ElectroBOOM’s Mehdi Sadaghdar expresses his disdain for “perpetual motion” devices which are claimed to produce more energy than is put into them, thus defying the basic laws of physics. The only thing these guys seem to be able to actually generate are YouTube views.
Beyond its liquid properties, the other cool thing about mercury is that it’s magnetic. Roobert33 shows how electromagnets can be used to change the direction that mercury flows in. It would be cool to build an Escher-style fountain that flows uphill with this method.
Fortunately, it’s starting to gradually warm up in most of the Northern Hemisphere, but when it is cold out, you just want to get somewhere warm as quickly as possible. Minute Physics ponders whether or not it’s better to proceed slowly when you’re freezing your butt off.
SmarterEveryDay looks at the behavior of the unusually strong Prince Rupert’s drop when subjected to the firepower of a bullet. The 150,000 fps slow-mo footage reveals some truly fascinating properties as shockwaves travel through these tadpole-shaped glass droplets.
A mystifying physics demonstration from science teacher Bruce Yeany, in which he shows off a simple device known as a “string shooter.” It uses a motor drive to fling a loop of string into the air and keep it there thanks to their light weight and the inertia that keeps it moving forward.
TheBackyardScientist shares a simple way to create a small fire tornado with no moving parts. The trick is to split the glass receptacle in half and place each half around the flame slightly off center. The wind that comes in through the gaps will create the tornado effect.
The 560th Flying Training Squadron invited SmarterEveryDay for a test flight in the trusty Northrop T-38 Talon, a supersonic trainer jet used by the US Air Force and NASA. It gives us a thrilling glimpse of just how hard it is to handle such powerful birds.
This footage may be 8 years old, but it doesn’t make it any less impressive. Watch as then high school student Anna Gu demonstrates a bridge she made from layered and glued sheets of paper that was so strong that the hook that held the weights failed before it did. Design here.
If you thought that machine that could balance itself on a single point was cool, check out Andreas Eder and Tobias Glück’s robot, which can swing three pivoting sections upright and keep them balanced. It can’t hold on indefinitely, but we’d like to see you do better.
Mike Rouleau shows off a neat bit of tech – a device which stands on a needle-like tip, but keeps itself balanced by constantly adjusting the direction and speed of motors. As one commenter put it: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
PBS’ It’s Okay to Be Smart considers the intellectual concept of a shrink ray, and how if it were even possible to turn us all into Mike Teavee, we’d end up dead in the process, since many of the systems our bodies rely on would fail to do their jobs in miniature.