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Earth’s Hydrosphere and Geosphere + Weathering and Erosion

How do the geosphere and hydrosphere interact and work together? How do water and dirt work together to support life on Earth? In this episode of Crash Course Kids, Sabrina Cruz explains how rain, waterfalls, rivers, ocean waves, and other kinds of water move across the planet’s landforms.

That movement of water (as well as air, animals, plants, and chemicals) creates changes in the geosphere. In Weathering and Erosion, below, Cruz outlines how rocks break down into smaller pieces and get moved around.

Think of Weathering as the force that makes a mess and Erosion as the force that cleans it up… Examples could include the influence of the ocean on ecosystems, landform shape, and climate; the influence of the atmosphere on landforms and ecosystems through weather and climate; and the influence of mountain ranges on winds and clouds in the atmosphere.

Related reading: Erosion and Weathering at National Geographic and All About the Rock Cycle on Education.com.

Previously from Crash Course Kids: The Four Spheres (Geo, Bio, Hydro, & Atmo) and The Basics of Freshwater + Water, Water, Everywhere?

Plus: The Amazing Life of Sand, why is water one of the weirdest things in the universe? and why do rivers curve?

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NASA’s Opportunity Rover completes its mission on Mars

From its landing on Mars on January 24, 2004 to the mission’s end, announced on February 13, 2019, NASA’s Opportunity rover has been a wonder of space exploration. For almost 15 years, the golf-cart-size explorer trekked across the Martian landscape, continuing to gather and send data to Earth until a planet-wide dust storm enveloped it in June of 2018. Efforts to wake it up in the following months were unsuccessful.

Designed to last just 90 Martian days and travel 1,100 yards (1,000 meters), Opportunity vastly surpassed all expectations in its endurance, scientific value and longevity. In addition to exceeding its life expectancy by 60 times, the rover traveled more than 28 miles (45 kilometers) by the time it reached its most appropriate final resting spot on Mars – Perseverance Valley.

mars opportunity
Opportunity’s incredible legacy includes discovering evidence that “ancient Mars had water flowing on its surface and might have been capable of sustaining microbial life.” A summary list of accomplishments from NASA:

  • Set a one-day Mars driving record March 20, 2005, when it traveled 721 feet (220 meters).
  • Returned more than 217,000 images, including 15 360-degree color panoramas.
  • Exposed the surfaces of 52 rocks to reveal fresh mineral surfaces for analysis and cleared 72 additional targets with a brush to prepare them for inspection with spectrometers and a microscopic imager.
  • Found hematite, a mineral that forms in water, at its landing site.
  • Discovered strong indications at Endeavour Crater of the action of ancient water similar to the drinkable water of a pond or lake on Earth.

mars blueberries
mars low sun
Related reading: Six Things to Know About NASA’s Opportunity Rover.

Plus, more videos about rovers and Mars, and from 2012: Tour all six NASA spacecraft to reach the Red Planet.

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NASA’s Opportunity Rover completes its mission on Mars

From its landing on Mars on January 24, 2004 to the mission’s end, announced on February 13, 2019, NASA’s Opportunity rover has been a wonder of space exploration. For almost 15 years, the golf-cart-size explorer trekked across the Martian landscape, continuing to gather and send data to Earth until a planet-wide dust storm enveloped it in June of 2018. Efforts to wake it up in the following months were unsuccessful.

Designed to last just 90 Martian days and travel 1,100 yards (1,000 meters), Opportunity vastly surpassed all expectations in its endurance, scientific value and longevity. In addition to exceeding its life expectancy by 60 times, the rover traveled more than 28 miles (45 kilometers) by the time it reached its most appropriate final resting spot on Mars – Perseverance Valley.

mars opportunity
Opportunity’s incredible legacy includes discovering evidence that “ancient Mars had water flowing on its surface and might have been capable of sustaining microbial life.” A summary list of accomplishments from NASA:

  • Set a one-day Mars driving record March 20, 2005, when it traveled 721 feet (220 meters).
  • Returned more than 217,000 images, including 15 360-degree color panoramas.
  • Exposed the surfaces of 52 rocks to reveal fresh mineral surfaces for analysis and cleared 72 additional targets with a brush to prepare them for inspection with spectrometers and a microscopic imager.
  • Found hematite, a mineral that forms in water, at its landing site.
  • Discovered strong indications at Endeavour Crater of the action of ancient water similar to the drinkable water of a pond or lake on Earth.

mars blueberries
mars low sun
Related reading: Six Things to Know About NASA’s Opportunity Rover.

