Video - how fingerprint recognition works

In this episode of computerphile, Dr. Isaac Triguero, a lecturer in data science at the University of Nottingham, gives a high-level overview of the kind of fingerprint feature-matching algorithm used in mobile phones.

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How aerogel is made and why it's so cool

Veritasium visited Dr. Stephen Steiner at Aerogel Technologies in Massachusetts to learn about the wonders of silica aerogel, a solid that is only twice as dense as air. My sister gave me a small chunk of aerogel about 10 years ago and it's one of my favorite possessions. Read the rest

Owls have asymmetrically placed ears to track prey

I have 4 or 5 beautiful great horned owls in my backyard. I see them every day. This short National Geographic video explains why owls are such great hunters: huge light-sensitive eyes, fringed wings that allow them to fly silently, and asymmetrically placed ears that picked up sounds a fraction of a second apart to help them pinpoint their prey's location.

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How a quartz watch works

How do quartz watches keep time? Steve Mould gives a great demonstration explaining how they work. Quartz is piezoelectric, which means when it is deformed it generates an electrical signal. A quartz watch has a tiny quartz tuning fork that's been calibrated to vibrate at 215 cycles per second. This signal is fed through a series of 14 flip-flop circuits, each of which divides the frequency of the signal by 2. By the time the signal goes through the 14th flip-flop, the frequency is one cycle per second. Read the rest

A neuroscientist explains the "brain orgasm" response of ASMR videos

Some people shiver with delight at whispers and certain kinds of soft sounds. A psychologist/neuroscientist at Manchester University named Nick Davis tells Wired about the science behind these "brain orgasms."

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Explainer video - how an integrated circuit works

Windell Oskay of Evil Mad Scientist was at Maker Faire Bay Area again this year and this time he and Lenore Edman made large models of integrated circuits to show how they worked. In this video Windell walks the viewer through the process of a dual 2-input NOR gate made by Fairchild Semiconductor in the late 1960s. Read the rest

How embassies work

Embassies are basically "mini countries abroad," according to this explainer video from Wendover Productions. I learned that diplomats in embassies are:

exempt from taxes in their host country allowed free movement around their host country can carry diplomatic bags that cannot be seized or searched are granted diplomated immunity treated by the host country the same way in their private residences as they are in the embassy

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TED explainer video: how stock markets work

In the 1600s the Dutch East India company offered people the chance to share in the profits of international trade by funding ship voyages. By accident, it created the first stock market. In four-and-a-half minutes, this TED-Ed video explains the function of stock markets. Read the rest

Excellent video shows how pull-back toy cars work

You've probably played with one of those toy cars that you drag back to wind up and then let go to let it zoom across the floor. In this video, Jared Owen uses 3D animation to clearly show how the mechanism works. This guy deserves a lot more subscribers than he has. Check out some of his other cool explainer videos:

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Good explainer video for how servo motors work

A servo motor has a rotating shaft that can be controlled to rotate to a specified angle. They'e used in a lot of industrial applications, and also in hobby electronics to control robots and remote control models. This video does a good job of explaining how servos work. It also goes into using Arduino to drive multiple servos.

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Why alien life would be our doom: Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell video

Why would the discovery of extraterrestrial life be horrible for life on earth? Read the rest

Watch: Burger King explains Net Neutrality with Whopper sandwiches

Although Net Neutrality – or its repeal if certain somebodies get their way – is an issue that affects everyone, not everyone is clued in to what it actually means. Enter Burger King's faux "social experiment" that explains Net Neutrality with a currency everyone understands: the Whopper sandwich. Want a Whopper for the regular price of $4.99? Fine but you'll have to get a "slow-access Whopper pass" and wait in the slow lane for up to 20 minutes. But no worries, if you're in a hurry you can still have it in a few minutes – it'll just cost you $26. This is the best explainer video I've seen in a long time. Read the rest

Video simply explains how a mechanical watch works

This excellent video (from the early 50s or late 40s, I'm going to guess) shows how a mechanical watch keeps time. It reminds me of the video that shows how a car's differential gear works.

Here's a modern animated version:

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How black holes could delete the universe - new explainer video

The always-excellent maker of animated explainer videos, Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell just released a new video that explains what black holes are, explains what information is, and then goes into the way that black holes are the cause of something called "The Information Paradox." The takeaway: we all might be stretched on a flat screen, just imagining that we are in three dimensions. Read the rest

What would happen if you threw a mouse, a dog, and an elephant from a skyscraper?

Why can a mouse survive a fall from a skyscraper, but not a dog or an elephant? This episode of Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell explores size differences in animals, and how it affects their anatomies and physiologies. Read the rest

Bill Wurtz' video presents history of the world in 20 minutes

Bill Wurtz is the guy who made a fantastically entertaining video history of Japan last year. In this video, he's taken on the slightly more ambitious task of presenting the history of the universe, beginning before the formation of matter and quickly focusing on a rapid fire lesson in world history. A+ work! Read the rest

Explainer video: is the EU worth it?

When a new Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell explainer video comes out, I stop what I'm doing and watch it. The latest one, about the European Union, asks, "Should we double down or give up and go our separate ways?"

This video will probably not make everybody happy. Probably for completely opposite reasons. Some people want less political and economic integration, some want more of it. Some want to stop immigration, others want better integration instead. Some want an EU army, others want to disband Nato. And most will have a collection of different opinions about all of that. It’s the same for our team, we don’t all share the same vision for Europe and the world.

We tried our best to present different sides and view points, while being fair and as neutral as possible. But obviously we can’t go into too much detail in a video that is only 7 minutes long. We also clearly marked where we are stating our opinion. The sources we used are in the video description.

The last year has taught us that we have to try our best to get everybody back to the table again and stop screaming at each other. We all could have done a better job at this in the past, Kurzgesagt too. Everybody comes from a different place and has different ideas of where the world should go and how to tackle our problems. And as long as we are trying to base our opinions on facts then that is completely fine.

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