaviest parrot, possibly the oldest living bird, and a critically endangered animal. In 2009, there were only 19 kakapo parrots, as reported by Stephen Fry in this Last Chance to See clip:

New Zealand’s Kakapo Recovery has reported more recently that there are now around 150 — a successful increase, but still not enough to keep them safe from extinction. As a part of their preservation, these unique creatures live on a group of protected islands with no predators and lots of technology-supported efforts to keep them healthy. Conservationist Jason Melham explains:

In the archives: more conservation videos, including the protection of sloths, snowy owls, rhinos, bald eagles, and giant manta rays.

h/t The Dodo. ]]> 0 Cauliflower: How Does it Grow? Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:41:39 +0000 Five million heads of cauliflower grow every year at Lakeside Organic Gardens, a family-owned farm in Watsonville, California. These flower bunches are full of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants… and they change from white to yellow if they’re not manually wrapped in their own leaves to protect them from the sun. It’s true: Cauliflower can be yellow, as well as orange, green and purple, (but like carrots, consumers have a preference for one color over others so we tend to see that color more often).

Nicole Cotroneo Jolly reintroduces these super-versatile, edible flowers in episode three of How Does It Grow?

Related reading: France wants you to eat ugly vegetables. In the archives: more ladybugs, more veggies, and Garlic: How Does it Grow? ]]> 0
A pendulum wave demonstration with bowling balls Tue, 09 Sep 2014 21:02:10 +0000 Thanks to these 16 bowling balls hung from a 20 foot wooden frame in the mountains of North Carolina, we can see what a large-scale pendulum wave apparatus looks (and sounds) like. Filmed by Maria Ikenberry, she also provides some details behind the physics lesson:

The length of time it takes a ball to swing back and forth one time to return to its starting position is dependent on the length of the pendulum, not the mass of the ball. A longer pendulum will take longer to complete one cycle than a shorter pendulum. The lengths of the pendula in this demonstration are all different and were calculated so that in about 2:40, the balls all return to the same position at the same time – in that 2:40, the longest pendulum (in front) will oscillate (or go back and forth) 50 times, the next will oscillate 51 times, and on to the last of the 16 pendula which will oscillate 65 times. Try counting how many times the ball in front swings back and forth in the time it takes the balls to line up again, and then count how many times the ball in back swings back and forth in the same time (though it’s much harder to keep your eye on the ball in back!).

The experiment isn’t a completely controlled one — the flexing wooden frame, any friction from breezes, and touching the tone-making pipes with each pass, as examples, become factors affecting each pendulum’s swing — but it’s still a feat of measurement and science demo enthusiasm! The “whoaaas” and “aaahs” are proof of its impact.

In the archives: Citadel Physics’ Wave Pendulum, a Harvard Pendulum Waves demo, more pendulums, more rhythm, and more demonstrations.

via Colossal. ]]> 0 Power of Optics: A light-powered Rube Goldberg machine Tue, 09 Sep 2014 15:52:52 +0000 In this commercial for au Hikari, one of Japan’s high-speed optical internet service providers, a Rube Goldberg machine is “powered” by a single beam of light that travels via mirrors, magnifying glasses, and reflective surfaces to burn through strings, melt ice, pop balloons, and brighten each smoky twist of physics along the way.

Here’s the behind the scenes vid:

In the archives: more Rube Goldberg machines, and our favorite Japanese commercial plays Bach on a giant forest xylophone.

via The Awesomer. ]]> 0 Nina Simone: Love Me Or Leave Me Tue, 09 Sep 2014 14:14:56 +0000 With Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fugue in C Major mixed into the piano solo — infusing her love for Bach and her classical Juilliard School of Music education into a standard — this is jazz legend Nina Simone performing “Love Me Or Leave Me” on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 11, 1960.

In the archives, a few more great performances: Tina Turner, Louis Armstrong, Tito Puente, Viola Smith, Etta James, Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers, Glenn Miller with the Nicholas Brothers and Dorothy Dandridge, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald. ]]> 0