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Instant Egghead Cracks Up [Video]

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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If you haven’t seen it before, “Instant Egghead” is Scientific American’s ongoing series of short and (hopefully) entertaining explainer videos. Each episode features a Scientific American editor or contributor expounding on topics ranging from particle physics to the environment to weird bodily phenomena. As Instant Egghead‘s producer, I had an important decision to make when we rebooted the series in 2012: to teleprompt or not to teleprompt? For reasons both technical and performance-related, I chose the latter, instead asking our presenters to memorize and recite short snippets of text on the spot, which we later stitch together in the edit. To our presenters’ credit, the system has worked pretty well. But sometimes things go amiss: a botched word, a slipped smile or a moment of amnesia (often experienced when staring into the camera’s unforgiving electronic eye). On occasion these lapses produce awkward little moments of pure hilarity—which we have conveniently gathered up and spliced together for your entertainment. So without further ado, and with much humility, we bring you the best outtakes of 2013:

Episodes and presenters featured:

Can Microbes Clean Up Our Oily Mess? – David Biello
What Is Herd Immunity? – Dina Fine Maron
Who Owns Outer Space? – Clara Moskowitz
Are Genes Really Selfish? – Eric R. Olson
Why Is Yawning Contagious? – Sandra Upson
Who Was the First Human Ancestor? – Katherine Harmon Courage
Why Stress Is Good for You – Ingrid Wickelgren
Why Do Autumn Leaves Change Color? – Mark Fischetti
Why Are Chimps Stronger Than Humans? -Yasmin Tayag
What Does the Universe Sound Like? – Sophie Bushwick
What Is the Uncanny Valley? – Larry Greenemeier
What Is the Maillard Reaction? – Michael Moyer
How Do Astronomers Detect Exoplanets? – John Matson
Why Do We Sleep? – Joss Fong
How Does Meditation Change the Brain? – Ferris Jabr
Why Is Angry Birds So Addictive? – Ferris Jabr
Can Humans Cause Earthquakes? – David Biello
Why Does Orange Juice Make Toothpaste Taste Bad? – Yasmin Tayag
What Color Were Dinosaurs? -Eric R. Olson (written by Kate Wong)
How Does Cloaking Work? – John Matson
What Is a Field? – George Musser







About the Author: Eric is multimedia journalist and producer who specializes in science and natural history. His work has appeared on the websites of Scientific American, Nature, Nature Medicine, Popular Science, Slate and The New York Times among many others. He is a former video producer & editor for Scientific American. Follow on Twitter @EricROlson.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Uncle.Al 3:40 pm 01/14/2014

    For every crystal born in Pyrex you have lot of Pyrex in your KOH bath. That’s how reality works. The mythos of management demands there need not be tar. There need not be crystals, either.

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  2. 2. Sydnie5201 9:48 pm 01/14/2014

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