Feb 052018

This video explains how the snow used to build igloos keeps the people inside them warm. It also gives some examples of plants and animals that use snow to protect themselves from the cold.

If you ever find yourself stranded in the snowy Arctic, you’re gonna need to know how to build an igloo. But how can building a house made of ice keep you warm? The science behind building an igloo is the same reason that otters and reindeer don’t freeze to death!



Feb 012018

Skeleton flowers – turn transparent with few drops of water

The Skeleton Flower

The Diphylleia grayi is an extraordinary flower with white petals that turn beautifully transparent upon contact with water. During light rain showers, the delicate blooms transform into blossoms as clear as glass, fitting its common moniker “skeleton flower.”

The plant can be found growing on moist, wooded mountainsides in the colder regions of Japan and China come late spring. The Diphylleia grayi is recognizable by its large, distinctly umbrella-like leaves topped with small clusters of pearly white blossoms that undergo a magical transformation in the rain.






How To Of The Day: The Basics Of Soldering

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Jan 232018

The Basics Of Soldering

Adafruit has some excellent tutorials and videos that go into more detail.

Soldering electronics is a delicate art. If you’re just getting started learning how to solder, this handy reference chart can help you spot some common mistakes and make sure your work comes out right.

The chart above from Adafruit is no substitute for a proper tutorial (though they have some of those as well), but it does pack a lot of information into a small space. When you solder a joint, you want to heat the pin and the pad for 2-3 seconds before you introduce your soldering material. If you don’t heat a part enough, heat it too much, or don’t add the right amount of solder, you can get some wonky looking joints. The right side of this chart shows how your joints might look if you mess up and what the problem was. The left side, meanwhile, reminds you which tools you should be using. For example, you should never use a soldering gun for tiny, detailed electronics work.



How Often Do You Really Need To Shower?

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Jan 162018
Do you really need a daily shower to stay clean, or is it doing more harm than good? Some scientists have recommendations based on what we know about our skin — and what might be living on top of it.

What Causes A Foreign Accent?

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Jan 152018

Linguist Arika Okrent expalins while an artist illustrates on a whiteboard.

The human vocal tract can produce thousands of different sounds but languages use only a tiny subset of them. What happens when you try to speak a language that uses a different subset from your own?



Rule Of 72

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Jan 112018
Estimate how long it will take for an investment to double at any given interest rate with the “Rule of 72”. Remember, the Rule of 72 only applies to compound interest, not simple interest calculations.

Rule Of 72 






Teenage Brains Can’t Tell What’s Important And What Isn’t

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Jan 082018

This is why it is important that kids experience failure and consequences for their lack of action… instead of participation trophies.

People have to learn how to apply themselves in order to be successful.

From New Scientist:

Teenagers may know full well how important final exams are – but that won’t stop some putting in minimal effort. This may be because their brains aren’t developed enough to properly assess how high the stakes are, and adapt their behaviour accordingly.

Adults are generally pretty good at being able to tell when a situation is worthy of extra time or concentration. Research has found that, when potential rewards or losses are higher, for example, adults will perform better on tasks. But this doesn’t seem to be the case for adolescents.

Catherine Insel, at Harvard University, and her team asked adolescents between the ages of 13 and 20 to play a game while lying in an fMRI brain scanner. In some rounds of the game, participants could earn 20 cents for a correct response, while an incorrect one would cost them 10 cents. But in rounds with higher stakes, correct responses were worth a dollar, and wrong answers lost the participants 50 cents.

Read more…