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Nerds and Words: Week 51

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, Watch

A science comic taught me a fluid mechanics trick to do with beer

I read the sciencey internet everyday so you don’t have to. Here are some tips to do the same

The cascading suicide order that makes AIDS so deadly, and maybe how to stop it

“It can grow and molt…expanding like a dying star with claws until it infringes on the very laws of physics”

That father polar bear would probably eat that little bear drinking a coke

Watch a nuclear bomb create a lake

Narcolepsy is an autoimmune disease? That’s bizarre…that’s fascinating!

The effort to solve the jungle mystery of tiny web Isengards really exemplifies the essence of science

io9 absolutely nails the best science images of the year

On a cold morning two years ago, I was listening to a physics teacher kill Santa Claus. Here’s what I learned

Fairy circles fill our lawns because we take too much care of them

Penguins move like traffic on the 405 to stay warm

What airlifting a cow out of a Swiss valley can tell us about our environmental future

All scientific models are wrong, but how do they work, and which should we keep around

Revealing, important longread: The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder

Ants don’t have undertakers, it’s too risky

Watch and listen to NASA test their methane engine (look at the patterns in the flame!)

A photo of the last SR-71 Blackbird engine test is straight-up stunning

“The crow brain may be the first truly alien intelligence we’ve been able to study.”

Australia’s plan to cull large sharks is short-sighted, ignorant of real risks, and “disgusting”

It’s strike three for multi-vitamin use: Three new, large studies find no benefits, possible harms

Life Under the Microscope: Some truly amazing images from a competition visualizing the landscapes of biology

Squeezing a male moth doesn’t reveal a penis, more like scented butt pom-poms that advertise sexy time

Ban the trolls: /r/science decided to ban climate change deniers, and the results speak for themselves

The cuttlefish knows where you hid its shrimp

Five Insects We Never Want to Have Sex With

I prefer my tyrannosaurids with feathers, and the evidence is coming in

“There is really no good reason to drink unpasteurized milk [hippies]” (emphasis mine)

I was under a grand misconception: There is no evidence that “antibacterial” soaps are more effective

Baby it’s cold outside, so get out there and play with thermodynamics

The visual and psychological illusions that inspire us, confuse us, and break our brains

Skip the supplements: Mostly useless, potentially harmful

When slight circumstances change, we don’t do the greatest good for the greatest number, unlike Spock

Explaining the fantastic journey of feather evolution

“Naturopathic medicine, despite its claims to the contrary, is not evidence-based

A new (and very visually pleasing) way to visualize the spread of infectious disease

Propellers make gorgeous spiral patterns, because cavitation

How our search for the first animals is starting to lead back to “luminescent loveliness,” not sponges

What the most terrifying accidents in anesthesia can teach us about consciousness

A critical step in stopping global warming? Embracing nuclear power

You are a multitude of trillions…that react really quickly to changes in diet

How do you pick up something on the Moon? Jump!

The man who figured out how to taxidermy elephants, and the monkey that ruined his marriage

It is so humbling to see the moon orbiting us, a tiny blue speck. Serene

The perfection of why science asks its questions, and what we can learn: How a fish went blind

The effort to map the extent of the evil void underneath Florida that seeks to swallow all mortals above

The complex relationship between our evolution, our survival, and our vitamins

Predatory underwater dragons that breathe through their anus and have hydraulic-powered grabby mouthparts!

“As you can see, skeleton shrimp have taken the basic amphipod body plan and dialed all the features to ‘scary’

Communication, not camouflage, drove the evolution of the chameleon’s abilities (probably)

Getting the Straight Dope on Weed: A student demystifies the mystifying drug

Barely believable pictures of a giant earthworm I had no idea existed

A science demo to do at an adult party: “Hot ice” (though that’s not what Stephen Fry calls it)

In a fight with inertia, you can pour water into a cup that’s upside down, above your head

You think you’re better than everyone else, even knowing that that’s impossible, because psychology

A weird law from linguistics can explain a 100 years of city sizes. No one knows exactly why

A koala’s sexy time call sounds like a car farting

People with super-memories can still fall prey to false ones

Human-like aging isn’t the norm, in fact, it’s kinda weird considering other animals

“We can safely assume [decapitation by parasitic fly] is relatively distressing for the ant”

 

Extreme Nerdery

Chuck f***ing Norris has hands made of some incredible metamaterial

Mordor=West Texas, Says Nerdy Climate Scientist

Arnie has killed 508 movie baddies over his career

18 examples of superhero tech that have some underpinnings in reality

The undocumented Windows feature that harbors the secret life of xkcd

Spiderman has a hard time shopping for rice

At what point in human history were there too many (English) books to be able to read them all in one lifetime?

“Went urban exploring, found some [super awesome] Batman graffiti I wanted to share.”

Tea Party Facebook Group Posts BioShock Image Satirizing Tea Party

No, you only live once if you drink that much, Bond

“…Jackson has by now laid to rest any lingering doubt that he is, indeed, the new George Lucas.”

