Nerds and Words: Week 19

By Kyle Hill | May 11, 2014 10:33 am

Digging through the web this week, I 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

Dead Whale Diaries, Day 3: a ribcage emerges

How far should we take anesthesia? The Hidden Dangers of Going Under

In Defense of GIFs in Science Writing

“…A law designed to satisfy the unfounded fears of foodies.” This Economist piece on Vermont is spot-on

The Cyanometer Is a 225-Year-Old Tool for Measuring the Blueness of the Sky

Confirmation bias is the better reason as to why we think dolphins “protect” us from sharks

The universe’s story is already written…Isn’t that a cheery thought.”

The undersea master of slime whose teeth look ridiculously like the cover of Tremors

The biggest creature on earth is definitely not a blue whale

This is aluminum powder exploding like a supernova

Antibiotic resistance isn’t just in our hospitals. It’s ancient, and literally everywhere 

Great longread: The True Story of Phineas Gage Is Much More Fascinating Than the Mythical Textbook Accounts

Get a cell to use unnatural, synthesized DNA base pairs and it’s an “alien”? Whatever, it’s pretty darn cool

How much are we messing with birds’ compasses? Somewhat, probably, maybe

 Have you ever seen a giant isopod swim? They are far more graceful than you think

Research on video games and violence needs to grow up, and the media has to get it right

Meditation has some benefits, but most studies on it are poor and don’t say nearly as much as you yoga instructor

 Visiting Europa is our best shot at discovering other life in the cosmos, so why aren’t we?

Jack Bauer has killed more people than all sharks in the last 430 years.

The movies make it look like emerging diseases come out of nowhere. They don’t, they’re ancient

Evolution gave humans and squid the same eyes. Yeah, it’s that awesome

Just an anemone eating a baby seabird

How good is your intuitive sense of buoyancy? Test it!

“The leafhopper isn’t an individual in its own right, but a collection of animal and microbes that live together.”

Gorgeous new species of peacock spider discovered

A glass of champagne will produce about a million bubbles before it goes flat

Looking at dune ripples to figure out how the Martian winds blow

 Saturn would look gorgeous before it turned us into a new ring with tidal forces

That “vampire rejuvenation” news? It’s more about mice and possible carcinogenic qualities


Extreme Nerdery

 Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Definitive Oral History of a TV Masterpiece

My childhood, GIFcapsulated

This lizard looks like Spider-Man, that is all.

Hack ‘n’ Slash is a Zelda-style game that demands you hack it. Looks awesome

How could any video on the evolution of VFX spend 0.5s on The Matrix?

“How many pilots would you need to take on Godzilla?” “7”

 Can a virtual pandemic in World of Warcraft teach us about real ones?

Explore life’s biggest questions with an 8-bit, fire-balling Nietzsche

 My first Nerdist feature derives the tribble growth equation. They really are trouble

Most overrated: Spy Kids Most underrated: Grandma’s Boy

Future astronauts might use a Fallout tool for health (and radscorpion) reasons

The last episode of Friends aired just over 10 years ago. They drank enough coffee to kill a bunch of people

Spider-Man’s webs can take a lot of weight, but that’s only half the reason why they are so strong

A thought, but not a bat-s*** crazy one: Batman came from his creator’s childhood trauma

Shake it so

 Psychologically harmful was Yoda? The green sage’s teachings weren’t very good

Players help scientists publish the first game-powered study

The original JAWS set to the new Godzilla trailer’s audio is nearly perfect

 There’s more energy expenditure in digging a mine than developing a Moon mission


Sciencey GIFs and Images

Galileo cataloged sunspot activity with a pen and paper hundreds of years ago. Now we have GIFs

Alligator uses tail-propelled launch technique

DO NOT TRY THIS (only if it seems like the wolf wants a belly rub)

Does this GIF help your arachnophobia?

 54% of USA population lives here

Bald eagle boop

A bee’s harpoon

Some deer avoid getting hit on the road by flying, apparently

How does a pitcher turn up the heat on a fast ball? “Kinetic-linking” puts the whole body behind it

 Holy crap tattooing in slo-mo and close-up

Only the manliest way to open a soda

There is a tiny galaxy in sparking a lighter

A reaction of liquid electrons

“The new toy taking the world by storm! Ball of Ants! Squish it, prod it, mold it, let it sting the hell out of you”

What Cosmos is trying to do with its massive effects budget


Pop Culture Happenings

 Alright Google commercial about astronomy teachers, you totally got me

This is what Syria is dealing with, and Americans don’t care

Wyoming rejects science standards, won’t teach man-made climate change

Hollywood keeps making superhero movies because we keep paying for them (and they got better)

Have a pair of those toe-shoe, barefoot Vibram things? Science, and the law, says you were duped

 That thing where you actually need a bigger boat because a great white chewed on your inflatable dingy

On Climate, Republicans and Democrats Are From Different Continents

Without intervention, monopolies will form. It’s math. Here’s why you should speak for net neutrality

Why nobody writes about popular TV shows

Fiona Tang’s incredible posters scream out of the wall at you

Pet acupuncture does not work (neither does the human kind)

 A statistical analysis of which Friends were the closest friends


MORE ABOUT: GIFs, physics, science

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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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