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Selaginella lepidophylla, a rose of Jericho time lapse

Selaginella lepidophylla, also called the false Rose of Jericho, is a resurrection plant. Normally an emerald green, the plant looks dead when deprived of moisture. When re-exposed to water, even after years, Selaginella lepidophylla can transform in 12-24 hours from its desiccated state, as shown in the time lapse video…

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The Physics of Surfing

Whether or not you realize it, surfers are masters of complicated physics. The science of surfing begins as soon as a board first hits the water. Surfers may not be thinking about weather patterns in the Pacific, tectonic geology or fluid mechanics, but the art of catching the perfect wave…

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How to Draw a 3D City: Line Paper Anamorphic Drawing

Draw some rectangles within a larger rectangle. Draw a plus sign on the bottom left outside of that large rectangle—this is your vanishing point—then draw lines from the corners of those smaller rectangles to that point, stopping along the outer rectangle. With windows, some strategic shading, pen lines that simulate…

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Are dinosaurs still alive today?

Not all dinosaurs went extinct during the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event around 66 million years ago. In this video from the American Museum of Natural History‘s Space Vs Dinos series, paleontologist Aki Watanabe explains that some dinosaurs escaped extinction. These relatives of Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor can be found thriving all…

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A peek inside marsupial pouches

Kangaroos are famous for carrying their baby joeys in their pouches. Other marsupialsquokkas, wombats, wallabies, koalas, quolls, Tasmanian devils, and opossums, for example—also carry their young in this way.

In this clip from the Smithsonian Channel, we get a peek inside quokka and kangaroo pouches to see how their young stay protected. Plus, see why the wombat pouch faces backwards. From Wikipedia:

Pouches are different amongst different marsupials, two kinds distinguishable (on the front or belly): opening towards the head and extending the cavity under the skin towards the tail (forward, or up) or opening towards the tail and extending towards the front legs (to the rear, backward or down).

Plus, some extra insight from Echidna Walkabout:

On a warm day, a large macropod joey swings around in an airy hammock-like pouch for most of the day. Legs, tail and ears spill out in all directions as joey snoozes. But everything changes when mum hops!

Suddenly, the airy hammock becomes a pressure bandage. Kangaroo mothers have powerful muscles around the pouch, which can tighten quickly or relax completely. If mum needs to hop fast to escape danger, she can’t have a big loose load on her undercarriage – so she tightens her pouch muscles and presses joey hard against her belly.

It makes sense – if you were holding a baby loosely in your arms and suddenly had to run, you’d do the same. Hold the precious cargo firmly.

inside a marsupial pouch
Watch these related videos next: A tiny newborn kangaroo climbs into its mother’s pouch and Kangaroo Dundee and his baby kangaroos.

Bonus: The three different ways mammals give birth.

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How are LEGO Duplo bricks made?

Not long ago I joined the awesome LEGO video team at the DUPLO factory in Hungary. I was there to host a video for LEGO’s social channels but they kindly let me vlog snippets as we toured around!

In the video above, Maddie Moate shows and tells how LEGO Duplo bricks and characters are made—almost five million bricks a day. She’s filmed how tiny granules of plastic travel through tubes to be mixed with color pellets. The pieces are then quickly molded and cooled in a plastic injection molding machine, printed with faces color by color, and assembled by machines.

lego duplo cat with no face
printing a Duplo cat face
And here’s the video she made with LEGO:

Watch more videos from Maddie Moate on this site, travel to Denmark to see how robots and machines make LEGO at their Billund factory, or fly by drone over LEGO House, Denmark’s new LEGO visitor center.

Plus, a LEGO + math video: How many LEGO combinations can be made with 6 standard bricks?

Also excellent: A fascinating video primer on Plastic Injection Molding and more videos about plastic.

