Watch a Former NASA Engineer Turn Sand Into Liquid—Then Take a Dip

iStock
iStock

NASA engineer-turned-YouTube host Mark Rober is known for regularly conducting zany science experiments in his own backyard and filming the results. More than a year after he went swimming in a sea of Orbeez, Rober's latest stunt features him taking a dip in a hot tub filled with liquid sand.

But wait: Wouldn't bathing in liquid sand be akin to taking a really grainy mud bath (albeit with great exfoliation potential)? Rober isn't technically wetting down the granular material, as he explains in the video below—he's making the sand sift, blow, and bubble using nothing but a nitrogen tank and some PVC pipe.

“If you take a tub of sand ... and then add air in just the right way, it basically becomes a liquefied soup,” Rober explains of the seemingly magical process. “In science this is known as a fluidized bed," or a bed of small, solid particles that are suspended and galvanized by an upward flow of gas.

The upwards-blowing air is equal to the downward force of gravity. This causes the sand to hover in equilibrium, and allows the grains to slide around like water. The top surface of the mix "is nearly frictionless," Rober says. "It's like an air hockey table. And then when you cut off the air, it freezes everything exactly where it's at," prompting the tub's ingredients to transform back into ordinary, heavy sand.

[h/t Twisted Sifter]

31 Facts About Sharks

Simba, the world's most adorable Pomeranian, hosts The List Show. Some enamored human being helps … we think her name is Erin McCarthy.
Simba, the world's most adorable Pomeranian, hosts The List Show. Some enamored human being helps … we think her name is Erin McCarthy.

Sharks are some of the world's most intimidating creatures, right down to their species names. There’s the hammerhead shark, the great white shark, the bull shark—but did you know there’s also a cookiecutter shark? Don’t be fooled by its name, though: Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy says that the cookiecutter shark often preys on animals many times its size, and isn’t afraid to take a chunk out of a human. (And how they take a bite out of something is even more terrifying/fascinating.)

In this week’s edition of The List Show, Erin gives the lowdown on 31 amazing shark-related facts, including details on some Icelandic delicacies that even Anthony Bourdain found disgusting to trivia about Peter Benchley's Jaws.

You can watch the full episode—and catch Erin doing her best Tom Jones impression—below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here.

Watch Avengers: Endgame's Epic Final Battle in 16-Bit Animation

Mr Sunday Movies via YouTube
Mr Sunday Movies via YouTube

It’s indisputable that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has highly dedicated fans who are willing to go the extra mile to pay tribute to their favorite films. The fan response to Avengers: Endgame has kept up this standard, with a deluge of art flooding the internet since the film’s premiere in April. Now, a fan creation has emerged to offer a new look at a climactic Endgame scene: a 16-bit rendition of the final battle.

The animated short was produced by animator John Stratman and musical artist Kenny Mac, and was posted on the YouTube channel Mr Sunday Movies, as reported by The A,V, Club. The animation was adapted from Marvel-branded Super Nintendo video games, with extra creative energy being applied to characters who weren’t present in these games.

Though the short doesn’t include voice acting from the film, it mitigates this absence with a send-up to classic video games, which features boxes with text in place of voiced dialogue. And it appears that Stratman and Mac went to great lengths to capture the scene accurately, rendering specific shots and exact lines in their 16-bit format.

Endgame, meanwhile, has achieved worldwide financial success and critical acclaim, winning Best Movie at the MTV Movie & TV Awards and coming closer to the coveted spot of highest-grossing movie of all time (just behind James Cameron’s Avatar). Marvel Studios, capitalizing on this success, has announced that the film will return to theaters with extra footage this weekend.

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