What does a fan do in a vacuum chamber?

In this video of The Action Lab, the Action Man puts a small fan into a vacuum chamber and pours a bunch of little styrofoam beads in it. At atmospheric pressure the beads fly all over the place. As he reduces the pressure inside a vacuum chamber, the beads slow down and eventually stop moving. Pretty obvious, but still fun to watch.

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Big Clive examines a fake UV disinfection lamp sold on eBay

YouTuber Big Clive bought a "UV disinfection lamp" on eBay. He tested it first by turning it on and aiming it at the back of his hand for a few seconds and then sniffing his hand for "skin damage." There was no odor, which was a good sign that it's not really producing UV-C radiation, at least not in sufficient quantities to work as a germicide. He then took it apart to see what was inside and found "standard near UV LEDs." He says it is simply a "cheap near-UV disco light commonly sold on eBay in various color options... that's a bit naughty." Read the rest

Lockdown math: trigonometry fundamentals

YouTuber 3Blue1Brown has started a video series called "lockdown math." In his latest episode he goes over the fundamentals of trigonometry in a way that is accessible and enjoyable. Read the rest

What the hell are Git and GitHub?

Have you ever read about an interesting app, only to click the link and find yourself on a GitHub page? If you're a coder, then you will be happy about it, but if you're like me, you will scratch your head for a while, open the readme file, and start copying and pasting linux commands into a terminal window with fingers crossed. Even after watching this video I will keep doing this, but at least I know what GitHub is now. Read the rest

What happens when you shoot a Nerf bullet backward while driving the bullet's speed

If you are a fan of the book Thinking Physics, you might like this episode of The Action Lab, in which the Action Man tests "the laws of physics to show what happens if you fire a bullet backwards and you are traveling at the same speed forward. Will the bullet just fall to the ground?" Read the rest

This 3D animation shows you what's inside Seattle's famous Space Needle

Ever wonder how the Space Needle's rotating glass floor works? CGI animator extraordinaire Jared Owen gives us an inside look at Seattle's most iconic structure.

The Space Needle is located in Seattle Washington. It was built in 1962 just in time for the World's Fair. The top looks like a Flying Saucer and is meant to inspire people to look towards the future. The Space Needle is icon to Seattle just as Eiffel Tower is to Paris, France. Around the Space Needle there plenty to see and do as well. The bottom of the building has a large spiral ramp that tourists get to climb on their way towards the elevators. The top of tower has the observation level with an outdoor deck, a service level, and The Loupe which features a revolving glass floor. The center of the tower has supports for the 3 elevators and the stairs which are mostly used for emergencies. The Skyline level is for private events at the Space Needle.

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Here's Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell's explainer video about COVID-19

If you are familiar with Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell, you are aware that they make high-quality animated explainer videos. They don't disappoint with their latest video, which is all about the novel coronavirus -- what it is, how it works, and what we might be able to do about it. Highly recommended. Read the rest

Animated explainer video: how an oscillating fan works

Here's another excellent explainer video from CGI animator Jared Owen (see my previous posts about his explainer videos: escalator, combination padlock, pull-back toy car, gumball machine). This time, Jared shows how the various mechanisms in an oscillating fan work. Read the rest

How an automatic rice cooker works

How do rice cookers know when rice has been cooked? The host of Technology Connections explains. Read the rest

Why should you read Dune?

This episode of TED-Ed is about Frank Herbert's 1965 science fiction novel, Dune, and why you should read it.

A mother and son trek across an endless desert. Wearing special suits to dissipate heat and recycle moisture, the travelers aren’t worried about dying of thirst. Their fears are much greater. Soon, the sound of the desert is drowned out by a hissing: a mound of sand 400 meters long bursts from the desert floor and races towards them. This is the world of “Dune.” Dan Kwartler dives into the epic story.

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What would happen if you dodged the draft in the United States?

In 1951 the United States government passed a law requiring all men between the ages of 18 to 26 to register for the draft. During the Korean War (1950-1953) 80,000 men attempted to dodge the draft. During the Vietnam War (1955 - 1975) over 570,000 men dodged the draft, 210,000 of them were formally accused, and 3,250 were imprisoned. (Side note, 58,000 US soldiers died in the Vietnam War, over 1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters died, and an estimated 2 million civilians died.)

This video looks at some of the ways men avoided the draft. They include moving to Canada, failing physical exams on purpose, becoming missionaries, or, as claimed in a 1977 interview with alt-right demigod Ted Nugent, taking drugs, acting insane, and urinating and defecating on himself before appearing for his examination (Nugent later said lied in the interview).

Image by: Lance Cpl. Danielle Prentice. Public Domain Read the rest

Video: a simple guide to electronic components

I enjoyed watching this video by a fellow, who goes by the name of Big Clive, which explains what basic electronic components (resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors) do and how they do it.

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How the alt-right is like an abusive relationship

If you haven't watched Ian Danskin's Alt-Right Playbook explainer video series, I highly recommend them. Ian recently posted a video of a talk he gave called " How the alt-right is like an abusive relationship." Read the rest

Excellent animation explains how an escalator works

Jared Owen makes CGI videos that reveal the inner workings of things we use, but often don't understand. They are like video versions of David McCauley's The Way Things Work. In his latest video, Owen shows how escalators work. Read the rest

Explaining the law that lets cops steal your cash and property and keep it

Cops can take your stuff without charging you for a crime. They can take fast cars they like and add them to the pool of police vehicles. They can take cash and use it to buy a foosball table for the break room. Good luck getting your stuff back. It's called civil asset forfeiture and is often used to swipe the life savings of migrant workers. Lee Adams of Vice explains how it works. Read the rest

Why plane tires don't explode on landing

If you've been on a plane that's landed hard, you probably wondered why the tires didn't pop. In this video Brandy Moorhead, Goodyear's director of off-highway product development, explains how jet tires are made to withstand a 175,000-lb 737's hard landing.

For one thing, jet tires are made from a specially reinforced material not used in car or truck tires. Also, jet tires are inflated twice as much as truck tires and six times as much as car tires to give them extra strength. They are inflated with nitrogen instead of air, because nitrogen is an inert gas, which means pressure and temperature changes have less of an effect on the tires' characteristics. And the are retreaded every 500 landings.

Image: YouTube

[via Likecool] Read the rest

Why did Venezuela collapse? Watch this short excellent explainer video

Venezuela, one the wealthiest countries in Latin America, has collapsed. The economy is in shambles and people are starving. What happened? I watched this 7-minute explainer by Vox and feel much less ignorant than I did. I also see many parallels between what happened in there and what is starting to happen in the United States. Venezuela's problem doesn't have anything to do with it being an ostensibly socialist government. It has to do with the rise of authoritarianism.

[via Doobybrain]

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