Real laser beams don’t behave like they do in science fiction. Instead of firing in short blasts, they appear as a single coherent beam of light. The Action Lab shows a simple way to achieve the sci-fi effect in camera using a spinning fan blade and by taking advantage of a digital camera’s rolling shutter effect.
Dive through the layers of the Earth when you sip from Cognitive Surplus‘ geeky glass tumbler. It works best with chocolate milk or iced coffee to really show off the fossilized lifeforms as you head deeper beneath our planet’s surface. It holds 15 oz and makes a great gift for geologists, archaeologists, or anyone into science.
Kurzgesagt explores the complex systems at work to help keep our 40 trillion cells alive and well, adapting and facing off countless times each day against foreign organisms teeming inside of our bodies. For a deeper dive, grab a copy of Kurzgesagt founder Phil Dettmer’s new book IMMUNE.
Between pandemics, climate change, and various manmade problems, humans have our work cut out for us. By looking back at how we’ve solved crises in the past, MinuteEarth demonstrates a few basic principles that we can apply to eliminating other existential threats… if we can keep from letting politics win out over science.
You might think of the passage of time as something that moves in a particular direction – from left to right, front to back, or clockwise around a dial. As MinuteEarth explains, there’s no uniform way of looking at the direction of time, and how humans even represent it differently based on the way their language is written.
Touted by toymakers as instantly-hatching beings running a tiny civilization, Sea Monkeys are just brine shrimp. Hank Green and Journey to the Microcosmos offer their close-up take on the weird history of these novelty sea creatures. Interested in learning more? We recommend the Stuff You Should Know episode on the topic.
While we sit here staring at our screens, a war is being fought all around us. Trillions of microorganisms are battling it out for resources while viruses attack and take over. While it’s was believed that viruses aren’t alive, recent discoveries point to giant viruses that act more like living organisms. Kurzgesagt explains.
Martin Kristiansen of My Microscopic World used a polarized light source, a lab microscope, and an iPhone to capture these incredibly detailed, colorful, and otherworldly images of insect larvae, isopods, and tiny crustaceans. Check out more amazing close-up images on his Instagram feed.
Normally the only hole on a soap bubble is the one that you blow through to fill it with air. But science vlogger and teacher Steve Mould shows us how it’s easy to make a perfectly circular hole in a film of soap using a loop of thread. He goes on to explain how it’s a useful metaphor for the way cell membranes work.
How might we experience time if everything slowed down to 1/3600th of its current speed? With the help of a Phantom TMX 7510 high-speed camera, Gav from The Slow Mo Guys gives us a small taste of what life might be like at 90,000 frames per second. Want more? Here’s a guy falling into a pool for an hour.
Pouring boiling water into liquid nitrogen will result in a highly energetic reaction. YouTuber Nick Uhas and his pals put together an experiment where they poured 55 gallons of hot H2O into 200 liters of LN2 and added some soap and washable paint for color. The resulting explosion of bright blue vapor and foam is quite spectacular.
Building full-size rockets typically requires the creation of costly custom tooling. But Relativity Space is taking a different approach to the problem, using a giant 3D printer and additive manufacturing to melt and form aluminum into the shape of a rocket. Veritasium takes us inside of their facility for a look at how it works.
Some organisms and structures are so small that they can’t be seen by the naked eye. To give us a sense of how big they are compared to each other, MetaBallStudios scaled up some of these tiny objects to the size of more relatable objects like soda cans and skyscrapers to give us a much better idea of their relative sizes.
Kurzgesagt provides a layperson’s explanation of human immunity, the amazing and complex system that helps keep us alive – and sometimes needs a little help to build a memory against disease. Be sure to check out Kursgesagt’s new book Immune for more on the topic, and keep your eyes peeled for episode 2.
This set of modular blocks snaps onto your smartphone or tablet camera and turns it into a microscope. The kit includes a backlight, 60X, 150X, and 300X magnifiers, and a slide holder that can also hold liquid specimens. In addition, pre-packaged slides display information about the specimens using augmented reality tech.
After Kurzgesagt schooled us on how black holes work, we’re ready for some serious space exploration. In this video, the explain the relative sizes of these planet-eating phenomena, from coin-sized primordial black holes to city-sized stellar black holes to our favorite Muse song, Supermassive Black Hole… and beyond.
While geologists can study how lava flows by visiting volcanoes, science experiments are generally easier to perform in a controlled environment. Science geek Kyle Hill visited Syracuse University’s Lava Project for a look at how they melt rock in their custom crucible and turn it red hot goo at over 2700ºF.
Normally, when you knock over dominoes, they stay down. But is it possible to create a domino that stands itself back up using the energy that toppled it? The Action Lab explores this very possibility with some unique 3D-printed dominoes. You can grab the 3D models on Thingiverse if you want to play with them for yourself.
Fossil fuels come from decomposing plants and animals found in the earth’s crust. But is it possible to make your own gasoline from the grass in your backyard? Andy from How to Make Everything and CuriosityStream conducted an experiment using grass clippings to see if he could power a lawnmower with the fuel he made.
Aerospace engineer Tom Stanton has a thing for flywheels. Here, he first shows us how to build a flywheel that spins smoothly thanks to magnetic levitation, then how that spinning action can be used to generate a small amount of electricity and capture it via copper induction coils.
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.
Just how different are the gravitational forces on the planets in our solar system? Planetary scientist Dr. James O’Donoghue provides a great visual that compares the speed of a ball being dropped from 1 km onto each planet, as well as the sun, moon, and the asteroid Ceres where things take a really, really long time to fall.
There are lots of pasta shapes out there, but some take up more shelf space than others. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University came up with an innovative method to make pasta that starts out flat but takes a 3D form when cooked. The process involves scoring pasta dough with varying depths and spacing.