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.
Kurzgesagt explores string theory, and how it attempts to explain the nature of the universe. It’s supposed to solve the incompatibilities between quantum and gravitational physics by describing particles as “strings” rather than points. Yeah, we’re still confused.
Destin from Smarter Every Day teamed up with Gav and Dan from The Slow Mo Guys to see what exactly happens when a bullet hits a piece of bulletproof acrylic, both with a bullet that can’t make it through, and then with a .50 cal that can. Watch The Slow Mo Guys’ video here.
Part of how CGI has gotten so much better in recent years is the development of systems for specific types of physical realism. Here Soeren Pirk demonstrates an amazing system designed for simulating the motion of tree branches, and the way wood burns when set on fire.
With the help of his fans around the globe, Destin Sandlin digs into a surprisingly deep and perplexing topic – measuring the steady state velocity of toppling dominoes. The slow-motion footage is fascinating to watch, and you’ll definitely feel smarter after this one.
It’s not too hard to travel faster than sound, but amping things up to the speed of light is a whole other level. Life Noggin pontificates on the what might happen if we could exceed 186,000 miles per second. The whole slowing down light thing seems like a cheat though.
As much fun as carnival games look, they’re designed to steal your dollars, and not to award you that giant stuffed bear. Engineer Mark Rober is here to explore the math and physics behind carny scams, which are the biggest rip-offs, and a few ways to improve your chances.
Digital physics engines are fun. You can make all kinds of things happen in the virtual world that would be difficult to achieve in the real world. Take, for example, this stack of 55,000 Jenga-like planks which Xepher let his system render over the course of 12 days.
Destin Sandlin of Smarter Every Day teamed up with the folks at Soteria Suppressors to create special gun silencers wrapped in transparent cast acrylic, then captured amazing slow-mo footage of them in action using a high-speed camera at a whopping 110,000 fps.
Kyle Hill from Nerdist recently posted a brief clip that shows the crazy stuff that happens when you inject compressed air into a bed filled with sand. We spotted this 2012 video from The Royal Institution that shows much more, and provides an explanation of the physics at work.
Students from the Ithaca College Low Temperature Physics Lab created a neat version of a quantum levitation track. It still uses supercooling and magnets to work its magic, but adds a fun (and literal) twist to by running its course around a triple-twist Möbius Strip.
Veritasium takes a look at a neat physical property – the ability to levitate a lightweight ball or disc atop a jet of water. The trick involves getting the water to flow along one side, runs up and over the object, creating a state of equilibrium which allows it to spin.