The Beauty Of Physics
September 4, 2012 9:56 PM   Subscribe

Ordinary objects made beautiful by physics: a red scarf surrounded by electric fans. Half-filled water balloons and Jello (previously) dropped and shot at 6200 frames per second. Two ball bearings welded together and set to spin with a breath.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (34 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
The gelatin and the scarf are the most unworldly beautiful things I've ever seen.
posted by happyroach at 10:13 PM on September 4, 2012


I love the scarf! It looks alive. I wonder if this can be used as a screen saver, it seems so soothing.
posted by JujuB at 10:32 PM on September 4, 2012


I was thinking that the scarf reminded me of the plastic bag scene from American Beauty. Then I turned up the sound, and I'm pretty sure that's a piece of music from American Beauty. I liked the plastic bag scene, and I like the scarf too.
posted by Joh at 10:37 PM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Underwater scarf!
posted by palacewalls at 10:44 PM on September 4, 2012


The scarf was particularly beautiful until I started seeing it as an entity trying to escape. That's when my inner nerd began to study the setup as a means of preventing a being from disapparating.
posted by Graygorey at 10:52 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I adore the host of the Hurricane Balls vid (last link). Here's another of his: Euler's Disk.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:27 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The guy doing the ball bearings video is so wonderfully in love with his toys. I've stayed up much later than I should watching him just be so full of passion for what he loves.
posted by aspo at 12:44 AM on September 5, 2012


I can just imagine a pair of hamsters looking thoroughly deflated at their own performance on seeing that hurricane ball video.
posted by edd at 1:58 AM on September 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Jello was highly watchable and the color diffusion is beautiful. I missed it first time round.
I'm surprised it stayed so intact.
posted by adamvasco at 2:44 AM on September 5, 2012


I want the ability to make time move like these videos. It would make my morning commutes a lot more interesting.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:02 AM on September 5, 2012


I'll say this much: Casper needs to cut down on the pork pies a little.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:18 AM on September 5, 2012


Watching the scarf, you have to understand that moving air does this, all the time, everywhere. We just don't usually get to see it.
posted by scruss at 4:39 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


You need to watch the ball bearing video to the end, to hear the guys little "gosh!" when the balls stop spinning.
posted by orme at 4:52 AM on September 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was thinking that the scarf reminded me of the plastic bag scene from American Beauty. Then I turned up the sound, and I'm pretty sure that's a piece of music from American Beauty. I liked the plastic bag scene, and I like the scarf too.

I had the same exact thought, and I believe you are correct regarding the music.
posted by Thistledown at 5:03 AM on September 5, 2012


Nice, thanks for posting this.
posted by carter at 5:15 AM on September 5, 2012


"Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it, and my heart is just going to cave in."
posted by crunchland at 5:35 AM on September 5, 2012


my girlfriend sent me the scarf video when we were first dating. that shit WORKS, y'all.
posted by liketitanic at 5:54 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was thinking that the scarf reminded me of the plastic bag scene from American Beauty. Then I turned up the sound, and I'm pretty sure that's a piece of music from American Beauty. I liked the plastic bag scene, and I like the scarf too.

I didn't like the choice of music, and muted it immediately. I like the music, I like the bag scene, and I like the scarf video on mute, but I don't like the scarf video with the music.

The American Beauty bag was, in the context of the story, accidental; to notice its beauty requires that you open your mind to experiencing beauty in unconventional contexts. The bag's dancing wasn't set up, it was a phenomenon that emerged naturally in a world that produces beautiful things as a matter of course. I interpreted the music (and, let me be clear, this is just my interpretation and is not intended to say that anyone else's interpretation is wrong) as being linked to those ideas.

So along come scarf video maker people and they've got this pretty video of a scarf being blown about. They choose the music from the AB bag scene, and it's really hard not to think that they're trying to make a comparison, or to say that the scarf video is substantially related to or similar to the bag scene. And they are similar in the sense that they feature flexible objects being blown about in the air. They are different in that the bag was discovered; the scarf was put into a very carefully constructed situation. When the scarf video people use the AB bag music, they imply to me that the important aspect of the AB bag scene was "flexible object being blown about in air", rather than the other ideas that I considered important about the AB bag scene. That caused significant dissonance for me.

That isn't to say that the scarf wasn't beautiful. It totally was. It was just a better experience for me and my preexisting baggage to listen without sound.

Watching the scarf, you have to understand that moving air does this, all the time, everywhere. We just don't usually get to see it.

Yes.
posted by Jpfed at 6:38 AM on September 5, 2012


I want the ability to make time move like these videos. It would make my morning commutes a lot more interesting.

