mark rober

Porch pirates sprayed with glitter and fart smell after opening fake package booby traps

We've all seen the videos of thieves shamelessly stealing packages off of people's porches. Now someone is fighting back. Read the rest

Watch Skippa the rock-skipping robot get optimized

Skipping stones takes a little practice and finesse, so Mark Rober enlisted his extended family to help build the perfect rock-skipping robot. Their creation, named Skippa, ended up helping humans learn, too. Read the rest

Shocker: lemon-powered batteries can't power an electric supercar

Even what's billed as the world's largest lemon battery can only generate enough juice to charge a small battery cell, so Mark Rober tries a few other fun power generators with a bunch of young scientists-to-be. Read the rest

A basket full of revolting EasterFools' Day 'treats'

For the first time in over 60 years, Easter and April Fools' Day are on the same day, creating the rare EasterFools' Day holiday.

To celebrate, former NASA-JPL engineer/current science YouTube star Mark Rober (previously) went on Jimmy Kimmel Live to demonstrate some easy pranks for this rare double holiday. For example, he fills hollow chocolate bunnies with broccolini and calls them "Brocco-Bunny" and puts Brussels sprouts on sticks and then dips them in melted chocolate, creating "Brussels Pops."

What he does with mayonnaise is unforgivable. And the kids they give these EasterFools' "treats" to are surely scarred for life.

FYI: the next EasterFools' Day happens in 2029. Read the rest

Swimming in a liquid sand hot tub

Science YouTuber (and former NASA engineer) Mark Rober explains how when you add air "in the just the right way" to sand, it "basically becomes a liquified soup." It sure does!

Watch and learn.

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The science of carnival game scams and tips to beat them

Former NASA-JPL engineer Mark Rober explores carnival scam science and has a few tips on how to win, at least occasionally.

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Listen to the nicest car horn ever

Former NASA engineer Mark Rober has invented a fancy in-dash car horn with three custom settings. The first one is sort of a swift and friendly 'toot, toot' for when your regular horn is too aggressive. The other two? Well, I won't spoil it but one is even friendlier than the first and the other is meant to get some real attention in "extreme situations."

Mark says, "This horn is SO courteous my car was granted Canadian citizenship yesterday."

(reddit) Read the rest

12-year-old boy pulls gun on girl and demands Chicken McNugget

A 12-year-old boy demanded a Chicken McNugget from a girl who had just bought some, then held a gun to her head and asked again.

She pushed the gun away and boarded the train, and he was later taken into custody, police say. The New York Police Department says the gun has not been found, and it remains unclear whether it was real or a replica. They say the boy was released on Thursday, and the case has been referred to the family courts.

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Jumping into a pool of 25 million water beads

Mark Rober teamed up with The Backyard Scientist to see what happens when you fill a pool with 25 million water balls then try to jump in. Read the rest

McDonalds testing new Chicken McNugget, with 32 ingredients presumably including chicken

McDonalds is testing a "cleaner-label" version of its legendary Chicken McNugget, reports Peter Frost, with an eye to replacing the current model nationwide in time for the Summer Games.

If you're eating in Portland, Oregon, you may already have eaten the upgraded McNugget, which has 32 ingredients and a "simpler recipe," according to the restaurant chain. It declined to provide the full list while it's in beta, but one presumes it includes chicken.

The cleaner-label McNuggets come as McDonald's combats the perception that its food is overly processed and laden with preservatives. Other restaurants and packaged-food companies also are rushing to respond to changing consumer tastes. Last year, McDonald's unveiled ads on TV and in stores that played up the fact that its Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwiches are made with freshly cracked eggs. It also ran a marketing campaign in late 2014 called “Our food. Your questions,” in which it enlisted former “MythBusters” co-host Grant Imahara to debunk myths surrounding McDonald's food.

I suspect the reason McDonalds is testing a new Chicken McNugget is simply that they made the current ones in 1983 and have finally run out. Read the rest

Defrost your windshield in half the time with a science-backed method

You’d think hitting the defrost button in your car on a chilly morning would be the quickest way to defrost your windshield. But not necessarily so, according to ex-Nasa engineer Mark Rober, who has come up with a way to defrost car windows in half the normal time. In his video, he explains how to speed-defrost our car windows, along with a peppy science lesson that backs his method. In a nutshell, here are the four steps:

 1. Blast the heater 2. Blast the AC 3. Turn OFF the air circulation 4. Crack open the windows a bit.

He also offers tips that involve cat litter and shaving cream so that you, too, can become a defrosting ninja.   Thanks Gizmodo! Read the rest

New rodent family discovered in market

Scientists have announced the discovery of an unknown family of rodent sold as food in Laos. The species studied by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society is known locally as kha-nyou and is thought to have split from other rodent families millions of years ago. From the New York Times:

(The Wildlife Conservation Society's Dr. Rober) Timmins, who is based in Madison, Wis., but concentrates on research in Southeast Asia, said in an interview that he first came on the animals laid out on market tables. Local farmers and hunters trapped or snared the animals, which they also referred to as rock rats, slaughtered them and took them to market. As far as he knew, Timmins said, no Western scientists have ever seen a kha-nyou alive...

Timmins' encounter occurred in the late 1990s, about the same time that another scientist, Dr. Mark F. Robinson, independently collected several of the carcasses as specimens. The adults have bodies about a foot long, with a 6-inch tail that is not as bushy as a squirrel's. They knew immediately that this was, as Timmins said, "an oddball rodent."

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