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A Treasure Trove of Science Videos

As a Public Radio Nerd (PRN), I've long enjoyed Science Friday, the weekly NPR call-in show that brings popular science to the masses. Hosted by Ira Flatow, a certifiable nerd in his own right -- I've run across him in aquarium hobbyist message boards, and Mac nerd message boards -- the show carries the tagline "Making Science User-Friendly™." And I think it succeeds. But it also has deep nerd cred, including a Twitter feed, three podcast feeds, and a website designed by FlatoGraphics: presumably Ira's brother Carl, whose website prominently features an M.C. Escher reference.

But none of that is the point of this post. No, the point here is to reveal the most wondrous trove of SciFri Science Videos I've yet seen -- dozens of awesome science demonstrations, brief nerdy discussions, nature videos, and so on. Check out great stuff like Water Balloons in Space:

Or how about Bending Balloons into Giant Flowers:

There are even non-balloon-related videos. Here's another best bet -- Inside the Seed Vault:

Go check out the SciFri Videos for lots, lots, lots more!

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History
The Queen of Code: Remembering Grace Hopper
By Lynn Gilbert, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Grace Hopper was a computing pioneer. She coined the term "computer bug" after finding a moth stuck inside Harvard's Mark II computer in 1947 (which in turn led to the term "debug," meaning solving problems in computer code). She did the foundational work that led to the COBOL programming language, used in mission-critical computing systems for decades (including today). She worked in World War II using very early computers to help end the war. When she retired from the U.S. Navy at age 79, she was the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the service. Hopper, who was born on this day in 1906, is a hero of computing and a brilliant role model, but not many people know her story.

In this short documentary from FiveThirtyEight, directed by Gillian Jacobs, we learned about Grace Hopper from several biographers, archival photographs, and footage of her speaking in her later years. If you've never heard of Grace Hopper, or you're even vaguely interested in the history of computing or women in computing, this is a must-watch:

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science
Why Are Glaciers Blue?
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iStock

The bright azure blue sported by many glaciers is one of nature's most stunning hues. But how does it happen, when the snow we see is usually white? As Joe Hanson of It's Okay to Be Smart explains in the video below, the snow and ice we see mostly looks white, cloudy, or clear because all of the visible light striking its surface is reflected back to us. But glaciers have a totally different structure—their many layers of tightly compressed snow means light has to travel much further, and is scattered many times throughout the depths. As the light bounces around, the light at the red and yellow end of the spectrum gets absorbed thanks to the vibrations of the water molecules inside the ice, leaving only blue and green light behind. For the details of exactly why that happens, check out Hanson's trip to Alaska's beautiful (and endangered) Mendenhall Glacier below.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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