The MagSurf is a levitating skateboard based on the principles of superconductors. It was built by scientists and students in the Laboratoire Matériaux et Phénomènes Quantiques at Paris Diderot University.
The video is older, but it turned up recently in a really interesting blog post by Kyle Hill that does a fantastic job of explaining how superconductors work — and why you can create a floating skateboard, but you're stuck using it in conjunction with a track.
Instead of putting a magnet above a superconductor, you can put a special kind of superconductor above a magnet and “pin” it in space. Type type-II superconductors, like the one featured in this now viral “quantum locking” video, are superconductors that also expel magnetic fields from their innards, but not perfectly. These superconductors are thin enough for flaws in the material to allow small “flux tubes” or “quantum vortexes” to leak through. When that happens, it’s like suspending a pincushion on a bed of nails—the superconductor is locked in space.
When Zoe Stavri woke up with a yeast infection, she had a strange and intriguing idea: what about adding some of her vaginal candida to sourdough starter?
Nick Sousanis, who delivered his doctoral dissertation in comic book form, has a new comic in the current Nature magazine, explaining the last 25 years’ worth of climate talks, as a primer in advance of the Paris climate talks next week.
Randall “XKCD” Munroe’s Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words arrives in stores today: it combines technical diagrams and wordplay in pure display of everything that makes XKCD brilliant and wonderful in every way.
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This minimalist multi-tool will see to it that instead of rocking a tool belt, you’ll carry just one. It’s shaped slightly like a key and weighs less than an ounce, so it plays nice with your keychain. The strong surgical-grade stainless steel blade will last, and is handy for everyday tasks like opening boxes and […]
The Code Black is our top-selling drone of all time—and for good reason. This powerful, palm-size drone is not only insanely fun to fly, but can capture some serious video footage from up above. With a flight time of about 10 minutes and an ultra-smooth ride, it’s a great introductory drone for anyone looking to […]