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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
Roy Peker created this fantastic explainer about VFX and digital compositing. Read the rest
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
Illustrator Yukai Du created this lovely animation of Richard Karban's TED talk on plant communication. Read the rest
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
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
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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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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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
The globally praised Khan Academy comes out against SOPA and PIPA in this explainer video, which does a really excellent job of digging into the implications for legitimate sites (like Khan Academy) in a world where SOPA/PIPA become law. This is a great explanation of what SOPA and PIPA means for people trying to communicate with a broader public, but one thing to keep in mind as you watch is that there's another constituency that's missing: all the people who are using the net for other reasons: people who want to post videos of human rights abuses, who want to talk with other sufferers from a rare disease, who want to privately share private family moments with distant relatives. All these constituencies depend on services like YouTube and Twitter as a platform for communications, too.
SOPA and PIPA
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