Thursday, 31 May 2012

Creature Comforts

Nick Park is famous for his Wallace and Gromit claymation movies.  He also did Chicken Run.  There's a series called "Creature Comforts" which uses the voices of people on the street around which claymation characters are set.

Here's one that includes evolution.

Friday, 11 May 2012

The uncanny valley

For human simulations - especially androids - there's a term that's used to describe the creepiness in seeing a mannequin that's recognizably human but falls short:  The Uncanny Valley.  Usually the term describes situations where the automaton is really, really close to being a human and is "wrong" in subtle ways (kind of like that old motion-capture movie, The Polar Express).

This video features original music and the simulation mannequins for medical science students.  I would say they're identifiably "human" and not very close.  But the Uncanny Valley here is going strong.  Suuuuuuper creeeeeepy.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Monday, 30 April 2012

B. R. A. D.

That stands for "Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dormroom" by Derek Low.  He even elected to go with that strange Google Glasses soundtrack.

Horrible Histories - Natural Selection

I got my first "Horrible Histories" book when I was in London for a conference.  I loved the authors' instincts about how to make corny - but not too corny - jokes about history and provide a lot of facts of daily life that aren't captured in traditional history materials.  They use alliterative titles like "Rotten Romans" or "The Terrible Tudors" (the latter is the book I bought).

Well, they have a TV show that is based on snippets taken from the various books.  The TV show bounces through the time periods more than I'd like, but they caught the irreverence and wit of the books.

Here's Charles Darwin.  Singing.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Pythagasaurus rex

I know, I know.  You want more math.  The Lehrer bit wasn't enough.

Okay, here you go!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Ads with animals

Okay, so this totally ain't science.  But they use animals!  Good HD action in them, too!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

More physics

If you liked the sublimation of hot oil shown by William Shatner in my other posted video, you might be a physics nerd. Here's a video (in real time!!) of what happens if a railroad sealed container isn't vented properly.  It was emptied out and the hot gas remained inside, displacing volume.  The gas cooled, reducing the volume inside.

Safety dictates that the workers would have to keep a vent open after emptying it to avoid this problem.  This was a safety demonstration to show the public the power of our atmospheric pressure!

Note that air pressure works differently from gravity.  If you forgot in what ways, you can watch this.  Note that not everyone has a great control over gravity.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Five Minute University

Oh, I can't believe I left this out!

Father Guido Sarducci was a hit on Saturday Night Live.  I don't know what other classic bits he's put together, but I must say this is my favourite by far!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The cyber-conductor

My kids are playing at the Jubilee Auditorium tonight for the Kiwanis festival.  It'll be a long night:  they start at 4 pm and go to 9:30.  Penny's out of town tonight, so it's just us three... I'll take the kids out for a treat afterwards.  I know Tim's a bit under the weather - had a sleepover on the weekend (therefore no sleep) and then went skiing with his class yesterday.  A total phlegmball today.

So I was happy to see this cute piece to show them when we get home!  Thanks to Rob Willard, a friend from Stampede band a few decades back, who put this on his Facebook page!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Julie Child: cook, spy, and biologist

No joke:  you might have heard of this famous chef through the 2009 movie Julie and Julia and so you might be familiar with her expertise in French cuisine.  She also served during World War II dealing with sensitive documents and even helped with research into shark repellant.

This video once was used in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's "Life in The Universe" gallery (it's since been closed and the video is no longer available there).  Some clever soul saw a great opportunity to make a joke regarding "primordial soup" by having it explained by a world-famous chef!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


No, not really.  In fact, this video is completely anti-science.  But it makes me feel good after watching it!  I'm a big fan of Christopher Walken, and don't mind Fatboy Slim.  In the interest of the theme, though, note how Christopher defies gravity.

Don't try this at home!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Old but still magnificent

Tom Lehrer is a comic musician and has had a few great pieces. This is the classic: The element song. 
And if you've seen that already, how about THIS educational ditty?

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Brinicle of Death

This isn't really humour - especially not for the starfish it affects!  But it certainly is "science".

The temperature of the briny water is below freezing - of normal water - so it remains fluid.  It also becomes dense enough to sink.  It causes the less salty water outside to freeze solid to form the "brinicle".  Coooooool.