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, 12 Feb 2016 19:09:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Upside Down & Inside Out – OK Go in zero-g Fri, 12 Feb 2016 06:14:33 +0000 Filmed in a single take, thanks to 20 flights aboard a Russian S7 Airlines parabolic flight, stunt-video aficionados OK Go present Upside Down & Inside Out, all filmed in zero gravity with, as they note, no wires or green screen. Video co-director Trish Sie and OKGo’s Damian Kulash explain in this interview:

Sie: First of all, we broke the song into chunks that could be fit into a single period of weightlessness, but we wanted the shape of the dance to emphasize the structure of the song, not fight it.

Kulash: We also came up with a system for doing a single take over eight parabolas. In each flight you have 15 parabolas and in each parabola you have 20 seconds of double gravity, then 50 seconds of weightlessness and few minutes of setting it all up again. So to make it one take, we took eight of these in a row over 40-45 minutes.

Sie: We also we slowed our playback of the song down a bit (28.5 percent, to be exact) and performed each portion of the dance a little slower. This way, the 21 seconds of song fit neatly into the 27 seconds of weightlessness. The pilots — there are 10 OF THEM flying the plane at the same time, by the way — pull out of the parabola when the plane has enough downward speed and momentum in order to “scoop” itself up out of the downward acceleration.

There are also FAQs on their site and a behind-the-scenes vid at NoFilmSchool.

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For more on how a parabolic flight works, check out 2,000 ping pong balls and 30 middle-school teachers in Zero G and this Zero Gravity 360°.

There’s more OK Go on this site, including their Rube Goldberg video, their stop motion Sesame Street video, and their illusion filled force perspective video. ]]> 0 LIGO & The First Observation of Gravitational Waves – CalTech Fri, 12 Feb 2016 05:23:32 +0000 On September 14, 2015 at 5:51am ET, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detected ripples in the fabric of spacetime. One hundred years after Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves, a ‘chirping‘ sound was discovered. Nadia Drake explains at National Geographic:

Two colliding black holes, one with 36 times the mass of the sun, and the other with 29, emitted those gravitational waves as they spiralled into one another and eventually collided.

From roughly 1.3 billion light-years away, these waves spread like ripples in the cosmic pond and washed over Earth on September 14, causing a minuscule but measurable change in the distance between four sets of mirrors—two in Louisiana, and two in Washington state.

In the last second before the black holes merged, they released 50 times more energy than all the stars in all the galaxies in the universe were releasing, combined.

“It’s the first time the universe has spoken to us in gravitational waves,” said David Reitze of Caltech during a press conference announcing the discovery on February 11.

To scientists monitoring that mirror-based experiment at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), the signal received on Earth carried the characteristic “chirp” predicted to accompany the death and unification of two black holes.

“We can hear gravitational waves, we can hear the universe,” said Gabriela Gonzalez of Louisiana State University. “We are not only going to be seeing the universe, we are going to be listening to it.”

From CalTech, this is LIGO & The First Observation of Gravitational Waves.

Plus one more beautifully-made explanation from The New York Times:

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Building a hexagon-shaped treehouse, a time lapse Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:35:25 +0000 From jack-of-all-trades Ethan Schlussler, who began building hexagon-shaped treehouses — his own design — because he wanted to have a space of his own outside of his mother’s house, watch this time lapse video of his treehouse construction for a customer in Sandpoint, Idaho. The video covers about six months of part time work by him and his childhood friend Aza.

Watch this next: Schlussler’s whimsical Bicycle Powered Tree House Elevator. ]]> 0
Aug(De)Mented Reality 4 – Hombre McSteez Tue, 09 Feb 2016 07:19:48 +0000 This stop motion series of iPhone photos mixed with traditional animation cels — Sharpie, White-Out, and color drawings on transparencies — is the fourth in a growing set of videos by animator Marty Cooper, aka Hombre McSteez: Aug(De)Mented Reality 4. Watch as mischievous creatures take over everyday scenes cel by cel.

For more, follow Marty Cooper on Instagram and on YouTube.

Previously on this site: The first Aug(De)Mented Reality. ]]> 0
The Great Stalacpipe Organ deep in Luray Caverns Tue, 09 Feb 2016 06:50:03 +0000 Not far from Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, deep in the damp Luray Caverns, is a giant lithophone — a pipeless organ that strikes 37 stalactites with solenoid-actuated rubber mallets in order to produce 37 beautiful tones. It is the world’s largest natural musical instrument. It can be played manually or like a player piano. More via Atlas Obscura:

In order to achieve a precise musical scale, the chosen stalactites of the organ range over 3.5 acres, but due to the enclosed nature of the space, the full sound can be heard anywhere within the cavern. The organ was invented and built in 1954 by Leland Sprinkle, a mathematician and electronic scientist. It took him over three years to complete it.

