If “Lord of the Rings” were real, how far could Legolas actually see?

June 30, 2014 | 2 comments

Henry Reich of MinutePhysics answers a burning question for fans of Lord of the Rings — Is it scientifically possible for the elf Legolas to have seen the height and features of the horsemen who were still five leagues (15 miles) away from him?

Not only is the answer intriguing, but you’ll learn a little physics along the way…

When two glass jars are clanked together, they make an oddly satisfying sound

June 30, 2014 | No comments

Who knew bouncing two jars against one another could be so mesmerizing? Check it out…

(via The Daily What)

How we discourage our daughters from being good at science (without even realizing it)

June 26, 2014 | 5 comments

If you’re a normal parent, this ad will make you feel a little guilty…but in a good way. Watch how the smallest things we say can redirect a curious girl away from the subjects that would make her most come alive…

Brave boater swims after a drowning squirrel on a kind-hearted rescue mission

June 23, 2014 | No comments

While boating in Vermont a couple years ago, a man and his son sailed past a creature in the water. After doing a double take, they realized it was a squirrel trying to stay afloat in the middle of the 3/4-mile-wide reservoir. They little guy was exhausted, but wouldn’t take the opportunity to clamber aboard, so they anchored their boat and went in after it…

You’ve been cutting cake wrong your whole life (if you’re a math geek who doesn’t like sharing)

June 19, 2014 | 6 comments

There is a “best” way to cut cake. And unless you plan on finishing that whole thing in one sitting, you should start using it…

For reasons that become obvious as soon as they’re pointed out, cutting wedge pieces out of a round cake is a foolish method for dividing your dessert, gastronomically speaking. But science has the solution, because there is, in fact, a mathematically optimal way to cut a round cake. And it’s been known for over a hundred years.

How it’s taken this long to go public, we have no idea, but Numberphile is doing their part to enlighten the masses as to ideal cake cutting procedures. Watch and improve your private cake consumption practices…

In the Arctic Circle, the sun doesn’t rise and set…It bounces

June 17, 2014 | 1 comment

As you know, if you go far enough north, the sun never disappears during much of the summer so it is always light. But unless you’ve experienced that phenomenon, you may not realize (though it’s obvious once you think about it) that this doesn’t mean the sun stays fixed in the sky. It still goes up and down, but more like a super ball.

This effect is especially noticeable and fascinating when you take footage of the sun over a week and then speed it up to 1 second per day…