The Late Movies: Smarter Every Day - Slo-Mo Science Videos

Missile engineer Destin (last name undisclosed) made waves a few weeks back with his video explaining Why Cats Usually Land on Their Feet. His YouTube channel is full of great stuff -- here are some favorites to make you, yes, a little smarter every day.

Eliminating "Poop Splash"

"Is there a way we can eliminate...poop splash?" This is surprisingly clean for a video involving "fecal simulants." Around 2:40 the answer is revealed. SCIENCE IN ACTION! As Destin's wife says, "You're welcome."

The Science of How Hummingbirds Fly

A feeder, nice cameras, nice music, and science -- what's not to like? Oh yeah, and the science portion involves olive oil and lasers. Dude.

Shooting Pistols Underwater

Yeah, so what happens if you shoot pistols underwater? Let's go to the slo-mo to find out. Don't try this at home, kids.

Glow-in-the-Dark Helicopter Rotors at Night

Light-painting using an RC helicopter at night. Truly beautiful. Science discussion starts around 2:40.

Dragon's Breath Ammo in Slo-Mo

How does that tracer-like "Dragon's Breath" ammo work? The explanation begins around 2:40; the whole first segment is just fun with guns and ammo.

Why Does Honey Drizzle into a Coil?

"Fluid dynamics are awesome." Basically, honey falls into a coil. What's up with that? MATH IS UP WITH THAT. Stay tuned for the Fourth Regime, in which the coiling pattern goes nuts.

Tons More Like This

You like these? There are a bunch more already, and Destin's making more every day.

What Pop Culture Gets Wrong About Dissociative Identity Disorder

From the characters in Fight Club to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, popular culture is filled with "split" personalities. These dramatic figures might be entertaining, but they're rarely (if ever) scientifically accurate, SciShow Psych's Hank Green explains in the channel's latest video. Most representations contribute to a collective misunderstanding of dissociative identity disorder, or DID, which was once known as multiple personality disorder.

Experts often disagree about DID's diagnostic criteria, what causes it, and in some cases, whether it exists at all. Many, however, agree that people with DID don't have multiple figures living inside their heads, all clamoring to take over their body at a moment's notice. Those with DID do have fragmented personalities, which can cause lapses of memory, psychological distress, and impaired daily function, among other side effects.

Learn more about DID (and what the media gets wrong about mental illness) by watching the video below.

Scientists Reveal Long-Hidden Text in Alexander Hamilton Letter

Age, deterioration, and water damage are just a few of the reasons historians can be short on information that was once readily available on paper. Sometimes, it’s simply a case of missing pages. Other times, researchers can see “lost” text right under their noses.

One example: a letter written by Alexander Hamilton to his future wife, Elizabeth Schuyler, on September 6, 1780. On the surface, it looked very much like a rant about a Revolutionary War skirmish in Camden, South Carolina. But Hamilton scholars were excited by the 14 lines of writing in the first paragraph that had been crossed out. If they could be read, they might reveal some new dimension to one of the better-known Founding Fathers.

Using the practice of multispectral imaging—sometimes called hyperspectral imaging—conservationists at the Library of Congress were recently able to shine a new light on what someone had attempted to scrub out. In multispectral imaging, different wavelengths of light are “bounced” off the paper to reveal (or hide) different ink pigments. By examining a document through these different wavelengths, investigators can tune in to faded or obscured handwriting and make it visible to the naked eye.

A hyperspectral image of Alexander Hamilton's handwriting
Hyperspectral imaging of Hamilton's handwriting, from being obscured (top) to isolated and revealed (bottom).
Library of Congress

The text revealed a more emotional and romantic side to Hamilton, who had used the lines to woo Elizabeth. Technicians uncovered most of what he had written, with words in brackets still obscured and inferred:

Do you know my sensations when I see the
sweet characters from your hand? Yes you do,
by comparing [them] with your [own]
for my Betsey [loves] me and is [acquainted]
with all the joys of fondness. [Would] you
[exchange] them my dear for any other worthy
blessings? Is there any thing you would put
in competition[,] with one glowing [kiss] of
[unreadable], anticipate the delights we [unreadable]
in the unrestrained intercourses of wedded love,
and bet your heart joins mine in [fervent]
[wishes] to heaven that [all obstacles] and [interruptions]
May [be] speedily [removed].

Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler married on December 14, 1780. So why did Hamilton try and hide such romantic words during or after their courtship? He probably didn’t. Historians believe that his son, John Church Hamilton, crossed them out before publishing the letter as a part of a book of his father’s correspondence. He may have considered the passage a little too sexy for mass consumption.

[h/t Library of Congress]


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