We Finally Have A Name For Scooby Doo’s Speech Disorder

By Kyle Hill | March 11, 2014 10:30 am

Ruh Roh!When I imagine Scooby-Doo, I can almost hear it. I hear the horn-filled chase theme, the pitter-patter of feet scrambling to get away, and, more than anything, I hear the semi-intelligible dialogue of a canine with a speech disorder. Forty-five years after the first airing of the beloved children’s TV show, I decided I had heard my last “ruh oh.”

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts

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?

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

Will Cosmos Work?

By Kyle Hill | March 7, 2014 10:30 am

CosmosPicIf you’re interested in science and own a TV, you will probably be watching the reboot of Cosmos this Sunday. You also probably know that the show will be updated with new science since Carl Sagan’s original series, that it features astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and that its premiere will be “the biggest roll-out in television history,” if you believe major backer of the show, Seth MacFarlane. You may have read profiles, news pieces, interviews, or even seen a preview of the show. But nobody knows the answer to the most important question—will Cosmos work?

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

That Hoverboard Video Was Totally Fake, But Quantum Levitation Isn’t

By Kyle Hill | March 6, 2014 10:30 am

Totally fake, but totally radSo, you’re telling me that a fictional scientist and a skateboarder didn’t create a Nobel Prize-worthy piece of levitation technology that would literally change the world? I guess it’s Back to the Drawing Board…

After a rather elaborate series of videos, denials, and eventual reveals, it turns out that Tony Hawk and Doc Brown will not be bringing you your very own hoverboard by the end of the year. As easy as this silly hoax was to uncover, you can never tell how much scientific damage is done by stunts like this (the fake video has 8.5 million views at the time of this writing). After all, thanks to Animal Planet, many people believe mermaids are frolicking topless on some distant shoreline. Thankfully, the hoverboard hoax is a teachable moment–we know how to hover boards (kinda).

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

The Most Depressing Things True Detective Says About The Self Are True

By Kyle Hill | March 3, 2014 11:00 am


We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self. A secretion of sensory experience and feeling. Programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when, in fact, nobody is anybody.

Rust Cohle has tumbled down a deep, dark philosophical hole and wants us to follow him. In HBO’s episodic crime drama True Detective, Cohle—played masterfully by Matthew McConaughey—accentuates his homicide investigations with disturbing existential rumination. Listening to Cohle lecture on the futile nature of human life or the cosmic indifference of the universe is emotionally arresting to say the least. His “corrosive” soul is the fulcrum for the supernatural element in True Detective, a nihilistic car wreck to stare at each week.

But Cohle is more than just dark when he speaks about human nature, he is right.

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Nerds and Words: Week 9

By Kyle Hill | March 2, 2014 12:38 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 blind have more nightmares, and it gets more interesting from there

A whale graveyard where dozens of ancient giants met their end by something almost microscopic

Sock for the heart, and you’re to blame. You give science a good name

The fruit fly’s refusal to be monogamous tells us something about how intelligence evolved

When your friend is down, lend a helping trunk, elephants do

Giant scary birds were giant, scary, but probably not mammal-munchers

 A wasp with a zombifying stinger able to sense its way through a cockroach brain in under a minute

The jewel wasp is the preeminent cockraoch brain surgeon

What does Smaug have in common with a beetle? More than you may think

Robots of a rotor synchronize their motors

We are simultaneously on the precipice of several different cliffs.”

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Technology, top posts

Talking Science, Aliens, And RoboCop With Kids!

By Kyle Hill | February 27, 2014 8:51 am

Kyle Mutant SeasonThe hardest part of communicating science isn’t when it’s in front of your peers or viewers or readers—the people you expect to know what you are talking about and why. For me, it’s talking science with kids. There isn’t anything like the inquisitive stare of a pre-teen to elicit the feeling you are about to speak in front of your biggest audience ever.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

Could Shouting “Fus Ro Dah” Ever Knock Someone Over?

By Kyle Hill | February 25, 2014 10:30 am

Fus Ro Dah!

The merchant wanted me to clear the decaying tomb outside the village. I was halfway to it when I saw something more interesting in the distance. It was a set of stairs carved into stone that instantly distracted me, like a million other little things in Skyrim, from my quest. I set out for the stairs and made my way up a few before a troll beset me. It got too close. With three words and a mighty shout, a blast of air blew the troll down the mountainside like a smelly ragdoll no child would buy. Above me, a dragon roared. I felt powerful. Could you do something like that for real?
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

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

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

The Many-Worlds Hypothesis And The Hardest Super Mario Level

By Kyle Hill | February 20, 2014 10:30 am

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 4.15.28 PM

Don’t have time to read the article with your eyes?

Listen to it with your ears!

In 2007, a Japanese youth hacked a version of Nintendo’s Super Mario World specifically to frustrate the goombas out of his friend. Distilled and translated from a longer Japanese title, this “Kaizo Mario World,” as it came to be known, was one of the first ultra-hard Super Mario hacks to make it around the world. The file quickly spread across the Internet to annoy more than the original recipient. It was filled with invisible blocks intentionally placed to thwart jump attempts, low time limits, and instant-death enemies. Despite the challenges Kaizo Mario presented, players soldiered on, finding ingenious, pixel-perfect solutions to the levels. A successful playthrough of any one of them is a privilege to watch, the fruition of many hours spent restarting from the beginning of levels.

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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.

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