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, 31 Jul 2015 16:49:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The stoplight loosejaw, the marlin, & Extreme Life of the Sea Fri, 31 Jul 2015 04:00:03 +0000 Challenging environments can help create some of the most marvelous evolutionary solutions. Two examples: The stoplight loosejaw and the marlin.

The Stoplight Loosejaw is a small, deep sea dragonfish that has an “invisible” red headlight that hides his presence from possible predators. The marlin, a huge fish that can clock up to 80 km/h (50 mph), has “heat-producing tissue beneath the brain and adjacent to the eyes” that helps their brains and eyes work faster. Steve Palumbi, co-author of Extreme Life of the Sea, explains these two wonders in this Cal Academy video.

Watch more incredible marine life videos, and more from Cal Academy.

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This blue masked peacock spider is tiny & adorable Fri, 31 Jul 2015 02:04:47 +0000 Behold Western Australia’s Maratus personatus, a tiny, blue-masked, male peacock spider that is one of a diverse and rather adorable spider family. From peacock spider enthusiast Jürgen Otto:

To the best of my knowledge this spider was discovered by David Knowles from Perth. In 2012 David sent me photographs of it, taken 20 years or so earlier and accompanied by his common name for it “Pied Bluemask Peacock Salspider”. In October 2013 I managed to find some individuals and raised some juveniles they produced to adulthood.

The brightly colored males dance and wave to attract females. Check out more peacock spiders on Otto’s Flickr and Facebook accounts.

Learn/watch more on this site: The Peacock Spiders of Australia and SciFri’s Shake Your Silk-Maker: The Dance of the Peacock Spider.

via New Scientist. ]]> 0 Longhorn ‘Crazy Ants’ work erratically/cooperatively to carry loads Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:26:47 +0000 You never know where the inspiration to learn might come from. Take, for example, cat food pieces that appeared to “float” away from a cat’s bowl…

When scientist Ehud Fonio saw that longhorn ‘crazy ants’ — known for their erratic movements — were zigzagging in a less than efficient manner to cooperatively carry the food away, it inspired his team at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel to conduct a study of the behavior. The results:

They found that the ants rotate jobs, alternating between carrying the load and “scouting out” the scene. If any scout ants notice their loaded down comrades drift off course, they grab hold and stubbornly push the disoriented group back on track.

The individuals come with the solution,” says [study co-author] Ofer Feinerman. “The group gives it the muscle power…”

Each leader’s role is short-lived and may last only 10 to 15 seconds, explains Feinerman. After that, the leader loses its sense of direction and becomes one of the crowd, and other carriers detach to scout.

Feinerman’s diagram of the ants’ movements illustrates how this plays out:


We love learning from ants. How do the ants work (or not work) together where you live? Read more about longhorn ‘crazy ants’ at National Geographic: We Just Learned How ‘Crazy Ants’ Ever Get Anything Done.

Watch these two videos next: The Sticky Feet of Ants & Cockroaches and The Incredible Physics of Ants. ]]> 0
EV acceleration world record – 62 mph (100 km/h) in 1.779 seconds Thu, 30 Jul 2015 10:33:46 +0000 This tiny electric vehicle, built by GreenTeam Uni Stuttgart e.V. from the University of Stuttgart, set a new Guinness World Record for acceleration of an EV when it reached 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 1.779 seconds. From Electric Autosport:

The 100kW all-wheel drive vehicle designed to race in the Formula Student competitions, is powered by four motors and a 6.62kWh battery package. With a vehicle’s weight of 160 kg, the power to weight ratio is 1,6 kg/kW. That is a stunning performance in comparison with other vehicles like Formula 1 (1,0 kg/kW), Bugatti Veyron Supersport (2,08 kg/kW) and a Porsche 918 Spyder (2,50 kg/kW).

