Topic: how things work

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Travel deep inside a redwood tree leaf

Travel down into a small flat redwood tree leaf through a stoma, a tiny opening in its surface. This animation from the California Academy of Sciences takes us on a scientifically accurate journey into a palisade cell...

Percussion instruments: Eleven demonstrations

Spend 17 minutes with 11 instruments found in the percussion section of an orchestra. This thoughtful percussion instruments video from London's Philharmonia Orchestra is chock-full of short, fascinating demonstration...

Shattering glass with the World’s Largest Horn

How do horns amplify sound? Why are they flared at the ends? And how do airhorns work? Mark Rober wanted to find out so he spent eight months building a massive air horn... perhaps the world's largest horn. In this...

What’s the right way to wash your hands?

Handwashing is an easy and effective way to avoid catching the common cold or a seasonal flu. But not using enough soap or washing your hands too quickly might not get rid of all of the germs—bacteria, viruses, fungi,...

How do our eyes and brains work together?

How does an eye work? How do our brains try to interpret the information our eyes send them? And is seeing really believing? This episode of National Geographic's Decoder explains how our eyes and brains work together...

How far would you have to go to escape gravity?

Every star, black hole, human being, smartphone and atom are all constantly pulling on each other due to one force: gravity. So why don’t we feel pulled in billions of different directions? And is there anywhere in th...

How do roller coasters affect your body?

In 1895, crowds flooded Coney Island to see America’s first-ever looping coaster: the Flip Flap Railway. But its thrilling flip caused cases of severe whiplash, neck injury and even ejections. Today, coasters can pull...

The ‘magic’ of invisibility lenses

Using lenses to bend light, YouTuber Brusspup makes a ruler, a knife, a spoon, a hand, and a laser completely disappear from view. Invisibility lenses create the illusion, an optical trick based on The Rochester Cloak...

Can we get solar power to everyone who wants it?

By the end of 2016, the US was home to over 1 million household and commercial solar energy operations, with 4 times as many solar panels installed that year compared to just four years earlier. But if you don’t own t...

Conductive copper dominoes topple to turn on this lamp

Why simply flip a switch when you can turn on a lamp with a domino chain reaction instead? This is a copper domino light created by London-based design studio Glithero. Tip over the first conductive copper switch, the...

Florida’s mangrove swamp ecosystem illustrated

Go on an illustrated adventure through a Florida mangrove swamp. New York Times best-selling author Rachel Ignotofsky has teamed up with animator Leo Thom and The Mangrove Action Project for this quick animated introd...

The Importance of Setting in a Story

The characters, the plot, the conflict they're facing, and the overall theme are all key components of a good story. But there's another important narrative element that provides context for everything that's going on...

How does sound travel to our brains?

How does a sound, like music played on a trumpet, travel from the source through our ears and to our brains? This animated video from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders describes the ...

The ‘Swiss Army knife’ legs of a house centipede

So. Many. Legs. Thirty legs arranged in a fluttery burst-like arrangement. This is the Scutigera coleoptrata, a house centipede. And though some may think they're creepy or gross, or dangerous to humans (they're not),...

Is climate change making hurricanes worse?

"So the important thing to understand about hurricanes is that they only form over warm water. Think of warm water as a fuel to the engine that is a hurricane. The hurricane forms when warm air over the ocean rises. A...

Why do goats have rectangular pupils?

In this 'I Wonder Why' episode from World by Charlie, Casey Engelman wants to know why goats have rectangular pupils. Her brother and host Charlie Engelman didn't know either, so they did some research. Those hori...

Raindrops: What do they really look like?

When you draw raindrops, how do you draw them? Are they tear-shaped with the point at their tops? Is that really what raindrops look like? Dr. Joe Hanson asked that very question. He then tested what happened to water...

How to make a rocket

"What's the best scientific formula for a powerful rocket with oxidizer and fuel?" In this video clip from Bang Goes The Theory Series 5, via BBC Earth Lab, we get a quick peek at the mix of chemistry and physics that...

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