Happy New Year, Vsauce! Michael here.
And in honor of 2013 let’s discuss 13 things. To begin, where to spend all that cash
you picked up over the holidays? Now, plenty of website sell cool stuff.
United Nuclear sells Aerogel, radioactive isotopes, jet engine schematic and even marbles doped with uranium.
Maths Gear sells these cool non transitive dice I actually bought yesterday, as does Grand Illusions.
But they also carry for explosive magic tricks, optical illusion masks and a poster of this image.
What makes that image so special?
Well, it’s an example of the land effect.
Even though it appears to contain a bunch of different colors –
oranges and yellows and greens, the entire image is actually made out of nothing but red. Seriously. I’ve linked the image
down in the descriptions, so you can grab it and investigated using your favorite image editor.
The yellows are actually light reds or pinks.
And the green is just dull grey red.
What’s going on is called color constancy.
Your visual system, your eyes and brain calculate the average illumination
conditions of a scene and then subtract those conditions,
so that colors remain relatively constant. This is why a blue object looks blue,
whether you’re viewing it under the midday Sun or a dark red
sunset or fluorescent light or incandescent light. It’s a very brilliant system, but it can fool us. Special images, like this one, appear
to be illuminated with a lot of red light, so your brain actually subtracts the red
and makes assumptions. There are plenty of other examples of
the land effect and other ways our visual system lies to us. But you know what else is a lie? Raindrops.
Well, at least that depiction of raindrops.
Raindrops are not shaped like teardrops.
Surface tension means that small drops are spherical, but when they combine the air and get
bigger, the pressure of the air below them as they fall causes the bottom to flatten, which means that raindrops are
shaped less like teardrops and more like hamburger buns. But how many raindrops have fallen on land ever?
It’s a fun question and there are plenty of resources
discussing how many raindrops fall during a typical storm, but throughout all of history?
Let’s go to mathforum.org for this one. Doctor Ian calculated, quite roughly but amusingly, that given
the percentage of earth usually covered in land and the amount of rain that typically falls on earth and the volume of a raindrop, the total number of raindrops that have fallen on land, ever since earth began, is about 16 times 10 to the 28.
So, earth has had a lot of raindrops. But you know what earth doesn’t have a
lot of? Nice big, old chunks of Moon rock. Material from the Moon is incredibly rare. We can only get pieces of the Moon in two ways.
By visiting it or by finding chunks of the
Moon that were blown off a long time ago and eventually fell to Earth. Interestingly, you can buy paintings containing traces of Moon dust made by an astronaut.
I discussed this with my friends over at emotistyle, video link in the description.
But the point is, you will not be owning a big old Moon rock anytime soon.
Interestingly, a surprising number of the rocks we
brought back from the Moon have been stolen or just plain lost.
For instance, in 2002 interns Thad Roberts and Tiffany Fowler stole 101 grams of lunar material from the Johnson Space Center.
They celebrated by throwing the rocks onto a bed, and I guess the best way to explain what
happened next would just be to point out that the book based on this true story is called “Sex on the Moon.”
Or, from a different angle, fun.
This was built using the Side View maker. Type in a word or name and it will
construct the word using dots, which from another angle say
something else. For instance, Vsauce can be vacuum.
If you prefer dots that represent people, Brandon Martin-Anderson’s got just what
you need. The entire 2010 US Census on a map with a dot for every single person.
The data is specific down to the size of an individual block.
It’s really fun to play around with, as is the searchable Calvin and Hobbes.
I shared this on @tweetsauce a few weeks ago. Type in a word and you can find every
single Calvin and Hobbes comic strip that used that word. Words or phrases
that help you remember something are called mnemonics.
For instance, if you wanna remember the exact speed of light in meters per second in a
vacuum, just count the number of letters and each word of this sentence.
“We guarantee certainty, clearly referring to
this light mnemonic.” Or if you’re like me, your biggest
struggle is spelling the word diarrhoea.
Well, don’t worry. Just remember diarrhoea is a really runny heap of endless amounts.
We’ve all seen illusions like this before. Four circles with corners cut out of them.
We perceive an actual square resting on top of
circles, even though no square is there.
Now interestingly, if you take this shape and put it on top of text, the letters within the fake square appear bigger than the rest of the letters. This is because our brain assumes the letters are closer to us than the rest of the text. After all,
the letters are on top of a square that’s on top of circles on top of text. Speaking of size, let’s take a look at the scale of our solar system.
OMGspace.net is a website containing images of the
Sun and the planets to scale.
Not just in size, but also distance. If you scroll long enough,
you will eventually get to Mercury and then Venus and then Earth and so on.
Or, just click a planet’s name and have the site take you there right away.
If that sort of thing makes you feel small and insignificant, rush on over and grab yourself emergency compliment dot com. The site will keep complimenting you
until you feel better, but if practicing patience is more your thing, check out chickenonaraft.com.
Geo sketch is a really fun way to draw. You have this strange folding mechanism that draws.
You can individually control the rate of rotation for each joint to see how it affects the image.
But if you’d rather combine rotation with our solar system, check out gravity.
Click and drag to place objects of varying size in the space and watch how they interact.
So there you go that was about 13 things. I guess. I don’t really know.
But there’s more. I created a playlist of videos that you should totally see. I host the playlist and you can start it by
clicking the link at the top of this video’s description or this annotation.
I call it a lean back, because you start the playlist and
just lean back and let YouTube do the work.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and click and I will see you over there. And as always, thanks for watching.