How do we determine distances between the earth, sun, and moon, and from the sun to other planets, stars, and distant galaxies? We can't measure these directly, but indirect methods, combined with some basic high school math, can provide convincing and accurate results. A public lecture by Fields medalist Terry Tao (SLYT)
This is Science Magazine; this is one of their featured front-page stories (date stamped 17 September 2014 8:00 am): "The top 50 science stars of Twitter", by Jia You. The list has 46 men and 4 women. [more inside]
Over 150 documentaries available free online on science, consciousness, and several other topics. Occasional link is broken.
A video showing a chain of beads behaving in a very peculiar way appeared on Youtube some time ago. Many people attempted to provide explanations, but most of them weren't quite satisfactory. [more inside]
With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
The King of Random shows us how to make sparklers, shaken butter (that you can turn into a candle), instant ice (tutorial), and melting metal with microwave parts. [more inside]
Tolbachik is a volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. Andrew and Luda are two Kyrgyzstan-based photographers who wanted to take some video inside an active volcano. Tolbachik was happy to oblige. (SLYT)
Last fall, the Canadian Space Agency asked students to design a simple science experiment that could be performed in space, using items already available aboard the International Space Station. Today, Commander Chris Hadfield conducted the winner for its designers: two tenth grade students, Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, in a live feed to their school in Fall River, Nova Scotia. And now, we finally have an answer to the age-old question, What Happens When You Wring Out A Washcloth In Space? [more inside]
Artist/designer Shepard Fairey was commissioned the Center For The Advancement Of Science In Space to design a brand new patch for the International Space Station's ARK 1 (Advancing Researching Knowledge) mission. CASIS's Pat O'Neill unveiling the patch and the ARK 1 proposal.
The Forces Of The Next 30 Years - SF author and Mefi's Own Charles Stross talks to students at Olin College about sci-fi, fiction, speculation, the limits of computation, thermodynamics, Moore's Law, the history of travel, employment, automation, free trade, demographics, the developing world, privacy, and climate change in trying to answer the question What Does The World Of 2043 Look Like? (Youtube 56:43)
Cat responds to rotational optical illusion. The illusion in question. But why does it work? Link to the actual paper.
Henry Reich of Minute Physics shares his favorite science blogs, video channels, and other resources on the web. (Minute Physics previously) [more inside]
John And Hank Green (previously), amusing youtube teachers of world history and biology have finished the first cycle of their educational series Crash Course (previously) and have wrapped up mini lessons on Literature and Ecology. Now they've just started two brand new series on U.S History and Chemistry (to come). Outtakes.
"Mammals can generate centrifugal forces 10-70 times gravity" & "animals 'tune' the frequency of their shaking" What happens when mammals shake themselves dry. In slow motion. Also in cute-vision.
In the late 1970s the UK's Anglia Television ran a respected weekly documentary series: Science Report. But when the show was cancelled in 1977, the producers decided to channel Orson Welles in their final episode. The result was Alternative 3. Over the course of the hour, the audience would learn that a Science Report investigation into the UK "brain drain" had uncovered shocking revelations: man-made pollution had resulted in catastrophic climate change, the Earth would soon be rendered uninhabitable, and a secret American / Soviet joint plan was in place to establish colonies on the Moon and Mars. The show ended with footage of a US/Soviet Mars landing from May 22, 1962. After Alternative 3 aired, thousands of panicked viewers phoned the production company and demanded to know how long they had left to change planets. [more inside]
Sylvia's Super-Awesome Maker Show (demo reel) is a DIY webshow featuring 10-year-old Sylvia and her various science, tech, and craft projects. She will be on the cover of Make Magazine's Summer 2012 "School's Out! Best Summer Ever" issue. [more inside]
Muppet Labs, where the future is being made today, is the site of scientific enquiry, technological breakthroughs, and sundry explosions on The Muppet Show. Headed by Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, the lab premiered in episode 108 and lasted all five seasons. During the first season, Bunsen worked alone. Beginning in season two, the good doctor acquired an assistant-cum-guinea pig, the hapless Beaker. An annotated list of every single televised appearance of the Muppet Labs is after the fold! [more inside]
On November 22, 2011, TEDxBrussels held an all day event whose theme was: "A Day in the Deep Future." Speakers were asked to try and contemplate what life will be like for mankind in 50 years. Overview. [more inside]
The BBC broadcasted the science and technology showcase show Tomorrow's World (titles on piano) on 7 July 1965 on BBC1, it ran for 38 years until it was cancelled at the beginning of 2003. Unlike the boosterism of US science programs, Tomorrow's World was more famous for it's live stunts and wry outlook ( James Burke experiences the "convenient" office of the future and the future of home gardening and crushing ennui). The BBC has an archive of episodes and clips for UK visitors, everyone else will have to be content with clips concerning Home Computers, New Banking, Nellie The School Computer, The Elliot Light Pen, Mobile Phones, and Moog Synthesizers.
