Topic: how things work

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Science Take: The Hidden Complexities of the Simple Match

Schlieren flow visualizations illuminate a world of activity that we almost never pay attention to, even when we're causing it to happen. Simple things like breathing, sneezing, clapping hands, or just producing heat ...

Ocean sponges have incredible filtering power

Ocean sponges are fascinating multi-cellular animals that don't walk or swim. They eat by filter-feeding, straining the water around them to capture organic debris particles and microscopic life forms. How powerfu...

Stay In Queue (2006): A lesson about staying in line

From Ferdinand Lutz, music by Dominik Mueller, this is STAY IN QUEUE (2006), which has also become a classic gif. Watch more animated videos about humor, bears, and perception.

Dead stuff: The secret ingredient in our food chain

When you picture the lowest levels of the food chain, you might imagine herbivores happily munching on lush, living green plants. But this idyllic image leaves out a huge (and slightly less appetizing) source of nouri...

Physics Girl: How to make a Crazy Pool Vortex

Have a plate, a pool, and some food coloring? In this experiment, Physics Girl Dianna Cowern makes strange black circles form by briefly dragging a plate through the pool. On a sunny day in still water, those black ci...

How do wounds heal & how do scars form?

What happens when we get cut and bleed? How does skin scab over and heal? And why does skin scar? These two new vocabulary-filled TED-Eds from Sarthak Sinha get deep under our skin to give us a better understanding of...

Astronauts grow a water bubble in microgravity on ISS

Observing water in space is not only fascinating, but it clearly looks fun! Watch NASA astronauts Steve Swanson and Reid Wiseman, and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst create a floating bubble of water o...

The Hammer-Feather Drop in the world’s biggest vacuum chamber

...though in this case, "the hammer" is a bowling ball. In this excellent clip from the BBC's Human Universe: Episode 4, Professor Brian Cox visits NASA’s Space Power Facility in Ohio, home of the world's biggest vacu...

Luxo Jr. Pencil Test: Emotional storytelling in wire frames

How do animators make a character lovable when the character doesn't have a face and doesn't speak? How can you build a relatable story with something as minimal as a computer generated pencil test? How do you communi...

Straightening teeth with dental braces: An 18 month time lapse

The impact of getting braces has never been as evident as in this 18 month orthodontic time lapse of an 11 year old girl and the alignment of her teeth. Ready... set... straighten! Today's Orthodontics: See what brace...

To the Scientists of the Future: Materials science with EUPHRATES

Created by EUPHRATES and Masahiko Sato for Japan's National Institute for Material Science (NIMS), these three "To the Scientists of the Future" short films are a mesmerizing combination of materials research innovati...

It’s Okay to Be Smart: Why Do Clouds Stay Up?

Clouds are filled with so many water droplets that they're actually heavy... like 100 elephants heavy or a 747 airplane heavy! So why don't clouds fall out of the sky? It's Okay to Be Smart's Joe Hanson explains every...

Sea cucumbers are underwater vacuum cleaners

Join biologist Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg on the ocean sandy floor of Australia's Great Barrier Reef to witness an incredibly important ecological process: sea cucumbers pooping. Why is this so important? When se...

Where Does New York City’s Trash Go?

We recently got a glimpse of the work inside of one of the largest sanitation departments in the world, but this The New York Times report on NYC's trash is much more in depth: If you're going to have this many pe...

Why do leaves change color?

The arrival of autumn is a great reason to talk about chemistry: When tree leaves change from green to reds, oranges, yellows, and browns, we're seeing the tree's green chlorophyll fade away, revealing hidden autumnal...

NOVA PBS: Immunity and Vaccines Explained

Why do we get shots when visiting the doctor? How do vaccines work with our immune systems to keep us from getting sick? From NOVA PBS: Immunity and Vaccines Explained. Our bodies are bombarded by bacteria and ...

Shake Your Silk-Maker: The Dance of the Peacock Spider

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...

Sesame Street: Lupita Nyong’o Loves Her Skin

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 sk...

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