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Hermit crabs line up to exchange their shells

There’s an extraordinary sight in this clip from the BBC’s Life Story, narrated by Sir David Attenborough: A line of hermit crabs self-arranges from smallest to largest. They’re ready and waiting to exchange their shells—but why? Attenborough explains that “as a crab grows its shell becomes an ever-tighter fit so eventually the crabs need to move into a bigger one.” And so these small decapod crustaceans have organized, hopefully ensuring that each one will quickly find and move into a slightly larger mobile home.

hermit crabs in a line
hermit crabs - bbc life story
Related videos: Pagurus Bernhardus changes its shell, a Caribbean hermit crab named Godzilla, a Caribbean hermit crab mass migration, and more videos about crabs.

Also: A molting Japanese spider crab time lapse.

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How are glass bottles and jars made?

Hot molten gobs are made from silica-rich sand, cullet (recycled glass), and a mix of calcium carbonate and sodium carbonate. Rocketing through the bottle-making machinery, the fiery balls shoot into molds, forming into different shapes. The resulting glass bottles and jars are then checked, rinsed, filled, capped, pasteurized, and labeled.

Go behind-the-scenes at this bottle factory in England with The Magic of Making, a series of short educational films for kids, created in partnership with BBC Worldwide.

glass bottles factory
glass bottles factory
Watch these next: Marbles, how knives, forks, and spoons are made, and more Magic of Making videos on this site.

Plus, don’t miss The Glass Ribbon Machine and Glas, Bert Haanstra‘s Oscar winning documentary short film (1959).

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How do parrots talk like humans?

In 2016 researchers released a study with an incredible headline: monkey vocal tracts are speech-ready. It showed that monkeys are held back from speech not by their bodies, but by their brains. But if that’s the case, what’s the deal with birds?

Parrots are known for their ability to mimic human speech with incredible accuracy. It’s jarring to hear an animal so vastly different from us speaking our language. So how do they do it? Partially, neurology: parrots are wired for communication in ways other animals (including other birds) are not. But it’s largely physiology. Birds are uniquely equipped to make sounds, and this video will give you a basic overview of how that works.

Vox’s Kimberly Mas talks with Mya Thompson of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to learn more about the avian vocal organ called a syrinx and why parrots in particular are driven to mimic those around them: Why parrots can talk like humans.

bird anatomy - the syrinx
Learn more about talking birds and African Greys on Wikipedia. Plus: Why can’t monkeys talk? Scientists rumble over a curious question.

Related videos include The Fanciest Bird in the World: Superb Lyrebird, A.I. Experiments: Bird Sounds, and how do birds learn to sing?

Bonus: This is what your vocal cords look like and opera singers sing during real-time MRI scans.

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The Problem with Concrete

Concrete is responsible for 8% of humanity’s carbon emissions because making its key ingredient – cement – chemically releases CO2, and because we burn fossil fuels to make it happen.

What is concrete used to create? How is cement made? And how can we reinvent this ubiquitous material in ways that reduce or potentially eliminate its carbon footprint? Minute Earth explains in The Problem with Concrete, presented in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates.

Some history from Building a Better World With Green Cement in Smithsonian Magazine:

People have been trying to build a better cement since just about the beginning of history. More than 2,000 years ago, the Romans devised a mixture of lime, volcanic ash and chunks of stone to form concrete, which was used to make harbors, monuments and buildings—the glue of early cities—including the Pantheon and the Colosseum. In the 1820s, in Leeds, England, about 200 miles from Imperial College, a stone mason named Joseph Aspdin invented modern cement. Aspdin heated a concoction of finely ground limestone and clay in his kitchen. After he added water, the mixture hardened. Voilà—the building block of the Industrial Revolution was born. Because the material looked like a popular building stone from the Isle of Portland, Aspdin called his invention Portland cement. The patent, issued in 1824, was for “an improvement in the mode of producing an artificial stone.”

the problem with cement
Related reading: What’s the difference between cement and concrete?

Related videos: Creating wood ash cement from scratch, an experiment with Primitive Technology, and concrete does not dry out with Minute Physics.

Plus, a potential solution with some seashell inspiration: Growing cement bricks with bacteria.

