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 Wed, 04 May 2016 06:39:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Live Stream: NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer in the Mariana Trench Wed, 04 May 2016 06:39:16 +0000 While exploring the Mariana Trench — the deepest part of our planet’s oceans — on April 24, 2016, researchers aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Okeanos Explorer saw a bioluminescent jellyfish that had never been seen before.

Scientists identified this hydromedusa as belonging to the genus Crossota. Note the two sets of tentacles — short and long. At the beginning of the video, you’ll see that the long tentacles are even and extended outward and the bell is motionless. This suggests an ambush predation mode. Within the bell, the radial canals in red are connecting points for what looks like the gonads in bright yellow.

This jellyfish, seen around 2.3 miles (~3,700 meters) underwater, is just one of the many creatures and discoveries that the team hopes to catch on video as they explore and gather data through July 10. You can follow their expedition at the bottom of the ocean via three high-definition live streams and this map.

Next: How the Mariana Trench was formed, more jellyfish, and another NOAA discovered deep sea creature from the coast of Puerto Rico. So cute. ]]> 0
Stanford’s one-of-a-kind wind tunnel for birds & drones Wed, 04 May 2016 05:49:25 +0000 An engineering team at Stanford University, lead by engineering professor David Lentink, built a one-of-a-kind wind tunnel in order to observe, measure, and record the minute details of how birds fly. Their goal: To make aerial robots as stable as the team’s lovebirds, parrotlets, and hummingbirds… and your everyday pigeon.

With the recent boom in drone use, it’s easy to forget that the robots frequently fail in windy conditions. Consider flying a drone down an “urban canyon” like Fifth Avenue in New York City. Turbulence varies wildly from the middle of the “canyon” to alongside the skyscrapers, and obstacles like traffic lights pop up frequently. Now, throw in a few dozen drones fighting for position like the taxis below. It’s a nightmare for drone operators.

“But you look up, and you’ll see a pigeon swoop by casually. It has no problem stabilizing itself, flying around corners, dodging cables and landing on a perch,” Lentink said. “It’s just something we haven’t accomplished in robotics yet. We need to study birds up close so we can figure out what their secret is to flying so stably under such difficult conditions, and apply that to aerial robotic design.”

File under: Biomimicry and robots.

Next: The physics of why birds fly in V-formation and What Happens When You Put a Hummingbird in a Wind Tunnel? ]]> 0
Petrified Forest National Park & how petrified wood is made Tue, 03 May 2016 07:01:26 +0000 Fallen coniferous trees from 211-218 million years ago can be found scattered across the desert of eastern Arizona in the form of petrified wood. Made primarily from quartz, these geological wonders are actually fossils, and are often colored by additional minerals during the petrification process: Cobalt can create greens and blues, iron oxides create reds, browns, and yellows, and manganese can create pinks and oranges, just to name a few. From Wikipedia:

Petrified wood (from the Greek root petro meaning “rock” or “stone”; literally “wood turned into stone”) is the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. It is the result of a tree or tree-like plants having completely transitioned to stone by the process of permineralization. All the organic materials have been replaced with minerals (mostly a silicate, such as quartz), while retaining the original structure of the stem tissue. Unlike other types of fossils which are typically impressions or compressions, petrified wood is a three-dimensional representation of the original organic material. The petrifaction process occurs underground, when wood becomes buried under sediment or volcanic ash and is initially preserved due to a lack of oxygen which inhibits aerobic decomposition. Mineral-laden water flowing through the covering material deposits minerals in the plant’s cells; as the plant’s lignin and cellulose decay, a stone mold forms in its place.

There are petrified forests located all around the world — Argentina, Egypt, Namibia, India, New Zealand, Canada, and more — but Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park has one of the largest concentrations of petrified wood on Earth.

Join Charlie Engelman, his sister Kirby, and his friend Patrick as they explore Petrified Forest National Park in this episode of National Geographic Kids’ Nature Boom Time.

