Nerds and Words: Week 48

By Kyle Hill | December 1, 2013 2:52 pm

I have dug through the Internet this week and uncovered all this geeky goodness. You can find the thousands of links from previous weeks here.


I have marked my favorite links with a. Enjoy.


Science to Read, Watch

A beaded chain, when given enough momentum, can “walk”!

NASA made a video that may be ISON’s proof of “life”!

Why are more women having mastectomies? Some shocking numbers here

Fossilized insect sex can tell us more than you think about evolution

Fascinating post on the fluid physics of nature’s most famous archer

Why are some words “bad”? It’s a linguistics questions that’s way more complicated than you think

Venomous primates, mimicry, and molecular biology?

A powerful and fascinating TED Talk talk about memory and crime: When eyewitnesses get it wrong

Another great TED talk by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs memory. Which self are you now?

Tool use in crocodiles!? Apparently you can bait herons by balancing a stick on your snout. And then eat them.

Using medical records to find genetic links to disease, backwards

“It’s a glow-in-the-dark marvel that takes on beasts hundreds of times its size. It almost always wins”

The funniest Q&A about ISON that you will read anywhere. “It will be terrible, pass the popcorn.”

The living architecture of fire ants is compressible, buoyant, and very cool

The secret to a stealthy seahorse predation? A weird head shape and fluid mechanics!

The first brain collectors weren’t really good dudes

First cicada wings, now dragonflies: More insect wings that shred bacteria

Are we sure the flames weren’t extinguished because they were trying to get away from Nickelback?

It’s hard for many to believe in evolution, because of evolution

NASA helps to make Thanksgiving dinner, with rockets

An “ice disk” forms in a cold, lazy river

Tracking the evolution of birds with teeth, and beaks…teaks?

Poorly executed, misleading study bites the dust: Study linking GM maize to rat tumors is retracted

Vaccines have prevented so many diseases that they are probably the most important public health measure ever

“Wasting time” is a cultural thing. Some people don’t know what it means, which seems wonderful

Fleeting worlds on sunken wood–sea life that appears mysteriously to feed on land plants

How the Chelyabinsk meteor is changing the cosmic timeline for impact events

How surface tension can make droplets dance, sort themselves and chase each other

A tree in Brooklyn drops stinky seeds for an animal that will never come; it’s a ghost of evolution

It’s time for psychology to start replicating its findings. It knows. It is.

Looking at the Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D using the universe’s redshift

Think “bait balls” only occur in the ocean? Try Lake Michigan.

Some numbers suggest that we’ve won the battle against shark finning. They’re probably wrong

Happy this isn’t fake: Amazingly preserved baby dino skeleton!

WOW! This just pressure from decomposition! Wow. Video footage of a sperm whale that explodes!

How do you ship a magnet that is over 15,000 kg? Very carefully

Woodpeckers should play football, because they don’t get concussions

Fist-bump for health: The doctor is not trying to bro down; it’s even bigger than that

What makes an icicle have ripples? Salt. Why? We are still figuring that out!

We measure sea level where there’s no sea with the gravity that would be there if the land was sea. Just watch

First it was sandpipers, now roaches: Do cockroaches have consciousness?

Meet Your Body’s Death Eaters–A fascinating guide to the different types of macrophages.

Vaccinate…Do it for the testicles

 

Extreme Nerdery

Martin Freeman really does not like the behind-the-scenes camera

Terminator 2 in 60 seconds

Comets should learn from their fallen friends

Mapping out all the “monsters” in the US in one awesome…map. Guess where the fabled “eel pig” is

A new study finds…

Genius art: Use bead curtains to make Star Trek portraits that look like they are mid-beam

How close would a supernova have to be to kill you with ghostly neutrinos? Well, start by not being incinerated

For all the talk about violent video games and Newtown, the shooter was obsessed with DDR, and other factors explain more

The amazing Hook Island sea monster photos, revisited

 

GIFs and Images for Some Wow

An amazing GIF of Africa’s morphing sand dunes from a BBC documentary

Always blow bubbles with smoke instead of air!

Just before you fall asleep tonight, as your rods and cones adjust to darkness, look at this angler fish

In case you need a reality check for how weird life can look, here’s a barreleye fish

On the square grid, the white dots in your periphery look shadowed. On the squiggly grid, the white dots appear white

“I’m just carrying my kids to go play dead somewhere, what are you looking at?”

Artist draws incredibly ornate pictures of insects, re-imagining “creepy crawly”

A katydid with and without UV light from Nicky Bay

Human have a lot of metabolic pathways, like so many it’s cray (8640×6000)

The force was strong with that exploding sperm whale

NASA makes really cool comet GIFs, especially of ISON

This awesome spinning flat screen is only awesome because your brain can’t process how fast it is turning

A moth’s head would make for a decent toothbrush. Visualize that

What I am dubbing “jellyfish mountain” is as amazing as it sounds

Spanish dancer nudibranch is not a dancer for money, does not do what you want it to do

Fish, fish, all around, but not a one to eat

Introversion as a GIF: Reverse crab molt

Devil rays: The definition of majestic

So…there are a lot of flights into the US every day

 

Pop Culture Happenings

It is ridiculously expensive to charge your phone in rural Africa

C’mon y’all, slowed-down cricket chirps DO NOT sound like singing. Here, here’s a recording a sound engineer made

Yes, what the hell is this “natural trampoline”?

Watch this video on the lack of STEM women on YouTube. Funny, clear, insightful, and applies to so much more

A story about a parrot so evil that its terror stretched a dark claw from beyond the grave

Get up to speed on fair use and GoldieBlox with this very thorough explainer

Whatever this “transparent” art installation in the desert means, it’s beautiful

A beautiful piece about how seeing the world from space changed Chris Hadfield’s views of home

A clear exploration of the potential problems, and benefits, of having the FDA go after 23andMe

Walter White’s “I Am the One Who Knocks” Speech as Written by Other Authors

To ensure that no one wasted valuable Russian nuking time, our launch codes were all zeroes for 20 years

My favorite cinemagraph is from Fight Club

“Russia’s Kildin island is a veritable petting zoo of the creepiest decaying military equipment

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But Not Simpler

It has been said that you should try to make a problem as simple as possible, but not simpler. Here, that problem is finding the real science behind pop culture. But Not Simpler is a place where you can ask the questions you thought were too nerdy for real answers. The physics of video games? Sure! The chemistry of dragon breath? Why not? When you can find the realities behind your favorite fiction, and seriously nerd-out in the process, everyone wins. Simple.

About Kyle Hill

Kyle Hill is a science writer and communicator who specializes in finding the secret science in your favorite fandom. His work has appeared in Wired, The Boston Globe, Scientific American, Popular Science, Slate, and more. He is a TV correspondent for Al Jazeera America's science and technology show TechKnow and a columnist for Skeptical Inquirer magazine. Find his stream of nerdery on Twitter: @Sci_Phile Email him at sciencebasedlife [at] gmail [dot] com.

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