Interesting, yes, but it'd take four hours to cross the street. Might get old.
posted by echo target at 6:43 AM on September 5, 2012


Seeing the setup of the scarf video, I couldn't help but think, "I liked this better when it was a fire tornado."
posted by explosion at 6:44 AM on September 5, 2012


I love all of these, though the water balloons kept reminding me of some benign, goofy mating ritual.
posted by PuppyCat at 7:24 AM on September 5, 2012


Of course the point of the scene with the bag in American Beauty is that beauty is all around us... even in a pool of blood seeping out of a guy's head.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 7:27 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Look at how fast that finger is moving in the jello movie around 1:08. That's what amazed me. Flicking is impressive.
posted by Shutter at 7:47 AM on September 5, 2012


This guy reminds me of the presenters of kids science programmes for children when I was young. The safe, slightly mad uncle.
posted by epo at 8:22 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's another of his: Euler's Disk

In high school machine shop I once fabricated a gear 14" in diameter and 1" thick, out of solid cold rolled steel plate. The project I machined it for never materialized, but I used to love spinning it on a table in the cafeteria in exactly this manner. With teeth instead of a smooth circumference, on a 4' x 8' melamine-covered plywood sounding board, in a huge echo chamber with painted cinder-block walls, you can imagine the slowly escalating, growling crescendo of ear-splitting noise, and it took much longer than his little speckled disk to stop.

The patience of teachers on lunch-hour 'caf' duty wore thin very, very quickly.
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:30 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


So much beauty in the world
posted by homunculus at 9:32 AM on September 5, 2012


Jpfed, I totally agree with your interpretation of the differences between the plastic bag and scarf scenes, but I still enjoyed both of them. But yes, they do mean very different things. Also, I watched the scarf mostly on mute because I was trying to be quiet, so maybe that helped!
posted by Joh at 9:39 AM on September 5, 2012


The complexity of the morphological changes in the gelatin cube was amazing! Does anyone know if we're able to mathematically model things like that yet? My guess is no, but I have nothing to back that up except my own ignorance. But...wow.
posted by blurker at 11:17 AM on September 5, 2012


The gelatin cubes reminded me of martial arts films: the hero drops into the frame from above, flattens into a crouch on landing, then gathers himself up and launches into a flying kick.
posted by looli at 12:21 PM on September 5, 2012


Jpfed: The American Beauty bag was, in the context of the story, accidental; to notice its beauty requires that you open your mind to experiencing beauty in unconventional contexts. The bag's dancing wasn't set up, it was a phenomenon that emerged naturally in a world that produces beautiful things as a matter of course. [...] They are different in that the bag was discovered; the scarf was put into a very carefully constructed situation.
Well, you know what will really bake your noodle? The bag scene you watched in American Beauty almost certainly had a rigged up set of fans just off-camera to ensure it danced and whirled compellingly enough for the director's tastes.
posted by hincandenza at 1:33 PM on September 5, 2012


Well, you know what will really bake your noodle?

I could probably power a few whirling bags with that eyeroll.

I knew someone was going to bring this up. I tried to head it off by saying "The American Beauty bag was, in the context of the story, accidental;". That is, to the within-movie viewers of the bag scene (Ricky Fitts and his girlfriend), it was accidental. I interpret the bag scene as having the aforementioned meaning despite the artifice that went into its creation because it easily could have happened unaided in real life.

More generally, I allow myself to derive meanings from movies despite the fact that you could construct with a computer an arbitrary video sequence (even one that shows things that NEVER HAPPENED!) because portions of a video sequence may map to real-life referents, and it's often easy to draw analogies between the the objects I recognize in the video sequences and their corresponding referents and then run those analogies through a mental filter that distinguishes acceptable ideas from those that are not acceptable. If you don't allow yourself to perform those same mental acts, then that's cool. But yeah, I got it covered, I know there are cameras and props and crew and stuff. Thanks for looking out for me.
posted by Jpfed at 2:02 PM on September 5, 2012


I do not understand how the ball bearing thing is possible. How do they keep going so long with so little energy input?
posted by jacquilynne at 2:13 PM on September 5, 2012


The red scarf one filled me with an uncontrollable urge to punch Kevin Spacey in the face.
posted by item at 3:45 PM on September 5, 2012


jacquilynne: I do not understand how the ball bearing thing is possible. How do they keep going so long with so little energy input.
It's on a slightly concave surface, so it doesn't wobble off to the side and then hit the edge (you see the same thing with the Euler disk video). Because the default state is for it to keep spinning unless stopped. Due to the very smooth surfaces of both glass and steel, and the slight concavity of the mirror keeping it spinning in the center (and not wobbling off to the side and hitting the edge), there's very little resistance; the little there is does eventually stop it, but it goes for a good long while until that happens.
item: The red scarf one filled me with an uncontrollable urge to punch Kevin Spacey in the face.
Right. Blame it on the scarf, and not on say, "K-PAX".
posted by hincandenza at 6:16 PM on September 5, 2012


« Older So what happens when a variety of B-list actors an...  |  Libraries all over the US and ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments