Nerds and Words: Week 10

By Kyle Hill | March 9, 2014 12:11 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

Yoga and prayer are not medicine. We know this.

True Detective‘s Rust Cohle may be one depressing SOB, but he’s right about our sense of self

Always nice to remind yourself that we have seen a sunset on Mars

No, painkillers don’t fuel overdose deaths, and stories ignore those who live with chronic pain

Found some more incredible mimic octopus footage, fast-forwarded to the cool part for you too

As incredible as the oarfish is, it’s absurd (but beautiful to look at)

Searching for the science of self

As with computing power, technology helped us get addicted to light

The symbiosis of spotted salamanders and the algae living inside them

Finally, a skeptical take: Almost 500 Foods Contain The ‘Yoga Mat’ Compound. Should We Care?

+1 to this great longread on epigenetics for using The Simpsons

Can we really trust facial recognition tech? Or is it more like a polygraph?

Supergenes are a thing, and they make this butterfly a very good liar

In the 90s, “repressed memories” lost their evidential basis. But did anyone pay attention?

The trilobite could be a kitchen utensil for Salvador Dalí

This is absolutely amazing to me: The birds that might be parasites of information

This Tower of Power is made of worms looking for a ride in a beetle

Drone upside #0987: Capturing a crazy pretty dolphin stampede and whales nuzzling

Why do all the Western characters on Firefly hurl insults at each other in Chinese? Possibly this

Never agree to write a turtle’s biography. You will, at one crucial point, run out of material.”

It’s much harder for (squid) babies to learn to swim in (effectively) Jello

In which I skin a squirrel for museum prep. I show you a penis bone (Graphic)

“Most space charts leave out the most significant part – all the space.”

“Is it crazy to wish upon a star?” Yes, unless it’s for fusion.

Would love to see more of this shark’s eye view footage

You’re an atheist; how can you be in awe of the universe? Wrong question, interesting answer

Wind turbines can induce lightning to go the other way, into the sky. THIS IS HOW THOR WORKS

Always enjoyed Paul Bloom’s lectures. His TED talk on the origins of pleasure is particularly good

The Anatomy of an Earworm

A defense of studying the duck genitalia “that can seem at war with each other.”

“Images allow us to capture something memorable without it needing to be remembered.”

How The Elements Got Their Names

Will the next spillover be from a virus unlocked by climate change?

Giant virus emerges from frozen slumber after 30,000 years still infectious

Doctor’s white coats are a health hazard, but can they afford to lose the psychological benefits?

Free the Elephants and Orcas in Captivity


Extreme Nerdery

No, Tony Hawk didn’t develop a hoverboard, but quantum mechanics can give you something better

It happened: Everything Wrong With Indiana Jones 4

If the Jurassic Park raptors in the kitchen scene was CATS

If you enjoyed Twitch Plays Pokemon, this emotional comic will rip your heart out and then put it back in

Can Twitch Plays Pokemon teach us about the nature of human society? Totally

What has traveled farther than Voyager? A uranium-enriching centrifuge

“300” was in slow motion literally 25% of the film

Explaining Zeno’s Paradox a bit better than your calculus teacher did

This website lets you re-create the “You didn’t say the magic word” scene from Jurassic Park, because Internet

1) Develop ground-breaking virtual reality tech 2) Recreate Seinfeld’s apartment

An entire song made from Jeff Goldblum’s bizarre Jurassic Park laugh

Because I’m Batman Begins

Do zombies exist? Kinda? It depends

I’ll be Bach: What the hell was The Terminator’s time signature?


Sciencey GIFs and Images

I love seeing animals crossed with everyday objects

Watch the gates of hell open in this GIF

How a river transforms itself over nearly 30 years

“I’ll get you puny land mammals if it’s the last thing I do!”

Photographer Marvin Muller has some incredible photos of a snake eating a crocodile

We just recovered from seeing a snake eat a crocodile and now this

“Oh, dear—it looks like evolution got into the nail polish again. Sorry about that, variegated grasshopper.”

I’m just going to leave this GIF of squid skin here for you…

A Hawk Attacking a Balloon In Slo-Mo Is a Graceful Murderous Ballet

Nothing like watching a bird sledding

He moves like a bird, bobbing his head…and he slashes at you with a claw like a razor…”

Not to be outdone by the last (fantastic) infographic, today’s xkcd is a gut punch of reality

Need some science comics? Beatrice The Biologist has you covered

Poison dart frog on acid, dude

Finally found a (slightly) longer version of the famous airplane fluid mechanics GIF, and tis awesome

A thing of beauty when an old TV burns in a game of Pac-Man


Pop Culture Happenings

For everything we know about the COSMOS reboot, nobody knows if it will work

“It’s time to make the case for science and for the wonder of the universe revealed by science

“I hope [Cosmos] succeeds…because we all need a unifying dose of curiosity and wonder.”

Heh. 13 GIFs to send to your friends that will make them incredibly internet-anxious

The King in Yellow was a sleeping virus, one that True Detective has finally brought back to life

I am helping MIT build an exquisitely cataloged library of reaction GIFs. You should too!

I don’t know if it was a translation error, but c’mon China, that’s a very unfortunate scientific acronym

With only her voice, artist Kawehi does an incredible rendition of Nirvana’s Heart-Shaped Box

A little book of London syphilitic whores made women put mouse skin on their faces

Love science? Join Christina Ochoa an I as we host Intel’s International Science & Engineering Fair 2014! Volunteer here

Artist David Jablow turns a suggestive doodle pad into an art series. Gallery here (slightly NSFW)

Why Does Everyone Hate Monsanto?

There is a whole Wiki devoted to explaining xkcd

Astronaut Commander Hadfield is your go-to source for ridiculous space facts

A hand-cranked water drop in a pond simulator. Mesmerizing

Are these cows really “jumping for joy”? I’d like to think so

How NASA cleverly handled the challenge of promoting a movie that makes space exploration look terrifying

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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