Sagan, Hawking, and Clarke have a gabfest (1988)


Watch these three guys discuss "God, The Universe and Everything Else," which includes extraterrestrials, creativity, science fiction, education, the Cold War, fractals, and so much more.

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Actual textbook physics problem

You are kidnapped by political-science majors (who are upset because you told them political science is not a real science). Although blindfolded, you can tell the speed of their car (by the whine of the engine), the time of travel (by mentally counting off seconds), and the direction of travel (by turns along the rectangular street system). From these clues, you know that you are taken along the following course: 50 km/h for 2.0 min, turn 90° to the right, 20 km/h for 4.0 min, turn 90° to the right, 20 km/h for 60 s, turn 90° to the left, 50 km/h for 60 s, turn 90° to the right, 20 km/h for 2.0 min, turn 90° to the left, 50 km/h for 30 s. At that point, (a) how far are you from your starting point, and (b) in what direction relative to your initial direction of travel are you? – From Halliday & Resnick Fundamentals of Physics Extended 9th Edition Read the rest

Heathrow security insists that ice is a liquid

Simon Perry froze a can of Diet Coke solid and took it through security at London's Heathrow Airport to see whether he could find a loophole in the "no liquids" rule. Read the rest

World's most powerful digital camera gets green light from U.S. Dept. of Energy

”The LSST’s camera will include a filter-changing mechanism and shutter. This animation shows that mechanism, which allows the camera to view different wavelengths; the camera is capable of viewing light from near-ultraviolet to near-infrared (0.3-1 μm) wavelengths.
Illustration: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.”
Construction has been okayed for a 3.2-gigapixel digital camera, which would be the world’s largest, at the heart of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

Watch: Tiny floating robot can jump from water's surface


Researchers led by Je-Sung Koh created a biomimetic robot that floats using surface tension and can jump from the surface of water like a water strider insect. Read the rest

Why magenta doesn't appear in the rainbow


Steve Mould's colored flashlights (sometimes called "coloured torches" in distant lands) are useful props in this excellent 5-minute lecture on color mixing. I learned that magenta is not a color. Rather, it is the absence of green.

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Gorgeous mirrored room with 250 colorful fluorescent tubes


The UK's National Media Museum currently hosts a Festival of Light installation by Liz West. An Additive Mix fills the room with white light, teaching visitors about the concept of additive color.

Liz will be at the museum in person for free family talks on July 23.

Light Fantastic: Adventures in the Science of Light (via) Read the rest

Ant-Man, the Physics of Shrinking, and the Higgs Boson

It's simply a cross-interaction between the Higgs field and the Pym field!

WATCH: How to detect a secret nuclear test


MinutePhysics created a simple explanation of the complicated task of detecting secret nuclear tests. There's a push underway to demand that the US and other countries legalize such inspections worldwide. Read the rest

Neal Stephenson's Seveneves: five thousand years of apocalypse and rebirth

Neal Stephenson's no stranger to ambition, but his new novel Seveneves stretches to lengths (and heights) that beggar the imagination.

WATCH: Matchstick rockets in super slo-mo


The Slow Mo Guys did a King of Random crossover episode, launching Grant's matchstick rockets recorded on their Phantom. Read the rest

WATCH: Mystery of dancing colored droplets solved


Food coloring on sterile slides will spontaneously start interacting like living cells, and Stanford researchers have figured out how. Read the rest

First-ever photo of light behaving as a wave and particle

Nicholas writes, "Since Einstein's day, scientists have been trying to directly observe the wave- and particle- aspects of light at the same time. Now, scientists at a Swiss lab have succeeded in capturing the first-ever snapshot of this dual behavior." Read the rest

E=MC2 bowtie

Want to wear a bowtie, but afraid it won't be nerdy enough? The $25 Einstein bowtie is just the thing for you. (via Geeky Merch) Read the rest

Watch raindrops in slow-motion and learn where that familiar rain smell comes from

From MIT, a video about rain: “Using high-speed cameras, MIT researchers observed that when a raindrop hits a surface, it traps tiny air bubbles at the point of contact. As in a glass of champagne, the bubbles then shoot upward, ultimately bursting from the drop in a fizz of aerosols.”

“The researchers suspect that in natural environments, aerosols may carry aromatic elements, along with bacteria and viruses stored in soil. These aerosols may be released during light or moderate rainfall, and then spread via gusts of wind.” Read the rest

HOWTO cut paper snowflakes in the likeness of Nobel physics prizewinners

The physics journal Symmetry offers downloadable PDF templates to cut your own snowflakes in the likeness of Einstein, Marie Curie, and Schrödinger, to add some much-needed physics to your Xmas decor. Read the rest

Spacetime curvature placemats

AP Works's Trick Mat is a placemat that mimics spacetime curvature; no word on whether or how it can be purchased, alas (though you could probably make a pretty good disposable facsimile with an inkjet printer and some vector-art software). (via Super Punch) Read the rest

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