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How to Build a Lava Moat

How to Build a Lava Moat

Want to keep neighborhood rugrats off your lawn? Minutephysics and Randall Munroe of xkcd have got you covered, with their step-by-step plan for installing a moat filled with molten hot lava. Sadly, it would cost about $60,000 a day to keep it running unless you dig down deep enough and power it with geothermal energy.

How an Oscillating Fan Works

How an Oscillating Fan Works

Over the years, we’ve broken at least a couple of those oscillating fans, but could never figure out how to fix them. Jared Owen’s insightful 3D animation could have been a big help, as he shows us exactly how its mechanisms work to keep it moving from side to side.

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Weird Old Predictions

Weird Old Predictions

While many considered Nikolai Tesla to be a genius, he also had some pretty outlandish ideas, like the notion that we would stop drinking coffee by the 21st century. Mental Floss editor Erin McCarthy explores this and a number of other wacky predictions that have yet to come true, among them, undersea buses propelled by whales.

The Rise and Fall of Emo

The Rise and Fall of Emo

(PG-13: Language) “The irritating screech of a dial-up connection was replaced by the equally grating sound of teenagers expressing themselves.” Ordinary Things turns into Ordinary People, as our host walks us through a history of the Emo movement, as it evolved out of punk into something more suburban, then imploded.

Engineering Product Sounds

Engineering Product Sounds

Did you know that vacuum cleaners don’t actually need to be as loud as they are? Cheddar explains how companies often manipulate the sounds their products make to make them more satisfying, to provide feedback, and to demonstrate that they are actually doing their job.

Why We Say “OK”

Why We Say “OK”

It’s a word we hear every day – “O.K.”, “OK”, or “Okay” is an acknowledgement that we understand something. But most of us have no idea why we say it. Vox delves into the history of the word, and how it became the nearly universal affirmation it is today.

Which Is Stronger: Glue or Tape?

Which Is Stronger: Glue or Tape?

When it comes to holding things together, two of your best bets are glue or tape. Elizabeth Cox and TED-Ed explore the science behind adhesives, and which are the best for specific uses. We always wondered what kept glue from sticking to its own container, and now we know.

How a Drinking Bird Works

How a Drinking Bird Works

If you’ve ever played with one of those drinking bird toys, you know it can be quite fascinating to watch as it dunks its beak in and out of a glass of water. Engineerguy Bill Hammack pops off the bird’s festive blue hat to explain the thermodynamics which make the nearly endless fun happen.

Milk: It Does a Body Good?

Milk: It Does a Body Good?

From birth, mammals rely on milk for nutrition. We’ve been taught for decades that drinking cow’s milk is good for us, and part of a nutritious day. But as Kurzgesagt explains, recent studies call into question whether milk is really good for us, or if it’s slowly killing us. Plus, its production has dire environmental consequences.

President for One Day

President for One Day

The U.S. has had 45 presidents, most of whom served for at least a full term in office. But back in 1849, David Rice Atchison was the de facto president of our country for roughly a day. Half as Interesting explains how this happened, and why it’s still debated to this day.

If the Earth Was as Big as the Sun

If the Earth Was as Big as the Sun

While it might not look so huge up in the sky, the sun is big enough that it could fit 1,300,000 Earths inside of it. What If ponders what might life be here on our planet if it were that huge. While we’d have way more room to roam, we’d also have some pretty insurmountable problems.

The Original Game of LIFE

The Original Game of LIFE

If you’ve ever played the The Game of LIFE board game, you know it’s a pretty innocuous way to pass the time. But as Vox points out, the original version that came out in the 1860s included much darker milestones than just buying a house or sending your kids to college.

The Physics of Surfing

The Physics of Surfing

If you’re into surfing, you’re actually using your body and mind to take on the interactions between fluid mechanics, tectonic geography, weather patterns, and more. TED-Ed’s Nick Pizzo provides a brief explanation of how these systems of nature work together.

