Incredible Science Machine team seeks Rube Goldberg record with chain reaction gizmo

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Chain reaction artists and domino builders have collaborated to create what they hope will go on record as the largest chain reaction in history. Read the rest

Video: HOWTO make waterproof sand at home

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YouTuber IncredibleScience has a great at-home science project that's kid-friendly: making waterproof sand. Read the rest

WATCH: 8 great DIY smartphone photography tips

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Cooperative of Photography released a great video with 8 DIY tips to improve your smartphone shots, ranging from super-simple and cheap to fairly simple and maybe cheap. Read the rest

Dream Recollection Inducer

“Dream Recollection Inducer (GIF Format)—To gaze at shortly after waking.” By ZBAGS. Read the rest

'Alien' piñata

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Hecho en Mexico.

How refined is your color perception?

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This unscientific but fun timed eye test asks viewers to guess which square is a slightly different shade than the others. Prepare for a minute or so of eye-melting challenge! Read the rest

WATCH: Kid vs. kite. Spoilers: kite wins

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A very talented kite enthusiast at the Huntington Beach Pier had some fun playing tag with a kid. Read the rest

Watch "Do Try This At Home," science series using common items

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At-Bristol's Live Science Team has a wonderful video series of experiments that can be done with inexpensive materials available at typical hardware, kitchenware, and grocery stores, like turning water into instant ice. Read the rest

Mermaid convention photographs by Arthur Drooker

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Cool Hunting continues its wonderful Conventional Wisdom series by following photographer Arthur Drooker to Merfest, a mermaid convention in North Carolina. Read the rest

Just look at these spooky banana ghosts

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Just look at 'em with their evil chocolate chip eyes. Part of Let's Go Chipper's series on healthy Halloween snacks in the run-up to Saint Beetus Day. Also: Read the rest

Rubber band ball

I know this rubber band ball is durable because my wife ran over the box with her car without damaging the rubber bands. The manufacturer claims it has at least 270 rubber bands in it.

Rubber band ball ($5) Read the rest

Illustrated timeline of anti-fun moral panics

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Tor.com has republished a great chart from Bad for You: Exposing the War on Fun!, forthcoming in on January 7. The chart details the central thesis of the book: that "the long-standing campaign against fun" is a recurring story in which anxious, killjoy grownups make up stupid explanations for why the stuff their kids like is terrible and should be banned, and the golden era of their own childhoods (and the amusements that reigned then) should be restored.

The chart starts with Trithemius's 1494 rant against printing presses ("The word written on parchment will last a thousand years. The printed word is on paper. How long will it last?") and moves smartly through books, steam engines, newspapers, photos, telegraphs, movies, phones, phonographs, radio, TV, computers, and (of course), the Internet. Read the rest

Optical illusion of the day

Cover the middle seam with your finger, marvel as the contrast effect changes EVERYTHING. Jason Kottke thinks the creator is a witch. When I showed it to my daughter, she said, "Well, your finger is covering up the light that's making it brighter," which is true in a weird sorta way.

Freaky optical illusion Read the rest

The climate of Middle Earth

Mordor has an inhospitable climate, according to Radagast the Brown (aka climate scientist Dan Lunt) who created a climate model for Middle Earth based on geography as outlined by Tolkien and climate modeling software from our world. Read the rest

What we saw when we sent a cell phone through a pneumatic tube system

Pneumatic tube systems — little canisters shot through a series of tubes via the power of compressed air — have been around since the 19th century when they were briefly popular as a way to quickly deliver mail in big cities. Today, they're probably most familiar from their use in drive-through banking, but the tubes also turn up at libraries (the one at the main branch of the New York Public Library is particularly steampunky), in scientific laboratories, and in hospitals.

Last month, I spent an inordinate amount of time in one Minneapolis area hospital, waiting for an induced labor to kick in. How do you entertain yourself between the insertion of the IV line and the beginning of serious contractions? Turns out, you go on a lot of short walks, you watch some TV, and (if you're lucky) you convince the nurses to let your husband "mail" his cell phone from the labor/delivery department to the post-natal department, using the hospital's pneumatic tube system. Read the rest

If history were a movie, what would be the most egregious plot holes?

Hate that smarmy, too-good-to-be-real Christmas episode of World War I? Annoyed by the lazy montage scene that took us from the first airplane to the Moon in just 66 years? Think "rocks fall, all the dinosaurs die" was just a total cop-out? Here's a fun Reddit thread you will appreciate, pointed out to me by Karen James. Read the rest

Glowing algae make a nice nightlight

This is a picture of a wave crashing on the New Jersey shore. It glows because of dinoflagellates — little, single-celled plants, animals, and bacteria that float around on the water, moving about with the help of long, moveable protein strands called flagella. Some dinoflagellates are bioluminescent; that is, chemical reactions inside their bodies produce light. The result is glowing oceans. Or, as maker Caleb Kraft recently discovered, the dinoflagellates also make for a soft blue nightlight with really nifty special effects.

You can watch Kraft's nightlight project at YouTube. It's pretty simple to do at home. At it's most basic, all you need to do is purchase some bioluminescent dinoflagellates online, keep them alive in your home, and give them a good shaking occasionally to trigger the chemical reaction.

A couple more helpful links: • Where Kraft bought his dinoflagellates • A guide to other dinoflagellate dealers, and to the care and feeding of unicellular organisms • Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who are studying dinoflagellate bioluminescence to better understand how it works and what role it plays in the ecosystem A detailed explanation of what dinoflagellates are and why they glow

Via Treehugger

Image: Red Tide Luminescense, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from piratelife's photostream

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