From Great Big Story, this is The Organ Below The Earth.

Follow this with the giant Wanamaker Organ, the Sea Organ in Zadar, Croatia, and more incredible caves.

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DOTMOT Paper Camera Kit Tue, 09 Feb 2016 05:54:05 +0000 With computer templates, careful cuts, clean folds, and a bright color palette, this Paper Camera Kit by independent design lab DOTMOT is a yet another beautiful example of well made paper craft.

Follow this with three of our favorite paper explorations: Irving Harper’s Works in Paper, Paper to Plants: a stop-motion paper film for Tinybop, and Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale). There are also all kinds of videos about paper.

via @hrtlym. ]]> 0 The Chinese Dragon Dance for Shanghai’s Spring Festival Mon, 08 Feb 2016 17:18:06 +0000 From Shanghai‘s Spring Festival, also known as or Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year, enjoy this Chinese Dragon Dance filmed by Matt Love in 2011. From Wikipedia:

The dragon dance is often performed during Chinese New Year. Chinese dragons are a symbol of China, and they are believed to bring good luck to people, therefore the longer the dragon in the dance, the more luck it will bring to the community…

The dragon dance is performed by a skilled team whose job is to bring the motionless body to life. The correct combination and proper timing of the different parts of the dragon are very important to make a successful dance. Any mistakes made by even some of the performers would spoil the whole performance. To be very successful in the dance, the head of the Dragon must be able to coordinate with the body movement to match the timing of the drum…

Performing in a dragon dance team incorporates several elements and skills; it is something of a cross-over activity, combining the training and mentality of a sports team with the stagecraft and flair of a performing arts troupe. The basic skills are simple to learn, however to become a competent performer takes dedicated training until movements become second nature and complex formations can be achieved…

Watch these next: San Francisco’s Kei Lun Lion Dancers and Mom’s Original Chinese Dumpling Recipe. ]]> 0
Howard Lee’s hyperrealistic drawing illusions Mon, 08 Feb 2016 06:31:30 +0000 Turning hyperrealism into a video guessing game, illustrator and illusionist of sorts Howard Lee draws objects on paper that attempt to reach photographic levels of detail. Above, his Drawing Trick with Marbles.

Below, Drawing Challenge Egg Smash:

Also, Magic Ice Pop Drawing Illusion:

…and play Spot the Jellybean:

Watch this next: Three quirky sleight of hand illusions by Richard Wiseman.

h/t Fubiz. ]]> 0 Baby Humpbacks Need 150 Gallons of Whale Milk a Day Mon, 08 Feb 2016 05:50:50 +0000 A baby humpback nurses 150 gallons of high-fat whale milk every day, and practices controlling her one ton body in open waters. As she learns how to be a humpback whale, she rests under her mother, who remains steady in the water’s currents… three tender minutes from The Smithsonian Channel’s Secrets of Shark IslandSocorro Island.

Watch more whale videos on this site, including the mysterious song of the Humpback Whale.

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Can you solve the temple riddle? – TED Ed Fri, 05 Feb 2016 05:34:07 +0000

Your expedition finally stands at the heart of the ancient temple. But as you study the inscriptions in the darkness, two wisps of green smoke burst forth. The walls begin to shake. The giant sandglass begins flowing with less than an hour before it empties, and a rumbling tells you that you don’t want to be around when that happens. Can you use math to escape the temple?

From TED Ed and educator Dennis E. Shasha, here’s a logic puzzle that comes in the form of a mysterious tale. But don’t just let the video play through to the solution! TED Ed gives you a moment to pause and give this brain exercise a try. Can you solve the temple riddle?

Related reading: Heuristics.

Try this next: The Matchstick Triangle Puzzle. ]]> 0
Preparing Pilcher’s Hawk to fly again Fri, 05 Feb 2016 03:38:04 +0000 According to Wikipedia, The Hawk was the fourth flying machine that British inventor Percy Pilcher built in the 1890s. Following Bat, Beetle, and Gull hang gliders, Pilcher’s Hawk broke the world distance record in 1897 for flying unpowered: 250 meters (820 feet). That glider is being restored and will be on display in 2016 thanks to the National Museum of Scotland.

From NMS’ Making the Museum series: Preparing Pilcher’s Hawk to fly again.

