How far would you go to be resourceful? Early Britons used each others' skulls as drinking cups and bowls. Recently, researcher Silvia Bello found human skulls with the top cut off laying in Gough's Cave, England. Skillful cut marks make it look like fellow humans scraped off the dead skin to clean the bone, and chips around the rim of the skull cup make it look like the edges were evened out for a better drinking experience. Researchers have found other skull cups in France and Germany, but ...
Truly spectacular and one the most breathtaking DIY endeavors to grace the front page of WonderHowTo, a recreation of Pixar's UP house was launched to an altitude of 10,000 feet in a private airfield near Los Angeles this past week. The project was executed by a team of engineers, scientists and veteran balloon pilots—(meaning, please, Do Not Try This at Home).
Always wanted a fluorescent dog but didn’t want to commit? Well, here’s your solution. Researchers at Seoul National University developed fluorescent puppies that only glow when you want them to. Just inject the special pups with doxycycline and they’ll glow like a black light poster for a few weeks. Then, they return to dull, furry normal.
Does this man look vaguely familiar? A neighbor or former co-worker, perhaps? You might think you recognize him, but this individual is actually the face of 7 billion. Composited with endless photos taken from the world's massive population, he represents an analytically deduced median: a 28-year-old Han Chinese man. The Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing has drawn data for the past ten years to come up with this archetypal image, as well as the following stats:
Colored smoke bombs never get old. Add a glass laboratory bell jar and a simple rewind camera trick, and you have a beautiful "60 sec experiment with the color Indigo" by photographer and designer Paul Octavious. More explosive art:
Well, maybe not a real invisibility cloak—sorry Harry Potter fans—but a team of scientists at MIT's SMART Centre are on their way to producing materials that mimic actual invisibility.
Eric Jacqmain is one smart cookie. Borrowing from the same principles of Archimedes’ mythological death ray, the Indiana teenager used an ordinary fiberglass satellite dish and about 5,800 3/8" mirror tiles to create a solar weapon with the intensity of 5000x normal daylight. The powerful weapon can "melt steel, vaporize aluminum, boil concrete, turn dirt into lava, and obliterate any organic material in an instant."
For some of you out there, today may be a looooong Friday. But have no fear, if you've yet to furtively accomplish shaving off a few extra minutes from the office clock, there is an alternative for getting through the day: computer pharmaceuticals. Relax, moms, we're not talking illicit drugs. Computer pharmaceuticals (AKA: optical and audio illusions) are completely natural, harmless highs that promise to alter your perception and consciousness- without the risk of drugs or alcohol.
A simple science experiment, yet totally satisfying. And the best part is you can go outside and try it right now (if conditions allow). You will need: freezing cold weather and a bottle of bubbles. Previously, HowTo: Make Instant Fog.
Incredible. There's a type of sand (found only on the small Okinawan island of Iriomote) in which each grain resembles a tiny star. And I never would have known, if it hadn't been for blogger Jason Kottke's pal Mouser. Mouser collects sand from all around the world, and then documents each sample with a macro lens:
The Leidenfrost Effect: “a phenomenon in which a liquid, in near contact with a mass significantly hotter than the liquid’s boiling point, produces an insulating vapor layer which keeps that liquid from boiling rapidly”. It looks pretty spectacular captured at 3000 frames-per-second (almost as spectacular as when the same principle is applied to the human hand). Previously, Hand Fully Submerged in Liquid Nitrogen (OUCH... right?)
Researchers at Northwestern University have hatched a robotic replica of the ghost knifefish, an amazing sea creature with a ribbon-like fin, capable of acrobatic agility in the water. The fish is distinctive in its ability to move forward, backward and vertically, but scientists didn't understand its vertical movement until the creation of its robot replica, GhostBot (shown below). They now know its vertical propulsion is caused by two waves moving in opposite directions, crashing into each ...
In other words, it looks totally awesome. The chemical reaction of burning phosphorus and gelatin makes for a mesmerizingly beautiful display of science slo-mo. Previously, What Happens When You Smash the Essence of Dynamite With a Hammer?
Zero chance of your ride being jacked with this level of protection. You will need: a 100,000 volt tesla coil strapped to the roof of your vehicle. Created by tesla master, Peter Terren. Previously, Electrifying Transparent Tesla Coil (DIY!!)
A group of nano-scientists from the University of Glasgow have created the world's smallest Christmas card, measuring in at 200 micro-meters wide by 290 micro-meters tall. (BTW, a micro-metre is a millionth of a meter, and the width of a human hair is about 100 micro-meters.)
Why does the world work the way it does? Linda Dong takes basic scientific principles and translates them into beautifully simple, explanatory images.
Arvind Gupta is an Indian educator and inventor who makes whimsical, elegant toys from simple and inexpensive materials. His site has hundreds of free project tutorials, with simply outlined instructions in the categories of science, math, astronomy and more. Below, peruse the video gallery and images for a selection of Gupta's inspiring work.
Does size matter? When it comes to optical illusions, it does. The size of a human brain's visual cortex determines how he or she sees the world, meaning not everybody observes optical illusions in the same way.
Some of these look like illustrations done by adolescent sci-fi/anime nerds. Totally unreal. A selection from National Geographic's best space pictures of 2010:
Despite all the recently transpired web hysteria regarding a mysterious NASA press release, the organization has NOT discovered new life on another planet. However, the latest information does indicate that scientists have discovered a new life form on planet Earth.
