Cool Science GIFs in 2013
December 27, 2013 7:54 AM   Subscribe

"If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a GIF is easily worth a million. The file format—which uses a series of images to produce a looping video, like a flip book—is a tremendous way to convey all sorts of moving wonders. ... It’s appropriate, then, that we use the GIF to explore some of the coolest, weirdest, most remarkable science stories of 2013. What follows is a non-exhaustive list of amazing science GIFs from 2013, in no particular order."

Direct links to each gif:

Dissolving Electronics
A Solar Eruption
Pitch Drop
Chelyabinsk Meteor
A Thought Moves Through a Fish’s Brain
A Washcloth is Squeezed in Space
Artificial Muscles Dance
A Red Batfish Eats
A Pineapple Rots
A Chain Levitates
posted by SpacemanStix (21 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm so happy they finally caught the pitch drop on camera. Thanks!
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:58 AM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Solar Eruption gif reminds us all of the most basic rule -- do not piss off the sun.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:00 AM on December 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Chris Hadfield is a pretty amazing fellow, and not for wringing a washcloth out in space
posted by edgeways at 8:14 AM on December 27, 2013


I'm so happy they finally caught the pitch drop on camera. Thanks!

I just noticed how fast the clock is spinning to the right. They really sped things up to make it look like it was dropping at a reasonable rate.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:40 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't know about that Batfish, that thing is wicked cool. Shows us how little we know about species in our planet
posted by andycyca at 8:52 AM on December 27, 2013


Made it!
posted by batfish at 8:57 AM on December 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


While normally any animation of the sun automatically runs to the top of my Too Creepy To Look At For Long list (the SOHO animations are enough to give me nightmares, so roiling and evil!), this time the sun is beat out by those artificial muscles. If on some parallel Earth in some parallel swamp, leeches had evolved to be flat sheets rather than tubes, that is what they would look like!
posted by mittens at 8:58 AM on December 27, 2013


That pineapple...chose poorly.
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:07 AM on December 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


Animated GIF is such a clunky format. It's a real shame that even in 2013, that we've landed on this (rather than APNG, or properly nice, native video) instead of something better.
posted by chimaera at 9:50 AM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Animated GIFs are the go-to format because they're ubiquitously supported. HTML5 is awesome for supporting real video formats, but even with a 75% to 83% of users having browsers that support HTML5, people and companies are still slow to move beyond the animated GIF format that was born in the late 1980s.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:15 AM on December 27, 2013


Heck, it seems that animated GIFs have only found such wide-spread use in the last 2-3 years. Vine and similar short-loop video platforms seem like a progression from that recent public interest, tied to the interest in sharing anything in 140-character blips.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:19 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


whoa. the washcloth in space is crazy.

why is the guy frowning like it's hard to do it? is it taking a lot of force because it's space?
posted by sio42 at 10:20 AM on December 27, 2013


I think he's trying to show that he's really, really wringing hard to force all the water out.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:23 AM on December 27, 2013


256 colors ought to be enough for anybody.
posted by anarch at 10:37 AM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you haven't seen the washcloth video, watch the whole thing here.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:56 AM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


More Chris Hadfield, Space Oddity
posted by edgeways at 12:55 PM on December 27, 2013


Everyone knows that the actual best science GIF is the one explaining what happens when you throw a brick in a washing machine.
posted by spitefulcrow at 1:03 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Everyone knows that the actual best science GIF is the one explaining what happens when you throw a brick in a washing machine.

From another exciting episode of Will it Wash?!
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:57 PM on December 27, 2013


Everyone knows that the actual best science GIF is the one explaining what happens when you throw a brick in a washing machine.

What about when you throw a lot of bricks in the washing machine?
posted by Valued Customer at 3:21 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The pineapple one is cool and/or creepy when viewed in reverse.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:15 PM on December 27, 2013


The forward and backward versions of the pineapple rotting should be looped with the sound of a slide whistle.
posted by Zozo at 12:13 PM on December 28, 2013


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