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The Late Movies: Five Five-Minute Educational Ignite Talks

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After yesterday's link to an Ignite Talk, Scrabble: How to Confuse and Destroy Your Opponents, I thought I'd take this opportunity to feature a few more great five-minute talks. Remember, the Ignite format is very strict: five minutes per talk, twenty slides total, and slides auto-advance every fifteen seconds. So each of these talks is sort of a bite-sized lecture. Some are delivered by experts, others by people who just know interesting stuff. Enjoy!

Will Noel, "Restoring The Archimedes Palimpsest"

The Archimedes Palimpsest is a 10th century manuscript of the mathematician's work. Unfortunately it was turned into a prayer book in the 13th century. Will Noel explains how he helped rescue the text in this week's Ignite talk.

Note: you can also check out the palimpsest online at ArchimedesPalimpsest.org.

Vanessa Holfeltz, "Boiling Water in 5 Easy Steps" (Using a Nuclear Reactor)

In this week's Ignite Show, Vanessa Holfeltz walks us through the steps of building a nuclear reactor just to boil water. It's a great look at the science and engineering behind the tech.

Alexis Bauer, "How to Work a Crowd"

In this week's Ignite Show episode, Alexis Bauer show's us how easy and effective it is control your own social fate and turn a room full of strangers into friends.

Michael Galpert, "Internet Images: Identifying Real Vs. Fake"

You can't believe everything you see on the internet. In this week's ignite episode, Michael Galpert shows us how to spot the difference between real and fake images.

Note: the speaker doesn't really have time to show us specifics on how to spot fake images, but does show a lot of good fake image examples, and basically says to trust no one.

Jason Grigsby, "Cup Noodle: Innovation, Inspiration and Manga"

In just five minutes, Jason Grigsby shares the story and learnings from the creation of Cup Noodle. A lot more went into making that product than meets the eye.

Note: Jason is a friend and former coworker in the tech industry (we worked together for...five years?). I can vouch for his knowledge of both Cup Noodle as well as startups.

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science
Why a Howling Wind Sounds So Spooky, According to Science
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Halloween is swiftly approaching, meaning you'll likely soon hear creepy soundtracks—replete with screams, clanking chains, and howling winds—blaring from haunted houses and home displays. While the sound of human suffering is frightful for obvious reasons, what is it, exactly, about a brisk fall gust that sends shivers up our spines? In horror movie scenes and ghost stories, these spooky gales are always presented as blowing through dead trees. Do bare branches actually make the natural wailing noises louder, or is this detail added simply for atmospheric purposes?

As the SciShow's Hank Green explains in the video below, wind howls because it curves around obstacles like trees or buildings. When fast-moving air goes around, say, a tree, it splits up as it whips past, before coming back together on the other side. Due to factors such as natural randomness, air speed, and the tree's surface, one side's wind is going to be slightly stronger when the two currents rejoin, pushing the other side's gust out of the way. The two continue to interact back-and-forth in what could be likened to an invisible wrestling match, as high-pressure airwaves and whirlpools mix together and vibrate the air. If the wind is fast enough, this phenomenon will produce the eerie noise we've all come to recognize in horror films.

Leafy trees "will absorb some of the vibrations in the air and dull the sound, but without leaves—like if it's the middle of the winter or the entire forest is dead—the howling will travel a lot farther," Green explains. That's why a dead forest on a windy night sounds so much like the undead.

Learn more by watching SciShow's video below.

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Space
SpaceX's Landing Blooper Reel Shows That Even Rocket Scientists Make Mistakes
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SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launches.
AFP/Stringer/Getty Images

On March 30, 2017, SpaceX did something no space program had done before: They relaunched an orbital class rocket from Earth that had successfully achieved lift-off just a year earlier. It wasn't the first time Elon Musk's company broke new ground: In December 2015, it nailed the landing on a reusable rocket—the first time that had been done—and five months later landed a rocket on a droneship in the middle of the ocean, which was also unprecedented. These feats marked significant moments in the history of space travel, but they were just a few of the steps in the long, messy journey to achieve them. In SpaceX's new blooper reel, spotted by Ars Technica, you can see just some of the many failures the company has had along the way.

The video demonstrates that failure is an important part of the scientific process. Of course when the science you're working in deals with launching and landing rockets, failure can be a lot more dramatic than it is in a lab. SpaceX has filmed their rockets blowing up in the air, disintegrating in the ocean, and smashing against landing pads, often because of something small like a radar glitch or lack of propellant.

While explosions—or "rapid unscheduled disassemblies," as the video calls them—are never ideal, some are preferable to others. The Falcon 9 explosion that shook buildings for miles last year, for instance, ended up destroying the $200 million Facebook satellite onboard. But even costly hiccups such as that one are important to future successes. As Musk once said, "If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough."

You can watch the fiery compilation below.

[h/t Ars Technica]

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