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The Evolution of Console Controllers

The Evolution of Console Controllers

Cheddar shares the origins of the controllers of the N64, and the Xbox and PlayStation series to point out how their designs were not based on ergonomics alone. Sometimes, management or technological constraints led to these familiar forms.

7 Million Years of Human Evolution

7 Million Years of Human Evolution

Want to know about our genetic ancestors? American Museum of Natural History’s fascinating video takes us back to the moment where humans branched off from chimpanzees, and illustrates our progress via maps of significant archaeological discoveries.

The Art of Suminagashi

The Art of Suminagashi

Suminagashi is an ancient Japanese craft that produces amazing marbled patterns on paper. Linh My Truong of the Textile Arts Center in New York City demonstrates several techniques for manipulating inks in a water bath to produce various cool patterns. Her tools include a cat’s whisker and a drinking straw.

How to Fly a Helicopter

How to Fly a Helicopter

This short video from Pilot Yellow provides an incredibly concise and easy to understand explanation of the basics of helicopter flight, using a small Guimbal Cabri G2 chopper to demonstrate. While it doesn’t go into the complexities of weather or flight safety, it’s a great primer on what all of those controls do.

Why Cities Exist

Why Cities Exist

Despite the crowds, costs, crime, and other drawbacks of big cities, people flock together in densely packed areas, leaving vast areas of the world undeveloped. Wendover Productions looks at the reasons that over 50% of the global population occupies just 1% of the land.

The Space Song

The Space Song

“Jupiter is the largest, all the planets could fit inside…” Learn a thing or three about the planets in our solar system with this catchy little ditty by Clare and Si Bennett of Planet Custard. A kid-friendly track that’ll have adults tapping their feet and singing along too.

A Brief History of Alcohol

A Brief History of Alcohol

After a long day at work, it’s nice to take the edge off with a little booze. But where did humans get the idea to ferment spirits and drink them in the first place? TED-Ed presenter Rod Phillips looks back on the 7,000+ year history of alcohol, which like many things, appears to have its origins with ancient Chinese civilizations.

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2020 Digital Marketing Bundle

Whether you own your own business or just have a side hustle, knowing your way around digital marketing can be the difference between failure and success. This bargain bundle of 12 online courses will teach you how to leverage social media, email, video, search engines, and affiliate marketing to maximize results.

Timothy Dexter: Rags-to-Riches

Timothy Dexter: Rags-to-Riches

Yep, vacation is over. So it’s time to get back to your desk and maybe do some work or learn something. Let’s start off with another oddball history lesson from Sam O’Nella Academy, and one Timothy Dexter, an 18th century farmhand who married his way into aristocracy, and then became even more wealthy despite his stupidity.

How Algorithms Replace Your Brain

How Algorithms Replace Your Brain

(PG-13: Language) While true artificial intelligence is a fascinating concept, most machine learning tech still uses some kind of algorithmic decision making. Ordinary Things provides a layperson’s explanation of how these systems work, and how our reliance on algorithms could make us stupider, and take our jobs in the process.

Why Dogs Have Floppy Ears

Why Dogs Have Floppy Ears

Have you ever noticed that while wolves have pointy, upright ears, most pet dogs have soft, floppy ears? Skunk Bear explores the fascinating and puzzling evolutionary biology of wild versus domesticated animals that created these distinctions among others.

How to Make a Rocket

How to Make a Rocket

Learn a little bit about the chemistry and physics that go into the construction of a basic rocket in this clip from BBC Earth Lab’s Bang Goes the Theory. The demonstration with the oxy-acetylene soda bottle rockets is neat, but is way too dangerous to try at home.

How to Escape a Supernova

How to Escape a Supernova

Things are always changing in the universe, so it’s possible that someday in the distant future that the Earth could be in danger from a catastrophic force. But is there a way that we could avoid such a fate given enough notice and ingenuity? Kurzgesagt digs into a theoretical method to do just that, by moving our entire solar system.

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