The science education video series Sixty Symbols (previously) explores the Cadbury Creme Egg. [more inside]
"The Architecture of Access to Scientific Information: Just How Badly We Have Messed This Up" Lawrence Lessig speaking at CERN on April 18, 2011. Long (~50 min), but wonderful and totally worth it (and the second half is about Youtube and remix culture).
Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth. The culmination of five years of field work, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups -- including many sights rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
DRUNK SCIENCE! Or, a short story about time travel, evolution, and ska. (SLYT, NSFW language, brief pedobear imagery) [more inside]
The Cassiopeia Project is quietly producing dozens of high-quality science videos and making them freely available online. [more inside]
The Electric Grandmother (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5) was a made-for-TV movie from 1982, based on the short story "I Sing the Body Electric!" by Ray Bradbury. It deals in mortality, grief, abandonment, artificial (emotional) intelligence, and other themes suitable for children. [more inside]
Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics celebrates fluid dynamics in all their fuck-yeahness.
Year On Earth breaks it down, explaining the complicated mechanics involved in trying to determine how long a year really is, why seasons and ice ages happen, and how not all years are created equal.
Is it really raining oil in Lousiana? A YouTube video captured by someone claiming to be a resident of River Ridge, Lousiana, roughly 45 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, purports to show evidence of just that. The EPA and other experts remain unconvinced, citing the seemingly obvious fact that oil does not evaporate. The local press characterizes the claims as "exaggerations and hysterical falsehoods." But at least one previous study has been offered to argue that oil broken down with dispersants can in fact evaporate under the right conditions. [more inside]
You can see that things gradually become more terrifying : Five of the six alkali metals and their reactions to air and water. Learn more at the Periodic Table Of Videos. Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium, Cesium (Caesium), and the elusive Francium.
What Periodic Videos did for chemistry, Sixty Symbols is doing for physics and engineering. Some behind the scenes action and general scienciness. [more inside]
Episode 4 - Problems "Okay, sometimes I almost want to give up everything." A fascinating insight into the Large Hadron Collider (loving the soundtracks too). YTL
Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) is the first video journal for biological research accepted in PubMed, featuring hundreds of peer-reviewed video-protocols demonstrating experimental techniques in the fields of neuroscience, cellular biology, developmental biology, immunology, bioengineering, microbiology and plant biology, free of charge.
John Wyndham: The Invisible Man of Science Fiction (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) - documentary about the British science fiction writer best known for The Day Of The Triffids
"It's so black, it's like, how much more black can it be?(youtube link) The Answer is none. None more black." And I have just found out there is a band called None More Black.
Open Culture's "10 Signs of Intelligent Life at YouTube" features "intellectually redeemable" channels from UC Berkeley, @GoogleTalks, TheNobelPrize, TED Talks, FORA.tv, the European Graduate School, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, BBC Worldwide, National Geographic, PBS, UChannel, MIT, Vanderbilt, and USC.
Liquid Nitrogen bomb! A ship floating on invisible hexaflourid gas! Smoking can kill you and weld metal! Nuclear Chain reaction... with balls! Detonating gas in a can!! Water flowing uphill! 100,000,000 volts and a Faraday cage! And more from Physikshow at University of Bonn.
Japanese professor Kenji Sugimoto has a long-standing fascination with the brain of Albert Einstein. In the early nineties he travelled to the United States in search of it. This bizarre 1994 documentary (YouTube, multiple parts) by Kevin Hull (UK) chronicles his quest. Fake or real? [more inside]