Artist draws everything he remembers from Star Wars without looking at any source material. It’s lovely

Each frame of A New Hope arranged according to brightness. It’s a nerdy supernova

No map actually says “Here be dragons,” but a globe does

“Gene Roddenberry thought spandex was the textile of the future. Wrong.”

You only need the top row of your keyboard to type: “Too pretty to tweet

Serious nerd props, artist: Accurate and beautiful scaling of all the colossi in Shadow of the Colossus

Big data, because Buffy

This shows the structure of all Rocky movies, because internet

The least trustworthy file extensions are also the best

Want to read a paper about the climate of Middle Earth? Here you go [PDF]

Incredible! Turning an entire building into a Rubik’s cube that you can solve

 

Sciencey GIFs and Images

No, this isn’t the surface of the Moon. It’s a vinyl record up close

Stunning macro bee portraits from the USGS

5,000 and 50,000 prime numbers plotted in polar coordinates. It’s pretty

Ants could get themselves off a Tom Hanks inhabited island no problem

The rockets that got us to the Moon, and some people for scale

Stabilized footage of the earthrise is incredible

The best nature photo of the year is of a water bear (No, not a tardigrade)

One of the most beautiful things I have seen is this BB hitting glass in ultra slow-mo

This lama is way too fabulous for you

Why GIFs were invented: How a large ship bends as it moves through the water

Hand-made laser robot. Shut up and take my money!

What’s worse than a tail spin in an airplane? A tail spin where you’re a bird hopelessly attached to another bird

I don’t care if my readers are scared of arachnids, because I post things like this

Ever seen an owl swim? Well, here ya go

You don’t have to just watch a fountain, you can demonstrate some amazing fluid mechanics with it

The US drawn as 50 new states, all with equal populations

A tilt-shifted Great Wall of China

Lions make for crappy matadors (The lion is “ok”)

Space photos “minimized” with tilt-shift makes them looks like ethereal sculptures

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: The numbat

Brian Lai draws “negative art.” It’s incredible

Look at the speed and reaction time of this cheetah. The Serengeti Veyron

Some absolutely gorgeous shots of NASA’s Morpheus Lander

“Evolution couldn’t decide which color to make this tiger moth, so it went with all of them.”

I found a way to make hummingbirds even cuter: Watch them land at 300fps!

This reconstruction of the famous “boxes are the same color” illusion really proves your brain is to blame

So the difficulty of the Olympic vault has increased a bit over the years huh?

Not even Google Earth can capture an airplane

Must be a terrible apocalypse for the ants, but for us, visualizing their homes with molten metal is incredible

Just stay away from giant water bugs

This classic GIF is possible because the bat spins around its center of mass, which is closer to him than you think

Watching a two-headed snake drink water with both heads is some kind of nature zen for me

When the conditions are right, you can get some tires to teach you about centrifugal forces

If you stare at the white dot, you can get all the blue sections to disappear, because your brain gets tired

Technical note: Curiosity’s treads would not squash a banana on Mars

Immovable object and unstoppable force

This ridiculous horse stunt makes me so happy

Lighting makes all the difference when it comes to faces

Strengite is what Smaug would covet most

Oh, the stones from Temple of Doom are totally opal gemstone

 

Pop Culture Happenings

One of my favorite knocks against homeopathy and “alternative medicine” is from That Mitchell and Webb Look

9 Scientific Terms We Don’t Want To See In Adverts Anymore

That finger-painted Morgan Freeman was so good that it spurred a deep internet investigation

A message in a bottle, buried 54 years ago under a rock could be the last words from a promising glaciologist

Sorry Christians, but a lot of women have “virgin births”

The 6-Year-Old Who Donated His Piggy Bank to NASA Just Got a Call From an Astronaut

This 1940 photo of a Nazi fighter plane being tested in a wind tunnel is mesmerizing

An incredible longread feature: How the nation forgot 2,000 lobotomized solders, but one man did not

I honestly might use this xkcd tactic to prevent profile-mining

“Nerd” probably came from Dr. Seuss. “What’s in a sentence? What’s in a word? It’s easy, I tell you. Don’t be a nerd”

Jesus. We tried tying cats to bombs because they hate water and supposedly would swim towards ships

A wonderfully written piece on a simply odd topic: The Feral Cars of Langham County

Crop circles are so 2000. Snow, geometry, and dedication are what’s up

Taking infrared pictures of Nepal makes it even more beautiful, like a trippy Dr. Seuss book

So so cool: How drumming reverb changes based on location, and how awesome it sounds when you stitch it together

“The modern myth of Bigfoot…was inextricably linked to the practice of hoaxing from the very start.”

No, there is not a Krokodil epidemic

“Sir, what was the location you last traveled before entering Kazakhstan?” “Uh…THE MOON

Base jumper (who is OK) filmed his accidental encounter with a cliff face, set it to music, and it is EPIC

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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