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Michael Pollan Takes a Plant's-Eye View

In this TED Talk from 2007, nature writer Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food) thinks about plants...from the point of view of those plants. Is grass taking over the world, getting humans to destroy forests? Is corn slowly dominating our entire food system? Pollan thinks that our consciousness isn't the only effective tool for dominating a planet -- plants have some tricks up their sleeves (or, uh, leaves) as well.

Discussed: "I want to say a word for the soil, the bees, the plants, and the animals"; planting potatoes; how are bees and gardeners alike?; summoning genes from a seed catalog; manipulating bees; how Michael Pollan was seduced by a potato; being duped by your lawn; lima bean wars; corn's scheme for world domination; the Eggmobile; intensive grass farming; how we can "reanimate" the world.

You can also watch this talk as a high-resolution video.

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Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
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Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

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What's the Saltiest Water in the World?
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Saltwater is common around the world—indeed, salty oceans cover more than two-thirds of the globe. Typical saltwater found in our oceans is about 3.5% salt by weight. But in some areas, we find naturally occurring saltwater that's far saltier. The saltiest water yet discovered is more than 12 times saltier than typical seawater.

Gaet’ale is a pond in Ethiopia which currently holds the record as the most saline water body on Earth. The water in that pond is 43.3% dissolved solids by weight—most of that being salt. This kind of water is called hypersaline for its extreme salt concentration.

In the video below, Professor Martyn Poliakoff explains this natural phenomenon—why it's so salty, how the temperature of the pond affects its salinity, and even why this particular saltwater has a yellow tint. Enjoy:

For the paper Poliakoff describes, check out this abstract.

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