Dataviz ducks: when designers put style ahead of substance

Calling Bullshit (previously) has released a wonderful lecture series on the epidemic of misinformation in today's media landscape. This lecture looks at dataviz ducks, the craptacular USA Today-style charts that dumb down and garbage up information graphics. Read the rest

A quick and handy guide to audio file formats

The fine folks at Techquickie put together a quick overview that takes the mystery out of the dizzying array of audio file formats, including when to use what and brief histories of the most common types. Read the rest

Numberphile looks at mathematics' undecidable statements

The average person probably assumes that mathematics is a complete system in which all mathematical statements can be proved or disproved. The fine folks at Numberphile are ready to disabuse folks of this notion with a nice overview of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem. Read the rest

How many humans and animals have died while on space missions?

Second Thought takes a brisk stroll through the historical death toll for earth creatures sent into space. Let's just say you didn't want to be a space monkey in the mid-20th century. Read the rest

The genetics of photosensitive sneezing, explained

If you're among the one in four people who sneeze when you move from a dark place into the sunlight, this nifty little explainer from a fellow traveler gives a great overview of causation theories over the millennia. Turns out it is just one transposed letter in the second chromosome that causes the effect. Read the rest

People who identify as lucky really are different than others

This nice little explainer covers the nebulous concept of luck in a fun way. It summarizes the work of Richard Wiseman, who researched self-identified lucky and unlucky people. He found four key distinctions. Read the rest

Sobering look at how the poor are denied American justice

American penitentiaries, in idealized Quaker imaginings, were to be a place for reflective penitence followed by forgiveness. That's not how it worked out, especially for the poor. And the problem goes far beyond prison reform: Read the rest

Crazy unearthly planetary phenomena described

22,000 mile per hour winds, magma clouds that rain rocks, and planets where you could fly by flapping your arms in a wingsuit. These are some of the remarkable phenomena scientists believe are possible on nearby planetary bodies. Read the rest

Fifty years later, the same flight takes longer. Why?

Fifty years ago, American Airlines' flight from New York to Los Angeles took 5 hours and 43 minutes. The same flight is 6 hours and 27 minutes today. Wendover Productions examines why planes don't fly faster in this interesting video. Read the rest

The art of compositing explained in the coolest way possible

Roy Peker created this fantastic explainer about VFX and digital compositing. Read the rest

Is overpopulation real or legend?

The folks at Kurzgesagt are decidedly in the camp that believes in the grand scheme of things, the "legend of overpopulation" is not a cause for concern. Their case is based on a four-stage theory of demographic transition in a country or region: Read the rest

Charming animated primer on plant communication

Illustrator Yukai Du created this lovely animation of Richard Karban's TED talk on plant communication. Read the rest

Paradoxical undressing: getting naked before freezing to death

For reasons unknown, up to half of of people who freeze to death are found partially or completely naked. DNews looks into the phenomenon of paradoxical undressing. Read the rest

Mind-blowing explainer on fixed points

Understanding advanced mathematics can change how you see the world, so prepare for an eye-opening journey into the world of fixed points, courtesy of Michael at Vsauce. Read the rest

Why swirling spheres shift rotation at a certain number

Swirling a ball in a cup gets it spinning in the direction of the swirl, but adding six more starts them swirling in the opposite direction.

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Blow half of your mind with this explainer on brain hemispheres

CGP Grey explains that it might be better to think of your brain as two intelligences, with the mute right hemisphere forced to play sidekick to its conjoined twin.

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What makes dry quicksand so deadly?

Dry quicksand was a mythical substance — normal-looking sand that could swallow you in a flash. That is, until 2004, when scientists made the stuff in a lab. (Mark told you about that development.)

In this video, geologist Matt Kuchta explains how dry quicksand is different from both wet quicksand and stable sand. Hint: Think "Jenga". Read the rest

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