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When we think of how trains get their locomotion, it’s typically from diesel engines, electric motors, or maybe steam power. But there was a time when train builders thought they could make railroad cars go faster by fitting them with airplane engines. Curious Droid has the story behind these forgotten relics.
Did you know that the sunlight you’re looking at now is 8-minutes old? Or that the most common maps completely distort the relative size of countries? Mental Floss Editor-in-Chief Erin McCarthy digs into these and plethora of other facts about our planet in this extensive trivia video.
UsefulCharts takes a look back at the 4000+ year history of Modern Latin Script, the letterforms and alphabet used today in English and many other languages. Along the way, you’ll learn about other forms of written communication which don’t use an alphabet. The chart is available as a 24″ x 36″ poster print.
If you know anything about electronics, you know there are tons of different types of switches. Engineer and inventor Tim Hunkin delves into some of the many kinds of switches, how they work to complete circuits, and how to choose the right type for your projects.
Between the risks of injury and the often precarious locations, parkour and freerunning can be pretty exciting to watch. SciShow goes beyond the athleticism to the physics of the sport, digging into the things that need to happen mechanically to climb walls, vault over obstacles, and land without trauma.
Science video makers Kurzgesagt teamed up with author and online personality John Green to create an animated clip to accompany an excerpt from his podcast The Anthropocene Reviewed. The focus of the episode is on the possible meaning of cave paintings, and what they might tell us about the human condition.
Geek out and expand your tech skills with this collection of e-books from No Starch Press. Pay as little as a buck to unlock the first four books or more than $18 to access the full library, which includes books on problem-solving, development strategies, and practical programming in Java, Python, C, C++, Rust, and more.
Despite what you might think, prison inmates sometimes have access to technology. In order to prevent people from hiding contraband, there are special see-through versions of gadgets. Techmoan looks at some of these unusual devices and the sometimes arbitrary rules about what items are permitted.
Artificial intelligence tech is everywhere these days, informing everything from credit decisions to diagnosing diseases and keeping cars from crashing. TED-Ed’s Briana Brownell explains the three main kinds of machine learning technology, how they differ, and how little we really know about how AI works.
Engineer and inventor Tim Hunkin is back with the second episode of his in-depth series celebrating the components used to build things. This time he turns his attention to light-emitting diodes, the now ubiquitous source of illumination that can be found in everything from televisions to cars to flashlights.
Engineer and inventor Tim Hunkin is the man behind the beloved UK educational series The Secret Life of Machines. Each episode of his new YouTube series will dive deep with a specific component. Episode 1 teaches everything you’ve ever wanted to know about chains and belts, along with their history, physics, and varieties.
Among the awesome creatures in the rainforests are animals and insects that can camouflage into their surroundings, along with ones designed to scare off predators. Zefrank talks about these amazing evolutionary traits, accompanied by incredible imagery by photographers David Weiller and Thomas Marent.
We look forward to the day when everything on every device just happens instantly. But until then, we will continue to see progress bars and spinning beachballs. Tom Scott digs into these First World annoyances and their most irritating properties – an inconsistent rate of movement and inability to predict completion time.
Our first experience with simulation games was playing SimCity on a Macintosh SE around 1990. Will Wright’s city-building series led to numerous sequels and spin-offs and gave birth to an entire genre of games, including his people simulator The Sims. Mental Floss walks us through the origins and history of the popular series.
The closest we’ll ever get to defusing a bomb is Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. But badass Chris Fuller has gone face-to-face with countless real-world explosives. UNILAD interviewed the former British Army Bomb Disposal Officer, who now does humanitarian work in the Middle East defusing bombs left behind ISIS.
This humorous history book offers a unique perspective on past events and how they can often still be relevant today. Penned by Kyle Creek (aka “The Captain“), the book compiles a mix of obscure trivia and historical facts, drawing parallels between them and modern situations we can all relate to.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, MTV was the place to go for the latest music videos. But over the years, the network has lost its way and its cultural relevancy. Slidebean’s Company Forensics digs into MTV’s history, their explosive growth, and the gradual changes that moved them away from their musical roots.
Conquer your home bar with this series of six online courses about bartending and mixology. Along the way you’ll learn all about gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, and tequila, along with the best ways to make cocktails from each spirit. Another great deal from The Awesomer Shop.
Everything you’re watching and reading has already happened – even if it was just a few seconds ago. It’s Okay To Be Smart gets really deep with an exploration of how time is relative, and therefore experienced differently for each person depending on their place in the universe.
Most content is shot digitally these days, but there’s something special about the look of movies shot on film. Gav of The Slow Mo Guys shows us the insides of a vintage 16mm camera for an up-close look at how it works as the film rolls past its shutter. It’s amazing how those sprockets keep each frame perfectly exposed.
The reason that electric plugs typically have two or three metal prongs is very easy to explain. But what about those holes you see in the tips of the prongs? Silver Cymbal digs into the backstory and purpose of this mysterious design attribute and shines some light on the topic.
If you’ve been to the beach, you know the ocean has a distinctive smell. While salt and dead fish are certainly part of the aroma, host Rose Bear Don’t Walk of SciShow explains what’s responsible for the water’s primary aromas, and how those organisms meaningfully impact the Earth’s ecosystem and climate.
(Gore) Caitlin Doughty of Ask A Mortician takes on the “experts react to” genre of videos by evaluating the quality and realism of the way dead bodies are portrayed in movies and TV shows, from The Goonies to Weekend at Bernie’s. If you’re squeamish, you’ll probably want to skip this one.