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]

Image: YouTube/Vox Read the rest

Here's TED-Ed's explainer about the llluminati

The Illuminati was a real secret society in the 18th century, but it was short lived, even though contemporary bullshit theorists pretend otherwise. Thus TED-Ed video is a great 5-minute history of the original Illuminati and its enduring influence. Read the rest

What the hell is a "dimension" anyway?

Caltech theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, author of Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime, explains the concept of a "dimensions" at five different levels of complexity. Dr. Carroll sure has a big brane. Read the rest

Colbert gives the reason why Trump won't stop talking about his crimes

Stephen Colbert explains why Trump keeps talking about his impeachable offenses in public:

“Trump knows if something’s bad, you don’t admit it in public,” he said. “So, if he admits it in public it must not be bad. He’s trying to normalize it.”

The host compared what Trump is doing to a husband saying, “Honey, I know you think it’s wrong for me to have sex with our neighbor, but if it were, why would I be doing it in the middle of your book club?”

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This animated video shows how a combination padlock works

Animator Jared Owen made an excellent animated video that clearly shows how a combination lock works. Read the rest

What is a switch, how does it work, and why are they usually clicky?

This 15-minute explainer video might be the only video you'll need to learn as much about switches as you'll ever care to find out.

Image: YouTube/Technology Connections

[via Dooby Brain] Read the rest

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

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