Category → Video Goodness
We’ve spilled plenty of ink about so-called science rappers on the Newscripts blog. But let’s face it, they are all pretenders to the throne. All hail GZA of the kingdom of Wu-Tang, who with the above taste of his upcoming solo project “Dark Matter” takes his rightful place at the top of the heap.
As we wrote last year, GZA’s upcoming album, “Dark Matter,” is inspired by science. On the March 27th episode of the PBS NewsHour, GZA gave Bronx Compass High School a sneak peek at some of his new material. We also heard about Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S., a project GZA’s involved with to help students in struggling school districts learn about science through rap. B.A.T.T.L.E.S. stands for Bring Attention to Transforming Teaching, Learning & Engagement in Science. You can learn more at PBS NewsHour’s GZA story.
Still think you can dethrone the master? PBS is sponsoring a science rap contest on YouTube that anyone can enter. The winner gets a personalized video shout-out from GZA, and other prizes. Entries are due May 3rd. More details at the bottom of PBS’s page.
Here’s the full TV segment for your viewing pleasure (GZA makes his entrance at 3:30).
Not to be confused with the real Harlem Shake dance moves of the 1980s, a Harlem Shake video meme quickly went viral last month. The gist: An individual starts to dance to electronic music producer Baauer’s song “Harlem Shake” for roughly 15 seconds before the beat pops and the video jump-cuts to a huge crowd of costumed companions who join in on the erratic dancing.
The meme began in Australia, but quickly became popular across the globe, with the University of Georgia men’s swim team, some Norwegian army troops, and even a distressed clothes dryer posting their own Harlem Shake videos.
And now, thanks to Pierre Morieux (@ChemDrawWizard), chemists have gotten in on the fun. His YouTube channel features a couple of ChemDraw video tutorials, followed by this bigger hit:
Do you remember what you did on Pi Day last Thursday (3/14)? American Chemical Society (ACS) student affiliates from Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh, took the opportunity to “pi” their professors (literally) and made a short video about it:
And on a related note, if you think reading the digits in pi will take forever, check out this video of a man pronouncing the longest word in the world, which happens to be the chemical name of titin, the largest known protein. (Warning: you’ll need three and a half hours to get through this video, but as a reward, you get to watch this man’s beard grow.)
This post was written by Andrea Widener, an associate editor for C&EN’s government and policy group.
When Ernest O. Lawrence lent a cyclotron to the London Science Museum in 1938, he thought it would be back in eight months.
But it took 75 years for the 11-inch cyclotron, one of the first built by the future Nobel Prize winner, to return to the hills of Berkeley, Calif., where it was originally created.
The cyclotron survived a war, a bureaucratic tussle, and a security challenge before it was finally returned to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the research institution founded by the cyclotron’s inventor.
When it arrived last month, the 11-inch cyclotron was an instant celebrity, drawing crowds as though Lawrence himself had walked in for a photo op.
“They were coming down the hallway in a stream,” says Pamela Patterson, who serves as an unofficial historian and manager of the lab’s website. “Everyone was there. The director had his iPhone up taking pictures. It was cute.”
At the time Lawrence loaned the cyclotron to the science museum, he was still a young, ambitious researcher trying to convince others that the device was a major breakthrough. An invitation to display it in such a prestigious spot was likely an important step, Patterson explains.
But when the cyclotron was supposed to be returned in 1939, Lawrence received a letter from the museum saying officials had moved the cyclotron to a rural district for safe keeping because they feared London would be bombed during World War II. Continue reading →
It’s not every day that you see a magician mentioned in the “Acknowledgements” section of a peer-reviewed scientific paper. But last month, when the open-access journal PeerJ launched, there it was: magical act Penn & Teller got a mention both in that section of the article AND in the title.
In the paper, Stephen L. Macknick of Barrow Neurological Institute and two other researchers explore why Penn & Teller’s classic “cups and balls” magic trick works so well … by using some tricks of the cognitive-neuroscience trade. They monitored the eye movements of study participants who were watching Teller perform to understand the finer points of the illusion.
Below, you’ll see an extended version of Penn & Teller performing the age-old trick, but you can also see the videos that accompanied the paper here.
As I mention in this week’s print Newscripts, Teller had assumed “cups and balls” fools the audience—even with transparent cups—because when he picks up a cup from the table, he tilts it and causes a ball sitting on top to fall. He thought audience members were distracted by the ball’s motion and therefore didn’t notice him sliding a new ball under the cup before placing it back on the table.
