"Physics told me some crazy stuff. Say, I’m not just sitting here doing nothing. I’m actually fighting against Earth’s gravity. And I’m not sitting still. I’m spinning at a thousand miles per hour, or even more than that… 67 thousand miles per hour, if you count the rotation of the Earth around the Sun…"
In this graduation project that sums up her efforts in a dual degree program (animation and physics) presented by Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, this is Xiangjun Shi's Why Do I Study Physics?
Follow this up with Vi Hart’s Doodle Music.
Polar Bears Eat Goose Eggs in the Arctic’s summer months, but now scientists are studying how melting sea ice might affect the bears’ eating habits in the years to come. Will more eggs be on their menu? Utah State University Ph.D candidate David Iles narrates this remote camera footage from Western Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba, as we watch polar bears find these high-calorie snacks (and a few of the birds that laid them):
“In terms of snow geese there’s 50,000 pairs out there, and that could be quite a substantial benefit to polar bears that do happen to take advantage of them,” he continued. “But what we don’t yet know is how often that overlap happens, what types of bears are taking advantage, and what it could mean for both polar bears and waterfowl.”
There are more details about the balance of these animals and the changing ecosystem that they share in this corresponding National Geographic article.
Related bears-on-hidden-camera fun: What goes on when you are not there.
To study the architecture of ant colonies and their nests, entomologist and myrmecologist Walter Tschinkel developed a way to “record” their three-dimensional underground chambers: he pours 1200F molten aluminum into the hill and then excavates the hardened cast. The entire process can take around seven hours.
From the tunnel depths, patterns, variations, the “room” arrangements, and more, these resulting casts are full of information about different ant colonies and their behavior:
"You can see that where there’s a lot of traffic near the surface, the shaft is actually a ribbon, a wide tunnel like a superhighway," he says, gesturing to and describing the incredibly intricate ant architecture. “The more traffic it has, the wider it is.”
And beyond that, the sculptures mix science with art. But, of course, there’s a cost of insect life in this process:
"I don’t do it lightly, actually… The technique has helped prove that colonies can thrive up to 3.6 metres deep and house between 9,000 and 10,000 workers."
Filling the nest with molten aluminum (or concrete, as shown in this rather stunning video) started an interesting discussion in our house: sacrificing an entire ant colony to learn about it — agree or disagree? And why?
Related reading: Not All the Bugs In Your Home Are Bad.
Made by Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada for the Ulster Bank Belfast International Festival in Belfast, Ireland, this is WISH, an 11 acre portrait of a girl. It’s been nicknamed “The Face From Space” by locals.
Using 2,000 tons of topsoil, 2,000 tons of sand, grass, stones, and 30,000 manually placed wooden stakes, the face was originally plotted with state-of-the-art GPS technology, and then took four weeks and a huge team of community volunteers to make. Here’s a time lapse vid of their work.
We’re wondering if the project can be seen from the International Space Station. Follow this up with Sesame Street’s That’s about the size.