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Sci Fri
August 29, 2009 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Never trust a Sperm Whale.

More science videos from NPR's Science Friday with Ira Flatow.

Time Lapse From Space

Chef Wylie Dufresne on Frying Hollandaise

Oliver Sacks on Music and the Brain

Water Balloons in Space

A Home That Heats Itself

Elephants Can't Jump

Bending Balloons into Giant Flowers

X-Rays as Art
posted by vronsky (19 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I tend think we're the ones stealing from the whales.
posted by tula at 1:29 PM on August 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Gah...always put the download link AFTER you post a link to the site describing what it is.
posted by GavinR at 1:59 PM on August 29, 2009


Nice! I've had a soft spot for Flatow since Newton's Apple.
posted by jquinby at 2:10 PM on August 29, 2009


This candy corn experiment is pretty amazing. Teaches you how soap cleans your dishes or clothes.
posted by lilkeith07 at 2:34 PM on August 29, 2009


I once lent Chester, a sperm whale friend of mine, an original copy of Herman Melville's Redburn: His First Voyage (I figured the subject matter would be less unsettling to him than that in Melville's classic work).

When Chester returned it to me, he'd torn several pages, stained several more with what I can only assume were fish guts and I won't even get into the water damage. What's more, he complained to me (though a series of clicks) that he couldn't turn the pages easily due to his lack of hands, which made the book "unreadable" in his opinion.

Not only wouldn't I trust that sperm whale with one of my books again, I would trust him as a literary critic either.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:42 PM on August 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


The phase-change trick on the "Home That Heats Itself" video is a stroke of genius. Anyone have any more information on it?
posted by vibrotronica at 2:51 PM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's the petunias that you really need to keep an eye on.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:23 PM on August 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Two edits:

"Through" a series of clicks.

"wouldn't" trust him as a literary critic.

Never trust your own ability to spell before hitting "Post Comment."
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:52 PM on August 29, 2009


Yes, that is definitely a hidden gem, vibrotronica. It sounds like if it's built new with all of this Enertia wood you can get a net-zero-energy house like a passive house. And on top of how cool that is, the guy got the idea from Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle and ice-9! Here's more on how ti works. Keywords you'll want to search on: thermal lag, phase change materials, and direct gain. Sykes calls his system a "wood thermal battery" [patent].
posted by dhartung at 3:54 PM on August 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


ChurchHatesTucker: It's the petunias that you really need to keep an eye on.

Oh no, not again.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:59 PM on August 29, 2009


So those clicks are either an approaching sperm whale or a Geiger counter. Neither of those are good news.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:03 PM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Chef Wylie Dufresne on Frying Hollandaise -- Yeah, that's exactly what I want to see for Sunday brunch first thing in the morning, next to my frozen coffee cubes and Mimosa-on-a-stick....
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:11 PM on August 29, 2009


Scariest deep sea fishing story I ever heard (and may be a whale of a tale, admittedly, although my fisherman friend swore this happened to one of his buddies):

Off the coast of Oregon, this young man was deep sea fishing in his sea kayak. To keep his catch fresh over the course of the day, he added each caught fish to a line that he flung over the side of his kayak.

At some point in the afternoon his kayak was pulled underwater one foot, like a bob, and then popped back up to the surface. He checked his line and and it was severed. All the fish were gone.

1) Whatever had eaten those fish had come from directly beneath him.
2) It was likely very big.
3) It must have had sharp teach to cut the line so quickly.

Granted, it might have been a sea lion. But it also might have been something much bigger. Videos like the one in that first link always remind me how small we are compared to many of the animals of the sea, and how smart those animals can be.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 4:19 PM on August 29, 2009


Shadow puppet excellence.
posted by marvin at 4:45 PM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Storing home heat in a phase change material is very old hat (though not very widespread). Storing it in the wood is new and pretty cool sounding, but actually a bad idea if you think about it. If it has to both have structural properties AND heating properties, it's probably going to kind of suck at both.
posted by DU at 4:50 PM on August 29, 2009


Wait...I had two cookies on my plate here...now they're...did I eat...wait...FOILED AGAIN!
posted by jimmythefish at 7:54 PM on August 29, 2009


@DU That's incredibly not short-sighted enough. All the material has to do is beat regular wood with no latent heat properties. Incremental gains, my friend. You can't complain that technology doesn't solve all the problems at once, it just has to solve one, or part of one.
posted by iloveit at 1:46 AM on August 30, 2009


That's awesome, thanks for that.

Yet another reason I won't be going swimming.
posted by ciderwoman at 12:47 PM on August 30, 2009


"I'm under ur boats, stealin ur fishies."

Here is a flikr set of the x ray artist - Nick Veasey
posted by vronsky at 4:20 PM on August 30, 2009


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