Science. Communication. Community.
What to do when your “blogger of the day” needs to prepare for her dissertation defense? Pull together a fun (easy) post about our favorite science YouTube videos. Enjoy!
Living in a Reversed World: Vision depends in many ways on haptics (touch or body sense). You can demonstrate this by putting on prism spectacles that create an inverted world. This film is a little slow-moving, but shows a number of cool experiments in perceptual adaptation. (Amanda Alvarez)
Powers of Ten: This 1977 film illustrates the effect of adding “one more zero,” accompanied by a creepy organ soundtrack. The earnest narration takes us from ground level of Earth through the atmosphere into the solar system and beyond, before returning to explore the microscopic world down to the level of DNA, atoms, and the quantum world at the edge of our knowledge. (Amanda Alvarez)
The Engineer Guy: I’m a big fan of Bill Hammack’s video series. He takes apart everyday equipment and explains what literally makes it tick in very understandable terms. Here he is opening up a hard drive and talking about how magnets and air cushions make it work. (Ian Campbell)
Periodic Table of Videos: Can I pick two videos? I’m also really jazzed by this series. They talk about each of the elements–how they were discovered, what each is used for in the modern world, and more importantly, they have great slow-motion footage of many elements exploding. Here’s a good one of sodium getting wet. (Ian Campbell)
Should You Use a Snooze Button? For a lot of people, it’s a challenge to get up in the morning, and it’s a daily battle with that least favorite–but often essential–modern tool: the alarm clock. But should you be hitting the snooze button? In just over two minutes, you’ll get a run-down on the science of sleep and why hitting that button might not be the best way to start your day. (Jessica McDonald)
Non-Newtonian Fluids: Fluids are around us everyday, and many of them behave normally: if you stir your coffee harder, it will swirl faster. But there are a multitude of weird fluids that don’t behave normally, with the umbrella name “non-Newtonian fluids.” Some non-Newtonian fluids resist more as you stir them harder. This is evident in this video, where people can literally walk on water (and cornstarch). (Kerstin Nordstrom)
It also gives rise to other kooky behavior when you hit the liquid repeatedly, like with the pumping bass of a woofer. These sorts of fluids are being developed for a lightweight, flexible body armor. (Kerstin Nordstrom)
The Science of Aging: This video explains the genetic and cellular components that make aging inevitable for humans, but not necessarily for other organisms. The ASAPScience series combines textbook knowledge with recent research, using very plain language, a sense of humor, and simple whiteboard illustrations to explain everything from power naps to orgasms. I could sit and watch these videos all day! (Jessica Stoller-Conrad)
In My Language: This video made a big stir in 2007, but I missed it the first time round. It’s by Amanda Baggs, an autistic woman who was 26 at the time. The first half simply shows how Baggs perceives and interacts with the world. The second half includes a voiceover, in which Baggs’ explains what she’s thinking in “our language.” Curator Faye Ginsberg provided some background about the piece and its impact on In Media Res. (Rebecca Widiss)