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Category: 06-Science (and Math) Saturday

May 10: Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey

So, normally this space is reserved for embedding YouTube video, but today I’m highlighting a show that you can watch on broadcast, cable, and streaming online.

When Carl Sagan’s original series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage originally aired on PBS, I was hooked. I already thought of the Strasenburgh Planetarium as my favorite place in the city, growing up in Rochester, but here was a trip to places unseen and science made so clear and easy to understand, I didn’t miss an episode, rewatched the series every time it aired, and eventually bought the DVDs.

Neil deGrasse Tyson returns to Sagan’s exploration of our universe, but adds dimension and knowledge gained since the original aired almost 35 years ago. His series should serve as inspiration for learning more about our world.

Sadly, there are places where the concepts he talks about are considered sacrilegious, and not everyone sees the broadcast.

If you’re in a place where censorship has taken away the free broadcast, there are other options. I watch the show on both Fox and on Hulu. You can also find it on National Geographic Channel and Netflix Streaming.

I encourage you to watch if you haven’t.

 

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March 8: BELIEF (Huvr)

In the movie Back to the Future, Part II, Marty McFly fast-forwards to 2015. Seemed like a long time into the future, back then.

Fast forward to today (for real) and the video below that hit YouTube on March 3. In just five days, the video has accumulated some 11 million hits. Sadly, if you visit the Wikipedia entry for the BTTF II Hoverboard, you’ll see it’s the hoax I expected it to be.

Sad? No, not really. The video gave me a smile.

Just don’t be that gullible maroon who thinks this is actual science. It’s not. It’s just movie magic.

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February 22: Smarter Every Day ~ COLD HARD SCIENCE. The Physics of Skating on Ice (With SlowMo) – 110

I featured Smarter Every Day last week, and I’ll do it again throughout this year, because I think their stuff is really nifty. This piece just happens to be cogent, considering the Winter Olympics.

So how does this stuff actually work, with ice? Haven’t you wondered? I know I have.

Check it out!


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=&w=560&h=315]

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February 8: Neil deGrasse Tyson on the New Cosmos

As a child growing up in Rochester, NY, my favorite place in the world was the Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester, NY. I loved the place so much, it’s where I chose to go on my first date. So it  should come as no surprise that when I tuned into PBS in 1980, for the first episode of Carl Sagan’s 13-part series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, my perspective on science and our place in the universe shifted radically. I watched the entire series, then watched it again when they repeated the episodes.  Finally got a copy of the DVDs so I can go back and watch again whenever I feel like it.

When I heard that Neil deGrasse Tyson would be producing an updated version of Sagan’s show, I was thrilled. Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey airs beginning March 9, 2014 on Fox. (I’m trying not to let that scare me.)

I’m psyched beyond all reason, because I hope the new show will bring in a whole new audience, and we’ll see an update that will carry us beyond Sagan’s original series, into places we couldn’t imagine when the original series aired.

Tyson talks about the new series and science with Bill Moyers on PBS. Seriously. Can. NOT. Wait.

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February 1: Wet animals shake in slow motion – Slo Mo #6 – Earth Unplugged

Time for some science-y stuff, as I contemplate what I’m going to do with two different classes in media production.

As info: 24 frames per second (FPS) is the normal film rate. You must string together 24 still shots (the number of images that must flow together), each of which contains miniscule changes between each frame or pair of frames, to represent a single second of motion film or video or what we think of as moving pictures. 

To produce slow motion, you have to increase the fps ratio, and you can achieve this effect in a variety of ways, as described in Wikipedia’s relatively simple terms.

If you want to explore how something works, one way to do it is to slow the motion down, so you can study the effects. That’s what Earth Unplugged does in its Slo Mo videos. Watch for more of these over the course of the year.

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January 25: Pale Blue Dot (Original – HD)

This week my Facebook feed included a reminder for a friend’s birthday. Normally, that wouldn’t be too terribly odd. I have over 650 “friends” on FB, and I get almost daily reminders that it’s someone’s birthday. But last year, Craig died suddenly, unexpectedly, just a few days after we saw him and his wife at the local planetarium. He was hosting a family science event on “Fibs” (the Fibonacci Sequence, to be specific) and was truly excited about leading the event. His enthusiasm for science and teaching was boundless.

When this video wandered past my feed a few months back, I added it to the list, but I wasn’t sure when I’d get to it. Between Craig Levin’s birthday and the local supernova, I think I found my answer. If you don’t know who Carl Sagan was, or why this video is important, now’s a great time to gain a little perspective about Earth in relation to the rest of the universe.

Whenever I look up these days, I think of Craig. He had a magic gift for seeing the importance in things, and it saddens me to know he was gone too soon. And then I think about the cool stuff he shared and I know he’d have loved this clip. So, on his behalf, a rare dedication to someone I knew and remember fondly.

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January 18: Casting a Fire Ant Colony with Molten Aluminum (Cast #043)

Kids, don’t try this at home. For that matter, the same goes for adults.

For those who object to the destruction of the colony, let me just say that fire ants are an invasive species. Wikipedia has this to say about the ones infesting the southern US:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates more than US$5 billion is spent annually on medical treatment, damage, and control in RIFA-infested areas. Further, the ants cause approximately US$750 million in damage to agricultural assets, including veterinary bills and livestock loss, as well as crop loss.[44]

On the whole, I’d rather see art than poison as a result of their eradication. Considering over 23 million viewers have watched (fascinated? horrified?), there must be something to the method in this madness.

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January 11: Glaciers Visit Izatys Resort – Mille Lacs Lake, MN

A version of this video is circulating right now on Facebook, but it isn’t the original. This one, with over 2 million hits since it was originally posted last May, is the real deal.

The actual term (Ice Heaves) was reported on several stations near the event. Here’s one of the reports, from KSTP.com: Ice Ashore Damages Homes on Mille Lacs.

How does that work? Like this.

Wow.

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January 4: The Most Amazing Optical Illusions on the Internet

Welcome to Science (and Math) Saturday, and Good Mythical Morning, Episode 260.

The best of the wacky in the Internet, summarized. How many of these have you shared on Facebook?

The “interesting” nature of their webisodes aside, Good Mythical Morning has posted nearly 600 videos, and I can’t fault them. I’m just gathering random stuff from all over. They’re sitting in front of a camera and producing their shows. Deserves a highlight, I’m thinking.

For more on optical illusions, go here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_illusion

And for more about Good Mythical Morning? http://rhettandlink.com/blog/good-mythical-morning-is-here

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