Next: Why are there oyster shells in the ‘Chalk Pyramids’ of Kansas? Plus: More fossils, more geology, and more paper craft storytelling.

h/t ]]> 0 Dinosaurs Among Us – AMNH Tue, 03 May 2016 05:37:45 +0000 Dinosaur nests, eggs, and babies, dinosaur feathers, dinosaur brains and lungs, and dinosaur bones, beaks, and claws all provide evidence that birds are living dinosaurs. In this video from the American Museum of Natural History, scientists explain the connections that suggest that dinosaurs did not go extinct.

And from the animation below: Transformation – Dinosaurs to Birds:

Based on recent scientific research that examines fossils using new technologies, the transformation story unfolds as low-polygonal silhouettes of dinosaurs morph from ground-dwelling animals into flight-capable birds.

The mass extinction that erased most dinosaurs 65 million years ago left a few bird lineages unscathed. Within only 15 million years all of our familiar bird groups were flourishing. These extraordinary living dinosaurs provide a vivid link to the ancient past.

The Museum’s new exhibition, “Dinosaurs Among Us,” explores the continuities between living dinosaurs—birds—and their extinct ancestors, showcasing remarkable new evidence for what scientists now call one of the best-documented evolutionary transitions in the history of life.

Watch these next: How do we know what color dinosaurs were? Dinosaur Nest in the Gobi, Meet the Titanosaur at AMNH, and How did feathers evolve? ]]> 0
Woven bark fiber – Primitive Technology Mon, 02 May 2016 06:37:17 +0000 Working in between heavy rains over the course of a few days, the man behind Primitive Technology created mats by collecting, stripping, and weaving thin strips of bark fiber together. From his blog:

It has been raining a lot here lately… and this caused a large wattle tree to fall down taking a few smaller trees with it. One of the trees was the type I use for fiber. So I stripped the bark from it and divided it into thinner strips back at the hut.

I spun the fiber strips into a rough yarn using a drop spindle. The drop spindle was basically the spindle and fly wheel I used in the pump drill video I made a while ago. A small stick was tied to the top of the drop spindle to act as a hook to make sure the fibers spun. I tied bark strips to the spindle and spun the spindle so it twisted the strip. When one strip ran out a new strip was added and twisted into the thread.

I then made a loom by hammering stakes into the ground and lashing cross bars to it. Stakes were hammered into the ground to hold every first string while a movable cross bar held every second string. When the bar was lifted a gap was formed where every second string was above every first string. Then when the bar was dropped a gap was formed where the opposite was true. So in this way the weaving thread could be drawn through over and under one way and then under over back the opposite way. The alternative was to weave by hand which would have taken longer.

In case you missed them, watch Making charcoal, baskets, & stone hatchets, Making a cord drill & pump drill from sticks & rocks, and more from Primitive Technology. ]]> 0
Incredibly detailed insect portraits by Levon Biss Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:15:05 +0000 Assembled from between 8,000 and 10,000 images that were captured with microscope lenses, each of these meticulously lit portraits of insects is full of rich detail. Photographer Levon Biss started photographing insects as a side project to his client work, but soon teamed up with the entomologists at Oxford University Museum of Natural History to translate their insect collection into stunning macro photographs.

From May 27 to October 2016, Biss’ work will be showcased at Oxford University Museum of Natural History in a special exhibition titled Microsculpture.



If you can’t see the exhibition in person, visit the site to get a closer look at the Tortoise Beetle, the Orchid Cuckoo Beetle, the Tri-Colored Jewel Beetle (above), the Flying Saucer Trench Beetle, and many more.

Next, more art & science through photography: The Art of New York City’s Bacterial World, Fabian Oefner’s paint colors spun at high speeds, Plants and Insects Magnified Thousands of Times, and The 45th Anniversary of Earthrise.

via Kottke.

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Stunning Aurora Borealis from Space in Ultra-HD 4K Thu, 28 Apr 2016 05:46:20 +0000 From cameras filming on the International Space Station, enjoy this stunning ultra high definition 4K footage of planet Earth. Turn down the volume, full screen the vid, and put some classical music on.

