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Tag: Science

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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March 1: LEO the anti-gravity show

What would happen if the laws of gravity changed?

Taking advantage of the camera’s viewpoint and some exceptionally creative and athletic perspective adjustments, LEO, the brainchild of Montréal actor and director Daniel Briére, based on an original idea by Tobias Wegner, asks the question. For more about LEO and other works, go here:

Check it out!

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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!


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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 Ice Ashore Damages Homes on Mille Lacs.

How does that work? Like this.


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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:

And for more about Good Mythical Morning?

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November 25: Vi Hart ~ Twelve Tones

Last Vi Hart video for the year, and it’s a real winner. Half an hour investment, but oh, so worth it.

It’s not enough to be smart – you have to know how to share what you understand, and she’s got it. The magic clue that helps make all the complex stuff make sense.

Starting tomorrow (or later today, depending on when you see this), we countdown towards the Advent Calendar and December’s winter highlights. Folks to the north of me are getting hammered. Hope you’ve got some internet. Why not go catch up on some of this blog’s past winners? Click on the archive and pick a day or a month.

See you tomorrow with possibly the silliest musical piece I’ve encountered in this process.

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November 23: Doodling in Math Class: Connecting Dots

I caught Vi Hart’s Hexaflexagons a while back and wanted to post more of her awesome math/science stuff, but then other stuff got in the way and the links just sat in my queue. Until today.

Vi Hart is an exceptionally talented scientist, completely capable of reducing complex mathematical concepts into bite-sized, easily digestible chunks of absolute awesome. She has a whole channel on YouTube and I strongly suggest you subscribe to it like I have.

Meanwhile, here are some more of her gems to carry us through to Thanksgiving. (Ignore the weird title still. The link works just fine!)

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November 8: “I Think for Myself” – Neil deGrasse Tyson with Stephen Fry

This says so much more about why I feel the way I do about science.

Sure, I’m still grumpy about Pluto, but it’s okay, because this guy…this genius GUY…puts it all out there.

He says everything I need to know about why science is important.

Have your faith, but don’t let it interfere with honest exploration of our world. It’s the exploration we do naturally as humans from the moment we are born. Choosing anything else simply by virtue of a learned religious belief stifles the natural scientist and explorer that is the human spirit.

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November 3: Amazing Resonance Experiment!

Ah, Science. I don’t always understand how you work, but you’re always awesome when I can watch the results. Resonance (the science of frequency) can become visual given the right circumstances.

I’m not alone thinking this is cool. Over 3 million people agree with me.

Lots and lots more where that came from, too. Kind of like visiting the Ontario Science Centre or the Exploratorium without leaving your desk.

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September 26: The TOUGHEST Bridge In The World Compilation Video – Rocky Theme

This schadenfreude moment brought to you by a 100 year old railroad trestle bridge, located at the corner of Gregson and Peabody streets in Durham, North Carolina!

No, really. 11′ 8″ means 11′ 8″ and if your rig is taller than that at any point (including air compressors), you’re just asking for a big repair bill.

Let’s hear it for Thanks for sharing the wealth. And the comedy.

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