In a gorgeous animation, Malin Christersson shows how much simpler it is to plot out celestial mechanics when you assume that all the bodies in our solar system are in orbit around the sun, rather than the other way around.
Given the lack of a universal reference point, it's not exactly true that anything goes around anything else -- you can plot out the universe as though any point in it were stationary and everything else was moving in reference to it. But when you adopt the heliocentric model, the number of equations you have to do in order to make sense of things drops by an enormous amount, to the point where it's hard to imagine why anyone wouldn't want to default to this model.
My dear old friend Possum Man told me about a trig class in his Waldorf school where the teacher showed them how to calculate the position of the planets in a geocentric universe, to drive home the real meaning of relativity.
Christersson's graph is part of a great potted history of geocentrism and heliocentrism, itself part of a self-directed tutorial on trigonometry.
Trigonometry - Heliocentrism and Geocentrism [Malin Christersson]
(via Bruce Sterling)
This isn’t your usual kinetic pachinko balls-in-a-gravity-maze toy, but a mindbending demonstration of magnets. It starts getting really crazy at about 2m in but one should enjoy the subtle pleasures too.
Diguo’s Luxury Royal Family Balance Syphon Coffee Maker is an amazingly elaborate coffee siphon, a brewing method dating to the 1830s which is said to produce “a delicate, tea-like cup of coffee,” albeit with the caveat that it is “quite persnickety.”
Volume warning! YouTuber Latheman666 demonstrates how an air compressor with the right nozzle can make all sorts of things float. Looking forward to a “Will It Float?” channel!
Whether I’m trying to relieve some stress at work or entertain myself on the metro, Space Putty is there. You can bring this magical goo home and try it for yourself for just $9.99Like Silly Putty of yesteryear, this viscoelastic substance can be molded into different shapes and stretched around in your hands. Use it […]
You know as well as I that writing complex, long-long form text requires significant organization. You’re probably also well aware that Word just isn’t up to the task. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Scrivener, the software suite used by best-selling authors and technical writers alike.Scrivener is much more than another digital typewriter. With a […]
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]