Nerds and Words: Week 15

By Kyle Hill | April 13, 2014 10:02 am

Digging through the Internet 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

Ants face an omnipresent threat from zombie fungus, and a new study helps explain why

 You have never seen nature make mistakes so beautiful

Will “sluggish cognitive tempo” be the new diagnosis du jour, like ADHD?

COVER YOUR MOUTH, YOU FILTHY ANIMAL

Coral-eating worm is basically John Carptenter’s Thing

Preliminary computer simulation of the March 22 landslide near Oso, Washington. All that earth, only 120 seconds

People see faces/women/hands/trees on the Moon. Be skeptical of the pattern-seeking brain

Crows are smarter than your cat, and your baby. It’s science

You’ve probably seen this famous protein animation, but you’ve never seen the realistic (super jittery) version

How do birds zip through the environment with ease? They have mastered “optic flow”

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: top posts
MORE ABOUT: GIFs, math, physics, science

These Frogs Are Nature’s Mistakes…And They Are Beautiful

By Kyle Hill | April 8, 2014 10:30 am

Nature is a messy painter. Perhaps like a Jackson Pollock, nature fills its canvas with chaotic yet focused drips and smears and smudges. Most of the time, the paintings turn out marvelously—form and function for the sake of survival. Other times the chaos wins out, and nature makes a mistake. But mistakes can be beautiful.

Brandon_Ballengee_DFA147_Phaethon

DFA147: Phaethon. 2013. Unique Iris print on Arches watercolor paper. Cleared and stained Pacific tree frog collected in Aptos, California in scientific collaboration with Stanley K. Sessions.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts

Nerds and Words: Week 14

By Kyle Hill | April 6, 2014 12:15 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

Don’t pander out of fear to those who are already afraid of the wrong things, like water fluoridation

A wrecking ball made out of Miley Cyrus would have to swing pretty fast

The quotes in here sum up my feelings on anti-vax really well: “Messing with nature is the whole point of medicine

No diet is best

You might as well drink Avogadro’s bones at 200C: Why homeopathy is nonsense

How to Turn a Pencil Into a Diamond

You remember that? How sure are you? Our most confident memories can be completely wrong

The horrors that were demons and ghosts, but are now sleep paralysis

The chemistry of tear gas canisters

 Things you need to know about moray eels: 1) They have ALIEN jaws. 2) They have a gorgeous, ribbon-like larval stage.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: top posts
MORE ABOUT: GIFs, math, physics, science

I Came In Like A Wrecking Ball (Going 390 MPH)

By Kyle Hill | April 2, 2014 10:30 am

Miley-Cyrus-Wrecking-BallYes, there is a paper in a scientific journal whose discussion concludes:

Based on these findings, it is clear that a human being cannot possess the characteristics of a wrecking ball without sustaining significant injury, and other objects should be sought as an analogy.

Who’s going to tell Miley Cyrus about this? Stick around for the science below* (and then stick your tongue out if you feel like it).

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

Nerds and Words: Week 13

By Kyle Hill | March 30, 2014 12:43 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

You’d be killed by the crowd of urinators before you were by the interaction of urine and pool water

Noah isn’t accurate because it can’t be

Everything isn’t relative. In fact, most things aren’t, and that’s how we do science

The only discovered wingman in the animal kingdom is the long-tailed manakin, helping an older partner get laid

If Pacific Rim followed its own math, the kaijus totally would have exterminated us

Why do snakes have two penises?

Wow put a fly in a particle accelerator and record incredible muscle moment

It’s pretty easy to make people think their hands are no longer made of flesh

Nearly microscopic, beautiful little snails first described in new paper are also close to extinction

“Slow Life” has to be some of the best nature footage I have ever seen

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: top posts

Noah Isn’t Accurate Because It Can’t Be

By Kyle Hill | March 28, 2014 1:11 pm
Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Religious moviegoers are concerned about the film Noah. Debuting this Friday, the movie will not be an exact retelling of the biblical tale, and this irked religious leaders and commentators enough that a disclaimer was put into Noah without director Darren Aronofsky’s knowledge. Artistic license met biblical literalism, an awkward compromise was reached, but prominent Christian activists will still probably leave disappointed and the controversy will go on.

The problem is that Noah doesn’t need a disclaimer or a controversy. Aronofsky has the right to retell a story that is necessarily inaccurate.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: top posts

If Pacific Rim Followed Its Own Math, The Kaiju Would Have Won

By Kyle Hill | March 25, 2014 10:00 am
Click to enkaijunate

Click to enkaijunate

In the microscopic serenity of a test tube, bacteria multiply exponentially. Given enough food and space, the population will quickly double itself every few days or even hours. High school biology students might remember the math that goes along with this growth—something in the form of P=ert (like the shampoo, professors urge students to remember). Interdimensional monsters from the film Pacific Rim invade Earth in much the same way.

In Pacific Rim, kaiju researcher Hermann Gottlieb is quoted as saying:

In the beginning the Kaiju attacks was spaced by twenty-four weeks, then twelve, then six, then every two weeks. The last one in Sydney…was a week. In four days, we could be seeing the Kaiju every eight hours until they are coming every four minutes.

Gottlieb’s timeframe of a looming apocalypse has the numbers he needs to predict when the next kaiju will emerge from the “breach.” We can do the same. Unfortunately, even giving Gottlieb the benefit of the doubt, the data doesn’t make any sense. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

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

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Technology, top posts

Can The Doppler Effect Help You Beat The Speed Camera?

By Kyle Hill | March 18, 2014 10:30 am

Doppler ShiftThe shortest answer is no.

Thanks to the curiosities of physics, there is this paradoxical yet plausible notion that you could beat a camera meant to photograph you speeding by going so fast that it won’t pick you up. In theory there is some speed at which the very light reflected off of your car will become undetectable to the human eye. But how fast would that be?

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

Nerds and Words: Week 11

By Kyle Hill | March 16, 2014 10:21 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

Take a breath, thank a sponge? Following the chain of events back to the origin of oxygenated animals

When you screw with your sense of self, it’s harder to form memories

Do lobsters feel pain when we cook them, alive, like monsters? Maybe. Scientists disagree

“The science of cognitive training has not kept up with the hype” (i.e., they don’t work).

15 minutes of “pit stop science” with a great white is something I’ll always want to do

The “new car smell” became a status marker after WWI, but the chemicals have toxic roots

On the physics of flying snakes and our unhappiness with them on our planes

How repetition lets music work its magic, work its magic, magic

If you’re an unfortunate wasp, you might have junk in your trunk. It’s not fat. It’s a hellish parasite.

Hard Science updates a classic science demo with DUBSTEP. Put this in your classroom

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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.
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