WonderHowTo favorite NurdRage once again triggers the inner mad scientist in all of us (well, all of us WonderHowTo-ians at least). Below, watch what happens when steel wool- found in every common household Brillo Pad- is lit on fire.
Yep, anything (on Earth). Below, BBC One's Bang Goes the Theory demonstrates how normal sunshine can become a lethal heat-ray of 3,500 degrees celsius (with the aid of a high-performance solar furnace). That's hot enough to melt rocks. More by Bang Goes The Theory:
Missions to Mars are far and few between because the fuel is so costly. Solution? A pair of scientists are proposing that elderly astronauts are sent on one-way missions to Mars, to boldly go... and not come back:
As Theo Gray of Gray Matter demonstrates below, contrary to what the ads may say, diamonds CAN expire. Especially when attacked with a blow torch and liquid nitrogen. Gray says:
Iron Man. What could be a more fitting song for 1,000,000 volts of electricity? It's the perfect Vegas act, so it's shocking to hear that ArcAttack is yet unsigned. With their high-tech, custom-made music equipment, homemade chain mail suits and... LIGHTNING!... they put on one electrifying performance!
And the magic is revealed ten seconds in! Disappointed? Me, too. Such a simple explanation. Those first 10 seconds were so convincing... Previously, Why Are Our Brains Fooled By Optical Illusions?
A recent Japanese study proposes a simpler, softer, more natural-feeling alternative to silicone breast implants: fat-derived stem cells. The cells are extracted from liposuctioned fat, and then injected into the patient to increase breast circumference. San Diego-based biotech company Cytori Therapeutics is currently waiting on FDA approval to start clinical trials.
PopSci's Gray Matter demonstrates again and again what the layman should absolutely Not Try at Home. Which is precisely what makes Gray's experiments so fun. Remember when the mad scientist fully submerged his hand in liquid nitrogen? Today's demonstration also plays with what is (quite reasonably) assumed to be extremely dangerous and painful: torching the human hand.
Did you know a fine wire mesh is all it takes to prevent dangerous gases from exploding into a massive fire? PopSci's Gray Matter demonstrates an interesting invention of the early 1800's: the Davy miner’s safety lamp, a simple solution to the violent coal mine explosions of the time. The apparatus was invented by Humphry Davy, one of the world's first professional scientists.
Remember Willy Wonka's magical gum? Wonka promised the flavors of tomato soup, roast beef, baked potato, blueberry pie and ice cream. As the avid gum lover Violet Beauregarde tested it out, she exclaimed: “It’s hot and creamy, I can actually feel? it running down my throat!” Um, yum... I think. Good news. Wonka's three course chewing gum is finally a reality-in-the-works. Scientists at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) have been developing recent advances in nanotechnology, which could pot...
Nitroglycerin, otherwise known as the explosive essence of dynamite, is so sensitive AND powerfully explosive that when hit with a hammer, it creates "a supersonic shockwave and a flash of light almost too fast to film, even with the latest specialist cameras". In the blink of an eye (literally) extreme detonation occurs. Shooting super slo-mo is absolutely necessary (600x slower, to be exact).
Introducing the National Ignition Facility. Not only is the name curiously amazing (a facility designated for the act of … combustion?), but it also happens to house the largest, most high energy laser in the world. Why would they create such a thing? To create a miniature star on Earth, with the goal to achieve fusion (re: an unlimited supply of free energy).
Relax PETA, it's not as evil as it looks (although those neural electrode implants do look painful).
Here at WonderHowTo, we love science. And of course, explosions. So, naturally we find Gray Matter's demonstration of fiery hydrogen bubbles pretty awesome. But the most interesting part is the reason behind the demonstration. Did you know the same gas that heats your house can also make it explode? Gray Matter explains why:
We've seen 13 days of decomposition... how about 74? More compost nastiness + time-lapse. Previously, 13 Gloriously Disgusting, Maggot Filled Days of Rotting Food.
LIFE magazine has posted a gallery of bizarrely wonderful old school scientific models. Don't miss the giant fetus or massive colon (double ew). Behold, science education before computers ruled our world.
Have you ever wondered what the decomposition of rotting food looks like? Probably not... but now you do. Below: 13 days of time-lapsed, maggot filled rot. Be prepared. You might be inclined to skip lunch today. Other gems by Bang Goes The Theory:
National Geographic recently published a retrospective of the lovely Jane Goodall, one of the world's most accomplished conservationists. The feature includes every image of Goodall to ever appear in the magazine for the past fifty years.
Theo Gray of Gray Matter explains the principle behind sending steel up in flames- as long as it's steel wool, of course. The process is beyond simple. Spend 2 bucks and 2 minutes: purchase a steel wool pad, hold in pliers, light with a match. But the question is, why is steel wool flammable, while other forms of metal are not? Explanation below the video. Theo says:
Lucy, whose real name is BPM 37093, is a diamond roughly the size of our moon. At around 4000 kilometers in diameter (2,485 miles), Lucy is estimated to be around 10 billion trillion trillion carats. A billion trillion trillion? x 10? It's easier to imagine dividing by zero than to put this ridiculous number into perspective.