Macknick and his team disproved this notion by demonstrating that viewers’ eyes didn’t stray very much from Teller’s hands when he dumped the ball. Only when he held one of the balls up or placed it on the table did he misdirect a subject’s gaze significantly.
Some Newscripts readers might at this point be scratching their heads and asking why cognitive neuroscientists are helping magicians work on their acts. Continue reading →
Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Bethany Halford and Lauren Wolf.
Ever wish you could tear a page out of C&EN and eat it because it’s so good? Well, it might happen in the future … Fanta creates an edible ad. [ShortList] But just to be clear, this is old news: Newscripts has written about edible ads (and greeting cards) before. [C&EN]
Scientists in California want to create laser beams to evaporate asteroids before they hit Earth. No word on using them to fill the dean’s house with popcorn or if they will be mounted on sharks. [LA Times]
Speaking of lasers, this one was meant for studying space, but it moonlights as a counterfeit honey detector. [Slate]
Who knew panda flirting was so complicated? The Edinburgh Zoo’s Yang Guang “has recently begun to execute handstands against trees, walls, and rocks, and to leave scent marks as high up as he can” in an attempt to get the attention of lady panda Tian Tian. [Guardian]
Jose Canseco, that lovable juiced-up ex-ball player, tweeted his theories on gravity and dinosaurs this week. Newscripts hasn’t been this confused since Keanu Reeves explained wave-particle duality. [iO9]
Checking up on HP’s Chubby Checker. Incidentally, if the Newscripts gang held stock in HP, we’d be wondering what the hell is going on at that place. [Slate]
This Side Up: The paint splatters on that canvas really do have a top and bottom. Study shows people can set an abstract painting in its “correct” orientation more often than not. [Discoblog]
Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai and Bethany Halford
Chemistry lab work can be tough. There are smelly solvents and reactions with the potential to explode. But at least you don’t have to worry about how you’ll feed the bedbugs. [PopSci]
Middle school science fair projects have gotten legit. Thirteen-year-old sends Hello Kitty to the stratosphere and back, with a video camera along for the ride. [Cosmic Log/NBC News]
Lusty male moth drives robot car towards the scent of his lady love, refuses to ask for directions. [Forbes]
The recently unearthed bones of Richard III beg the question: What’s the Shelf Life of DNA? [Slate]
Perhaps Ethan Hawke’s character from “Gattaca” isn’t the only one who should be paranoid — someone’s 3-D printing faces with your discarded DNA. [iO9]
Forget your umbrella? Spray your clothes with Ultra Ever Dry, a superhydrophobic and oleophobic nanotech coating (Um, actually, we’re not sure you should spray this on your clothes, but there’s a cool video). [NPR]
Who says scientists are boring geeks who drone on about quantum efficiency and reaction yield? We here at the Newscripts blog LOVE science and think those geeks are rockstars. So we’ve selected an assortment of our favorite videos of the year depicting just how cool science can be. The clips were culled from 2012 blog posts as well as from the YouTube channel of Chemical & Engineering News.
So sit back, relax, warm yourself by the gentle glow of that Bunsen burner, and bask in the awesomeness of science.
In at number 10, Russell Hemley and researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science have gotten so good at growing their own diamonds from methane, they can make gems as big as 10 carat! Too bad they’re using them in high-pressure experiments rather than sending the Newscripts gang free samples.
Number 9: Reality TV isn’t just for privileged housewives, the gym-tan-laundry crowd, or survivors who like to eat bugs anymore. This year, MIT released a reality Web series following undergrads trying to pass an introductory chemistry course. Oh, the intrigue! Crystallization contests, rotovap malfunctions … this is the trailer that got us pumped for the series. [Link to original post]
Number 8: Adorable pandas + poop = instant classic. It really doesn’t even matter what the rest of the video is about. Although we did slip in some biofuel science. So you’re learning something while overloading on cute.
Number 7: Although the Newscripts gang loves to yell out requests for “Free Bird” at concerts, we also think Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” is pretty clutch, too. It’s even better when played by Tesla coils. [Link to original post]
Number 6: This year, researchers at Harvard and Caltech made a polymer sheet swim like a jellyfish. Why? We’re not so sure it matters. All we know is, right now, we’re heading out to procure some rat heart cells, a silicone sheet, and a vial of fibronectin because, well, we want one.
Number 5: You didn’t think you’d make it through a 2012 countdown without a Gangnam parody, did you? Good. Because here’s biochemistry, taught Gangnam-style. [Link to original post] Continue reading →