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MIT’s backflipping mini cheetah quadruped robot

MIT’S new mini cheetah robot is the first four-legged robot to do a backflip. At only 20 pounds the limber quadruped can bend and swing its legs wide, enabling it to walk either right side up or upside down. The robot can also trot over uneven terrain about twice as fast as an average person’s walking speed.

And when researchers kick or knock over the lightweight and agile mini cheetah, it’s a demonstration of the robot’s ability to get back up on its own. (Reminder: Please do not kick robots.) See how it backflips perfectly and not-so-perfectly in this 2019 video from the Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

mini cheetah MIT
mini cheetah in the leaves
Previously, from 2015: MIT’s electric cheetah-bot runs offleash. And from 2012: Boston Dynamics’ Cheetah Robot. Plus: More robot videos.

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Michna’s Solid Gold

Mixing stop motion and motion design, director Christophe Thockler searches for “beauty in the mundane” for Michna’s Solid Gold. The 2015 music video features 60 rocks from 15 different countries. He explains:

“I like to think about the idea that the casting of this video is made of ancient majestic characters from all around the world, it’s also a tribute to nature, with small bits of our planet dancing together during three minutes.”

Identify all of the rocks used in the video on Thockler’s site.

rocks - solid gold video
rocks - solid gold video
rocks - solid gold video
Next, from The Ring of Truth: Molten gold transforms into gold leaf. Plus: Melodious stone instruments called lithophones, Space Rocks: Comets, asteroids, meteors, & meteorites, and The Amazing Life of Sand.

Bonus: Make Incredible Egg Geodes and All That Glitters: The History of Shiny Things.

via The Awesomer.

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Painting and erasing a clock in real-time

A man paints and erases two clock hands minute by minute as time ticks by. Is that a real person seen within the clock’s translucent face? How does he stay on time? Does he take a break?

Filmed and played across 12 hours to indicate the time, Schiphol Clock is a real-time video installation by Dutch designer Maarten Baas, a 2016 project from his Real-Time performance series. Around 3 meters (10-ish feet) tall and found in Lounge 2 at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, the piece is based on Baas’ Grandfather Clocks from 2009. Here’s another real-time video:

The man’s blue overalls, yellow rag and red bucket pay a subtle homage to Dutch painter Piet Mondrian and Dutch furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld. A close-up of the piece from the artist:
Plus, see the real-time piece sped up and set to music:

Baas has explored other clock ideas. Here’s just under two minutes of Grandfather Clocks or Self Portrait Clock (2009), presumably at midnight of a new year, complete with celebratory confetti and champagne.

Also from the series: Analog Digital Clock, which is also an app.

And ten minutes of Sweeper’s Clock, two men sweeping trash for 12 hours.

Watch more clock videos and more videos about time, including 16:59 by Lernert & Sander, Ferrolic, a ferrofluid clock prototype, LEGO Rolling Ball Clock, Osaka Station City Waterfall Printer, Inside of New York City’s Sutton Clock Shop, and People in Order.

Bonus: A Briefer History of Time: How tech changes us in unexpected ways.

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Russian nesting dolls 1-10

Count from 1 to 10 with this classic Sesame Street stop motion animation from 1973: Russian nesting dolls, also known as Matryoshka dolls.

A set of matryoshkas consists of a wooden figure, which separates, top from bottom, to reveal a smaller figure of the same sort inside, which has, in turn, another figure inside of it, and so on.

The first Russian nested doll set was made in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter at Abramtsevo. Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed in a sarafan, a traditional Russian peasant jumper dress. The figures inside may be of either gender; the smallest, innermost doll is typically a baby turned from a single piece of wood. Much of the artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be very elaborate.

russian nesting dolls sesame street
Watch more counting videos and more Sesame Street videos on this site, including Sesame Street’s Mad Painter paints the number 7, Number Twelve Rocks, The 30 Dots Collection, and School House Rock’s Counting by Fives.

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