Watch these next: The world’s first Formula-E car and Behind the Scenes of How the Tesla Model S is Made. Plus, what’s the fastest accelerator on the planet?

via The Verge. ]]> 0 Oscar Peterson and Count Basie – Jumpin’ At The Woodside Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:55:00 +0000 From the BBC Four broadcast of Oscar Peterson: Words and Music, circa 1980, Oscar Peterson & Count Basie perform ‘Jumpin’ At The Woodside’ on two Bösendorfer grand pianos. They’re joined in London’s Royal Festival Hall by Joe Pass (guitar), Niels Pedersen (bass), and Martin Drew (drums). The entire interview and performance can be found here.

Watch some early Count Basie next: Basie Boogie. ]]> 0
Cut, fold, and flip – How farfalle pasta is made by machine Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:34:07 +0000 At the Zerega Pasta factory in New Jersey, a stamping machine cuts, folds, and flips farfalle, pasta shaped like bow ties or butterflies. (Farfalle means butterflies in Italian.) The video above captures the speedy process in slow motion.

Watch this carrot peeling machine, these automated cake icing and decorating machines, and these mushroom processing machines next.

via Kottke. ]]> 0 How New York City’s subway technologies are being modernized Wed, 29 Jul 2015 06:07:33 +0000

“People know that the system is old, but I don’t think they realize just how old it is… in our system, it’s not just the architecture that’s 100 years old. It’s a lot of the basic technology, as well. The infrastructure is old.”

From the MTA in New York City, this is CBTC: Communications-Based Train Control, an astounding behind-the-scenes video about the technologies running the NYC subway system. Get a gander at West 4th Street station’s electromechanical relays, a pre-1930s technology that’s no longer supported by anyone but the MTA themselves. Plus, learn about their multi-decade plan to modernize the traffic control system, and see the Corona Subway Maintenance Shop, temporary home of the new CBTC-equipped subway cars.

As Service Delivery Division VP & Chief Officer Wynton Habersham explains, Communications-Based Train Control provides constant, centralized data about a train’s location, direction of travel, and speed, a leap forward from the safe but less precise fixed block signaling of the current system. The MTA invested seven years into converting the L train (14th Street – Canarsie Local) to CBTC, and is currently working on the 7 line (the Flushing local and express).

We love going behind-the-scenes with how things work, especially when the public transportation system of a bustling metropolis is involved. Watch this next: Meet the People Who Retrieve the Stuff You Drop On the Tracks.

h/t Adam Kuban, via Gothamist.

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Divers may have discovered the largest squid egg mass ever seen Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:38:46 +0000 A group of divers discovered a “car-sized ball of squid eggs” at 22 meters (72 feet) deep off the coast of Turkey. From RR Helm at Deep Sea News, who has a lot of excellent information about the find:

Lutfu Tanriover, the videographer, told me via Facebook the group felt a mixture of both excitement and fear as they approached the mysterious blob. The blob felt “very soft,” and looked gelatinous. But only after the video went online did the mysterious blob get a possible ID. Dr. Michael Vecchione of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History was the first to propose a suggestion. Dr. Vecchione is an expert on squid, and to him this giant sphere looks like a huge squid egg mass, and it’s the largest he’s ever seen. In fact, egg masses like this may be floating off many major coasts, not just Turkey’s.

According to Deep Sea News, a 3 and 4 meter (10 to 13 foot) long humboldt squid egg mass was found by marine biologist Danna Staaf in 2008 off the coast of California. Dr. Vecchione believes the 4 meter (13 foot) sack of eggs off the coast of Turkey may have been laid by an Ommastrephes bartramii, also known as the neon flying squid.

Explore more underwater science collaboration, including this ROV footage of deep sea creatures from the coast of Puerto Rico and two weeks under the sea at Aquarius Reef Base. Related squidness: The Magnapinna Squid.

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The world’s longest inflatable waterslide is 1/3 of a mile long Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:35:09 +0000 Thing that exists: a 1,975-foot-long slip ‘n slide — that’s 1/3 of a mile — at Action Park in New Jersey. With a GoPro attached to his head, a park employee slid along what is now the world’s longest inflatable waterslide for an entire minute and did a mid-air corkscrew flip towards the end. From

Guinness World Records has certified Action Park’s new 1,975-feet long water slide as the longest in the world as of this month, meaning it’s sure to draw some record crowds as soon as New Jersey okays the 10,000 feet of of inflatable polyvinyl chloride.

