CLOSE

George Dyson on the Birth of the Computer

George Dyson returns to TED with a seventeen-minute talk explaining the origins of the digital computer -- in hilarious style. Briefly starting with Leibniz's machine-based calculus proposal from 1679, Dyson takes us on a humorous ride through early computer development, with tons of anecdotes from early computer engineers' notebooks (including scans of all sorts of amusing notes). (If you can't see the visuals well enough below, try downloading the full-size MP4 file). If you like history or math, you'll dig this talk:

Further viewing: George Dyson on Project Orion: The Nuclear Spacecraft; the TED page for his computer history talk.

Original image
Sylke Rohrlach, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0
arrow
Animals
These Strange Sea Spiders Breathe Through Their Legs
Original image
Sylke Rohrlach, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

We know that humans breathe through their lungs and fish breathe through their gills—but where exactly does that leave sea spiders?

Though they might appear to share much in common with land spiders, sea spiders are not actually arachnids. And, by extension, they don't circulate blood and oxygen the way you'd expect them to, either.

A new study from Current Biology found that these leggy sea dwellers (marine arthropods of the class Pycnogonida) use their external skeleton to take in oxygen. Or, more specifically: They use their legs. The sea spider contracts its legs—which contain its guts—to pump oxygen through its body.

Somehow, these sea spiders hardly take the cake for Strangest Spider Alive (especially because they're not actually spiders); check out, for instance, our round-up of the 10 strangest spiders, and watch the video from National Geographic below:

Original image
iStock
arrow
Food
How to Make Perfect Fried Chicken, According to Chemistry
Original image
iStock

Cooking amazing fried chicken isn’t just art—it’s also chemistry. Learn the science behind the sizzle by watching the American Chemical Society’s latest "Reactions" video below.

Host Kyle Nackers explains the three important chemical processes that occur as your bird browns in the skillet—hydrolysis, oxidation, and polymerization—and he also provides expert-backed cooking hacks to help you whip up the perfect picnic snack.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios