You never want to get too close to a mound of fire ants. But from the comfortable distance of your browser, they’re neat little buggers. Vox explores some of the fascinating ways in which colonies stick together to form structures, and how they can act as both a solid or fluid.
On the surface, the power to see through anything seems like a pretty useful superhero ability. But as What If explains, not only would you need an X-ray emitting sidekick to take advantage of your power, but your viewing subjects would probably end up getting cancer unless they wore safety aprons.
xkcd creator Randall Munroe’s latest book offers solutions to real-world problems. But don’t expect to get advice you can actually use. Instead, you’ll receive overly-complicated and impractical methods, in what he calls “world’s least useful self-help book.” Drops 9/3/19.
The Engineer Guy explains how droplets form. It happens when fluid is allowed to drip such that it takes a form with the smallest surface area – a sphere. By vibrating the fluid’s container, one can control how fast droplets form. This knowledge is used in printing, painting, and even medical applications.
Ever wonder why the sound echoes in an enclosed room? This 2013 clip from Acoustic Geometry, demonstrates some of the key principles of direct and reflected sounds using a combination of NERF disc guns, moiré patterns, and more than 1100 feet of fluorescent string.
You’d think that bouncing on a trampoline while it’s being driven down the road would be a bad idea. You’d probably be right, but at least the guys from the Dunking Devils Squad have physics on their side as the forward momentum of both the trampoline and jumpers keep them in sync.
The man we know as Vsauce Michael of the channel formerly known as DONG is shows off a nifty plaything. Designed by Pacific Puzzle Works, this oversize top conceals a smaller top inside that automagically spins when you spin the larger top. Available as a kit or fully-assembled.
Stanford mathematician Tadashi Tokieda explains a strange phenonmenon which occurs when tapping the inside of a coffee mug with a spoon – as it creates differently-pitched tones depending on where you place the spoon. More from Quanta Magazine. (Thanks Susan!)
If you live somewhere that snow coats roads in the wintertime, you’ll want to check out Engineering Explained’s latest clip, as Jason walks us through the variables at work when driving on slippery surfaces, and provides some tips on how to maintain control on the snow.
Getting spaceships and satellites into orbit requires powerful rockets and all of the challenges that come with them. But would it be possible to use a giant cannon of sorts to shoot these objects safely into orbit instead? Curious Droid explores the possibilities.
A while back, a video made the rounds showing what was supposedly a flying phone case. We figured it was fake, but as Mark Rober and Captain Disillusion point out, it also scammed people out of cash. Keep an eye on Peter Sripol’s channel for his WORKING version.
While we’re certain there’s way more at play in the physics of space flight than EC Henry’s video mentions, it’s still interesting to learn about the relative speeds of various ships from the Star Wars universe, and what sort of drag coefficient their designs would result in.
More cars than ever are relying on electricity for propulsion, but using electric motors and batteries for aircraft poses challenges. Real Engineering explores whether a pure electric flyer would be possible, and why it’s so difficult to achieve. Caution, physics equations ahead.