Topic: how things work

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NASA simulates how dust, smoke, and sea salt have traveled the planet

Watch as sea salt, dust, and smoke—aerosol particles traveling on the winds—have moved across our planet in 2017. This animated simulation, "based on both satellite observations and computer models that use physical e...

How the Animal Kingdom Sleeps & How Animals See the World – Animalism

Sleep is universal in the animal kingdom, but each species slumbers in a different — and often mysterious — way. Some animals snooze with half their brain, while others only sleep for two hours a day (without even suf...

Will Computers Ever Hear Like People Do?

On the left, everyday sounds are being recorded. On the right-side, spectrograms show frequencies of the sound waves, their volume and visual patterns over time. They were created with this Chrome Music Lab experiment...

How to multiply numbers by drawing lines

Learn how drawing lines and counting can visually calculate multi-digit multiplication problems. This handy math trick, sometimes referred to as the Japanese Multiplication Trick, lets little kids, visual learners, an...

An unexpected way to inflate a balloon – Numberphile

The kamifusen is a traditional Japanese paper (kami) balloon (fusen) toy that became popular in the 1890s and can still be found in a variety of designs or decorated as spherical koi, pufferfish, penguins, monkeys, ra...

Homemade marble track demonstrations by science teacher Bruce Yeany

Science teacher Bruce Yeany uses this collection of physics marble tracks to introduce and reinforce his students' ideas about perpetual and kinetic energy, motion, acceleration, inertia, and more. The tracks—stringle...

How does your body know you’re full?

Hunger claws at your belly. It tugs at your intestines, which begin to writhe, aching to be fed. Being hungry generates a powerful and often unpleasant physical sensation that’s almost impossible to ignore. After you’...

A microgravity demo in the Willis Tower Skydeck elevator

The next time you ride an elevator down 103 floors, take a scale with you, because you might want to try this microgravity experiment: In collaboration with Willis Tower, Kevin from the Museum of Science and Industry,...

The mighty mathematics of the lever

Archimedes once said “Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the Earth.” While the idea of a person moving such a huge mass on their own might sound impossible, chances are you’ve seen this idea in action at your ...

A LEGO lawn mower man endlessly cuts the grass

A LEGO man mows his LEGO lawn, endlessly pushing a LEGO lawn mower. This kinetic sculpture was created by Jason Allemann, aka JK Brickworks, and can be powered by hand crank or motor. The illusion of grass-cutting...

Journey of a Letter: How a birthday card is sent and delivered in London

How does a letter find its way from where it's written to the mailbox on the corner, to the post office, and out to the person it's being sent to? London's new Postal Museum shares this journey through the Royal Mail ...

Engines of Destruction: The Science of Hurricanes

Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katrina, Maria, Sandy. Hurricanes have been major news stories in 2005 and 2012, and continue to be in 2017, starting in August when Harvey crossed the Caribbean and made landfall in Texas. What ca...

Why, Traffic, Why?

Traffic during rush hour or when an accident has happened on the road ahead are both expected, but there are a lot of avoidable reasons for traffic in cities all over the globe: Slowing down to see something on the si...

How many ways are there to prove the Pythagorean theorem?

What do Euclid, 12-year-old Einstein, and American President James Garfield have in common? They all came up with elegant proofs for the famous Pythagorean theorem, one of the most fundamental rules of geometry and th...

Why America still uses Fahrenheit

Since I've moved to the US in 2010, there's one thing that I still don't fully understand: the imperial system. Virtually every country on earth uses Celsius but America has yet to follow. Although it might not seem l...

What does the word ‘theory’ mean in science?

There’s an important difference between a scientific theory and the fanciful theories of an imaginative raconteur, and this quirk of semantics can lead to an all-too-common misconception. In general conversation, a ‘t...

You’re A Firework (Scientifically Speaking)

"You have more in common with a firework than you might think. The same process that powers those explosions is going on inside a grill when you cook a hot dog, and inside your body when you eat that hot dog." Sku...

What is Symmetry in Physics?

Symmetry is vital to understanding and predicting how our universe works. The relationship between symmetry and the mechanics of the universe is fundamental to physics. From Noether’s theorem to the new and exciting w...

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