Nerds and Words: Week 8

By Kyle Hill | February 23, 2014 12:00 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

The spores that dance, stumble, and jump as if they were alive

What the hardest Super Mario level can teach you about quantum mechanics

We are physical beings, but are we physical puppets too? Social psychologist Paul Bloom asks in a great longread but never really answers.

Stumbling blindly onto a chemical that helps mice without rods and cones see the light again

Venom, not a virus, is the scientifically accurate explanation behind zombie bites in The Walking Dead 

The scientific and political controversies around joining the Red and Dead Seas

 A phantom blinks into existence with a brilliant blue flash and then vanishes. A copepod you didn’t know you loved

Required reading: Carl Sagan’s method for sorting through those dubious things your friends say on Facebook (kinda)

New species of mite looks disturbingly like those things from Tremors, moves like them too

Watch the Morpheus Lander test its incredibly accurate flying in HD

You could throw a snake from a platform to see how it flies, or you could 3D-print its body to find out

This new whale counting tech could had saved Kirk a lot of hassle in Star Trek IV

Science: You could kick Ralph Macchio’s ass in less than two day’s training.

“It’s important not to confuse hopeful superstitions with science.” Banish Natural News articles on Facebook. Please.

Ants that form rafts put their babies at the bottom because they float! Thanks mom!

Why is science fiction so good at predicting science fact? Because science works

 What we learned from the death of ISON

When a giant isopod goes on a 5-year hunger strike but makes no demands

That weird fear of having something attack you on the toilet? It’s everyday reality for the sea cucumber

Trees move up the mountains as the climate beats them in a serious race

Got a dead car that you need to break into? Grab a spark plug, because pressure!

It’s not unusual for a figure skater to replace two hips before age 40. Here’s why

Our best cold case detectives are working on a mass extinction that lasted 60,000 years

You can train dogs to sit in MRIs and they love it. We love what their brains tell us about voices

The nation’s first poop bank

 Nothing will relax you today like this stunning time-lapse of snowflake formations set to lovely piano

Gout was affecting our primate ancestors long before it hobbled kings

As weed makes its way onto our roads, what do we know about driving stoned?

Bees buzz, borrow, build nests from our plastic waste

White noise helps some sleep because it is better noise, and it comes in different colors

California’s drought is disastrous, but we haven’t linked it to AGW just yet

A great primer on the supplements that are actually worth taking

 Two scientists who want smoking gone battle over the scant evidence we have on “e-cigs”


Extreme Nerdery

 While you sat trapped in the Spirit Realm someone fully recreated Ocarina of Time in Minecraft

When you stabilize action footage from TNG, the acting really comes through, you know?

Charmander is based on scientific ideas that were incorrect a thousand years ago

“Your grandfather wasn’t a Snorlax.” Pokemon creationist debate

How Players Actually Make Progress in ‘Twitch Plays Pokémon‘. Perpetually fascinated by this

Twitch is playing Pokemon Red like an anarchist mob, but will the mob ever beat the game?

When the revolution comes, how you say GIF will matter

Included because they are now my ULTIMATE GEEK CRED:

 Enrico Fermi’s favorite movies: 100 Dalmatians, Ocean’s 10, 1000: A Space Odessey…

The only way to make Jurassic Park’s CGI better is to make it much, much worse

This Twitter account is posting nothing but every single frame from Top Gun

 Why Storm Troopers never seem to be able to hit anything

David Attenborough narrates CURLING.

Manga fit for any True Detective fan

Make your mouse a theremin with this webpage. Turn the lights off and get weird.


Sciencey GIFs and Images

 Opportunity, the loneliest robot, seen here crawling Mar’s Murray Ridge from orbit

Evolution sent the tortoise beetle from the future. And the future is shiny as hell.

The mesmerizing amalgamation of all the overtime shots in the US vs Russia hockey game

Weekend project: Make enormous bubble-making device, watch popping

 Martian dunes are beautiful, also happen to look exactly like Starfleet insignias

Up-Goer Five is all well and good, but the actual plans for a Saturn V rocket are just as awesome

This is Hitler’s skull

The first successful snow leopard kill caught on camera, deep in a Himalayan national park

Believe it or not, we’ve documented crocodiles attacking elephant trunks quite a few times

When a forensic facial reconstructor takes on crystal skull vodka bottles

 xkcd once again proves who is the master of science visualizations: Frequencies

Tethys fimbria is the sole species of the genus Tethys. It can amputate its Cthulhu tentacles

Seriously, if I ever find this space-time carpet I am buying out the store


Pop Culture Happenings

Men used to be men, you know?

Would you sign a legal document giving NASA freedom to use your music in any part of the universe?

 Only 3-5 percent of photos on Instagram fall into the #selfie category

Do yourself a favor and watch how Dennis Hlynsky tracks the movements of nature through art

One thing Sochi won’t be awarding but should: The very clever snow-making tech

The carcass of Discovery’s “Megalodon” is still rotting, bolstering bad decisions maybe leading to shark culls

Yes, Discovery faked this photo of a Megalodon next to a Nazi u-boat

 Masterful mash-up makes Brian Williams nail “Rapper’s Delight”. WORD.

If it’s that kinda day for you: A collection of Olympic wipeout GIFs

Your flight doesn’t provide you with a parachute because it would probably kill you

Report: We mostly use f*** to swear on Twitter, and mostly during Mon-Wed

Algorithms shape every aspect of our lives. It makes you want to punch an ATM

More rules to allow nonsense “gluten-free” marketing to be on the books

A series of interactive art installations that rethinks what mirrors can be

“Even a melting pot of religions such as the UK still sees a large homophily effect in relationships.”

 What does Facebook see when you start a relationship? Less posting, but happier

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

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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_PhileEmail him at sciencebasedlife [at] gmail [dot] com.


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