Plus, more videos about rovers and Mars, and from 2012: Tour all six NASA spacecraft to reach the Red Planet.

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How are coins made at The Royal Mint?

How are coins pressed from shiny discs of malleable metal at The Royal Mint? Nickel-brass alloy, graphite, sulfuric acid, ball bearings, heat, water, and a factory full of machines prepare these blanks before engraved designs are stamped into them. Plus: See how designers, engravers, and technicians create those designs.

How money is made in England: This is another informative factory video from The Magic of Making, a series of short kid-friendly films created in partnership with BBC Worldwide.

British coin blanks
British coin punch
Follow this with these related videos: How they make money in Canada, how money is printed in the United States with LeVar Burton, defacing coins like a British suffragette, and Economics in Plain English: What is money?

Plus, watch more videos from The Magic of Making.

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What did a baby T-Rex look like?

What did a baby T-Rex look like? And what evidence do we have to help figure that out? In preparation for T. rex: The Ultimate Predator, an American Museum of Natural History exhibition, AMNH experts used cutting-edge scientific research and modern-day animal references—ostriches, emus, cassowaries, Komodo dragons, turtles, and more—to construct an eye-opening presentation of the iconic Tyrannosaurus rex.

In the AMNH video above, paleontologist and museum curator Mark Norell and preparators Jason Brougham, Rebecca Meah, and Hannah Rawe explain how they created life-sized adult, juvenile, and baby T-rex models.

making a t-rex amnh

How did a fluffy little critter turn into a massive killing machine? Every terrifying T. rex was once a helpless hatchling. And all tyrannosaurs evolved from smaller ancestors—some little bigger than this one as adults. The full tyrannosaur story spans 100 million years of evolution and includes dozens of species discovered around the world—including T. rex, uncovered in Montana in 1905 by American Museum of Natural History fossil hunter Barnum Brown.

t-rex model head
baby t-rex
T. rex: The Ultimate Predator will run from March 11, 2019 to August 9, 2020.

Follow this video with the BBC’s rebuilding a real T. Rex with scientific research & new tech and AMNH’s Dinosaurs Among Us.

Plus: Baby ostriches dancing in circles, breakfast with a Cassowary, and making aloe plants for the hyena diorama at The Field Museum.

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Lifecycle of a Chinese Luna Moth

Follow the growth of the Chinese Luna Moth (Actias dubernardi) from egg, to caterpillar, to cocoon, to adult. This calmly-paced, 16-minute video covers approximately 70–85 days of development, filmed by insect YouTuber Adam Grochowalski. Both the bright pink and yellow male and pale green female of the species are shown.

chinese luna moth
chinese luna moth
Next, watch the time lapse of the life cycle of the silkworm, a monarch butterfly metamorphosis, hawk moths and the art of staying stable, and the camouflage of a leaf-like moth.

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Smash and Grab, a Pixar Sparkshorts film

In Smash and Grab, an action-packed, sci-fi Sparkshorts film from Pixar, two robots work diligently to power the engine car of a locomotive. Together, they make the best of the grind, until one discovers that there are happier existences outside of the train. In the following fast-paced moments, they risk everything for freedom and friendship, facing the dangerous, gun-toting bots who try to stop them.

smash and grab

Sparkshorts is an experimental storytelling program at Pixar that’s fostering new stories, storytellers, and filmmaking processes outside of the company’s usual workflows. Go behind-the-scenes with writer-director Brian Larsen:

Next, watch Escape, a sci-fi animated short from Moonbot Studios. Then watch some soccer-playing robots.

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How to build with different mud recipes

Dirt, sand, straw, clay, and water. Mixed and packed together in different combinations, these materials can create incredibly sturdy shelters and structures. In this video from The Nito Project, artist builder Benito Steen demonstrates how to build with different mud recipes, including rammed earth, cob, adobe, clay, wattle and daub, and other age-old materials.

Steen also shares the mud recipes for these walls of earth. His parents, Athena and Bill Steen of The Canelo Project, have promoted the use of straw bale homes and other eco-friendly building techniques for decades.

