The physics behind this crazy basketball trick

July 18, 2015

Let’s play a little game called “What happens when you drop a basketball off the top of a 126.5-metre dam?” The answer’s pretty obvious: it’s going to fall, right? But what happens if you give it a little backspin before you let go? Well, that’s a whole different story, as you can see …

Learn more here.

Four perfect circles – really!

July 12, 2015

I really like optical illusions.

And this picture of four perfectly round circles is no exception. Our mind does like to play tricks on us!

Four circles

This is NOT a snake

June 23, 2015

Imagine that you’re a hungry predator foraging through the forest, hot on the trail of a juicy insect for your next meal. Deep in the forest, you pull back a leaf, and this creature starts wagging violently at you, sending you running for the hills:

Dynastor-darius pupa

The joke’s on you, because this frightening creature is most definitely NOT a snake. It’s actually a pupa (not a caterpillar, not yet a butterfly), ensconced in its chrysalis as it undergoes its remarkable transformation.

Dynastor darius is obviously a master of disguise, but it has more tricks up its sleeve besides its scary exterior … the pupa is still aware of the world outside of its chrysalis, and can shake from side to side (like a moving snake) to fend off the predator that wasn’t sufficiently spooked by its exterior. Learn more here.

Rabbit vs Snake

June 23, 2015

In the tradition of ‘Killer Whale vs Seal‘, ‘Lion vs Buffalo vs Crocodile‘, ‘Shark vs Octopus‘, ’Leopard vs Porcupine‘, ‘Hornets vs Honey bees‘, ’Salmon vs Grizzly Bear‘, ‘Hippopotamus vs Crocodile’, ‘Polar Bear vs Walrus Colony’, ‘Giraffe vs Giraffe‘, ‘Caterpillar vs Frog‘, ‘Frog vs Poison Newt’, ‘Rubber bands vs Water Melon’,  ‘Sarcastic fringehead vs Sarcastic fringehead’, ‘Jaguar vs Crocodile‘, ‘Snake vs Crocodile‘, ‘Centipede vs Snake‘, and ‘Moray Eel vs White Tip Reef Shark‘ here is ‘Rabbit vs Snake:

This mother bunny sees a snake trying to make a meal of her baby bunny, see what happens …

Best Illusion of the Year for 2015 Announced

June 18, 2015

I really like optical illusions.

The illusion above is called Splitting Colors. You can read an explanation of it here. It was crowned the winner of the annual Best Illusion of the Year Contest for 2015. Coming in second was Ambiguous Garage Roof.

Do we see reality as it is?

June 14, 2015

Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is … or as we need it to be?

Bacteria on a Handprint

June 9, 2015

Bacteria can be found virtually everywhere. They are in the air, the soil, and water, and in and on plants and animals, including us. In fact they cover your skin and you have literally trillions and trillions of bacteria in your gut.

To illustrate how much bacteria can be found on your hands after playing outside check out this hand print of bacteria which grew into this lovely formation a vibrant array of colors and shapes.

Bacteria on a Handprint

Did you know, in 2028…

June 8, 2015

The math behind Michael Jordan’s legendary hang time

June 6, 2015

Michael Jordan’s legendary slam dunk from the free throw line has been calculated at 0.92 seconds of pure hang time. But how many seconds could Jordan have gotten were he doing the same jump on the Moon? Or Jupiter?

How batteries work

May 23, 2015

Batteries are a triumph of science—they allow smartphones and other technologies to exist without anchoring us to an infernal tangle of power cables. Yet even the best batteries will diminish daily, slowly losing capacity until they finally die. Why does this happen, and how do our batteries even store so much charge in the first place?


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