Harmonic produced this show exclusively for NASA TV UHD, using time-lapses shot from the International Space Station, showing both the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis phenomena that occur when electrically charged electrons and protons in the Earth’s magnetic field collide with neutral atoms in the upper atmosphere.

Go behind the scenes with NASA, Harmonic, and the astronauts on ISS in this Harmonic promotional video, as they work to help bring these incredible images from space back down to Earth: The Creation of NASA TV UHD.

Enjoy more ISS: Adding color & fizz to floating water bubbles in microgravity. ]]> 0
What is Jazz? Ella Fitzgerald & Mel Tormé explain Thu, 28 Apr 2016 04:58:36 +0000 From the 1976 Grammys, scat singing music legends Ella Fitzgerald & Mel Tormé answer the question: What is Jazz?

Watch more of Fitzgerald’s brilliance with Duke Ellington: It Don’t Mean A Thing, singing A Tisket a Tasket, and scat-singing One Note Samba, the singular performance that started this site.

Bonus: More from the 1970s.

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A bumblebee dislodges pollen in slow-mo Mon, 25 Apr 2016 06:51:11 +0000 Sonication or buzz pollination is the bumblebee‘s secret weapon of resonant vibration. When bumblebees (and a few other bee species) grab onto a flower and vibrate it by flying in place, securely attached pollen is dislodged. From

Buzz pollination can be useful for releasing or collecting pollen from many types of flowers, but it is essential for some, including tomatoes, blueberries, and our native manzanitas. The anthers (male reproductive organs) of these flowers have only small pores through which pollen is released, like the holes in a pepper shaker. Sometimes wind or visits from insects can inadvertently shake out some pollen, but the amounts are small. Also, many of these flowers do not produce nectar, so honeybees ignore them anyway.

Bumblebees, by contrast, actively collect and eat not just nectar but also protein-rich pollen. And a bumblebee can cause a flower to discharge a visible cloud of pollen through buzz pollination. The bumblebee grasps the flower with its legs or mouthparts and vibrates its flight muscles very rapidly without moving its wings. This vibration shakes electrostatically charged pollen out of the anthers, and the pollen is attracted to the bumblebee’s oppositely charged body hairs. The bumblebee later grooms the pollen from its body into pollen-carrying structures on its back legs for transport to its nest.

See in action above in this video from the Smithsonian Channel: Slow-Mo Footage of a Bumble Bee Dislodging Pollen.

Next: More pollination videos and more about bees.

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Making of Japanese handmade paper of Kyoto Kurotani Mon, 25 Apr 2016 06:17:19 +0000 Observing the craftsmanship in 18 workshops around Kyoto, Japan, filmmaker Kuroyanagi Takashi recorded how Japanese washiGanpishi, Kozogami, Mitsumatagami — is made, an 800 year old art. From

Branches of the (kozo, gampi or mitsumata) bush are trimmed, soaked, the bark removed, and the tough pliant inner bark laboriously separated, cleaned, then pounded and stretched.

The addition of the pounded fibre to a liquid solution, combined with tororo-aoi (fermented hibiscus root) as a mucilage, produces a paste-like substance when it is mixed.

It is this “paste” which is tossed until evenly spread on a bamboo mesh screen (called a su) to form each sheet of paper. The sheets are piled up wet, and later laid out to dry on wood in the sun or indoors on a heated dryer.

Above: The art of suminagashi or Japanese paper marbling, Making Japanese rice cakes at Nakatani-dou, Amezaiku (飴細工) Japanese Candy Sculptures, Making a traditional Japanese wooden Kokeshi Doll, Kintsugi & kintsukuroi – The art of pottery mending with gold, and The Swordmaker. ]]> 0 Laika’s Head of Puppetry explains how stop motion puppets are made Fri, 22 Apr 2016 05:24:25 +0000 Go behind the scenes with Puppet Fabrication Creative Supervisor Georgina Hayns — who set up the puppet department at Laika, the animation studio behind Coraline, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings — to find out what it takes to create the beautiful puppets featured in stop motion film work.

