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Nerds and Words: Week 34

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

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I have dug through the Internet this week and uncovered all this geeky goodness. You can find the thousands of links from previous weeks here.

I have marked my favorite links with a. Enjoy.

Science to Read, Write, and Watch

Labels for GMO Foods Are a Bad Idea

Mermaids!? Really!? 16 Things BuzzFeed Doesn’t Know About The Ocean

Is It Time For Scientist Activism Against GMO Fear-Mongering? I’ll go ahead and say yes.

Water, ink, and capillary action makes for phenomenal art

Can’t unsee: Giant Anteater’s Legs Look Like Pandas

Blackfish showed us that orcas are exploited animals, but we have to respect them like apex predators too

Perspective in the universe makes us feel special, but we’re not

A lovely animation of our solar system. I even learned something!

How the world’s roundest object was made to redefine the kilogram

PhD Comics has PhD videos too. This one helped me understand quantum computers

Usually I jump right past these articles, but these are six health myths you should ignore

The reasons why mosquitoes can’t transmit HIV are shockingly simple: Its gut and its mouth

A chemistry experiment to make mercury beat like a heart

You owe it to yourself to see this true color picture of Saturn: Mimas Blues

Boredom is an emotion, a driver of curiosity, and a sign of a healthy mind

Obituary: Kepler Spacecraft “Planet Hunter” 2009-2013

Malcolm Gladwell responds to critics about his popularization of the “10,000 hour” mastery rule

Does my BMI make me look fat? Sort of. Can it tell if I am healthy? Maybe not.

The Straight Dope: A Q&A with the Prof behind the Good Science in Breaking Bad

“If killing snakes is the best way to protect Florida’s native species…let’s not turn a slaughter into a carnival.”

“If every day you draw a card out of a deck, you can be sure to see the ace of spades sometimes.”

Like death, consciousness is a process. Now we are learning how to measure it

A strand of hair 3-inches wide could restrain a 747

What’s the chance I randomly call someone who has just sneezed? Pretty good actually

Try to print Wikipedia and it’s not the paper, but the ink, that will cost you

Science on the Vine: When airplane air has a big temperature difference, it’s rather menacing.

What if we put all of Earth’s oceans on Mars…right on top of Curiosity?

If you are obsessed with counting calories, at least know that the numbers are probably wrong

Scientifically accurate Finding Nemo is less Disney, more hermaphrodite Oedipus

A guide to the ravenous hellbeast that is the carnivorous caterpillar. This has to be one of my favorite uses of the GIF

An island doesn’t just impede water, it makes the whole atmosphere above it swirl

E-cigarettes: The growing popularity of an unregulated drug delivery device

The International Astronomical Union greatly regrets letting the public vote on exoplanet names


Nerdery at its Finest

That didn’t take long: Great Pacific Rim fan art

The best Fallout cosplay

C’mon. We all know who the next Batman should be

I can’t stop watching Bryan Cranston stare down Walter White

“If we came from Mankeys…”–Pokemon creationist

Actually interesting video on how Elysium’s FX looked so real (A lot of it was!)

Yes, this is definitely how Pacific Rim should have ended

Spock is related to Sherlock Homles, and both Cumberbatch and Quinto know it

What if the Emperor in Return of the Jedi was also voiced by Mark Hamill…as The Joker?

This is a real Tetris game, in real time. It is masterful


GIFs and Images for 2-Seconds of Wow

Collect steam in a bottle, watch the atmosphere destroy the resulting vacuum

1,400 Earthlings waving at any potential Saturnians

Can I get this frog’s metallic paint job for my car?

Just a suggestion: Don’t try to take this owl’s food

Prosthetic arms have come a long way

If creationism was like this it would be harder to resist

Nerd vandalism

NASA should make GIFs of everything, especially aurorae

Why haven’t I seen this little red panda trying to open a door?

That’s how you lay a cable in the ocean

I decree that from now on, all dominoes must be done this way

NASA knows that even an erupting volcano can look serene from the right angle

Do you need a favorite fungi? Here, let me help

You have probably seen slo-mo face slaps, but nothing like what this poor boxer took. Bad for him, glorious for us

Don’t stand under a Saturn V rocket during takeoff because, well…hellfire

Let this awesome USGS GIF show you how earthquake waves move through the Earth and how we measure them

A hyper-velocity impact of a clear sphere to model meteorite impacts to planets!

The universe through a leaf

Do shrews always travel Human Centipede-style?

I’m going to start putting cornstarch and water in all my friend’s car speakers

Ever wonder what one of those electronic billboards looks like up close? It’s kinda amazing

My favorite vegetable MRI is of an artichoke


Pop Culture Happenings

Mugshots from the 1920s are probably cooler than any portrait you’ve seen

So, the 1940s won Halloween

A visualization of all the contradictions, homophobia, misogyny, and scientific absurdities in the Bible

This massive sinkhole is that kinda environmental phenomenon that boggles the mind

Drones: Actually the Most Humane Form of Warfare Ever. Secrecy aside, the long recon flights enable distinction between civilians and combatants

The USA and the NSA in a Pixar logo

Kyle Hill About the Author: Kyle Hill is a freelance science writer and communicator who specializes in finding the secret science in your favorite fandom. Follow on Twitter @Sci_Phile.

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

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  1. 1. marclevesque 7:36 pm 08/25/2013

    I love your weekly list.

    “Is It Time For Scientist Activism Against GMO Fear-Mongering? I’ll go ahead and say yes.”

    Me too. But in this case the article you link to is an awful example, it relies on too may half truths and misdirections, hardly a scientific perspective.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Kyle Hill in reply to Kyle Hill 8:53 pm 08/25/2013

    The article itself is asking a question, you should definitely check out the article that Kroll is basing his on. The science is there.

    Link to this
  3. 3. marclevesque 10:14 am 08/26/2013


    Sorry about that, I got some browser tabs mixed up, and in my confusion I was commenting on this SciAm story

    I read Kroll’s and Amy Harmon’s articles but didn’t find much of a scientific perspective. Golden rice was first promoted around the end of the 1990s before the data was in. It eventually turned out to not have the physical benefits claimed. Not much seems to have changed this time around, the same promotion points before the data is in. Instead, it would be nice to wait for the product’s physical characteristics to speak for themselves and after that if there is a demand for it then there is demand for it –rather than all this back and forth of loosely grounded positive and negative spin.

    Link to this

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