Mix 1 – 1 clay, 1 sand, ¼ water. Uses: rammed earth, earthen-floor subfloor, earth-bag fill, Earthship tire fill

Mix 2 – 1 clay, 1 sand, ½ straw, ½ water. Uses: cob

Mix 3 – 1 clay, 1 sand, ½ straw, ¾ water. Uses: adobe, plaster, mortar, earthen-floor finish layer

Mix 4 – 2 clay, 1 sand, 1½ straw, 1 water. Uses: wattle & daub, base-coat plaster

Mix 5 – 2 clay, 1 sand, 2½ straw, 1¼ water. Uses: straw-clay block, base-coat plaster

Mix 6 – 2 clay, 1 sand, 3½ straw, 1½ water. Uses: straw-clay infill, lighter straw-clay blocks

Clay mortar: 1 clay, 1½ sand, ¾ water

building with mud - recipes
Read more about earth structures on Wikipedia.

Then watch more videos about shelter and mud, including hikaru dorodango and Primitive Technology’s Barrel Tiled Shed & Tiled Roof Hut.

Plus: How do cliff swallows build their mud pellet nests?

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The tooth-billed hummingbird’s combat moves

When it comes to nectar, the hummingbird is notorious for its highly competitive nature. “Their high-energy lifestyle compels hummingbirds to locate reliable food resources” and then to defend them once found. In the forests of western Colombia, this need to compete has reshaped tooth-billed hummingbird beaks into “strong, sharp and dangerous weapons”.

The males use their bills to stab other males, and to fence — feinting and parrying, sometimes knocking the other bird off a perch. Some hummingbirds even have hooked beaks, with serrations that look like shark’s teeth. Dr. Rico-Guevara’s high-speed video shows males tearing out another bird’s feathers with those grippers.

James Gorman shares the research and an up-close look at this ‘tooth’-filled beak in The Hummingbird as Warrior: Evolution of a Fierce and Furious Beak, a Science Take article and video from The New York Times.

tooth-billed hummingbird beak
Watch these next: Hummingbird Battleground in the Talamanca Mountains and UCLA’s Hummingbird Whisperer.

Plus, watch more videos about evolution: Why Dogs Have Floppy Ears, an animated tale, evidence of evolution that you can find on your body, and Evolution 101 & how natural selection works.

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What’s the dirtiest place in your home?

Think of the dust, the hidden ants and spiders, or the potential molds, fungi, and bacteria that can be in any household. Is the dirtiest place in your home under your bed? On doorknobs? In the dishwashing sponge? In the toilet? This Science Insider video reveals that the ‘dirtiest’ place in our homes are on our bodies. There are microbes in our armpits and in our guts, mites on our faces, and “some 100 species of fungus living on our feet“…

And while the idea of them might give you chills…microbes like these help keep you safe. You see, the number of harmless microbial species in the world outnumber harmful ones by a trillion to one. In fact, less than .00000001% of microbial species account for nearly all infectious diseases in the world. And all these harmless bacteria crawling on your skin means less room and resources for pathogens, like antibiotic-resistant microbes.

the human body: the dirtiest place in your home
Learn more about the dust in your home and the microbes in your gut with TED-Ed, and the mites living on your face with Gross Science.

Plus, watch Evolutionary branching in action: Bacteria adapt to antibiotics and Mimicking shark skin to combat superbugs.

Bonus: What’s the right way to wash your hands?

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Stop-motion Paper Mario

Paper Mario, but with actual paper. Hand-drawn in a notebook and animated with stop-motion, Nintendo fan Kisaragi Hutae 6 recreates a scene from Mario’s side-scrolling quest in Super Mario Bros, complete with sound effects and Nintendo’s iconic music.

paper mario stop motion
paper mario stop motion
Kisaragi Hutae 6 recreates and shares video game vignettes in paper and perler/hama beads on Twitter, too. Check out these Kirby scenes:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

In case you missed it, watch 46 Nintendo melodies in one animated mashup next. Plus: More video game-themed videos and more stop motion vids.

via Boing Boing.

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Mental Logs number sticks, a math magic trick

Ask someone to mix these Mental Logs number sticks up in any combination. Can you figure out the total in your head more quickly than they can add the numbers on a calculator? Yes. In fact, you can probably tell them the total faster than it takes them to enter the first number. How does this math magic trick work?

