With the finals of the National Spelling Bee about to begin (on ESPN, streaming may not be available to you), "Vocativ and Google Trends were eager to demonstrate just how accomplished these youngsters are", so they compiled a list of the most spellchecked words in each of the 50 United States and D.C. (NOT in map format)
Earth's Magnetic Field May Be About to Flip [summary] - "Earth's last magnetic reversal took place 786,000 years ago and happened very quickly, in less than 100 years -- roughly a human lifetime. The rapid flip, much faster than the thousands of years most geologists thought, comes as new measurements show the planet's magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than normal and could drop to zero in a few thousand years." (via)
A magnetorheological (MR) fluid is a fluid that changes the way it flows in the presence of a magnetic field. [more inside]
Foxes hunt rodents in the snow by listening for their movements and leaping high to pounce on their prey. Interestingly, they hunt most successfully when they jump in a north-easterly direction - 73% of the time. Jumping in the opposite direction has a 60% success rate. Pouncing in other directions was successful only 18% of the time. This was consistent regardless of time of day, season of year and weather conditions. [more inside]
The Royal Society's lost women scientists. Women published in the Royal Society, 1890-1930. Most influential British women in the history of science. Women at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Heroines of Science. Women Biochemists, 1906-1939. Women in Science. Previously: The Women of ENIAC.
Later this year, geophysicist Dan Lathrop's DIY Planet Earth will be filled with liquid sodium, weigh in at 26 tons, and will be spun-up to 80mph at its equator in an effort to discover how the earth's magnetic field is generated. Currently undergoing tests, even those can be pretty impressive.
Protrude, Flow uses magnetic fluid, sound, and moving images. Affected by the sounds and spectators' voices in the exhibition place, the three-dimensional patterns of magnetic fluid transform in various ways, and are simultaneously projected on the wide screen. (note: Japanese site with WMV files) Related MeFi post. [via]
Athanasius Kircher was the 17th century's Jesuit version of the übergeek. His scholarly attentions were drawn to egyptology, astronomy, magnetism, languages, optics, music, geology, mathematics and many many other pursuits. The "dude of wonders" invented novel machines such as the mathematical organ and magnetic clock, established one of the first museums, published about 40 academic works (with beautiful accompanying illustrations) and was globally revered as one of his time's greatest intellectuals. He is also the main link in the Voynich manuscript mystery. [MI]
The Bakken: A social history of electricity The Bakken is a growing center "for education and learning that furthers the understanding of the history, cultural context, and applications of electricity and magnetism in the life sciences and their benefits to contemporary society." The site includes an illustrated collection of artifacts ranging from static electricity generators and Leyden jars to Victorian therapeutic magnetic belts, and exhibitions on Mesmer and Mesmerism and Mary Shelley and Frankenstein. The institute was founded by Earl Bakken, the co-inventor of the pacemaker.
Homemade Gauss Rifle and other fun science toys for kids. Don't forget to check out the amazing catalog of cool stuff you can buy to build these things. There's nothing more fun than a 4-pack of (rare earth element) Neodymium / Iron / Boron magnets!
Bert Hickman has a ten inch diameter Tesla coil powered from two neon sign transformers in his screened-in (but unheated) porch, along with a device that produces magnetic fields strong enough to shrink coins. One of the byproducts of the coin-shrinking: an eight inch ball of plasma.
"Protrude, Flow" A most amazing artistic endeavor - metallic filings dumped in oil to make magnetic liquid, and the fun that ensued afterwards. Make sure to check out the video as well! (from memepool)