THE BEST Science

Bottle Rocket Shock Diamonds

Bottle Rocket Shock Diamonds

Using an ultra high-speed camera and Schlieren imaging, scientists from RMIT University captured incredible footage of the jet bursting forth from a pressurized plastic soda bottle. The shapes that emerge are called “shock diamonds,” which occur due to pressure differences between exhaust and the surrounding air.

How to See Germs Spread

How to See Germs Spread

We’ve all heard the advice to wash our hands, avoid touching our faces, and clean our smartphones if we want to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus or other bugs. Mark Rober uses some UV-reactive powder to demonstrate why that’s so important, and shows just how much stuff we touch and leave our germs on.

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The World of Microscopic Machines

The World of Microscopic Machines

Did you know that the smartphone in your pocket has moving parts inside of it? Devices such as accelerometers use a hybrid of mechanical and electronic mechanisms known as MEMS. New Mind puts this fascinating and complex tech under the microscope to explain how they work, and how they’re made.

X-Ray + Hydraulic Press

X-Ray + Hydraulic Press

Lauri and Anni of Hydraulic Press Channel fame dropped by the X-ray laboratory at the University of Helsinki to see what objects look like when crushed in front of an X-ray camera. With the help of scientist Samuli Siltanen, they were able to capture some very unique images. We’d love to see some more complicated objects.

If You Could Shrink Yourself

If You Could Shrink Yourself

What If explores the hypothetical question of what would happen if you were like Ant Man, and could shrink yourself down to whatever size you wanted. As you descend from the size of a frog’s egg to the size of an atom, would things be totally awesome down there, or absolutely horrifying?

Floating an Anvil

Floating an Anvil

You’d think it would be pretty difficult to get a 110-pound iron anvil to float on top of a liquid, but it’s definitely possible with the right substance. In this clip from Cody’s Lab, he shows how a tub filled with shiny liquid mercury does the trick. The much higher density of the mercury is why this experiment works.

Up Close with Volvox

Up Close with Volvox

Volvox (aka “globe algae”) are a genus of bright green algae that like to hang out in freshwater. Now spend a minute living in their world, courtesy of Shigeru Gougi, who shared this amazing footage of the spherical green lifeforms dancing about under the lens of a microscope.

The Moon is a Door to Forever

The Moon is a Door to Forever

Amateur philosopher and space enthusiast exurb1a reminisces about the history of lunar exploration, from the Apollo missions through NASA’s plans to return to the moon in the 21st century. Along the way, you’ll learn a thing or two about the moon’s origins, its relationship to Earth, and more.

Is The Universe Finite?

Is The Universe Finite?

There’s a lot of debate as to whether the universe goes on and on forever, or if you kept going, you’d eventually reach its edge. PBS Space Time digs into this astrophysics quandary. Whether the universe is geographically-flat and infinite, or it curves in on itself, it’s still more enormous than most of us can fathom.

Insane Water Flow

Insane Water Flow

In this scene from the Discovery UK show Richard Hammond’s Big, the Hamster visits the Verbund Hydro Power plant in Austria. Watch as he gets up close and personal with the massive stream of water coursing out of the bottom of a hydroelectric dam, where more than 5000 gallons of water gush out per second.

Why We Have Leap Years

Why We Have Leap Years

Ever wonder why we add a day to the end of every fourth February? Well, as it turns out, the Earth orbits the sun every 365.242 days, so we get off by about a quarter day every year. Dr. James O’Donoghue provides a concise graphical explanation of this time tweak we do to make things right, and what would happen without leap years.

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.

Engineering Living Robots

Engineering Living Robots

Researchers from The University of Vermont and Tufts University have created tiny “xenobots,” which use living cells manipulated to perform tasks. AI algorithms guided the microsurgery used to create these organic machines which could someday clean microplastics from oceans, or repair organs in our bodies.

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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.

Potato Cannon Glider

Potato Cannon Glider

There are thousands of videos out there showing how to make a potato cannon. But this clip from The Backyard Scientist shows how to use one to launch a glider. Working with his pal Joe – with a nod to the guys at FliteTest – they work out the most balanced and airworthy glider design.

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.

Molten Aluminum Volcano

Molten Aluminum Volcano

The Backyard Scientist performs yet another very dangerous experiment, as he pours a bucket of 1500ºF molten aluminum into a volcano made from sand, then ups the spectacle by adding some fireworks to the mix. Yeah, don’t ever try anything this guy does at home.

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.

Neo Life

Neo Life

Created by Wired co-founder Jane Metcalfe, Neo.Life: 25 Visions for the Future of Our Species is an upcoming book that imagines how technology and biology might work together to change the future of humankind, featuring insights from scientists, writers, and artists as they dream of what might lie ahead for us.

Hidden Universes

Hidden Universes

If you think the search for meaning of life was difficult for humans, imagine being a tiny microorganism, scurrying about with billions of others, mindlessly performing its role in the universe. Pursuit of Wonder’s clip ponders just that.

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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.

Rare Substance Probabilities

Rare Substance Probabilities

Ever wonder what the chances were of stumbling upon naturally-occurring gold or platinum? Reigarw Comparisons returns with another infographic video to explore the probabilities of finding a randomly occurring atom of substances on Earth, from the wildly prolific oxygen, to the incredibly rare Element 118.

History of the Earth

History of the Earth

Over its 4-ish billion year history, the Earth has seen some dramatic changes. Algol does a great job conveying some of the milestones of our planet’s development through this animated infographic, which shows changes in the Earth’s average temperature, atmospheric composition, and day length throughout its lifetime.

World’s Largest Science Experiment

World’s Largest Science Experiment

You’ve probably heard of the Large Hadron Collider at some point, but do you have any idea what this gigantic machine actually does? Physics Girl visited the CERN facility in Geneva Switzerland to check out this marvel of science, digging into the experiments it’s being used for, and the questions it’s trying to answer.

How a Tesla Valve Works

How a Tesla Valve Works

Invented by Nikola Tesla, this ingenious type of valve uses a series of teardrop-shaped channels to restrict the flow of gases going one direction, by allowing smooth flow the other direction. NightHawkInLight built one such valve and demonstrates how it works by igniting propane gas flowing through it.

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