Mathematician Dr. Katie Steckles demonstrates a simple mental math trick in this Numberphile video: Number Sticks. Buy the Mental Logs magic trick on Amazon, or make your own. How long can you confound your friends, family, and classroom before they figure out how it works?

Follow this with the Universal Calendar Puzzle: Figure out the day of the week for any date ever and how to multiply numbers by drawing lines.

And previously: Fold & Cut Theorem – Cut any shape from only one cut.

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Swimming with the whale sharks of Isla Mujeres

A whale shark (Rhincodon typus) feeds on bonito eggs just off the Yucatan peninsula in this video from underwater camera operator and filmmaker Simon Spear of View from the Blue Productions. Whale sharks, the planet’s largest fish, are filter feeders, animals that eats “by straining tiny food, like plankton, from the water.” From OceanConservancy.org:

In whale sharks, teeth don’t play a major role in feeding. In one of their filter-feeding methods, they suction water into their mouths at high velocities while remaining stationary. Food moves through filtering pads that cover the entrance of their throats. The filtering pads are broad mess pads full of millimeter-wide pores that act like a sieve, allowing water to pass through while capturing food particles.

Plus, more about the size of these gentle giants from Wikipedia:

Whale sharks have a mouth that can be 1.5 m (4.9 ft) wide, containing 300 to 350 rows of tiny teeth and 10 filter pads which it uses to filter feed. Unlike many other sharks, whale sharks’ mouths are located at the front of the head rather than on the underside of the head. Whale sharks have five large pairs of gills. The head is wide and flat with two small eyes at the front. Whale sharks are grey with a white belly. Their skin is marked with pale yellow spots and stripes which are unique to each individual

The whale shark is the largest non-cetacean animal in the world. The average size of adult whale sharks is estimated at 9.8 m (32 ft) and 9 t (20,000 lb)… The largest verified specimen was caught on 11 November 1949, near Baba Island, in Karachi, Pakistan. It was 12.65 m (41.5 ft) long, weighed about 21.5 t (47,000 lb), and had a girth of 7 m (23 ft).

Related projects: Whaleshark.org, a crowdsourced whale shark photo-identification library.

Previously: Close encounters of the giant kind: Diving with a whale shark and five big sharks that help keep our oceans healthy. Plus, watch more videos about filter feeders, including sea cucumbers and the basking shark.

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Harvesting water from thin air

Can we harvest water from landscapes that are famous for their arid climate? Evelyn Wang and Omar Yaghi, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of California, Berkeley respectively, created a small-scale water collecting prototype to find out. Using an absorbent metal-organic framework or MOF powder, they’ve sucked water molecules out of Arizona’s desert air. This Joe’s Big Idea explains.

In the prototype, the heat needed to drive the water out of the MOF comes from ambient sunlight — no external power supply is needed… But it’s just a prototype. It only used a fraction of an ounce of the MOF powder. “So the amount of water that we’ve shown is also pretty small,” says Wang.

According to Wang’s calculations, a full-sized system using about 2 pounds of MOF powder could deliver close to three quarts of water per day.


We love smart videos from Joe’s Big Idea. Watch these next: How a failed invention lead to a potentially life-saving new idea and The Courage To Invent: A NASA Roboticist Tells Her Story.

Plus, more videos about drought: Catching fog to help combat Peru’s water shortage, designing solar panel walls that can recycle & heat greywater, and can Namib Desert beetles help us solve our drought problems?

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Will there ever be a mile-high skyscraper?

In 1956, architect Frank Lloyd Wright proposed a mile-high skyscraper, a building five times as high as the Eiffel Tower. While this massive tower was never built, today bigger and bigger buildings are going up around the world. How did these impossible ideas turn into architectural opportunities?

Explore the physics of skyscrapers and other megastructures, including the modern materials and engineering practices that have enabled architects to design record-breaking buildings in cities around the world. From Stefan Al and TED-Ed: Will there ever be a mile-high skyscraper?


Related reading: A list of the tallest buildings.

Then watch these related videos: Burj Khalifa: The tech behind the world’s tallest building, time lapse construction of the world’s tallest prefab skyscraper, mysteries of the world’s biggest dome, and New York: A Documentary Film – The Chrysler Building (1929).

Bonus: A microgravity demo in the Willis Tower Skydeck elevator.

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