The slide itself is made up of twenty 100 foot sections of inflatable material (basically twenty bounce houses) that are stitched together by six million stitches. Each stitch is capable of holding 25 pounds and the entire slide is built on a 1.8-inch thick base that protects the rider from the ground. Combined, those two facts mean the slide should have no weight limit for passengers.

It takes two generators to power the 15 engines that keep the slide inflated and 400 stakes to hold down the slide, while 1,000 gallons of water per hour run down the length of it. It’s pretty staggering to think about from a technical standpoint…

Watch this next: The Sommerrodelbahn Alpine Coaster in Mieders, Austria and a water slide is a tunnel of LED rainbow effects. ]]> 0
Brandon Semenuk’s unReal mountain bike ride in one 3 minute shot Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:27:06 +0000 In one beautifully-produced, continuous shot, professional mountain biker Brandon Semenuk bombs a freshly built track down and around some magnificent hills in Cambria, California. Semenuk’s jumps, flips, twists, turns, and tricks, including a bike swap, were all captured by Teton Gravity Research and Anthill Films for the Sony mountain biking film unReal, and thanks to the hard work and practice of both the camera crew and Semenuk, he biked the entire track for the camera just once. From Vice Sports:

For One Shot to be successful, the conditions had to be perfect (Cambria’s pervasive wind is not conducive to back-flipping a mountain bike), Semenuk had to run the entire track without a flaw, the truck had to match his pace exactly, and [cameraman Brian] Wulf had to pull off the shoot cleanly. In the week leading up to filming, Semenuk practiced the top section of the track, several times, though he never rode the lower section. Meanwhile, the film crew practiced the drive, marking the road with signs to indicate speed and pace for [producer & shoot driver Darcy] Wittenburg. The pressure on Semenuk was obvious to everyone on scene…

“Obviously having one camera rolling leaves no room for error,” [Semenuk] says. “This wasn’t so much added pressure for me, but for the filmers to nail it when I do. Their part was just as hard or harder than mine, I’d say. I got to the bottom and just waited to hear the cheers.”

And the music: Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth (1967).

Watch these next: Danny MacAskill’s Street Trials and Renegades of Bike Culture or How Mountain Biking Was Invented.

via Laughing Squid. ]]> 0 One Bright Dot – From a deep sea light to a swarm of particles Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:55:51 +0000 “A little light rises from the deep sea.” From French motion designer Clément Morin, this is One Bright Dot, the wordless yet epic journey of a swarm of particles as they speed across the landscape and beyond.

Watch this next: Borrowed Light. ]]> 0
Gyrecraft – Transforming sea plastics into valuable objects Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:29:32 +0000 From Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves of Studio Swine, this is Gyrecraft, a term that references the swirling gyres in which micro-plastics can be found, and scrimshaw craft, the now verboten pastime of whale tooth and ivory engraving.

Gyrecraft is an exploration into maritime crafts which exists in every coastal or island culture around the world each with its own unique identity, utilising what the sea provides. Many of these crafts took place onboard boats during long voyages as a way of making vital repairs or passing the time at sea.

Studio Swine went on a journey of 1000 nautical miles collecting plastic on the way from Azores to the Canaries through the North Atlantic Gyre with the Solar Extruder; a machine they designed and built which melts and extrudes sea plastic using the Sun.

In their final product — the replica of a whale tooth — the studio turns pollution into a valuable material. You may also recall another Studio Swine project: An ocean plastic Sea Chair.

Learn more from these videos: Ocean Confetti and What is a Gyre?

