Nerds and Words: Week 12

By Kyle Hill | March 23, 2014 11:18 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

NASA’s “starshade” isn’t a galaxy destroyer but a very clever way to examine exoplanets

How fast do you need to go to red-shift yourself beyond the visible range of a speed camera?

Why do a bunch of villains have /mor/ in their names? Because those letters comprise a “phonestheme”

 A compilation of dogs reacting to a magic trick. Capacity for confusion?

The invertebrate bear that survived all mass extinctions, incredibly, adorably

It says this is 10 million FPS, but whatever it is, it captures glass cracks propagating and it’s gorgeous

You are either going to hate or love this tarantula molting video. Probably hate, because the sound is really weird

We were off on how good our sense of smell is by a factor of 1,000,000 and it makes perfect sense

The simplest explanation of the Big Bang gravity wave findings I’ve seen yet

Science is getting so good at brain mapping that we can take virtual tours

Do “smart pills” like Adderall really make you smarter?

Heat-seeking missiles ain’t got nothing on home-seeking snakes

 A fruit fly beats its wings over 250 times per second. It can right its flight in *3 wing beats* with fly “calculus”

AAAS: Climate Risks as Conclusive as Link between Smoking and Lung Cancer

How a snake sips from the sea, but can die of thirst in the middle it

Life on Titan would probably be weird, but it would be life worth taking a chance to find

Using a viral switch that never fails as a journalist in the guts of mice

A 1,500-year old piece of moss is the latest proof-of-concept in the fascinating new field of “resurrection ecology”

Scientists Ask Why There Are So Many Freaking Huge Ants (So do all of us)

Always bet on the insect“: How bugs are now overcoming our genetic engineering with evolution

 The mystery of the sea unicorn’s horn that still isn’t solved

Video of a scientist learning his theory was validated is going viral because of its humanity

What is “thirdhand smoke”? Turns out, it’s probably bad for you too

Are toilet seat covers worth it, statistically? Not really

Statistically oriented? Use Bayes’ theorem to better understand confusing health headlines!

The science of running a marathon (and why we don’t die doing it)

Could weed really be a gateway drug…across generations? More epigenetics interestingness

 Does this simple gyroscope actually weigh less when you spin it? Did you predict correctly?

Our smallest planet is getting smaller

The fallout around Chernobyl is even affecting the microbes that should be helping reclaim the land

New classroom project: Competitive water droplet racing in physics classes!

Vi Hart is here to curb your enthusiasm for pi

 If you slow down hummingbird squeaks, you can hear incredible subtleties in rhythm and tone


Extreme Nerdery

 The World’s Greatest True Detective

What it’s like to take astronomy from Carl Sagan

There are Zelda tattoos and then there are the best Zelda tattoos

 Find a huge underground oil chamber, use opportunity to sing the Halo theme song perfectly

These LEGOs just solved a Rubik’s cube in less than 4 seconds

Whatever “Saturn” is, this video showing a mechanized evolution using Darwin’s words is amazing

 Technically, you can “make it snappy” at the same speed as something “spreading like wildfire”

Idioms Graph

How many soda cans would it take to bring our CO2 back down? Enough to completely cover Rhode Island from space

Affirming life advice from He-Man’s nemesis, because internet: “Heal Yourself, Skeletor”

A lovely way to visualize and make less scary: Cross-Stitched Germs and Microbes

 Less Talk, More Rock: A feature on videogame design and storytelling from the creators of an all-time favorite

Huh. Most players don’t finish the awesome, story-driven games that we expect them to

 The 12-year old inside me loves this Superman GoPro video more than anything


Sciencey GIFs and Images

 This image isn’t moving. Damn you visual cortex!

Evolution tried to start a sports league once, but competitive leaf-eating just wasn’t that interesting to watch.”

Silly snake, golf balls are for golfers!

This kraken knows how to release itself

Trying to learn a new social media platform

With a combination of sensors and software, “explosive active armor” can sense and destroy incoming projectiles

This is a GIF of the military shooting a mortar out of the sky with a car-mounted laser

 It’s coming allergy sufferers…Nature is coming

Do you even science?

Substitute teacher writes on the chalkboard, “Walker, Texas Ranger


Pop Culture Happenings

Lovely gallery of “The Girls of Atomic City”–the women who helped win WWII

Chances are your seafood is caught “dirty”; millions of fish are discarded to die in order to satisfy us

Sadly, not surprising: 50% of Americans believe at least one medical conspiracy theory

 Slowing down Neil Tyson talking about Newton happens to be hilarious because he sounds WASTED

Good. Put all these frauds away. “TV Pitchman Kevin Trudeau Gets 10-Year Sentence

 Art exhibit shows classroom chalkboards right after quantum mechanics lectures

Graphic artist David Szakaly is the one making all the GIFs your stoner friends post

Tech’s Favorite Cartoonist Enters Mainstream Publishing

Australian Medical Association issues statement: Wind turbines are harmless

We do this to the Chicago River because we REALLY like St. Patrick’s Day (read: beer)


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Technology, 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_Phile Email him at sciencebasedlife [at] gmail [dot] com.


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