The Kid Should See This Cool videos for curious minds of all ages. Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:52:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ASIMO & UNI-CUB β (2014) Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:52:58 +0000 The world’s most advanced humanoid robot can run smoothly at a record 9kph (5.6mph), recognizes faces and voices, shakes hands, has incredible balance — can jump, hop, climb stairs, kick soccer balls, pour drinks without spilling — and signs in both American and Japanese Sign Language, among many other skills made possible by decades of technological research.

ASIMO stands for Advanced Step in Innovative MObility, is the size of a child at 130 cm (4ft 3in) tall and 48 kg (106lbs), and, based on research and prototypes dating back to the 1980s, was first introduced in October 2000. Honda’s summer 2014 video, promoting ASIMO and UNI-CUB β, outlines the company’s latest generation of robotic capabilities.

What’s the future goal for this 14 year old robot? Senior chief engineer Satoshi Shigemi explains in Wallpaper:

Our ultimate vision is to create an assistant robot that can exist among humans in a household, just like a primary schoolchild who starts helping out around the home… Three years ago we started trials in real conditions, in a museum where Asimo can give information to visitors, etc. The feedback is very helpful. But the ultimate goal of a mass produced robot for every household is still 10-20 years away.

Humanoid robots might especially be useful for assisting people with limited physical capabilities. They could also be vital in emergency search and rescue operations, or for executing difficult tasks in dangerous situations.

In the archives: MORE ROBOTS!


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Vegetable Sushi: Farm to Table Family Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:58:00 +0000 Let the kids assemble their own veggie sushi rolls, customized with their favorite vegetables, in this recipe from PBS Parents’ Farm to Table Family.

In the archives: recipes for making pickles, ketchup, Smeaches, and more. ]]> 0
ExpeRimental: Static Magic Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:52:51 +0000 Reveal your kids’ Jedi powers using static electricity with this episode of ExpeRimental from The Royal Institution of Great Britain. Watch ordinary household objects move without being touched as neuroscientist Professor Sophie Scott and her son Hector investigate:

By rubbing a balloon or straw on a cloth or their clothes, they make balancing pencils, pens, and spoons move without touching them! In these experiments they discover how things with opposite charges attract, and those with the same charge repel. They investigate whether the phenomenon will work with a variety of objects and even a stream of running water…

Try it yourself! The accompanying info sheet is here (pdf).

Previously: Homemade Lava Lamp & Rubber Band Cannons. ]]> 0
Outfitting Tree Kangaroos with tiny video cameras Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:28:52 +0000 Tree kangaroos are elusive creatures that live high in the trees of New Guinea’s tropical rainforests. To learn more about them and to better protect them, Dr. Lisa Dabek has worked with National Geographic and local landowners to outfit the tree kangaroos with tiny video cameras. Footage from the cams revealed more about how the animals eat leaves and fruit, groom themselves, and climb to astounding heights.

From Wikipedia, more on these arboreal marsupials:

Tree-kangaroos are slow and clumsy on the ground. They move at approximately human walking pace and hop awkwardly, leaning their body far forward to balance the heavy tail. However, in trees, they are bold and agile. They climb by wrapping their forelimbs around the trunk of a tree and, while allowing the forelimbs to slide, hop up the tree using their powerful hind legs. They are expert leapers; 9 metres (30 ft) downward jumps from one tree to another have been recorded and they have the extraordinary ability to jump to the ground from 18 metres (59 ft) or more without being hurt.

In this WAMC radio interview at, Dr. Dabek, who is Program Director at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo and founder of the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, describes what she loves about her work and how technology has helped her research:

Over the last 15 years the amount of technology that we use in research has really increased. When I started out being in animal behavior, pretty much all you needed was a pen or pencil, and a data sheet, and a stop watch. Now we use so much technology. We’re using global positioning systems, the GPS, to map out areas. We are doing all kinds of genetics research where we need a lot of lab equipment. We are using what are called camera traps, or remotely triggered cameras, where we set up cameras where animals can set them off without us being there, and then we can photograph them. It’s actually been amazing to me to see how much we depend on technology now.

In the archives, more animals alone with cameras: flying with eagles, swimming with polar bears, eating goose eggs with polar bears, waddling with penguins, stealing cameras with crabs, and scratching backs with grizzly bears. ]]> 0
The Dog Waltz Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:31:13 +0000 The Dog Waltz, written and performed by producer/composer Dani Rosenoer, and starring Bella the Dog.

Related watching: Two Dogs Dining.

via Neatorama. ]]> 0 Summertime Science: Sunburn, Sweat, and Wrinkly Fingers Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:33:48 +0000 Why do we sweat? Why do our fingers wrinkle in water? Why do we get sunburns? Joe Hanson explains it all in this summer science episode of It’s Okay to Be Smart. Bonus: find out what those SPF numbers mean on your sunscreen.

Related videos about how our bodies work: You Are Your Microbes, The Beautiful Physics and Math of Sneezes, The Mystery of Motion Sickness, the classic Schoolhouse Rock Telegraph Line (Nervous System), and How Much Stuff Do Our Bodies Make In A Year? ]]> 0
Why aren’t we only using solar power? Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:29:42 +0000 Solar power is cleaner, more sustainable, and in many cases, less expensive than coal-fueled power plants, so why aren’t we only using solar power? Beyond the business and infrastructural challenges, TED Ed outlines some of the challenges that need to be solved in solar power science, including predicting solar irradiance, so that we can go 100% solar in the near future.

