Astronaut Don Pettit is a national treasure—a skilled explainer of science who has taken time out of his many trips into space to make engaging, educational videos for a general audience.
In this video from the International Space Station, Pettit talks about physics in space, using Angry Birds as a model. If you've played the very Earth-based game, you've probably noticed that, when you launch a bird, it moves in an arched trajectory. In space, without the aid of gravity, that's not the case. Slingshot a bird in one direction, and it will just keep going on that direction.
Appealingly, Pettit demonstrates this by, yes, slingshotting a stuffed bird through a Space Station hallway.
Via Virginia Wotring
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.