Could Percy Sinclair Pilcher have been the first person ever to fly? Four years before the Wright brothers conquered the skies, Pilcher devised a powered flying machine and intended to demonstrate it to the world. But it was never to be…. In this episode, Louise Innes introduces us to one of the great Victorian aviators and explores how we’re looking after the oldest surviving aircraft in Britain.

Watch these next: Making the Museum: Repairing a Meissen Lion and Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle Restoration at MSI Chicago. Plus, A human-powered aircraft competition in Korea. ]]> 0
Fine Feathers (1968) – Evelyn Lambart Thu, 04 Feb 2016 07:14:12 +0000 From Evelyn Lambart, renowned Canadian animator and technical director with the National Film Board of Canada, this is Fine Feathers, a 1968 cut paper animation about two rival birds that trade their plumage for green cedar and red oak leaves. Of her beautifully illustrated animation work, Lambart said:

“I loved to do the whole job myself, you know, figure out what you need to tell your story, and then to make it myself, to design the character and paint it and draw it and then to sit under the camera and move it. I did all the shooting myself too. I used to hope I was making films that were simple enough for children but still interesting to adults.”

This isn’t an official NFBC YouTube release so this video may disappear. If it does, you can find it here, too.

Watch more stellar short films from the National Film Board of Canada.

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Spine of the South, time lapse from Ecuador to Patagonia Thu, 04 Feb 2016 06:15:45 +0000 Travel the longest mountain range in the world, The Andes, via this time lapse compilation video by photographer Eric Hanson. Taking several hundred thousand photos during his seven month trip along South America’s Andean spine, Hanson captured some awe-inspiring skies and landscapes, from Ecuador to Patagonia: Spine of the South. A few facts via Wikipedia:

The Andes are the world’s highest mountain range outside of Asia. The highest mountain outside Asia, Mount Aconcagua, rises to an elevation of about 6,961 m (22,838 ft) above sea level. The peak of Chimborazo in the Ecuadorean Andes is farther from the Earth’s center than any other location on the Earth’s surface, due to the equatorial bulge resulting from the Earth’s rotation. The world’s highest volcanoes are in the Andes, including Ojos del Salado on the Chile-Argentina border which rises to 6,893 m (22,615 ft).

Watch more landscapes and more videos of South America on this site, including Reflections from Uyuni, The Giant Magellan Telescope, The Last Ice Merchant (El Último Hielero).

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These Crazy Cute Baby Turtles Want Their Lake Back Wed, 03 Feb 2016 07:49:07 +0000 Follow these baby western pond turtles, who are being fattened up and well-cared for at both the San Francisco Zoo and Oakland Zoo, to their new home in the Presidio’s Mountain Lake. Once polluted, the lake has been revitalized with clean water and soil, as well as native species like the western pond turtles — California’s only native aquatic turtle — who were reintroduced there in 2015. From KQED’s Deep Look:

The turtles—which are the equivalent age of teenagers—are marble-colored, medium-sized and easy to see because they’re carrying an antenna and a small box on their shells. The radio transmitters allow scientists to keep track of the turtles’ location, said Nicholas Geist, a professor of biology at Sonoma State University who was involved in the turtles’ release.

The turtles haven’t been doing well in their native habitat in the western United States. In California, they’re a species of “special concern,” Geist said. This makes it illegal for people to capture them, keep them as pets or otherwise handle them…

“They’ve been pretty beat up by human intervention… Turtles are facing a global crisis,” said Geist. “There are only 300 species, and most of them are doing quite poorly.”

This makes the story of how these turtles made it back to a lake in the middle of San Francisco all the more meaningful.

…And if they lay eggs there in the future, the city and turtles may hopefully enjoy a multi-generational success story. Read more at KQED.

Next, watch these Olive Ridley Sea Turtle hatchlings scurry out to sea and these butterflies that drink turtle tears. ]]> 0
Ashima Shiraishi, one of the best rock climbers in the world Wed, 03 Feb 2016 06:49:22 +0000 A veteran rock climber at just 14 years old — she started scaling boulders at the age of six — New Yorker Ashima Shiraishi is considered to be one of the strongest and most talented climbers on the planet.

The New York Times has called her a Bouldering Phenom. Outside Magazine has described her as a Young Crusher. At age 13 she became the first woman, and youngest (male/female), to climb a sport route with a difficulty grade of 9a+ (5.15a). Very few athletes in the world can climb at this level as both sport climbing grading systems and bouldering grading systems only have two additional, and more difficult, grades that Ashima has not climbed yet.

Above, from Great Big Story: The Best Female Rock Climber In the World is 14 Years Old, and below, another profile vid from The New York Times in 2012:

File under: Practice. Next: Rock climbing prodigy Brooke Raboutou.

h/t @DIY.

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