Nerds and Words: Week 1

By Kyle Hill | January 5, 2014 9:38 am

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

Pi is beautiful, these visualizations prove it

“Mariella Superina has been studying the pink fairy’s habitat for 13 years and has never once seen one in the wild.”

Does a Woolly Mammoth Need a Lawyer?

On the 10th anniversary of Spirit landing on Mars, thinking of this sad, beautiful xkcd. You did fine, little rover.

The video quality hurts the brain, but it’s fun to watch a sailfish relentlessly try to spear some lures

The huge diversity of plants in the tropics could be from a massive, invisible war zone

Piranhas are dangerous…only in certain circumstances and only a little bit

Some animals are making our ocean waste, the “plastisphere” their home. Cool, but at what cost?

In trying to save a species, you can also make sure the “not-so-fit” survive, which is a problem for super cute birds

Why humans are the kittens of the universe, pawing at the keyboard of truth

How the Simpsons Have Secretly Been Teaching You Math

The mistakes we make define us, especially if you had a chance to shoot Hitler and didn’t

The Pacific leaping blenny knows living in the ocean is so three billion years ago

Early, I know, but top it: Coolest thing of 2014 is using standing acoustic waves to levitate objects

Earthquake lights: Another mystery turns out to be pure, fascinating, science! (Not aliens)

Dinosaurs had feathers sure, but like everything else, the story of who got plumage is complicated

Question: Are dogs sensitive to magnetic fields? Research method: Watch them poop. Answer: Probably!

The steps are being taken to test treatments on a medically-generated you. First, ALS and your own motor neurons

Baby it’s cold outside, so get out there and play with thermodynamics!

An explosion of Opiliones

No, that is not a “shark photobomb,” it’s a dolphin. Now stop it, because marine science

Spiders hate smoker’s breath too. No, really!

Three different genetic tests converge on confusion, not useful health information

On TED: “I submit that [science] run on the model of American Idol is a recipe for civilizational disaster.”

Steven Pinker explains why we speak in euphemisms

So…real technology has totally caught up with fake movie technology

How Lyme disease and syphilis effectively burrow into bodies

Do dolphins recreationally use one of the most potent toxins known to man? Probably not

You could probably make a baby with a JRR Tolkien dwarf. Just FYI

An old but must-see TED talk: Taking the psychopath test

 

Extreme Nerdery

Sherlock as it truly needs to be seen

It took the artist 14 months, but here it is: All of the Futurama characters in one place

How does Smaug breathe fire? Like a bombardier beetle, or a flatulent cow, or a BoyScout, maybe

Father names his daughter “Tali’Zorah.” Is he crazy? Absolutely not

An epic longread about data, nerdy investigation, and movies just for you: How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood

Oh nothing, just every staircase and flagpole in Super Mario Bros. for no reason

Another great deviantART find: ALL the Pokemon drawn to scale in one photo

Finally! *Objective* game reviews

This dude makes the best Zelda comics. Full stop. “I came all this way just for you…I have no idea what to say

4: The length of the Death Star’s exhaust port in newborn babies

Make Bilbo Baggins a girl, it totally works

Alcoholism, abuse, and Tony Stark: Iron Man Saved My Life

A Flickr page devoted almost entirely to old-school Japanese Kaiju anatomy

“No matter how lost in the woods you become…you can still be found.”

An age-old question: Wolverine…or two Batmans?

Realistic Scyther from Pokemon is the terrifying insect/dinosaur I always hoped it would be

Super-imposing 134 playthroughs of the *hardest* Super Mario level to demonstrate the many-worlds hypothesis

Dwarves and their scale doubles from The Hobbit.

 

Sciencey GIFs and Images

Quickly, before winter ends! Fill a Super Soaker with boiling water!

Pretty pareidolia: The face of an iceberg

TIL Your iris wiggles as your eye moves!

A mirror pinwheel BREAKS my brain

The story of needle use in one image. But it depends! Read the comments here.

I love the mimic octopus’s sand worms from Beetlejuice impression

Who has seven closely related topics? I have a crazy-ass Venn diagram for you

Have you had to deal with the hardest part of 2014 yet?

DON’T READ THE COMMENTS“–Adam West

Seriously, the trolls will return in 2014. They lie in wait for those who read the comments

This is the evolution of 2013′s most popular subreddits, GIFified

“The fine art of landing”

All of these dots are moving in a straight line. None are spinning or changing color

Having snow on your roof while driving is super illegal, because of stuff like this

“While in veterinary college, I assisted with a work up of a silverback gorilla. Here are a few pics I took.”

The path of least resistance is rising hot air created from this amazing arc

Don’t give an otter something he can’t tummy stack

The Man O’ War: Really weird outside the water

There is something magical about beaching a (fake) whale in the middle of the forest

 

Pop Culture Happenings

A video essay on modern cinema culture as confusion: Chaos Cinema

Huh. “…Squee was first used as a comic book sound-effect word made by dying robots.”

I’ll stand by this: The best cover of Daft Punk’s “Derezzed” is on a Chinese zither

New Year’s Resolutions for an Anteater: “I’m gonna eat a shit ton more ants.”

Environmental sculptures that dissolve back into the wild, never to be seen again

This tree says something about art and deforestation all at once

A Giant Twisting Serpent Skeleton Emerges from the Loire River in France

You should go see “Walking with Dinosaurs 3D” with earplugs. It’s better that way

Illustrated timeline of anti-fun moral panics

Notes from the past. I hardly get it, which is why I’m so fascinated by xkcd

If you don’t have time to read Malcolm Gladwell’s David & Goliath, here’s the 600-word version

“American Hustle” alludes to science denial and the man who made us fear microwaves and power lines

A Baker’s Dozen Old-Fashioned Anti-Erection Gadgets for Men (with Illustrations)

Growing industry Breaking Bank by cleaning up exploded meth labs

New Zealand school caves to public opinion, removes wi-fi from school. Do we need local science advisory boards?

300 Years of Imaginary Space Ships: 1630-1920

 

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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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