In the archives, more projects from plastic and trash: One Plastic Beach, turning scraps into soccer balls for village children, making eyeglasses from trash & e-waste, Landfill Harmonic, and how to make Moser Lamps. ]]> 0
hiding but not really – a hypnotic looping animation Sat, 25 Jul 2015 16:58:39 +0000 hiding but not really, a beautifully hypnotic looping animation from animation director Eran Hilleli. We expected something to happen, but then it didn’t, and then we realized that it was already happening. Who is this person? Where are they? What is their story? By the end of the piece, we didn’t want it to stop. Of the animation, Hilleli writes, “fullscreen into it, feel free to stare back.”

Watch more animation, including USAWALTZ, The Cloudy Dog Talks About…, Manolito’s Dream, and Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.

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A prosthetic system that lets kids make their own LEGO robot limbs Sat, 25 Jul 2015 03:25:54 +0000 What if you could reimagine prosthetics in a way that lets kids design and make their own prosthetic robot limbs? When IDEO industrial designer Carlos Arturo Torres was a student at UMEA Institute of Design, he asked this question, and then he designed a creative prosthetic system to answer it.

Collaborating with CIREC in Columbia and LEGO Future LAB in Denmark, Torres is attempting to empower kids with disabilities in a fun, creative, and social way, using LEGO-compatible prosthetic arms that can turn into… anything the kids can imagine! Torres explains in Gizmag:

“…the key feature of the system for me, is that Lego sets are something you can build with friends and your family. Something that is that social made me think of one of the biggest challenge kids in disability have when facing society.”

…The interface houses a battery, charging port, processor unit and a pair of myoelectric sensors that track the movement of the stump and convert it into a signal. A separate muscle component then receives these signals and, equipped with a motor and Lego connectors, carries different attachments on the end.

Torres then flew to Bogota to test out the design on an eight-year-old Colombian boy named Dario, who had suffered a congenital malformation and had his right arm amputated as a result. On the lighter side, one of the LEGO sets Torres brought along was a spaceship fitted with a laser-imitating light brick. On the slightly more practical, but still awesome side was a construction backhoe, which required a power function compatible with the muscle module.

Above, Dario tries the IKO Creative Prosthetic System, a concept which may be commercially available by 2017.

Videos on this site: More LEGO and more prosthetics, including a boy that 3-D prints his prosthetic hands.

via PSFK.

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An Individual Cycle Sport Stacking World Record of 5.000 seconds Fri, 24 Jul 2015 03:24:52 +0000 Sport stacking (also called cup stacking and speed stacking) first gained popularity in the 1980s, and under the guidance of the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA), continues to hold championships and tournaments.

In the Sport Stacking world records, there’s one name that stands out as a current leader of the sport: 16 year old William Orrell. Watch Orrell set a January 31, 2015 Individual Cycle Sport Stacking World Record in Columbus, Georgia: 5.000 seconds flat. We love how the crowd goes crazy behind him.

But wait… what’s a cycle? From Wikipedia:

There are three sequences stacked in official sport stacking events, that are defined by the rule book handed out by the WSSA:

3-3-3: Uses nine cups. This sequence consists of three sets of three cups each. The three sets must be stacked going from left-to-right or right-to-left, and then down-stacked into their original positions in the same order as the up-stack.

3-6-3: Uses 12 cups. This sequence is similar to the 3-3-3, except a six stack replaces the three stack in the middle. Each pile of cups is stacked up from left-to-right or right-to-left, and the down-stack occurs in the same order.

Cycle: Uses 12 cups. This is a sequence of stacks in the following order: a 3-6-3 stack (see above), a 6-6 stack (two pyramids of six cups stacked up and down into one containing all twelve cups altogether) and a 1-10-1 stack (a pyramid of ten cups in the middle), finishing in a down stacked 3-6-3.

There are also doubles and relays. Want to learn how to stack? Check out these tutorial videos by former World Champion Emily Fox. Here’s an intro:

File under world records, tutorials, and practice.

In the archives: a 2013 yoyo champion, a 2012 juggling champion, and how to knock over cup stacks with a homemade vortex cannon. ]]> 0