Related watching: how to build a solar oven, NOVA PBS: Solar Power, an amazing looking 24/7 Concentrated Solar Thermal Power tower, and a favorite that has helped us identify clouds: Why So Many Cloud Types? ]]> 0
Guinness World Record – Most mini-dominoes toppled Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:47:00 +0000 Eighty times smaller and 100 times lighter than standard size dominoes, mini dominoes must be set up with tweezers, quite a challenge for these two domino enthusiasts. Sinners Domino Entertainment captured this set up of 2,000 super-tiny pieces in Büdingen, Germany on July 12, 2013. According to SDE, the final toppling broke the previous record of 1,585 pieces, and wasn’t easy — see them have to start over after an accidental chain reaction 40 seconds into the video. From the team:

The dominoes are so small that they make almost no noise when they topple. Additionally, we had to run this record attempt without an audience since each small vibration or air draft could have made this record impossible.

Small vibrations and air drafts! TINY. In the archives: SDE also set up a 2013 world record of 275,000 dominoes.

via Mental Floss. ]]> 0 Rollie, a southern three-banded armadillo, playing Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:03:37 +0000 An intern at the NEW Zoo and Adventure Park in Green Bay, Wisconsin recorded this moment of adorable: a southern three-banded armadillo attacks its bear toy over and over again. We had no idea that armadillos played like this, but evidently, the person who gave it the bear toy knew…

It’s worth noting that, despite being really cute, this armadillo is a wild animal and an Education Program Animal Ambassador at the zoo, not a pet.

Follow this video up with one of our favorites: a baby nine-banded armadillo, introduced by the Texan who found him.

via @EarthTouch. ]]> 0 The Iron Genie Harmonograph Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:02:53 +0000 Watch artist Anita Chowdry‘s Iron Genie Harmonograph create intricate, spirograph-like drawings. Made of steel, it was inspired by mid-19th century harmonographs and St. Pancras Station‘s Victorian engineering. The video was filmed in the crypt of St. Pancras Parish Church by Josh Jones. From the artist:

The immediate appeal of the Harmonograph to me is that you can witness the unfolding of natural dynamic geometries that have always existed independently of our aesthetic sensibilities. We cannot draw them ourselves without the aid of mechanical devices. They have existed long before we discovered them, before we even began to understand the physics that drives them, before we had the language to define them in mathematical terms. They are a part of the dynamics of the universe – they have existed long before us, and perhaps that is why we find it so hypnotic to watch the drawings unfold before our eyes as the swinging pendulums drive the movements of the pen and paper…

Images of the resulting artwork can be found at Scientific American:



From July 8 – September 21, 2014, the Iron Genie will be showcased at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford.

In the archives: Eske Rex’s Pendulum-Powered Drawing Machine and Robert Howsare’s Drawing Apparatus.

via John Baez.

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Fish that walk: Tasmania’s Spotted Handfish Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:39:39 +0000 With pectoral fins that look like little feet, this “walking” Spotted Handfish was one of the first fish documented in Australian waters, and is not the only known handfish — there are pink, red, and yellow species, as well.

Up to 120 mm long (4.72 inches), the Spotted Handfish is found in the Tasmania’s Derwent Estuary. It is listed as critically endangered due to “land clearing, pollution and egg predation by the introduced northern Pacific Seastar.” This profile from CSIRO, Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, is from 1999.

In the archives: The Mudskipper, the Starry Handfish, fish and frogs that live out of water, and the Sea’s Strangest Square Mile.

via It’s Okay to Be Smart.

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Sesame Street’s Numerosity: Baker Number 10 Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:03:33 +0000 Numerosity, also known as The Henson 10, also known around our house as The Baker videos: this is number 10 in the series of number shorts by Jim Henson for the first season of Sesame Street in 1969.

While the baker was played by stuntman Alex Stevens, the baker’s voice may sound familiar… that’s Jim Henson himself! He’s also juggling in Baker Number 3, just below, with six and one below that:

In the archives: Sesame Street’s Mad Painter, Pinball Countdown, and lots of Sesame Street videos.

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Dizzy Gillespie live on stage: Salt Peanuts Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:47:54 +0000 American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer and occasional singer Dizzy Gillespie peforms Salt Peanuts live on stage, likely at the Ontario Place Forum in Toronto, circa 1971. We love the fun audience warm up in the beginning. His singular, trumpet-playing cheeks appear at 2m05s.

There’s more Dizzy Gillespie in the archives.

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Spectroscopy of Stars – Wonders of the Universe Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:30:25 +0000 Understand what the universe is made of by looking at the light of its stars. In this clip from Wonders of the Universe – Stardust, Professor Brian Cox demonstrates how chemical elements emit a unique set of colors when burned, and through the process of spectroscopy, how those unique colors can help us identify the chemical composition of distant stars.

In the archives: more from Brian Cox, more stars, and how we know details about distant exoplanets.

via Sagan Sense. ]]> 0 NASA’s Rover of the Future Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:21:26 +0000 Omni-drive and suit ports will be just two of the NASA rover features available to future astronauts as they explore Mars or near-Earth asteroids. This Rover of the Future is an ever-evolving Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) that could house two astronauts in shirtsleeves for up to 14 days. The first concept was built in 2008. From

The surface SEV is designed to require little or no maintenance, be able to travel thousands of miles climbing over rocks and up 40 degree slopes during its ten year life. The vehicle frame was developed in conjunction with an off-road race truck team and was field tested in the desert Southwest with 140 km of driving on rough lava…

Some of the new technologies to be developed for the surface and in-space concepts include new batteries, new fuel cells, advanced regenerative brakes, active suspension, gaseous hydrogen/oxygen RCS system, automated rendezvous and docking, and new tire technologies.

Click to check out the rover concept components, via Wikipedia:


In the archives: more NASA and all kinds of vehicles, including testing this space rover under Alaskan ice, landing on a comet with Rosetta Spacecraft, and Curiosity’s Seven Minutes of Terror.

Bonus: how astronauts (currently) put on space suits.

via Smithsonian Channel.

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