Answer: It takes around 30 skilled artists and craftspeople from three to six months to make a puppet, from sculptors, to mold makers, to armature builders, to people who cast all of the separate puppet pieces, to the painters, hair specialists, and costume makers… plus lots of planning and communication. From Academy Originals, enjoy Credited As: Head of Puppetry.

Don’t miss Jim Henson: How to make puppets (1969), Bottle by Kirsten Lepore, Ray Harryhausen’s Mother Goose Stories (1946), Sweet Fern’s Animated Life, Paper to Plants: a stop-motion paper film for Tinybop, and Samantha Bryan’s handmade fairies & flying contraptions.

via The Awesomer. ]]> 0 The ‘Bear Bathtub’ in Yellowstone National Park Wed, 20 Apr 2016 07:11:19 +0000 There’s a swimmin’ hole in the wilds of Yellowstone National Park where the bears like to bathe. It’s affectionately (and accurately) nicknamed the Bear Bathtub, and thanks to camera trap technology, we get to see how much the bears enjoy this secluded spot in nature.

Related reading: 9 Tips to Remember When Traveling to U.S. National Parks, more about Yellowstone‘s history, geography, ecology, and more, and from NPR: Is Yellowstone National Park In Danger Of Being ‘Loved To Death’?

Next: More bears in the forest when no one’s looking, other delightful animal cams, and The Grand Prismatic Spring: One of Nature’s Most Amazing Sights. ]]> 0
A Slaton Co-op Gin truck easily flips 20,000lbs of cotton Wed, 20 Apr 2016 06:02:31 +0000 Cotton may look like a cloud, but an eight foot or 2.44 meter square cotton bale is heavy: around 5,000lbs. When you put one (or four) in your truck, it’s probably best that the bales don’t roll around on their sides, shifting the truck’s weight.

So how do you keep 20,000lbs of cotton from rolling around as you drive? Let’s watch this internet classic to witness a handy and inspired loading technique.

Read more at Core77, and learn more about trucks or cotton: How Denim Jeans Are Made, The Impact of One Cotton T-Shirt, and from Planet Money: What does it take to make a t-shirt? Bonus: A kick baler sends fresh hay bales flying.

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From Dibrugarh to Kanyakumari, a time lapse of India’s longest train Wed, 20 Apr 2016 05:26:58 +0000 Ride the longest train in India via this time lapse video from a photo essay by musician and photographer Ed Hanley. An excerpt:

Indian Railways train #15906, the Dibrugarh-Kanyakumari Vivek Express, travels 4,273km as it winds its way from the north-eastern corner of Assam to the southernmost tip of mainland India, an 85-hour journey which gives it the prestigious title of the longest train in India, by both time and distance. It departs Dibrugarh at 10:45pm on Saturday and arrives in Kanyakumari at around 11am Wednesday, three days and 4 nights…

The train itself is 21 cars long, and fully loaded, carries over 1800 people, 3 or 4 times the capacity of a modern jetliner, or perhaps equal to the population of a small town. There are 4 classes of accommodation on the train: 2 and 3 tier AC (two or three levels of bunks), sleeper (also 3 tier, but no air conditioning) and unreserved (floor to ad hoc hammock… anything goes). There is also a pantry car with a kitchen, and various luggage and specialty cars, plus an electric locomotive.

Next: 4K NYC Subway time lapse: Riding the Queens-bound 7 line, NY to SF in five minutes, and Squeeze in where you can! – The World’s Busiest Railway is also in India.

via T+L. ]]> 0 Solar and potential energy ‘swing thing’ mini machines Tue, 19 Apr 2016 14:19:01 +0000 Made with pencils, a pen, a paper clip, rubber bands, spring clips, and a ball bearing, YouTuber rcbif spent his lunch at work creating a useless ‘swing thing’ invention, a concept that he saw online. (Take a close look to see how it’s being powered.) Soon after, he also posted a solar-powered swing thing:

Next: More solar power, more toys, more springs, and another homemade contraption: How To Make A Mini da Vinci Catapult.

via Boing Boing.

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