CLOSE
YouTube / Jimmy Kimmel Live
YouTube / Jimmy Kimmel Live

A Rube Goldberg Zipper-Zipping Machine

YouTube / Jimmy Kimmel Live
YouTube / Jimmy Kimmel Live

Since the late 1980s, Purdue University has invited students to make Rube Goldberg machines accomplishing simple tasks in absurdly complex ways. Each machine has to occupy at least a 6-foot cube, perform at least 20 steps, and achieve a stupidly simple task. This year the winners made a charmingly goofy machine to zip a zipper. Here they are walking us through the process (the action starts around 3:05):

This may leave you wondering what YKK stands for. Find it and many others in our list of 56 Acronyms and Initials All Spelled Out.

And according to Wikipedia, here's the list of previous tasks set out for the Purdue contest:

2014 Zip a zipper

2013 Hammer a nail

2012 Inflate a balloon and pop it

2011 Water a Plant

2010 Dispense an Appropriate Amount of Hand Sanitizer into a Hand

2009 LittleBigPlanet Contraption Challenge 6

2009 Replace an Incandescent Light Bulb with a More Energy Efficient Light Emitting Design

2008 Assemble a Hamburger

2007 Squeeze the Juice from an Orange

2006 Shred 5 Sheets of Paper

2005 Change Batteries and Turn on a 2-battery Flashlight

2004 Select, Mark and Cast an Election Ballot

2003 Select, Crush and Recycle an Empty Soft Drink Can

2002 Select, Raise and Wave a U.S. Flag

2001 Select, Clean and Peel an Apple

2000 Fill and Seal a Time Capsule with 20th-century Inventions

1999 Set a Golf Tee and Tee Up a Golf Ball

1998 Shut Off An Alarm Clock

1997 Insert and Then Play a CD Disc

1996 Put Coins in a Bank

1995 Turn on a Radio

1994 Make Cup of Coffee

1993 Screw a Light Bulb into a Socket

1992 Unlock a Combination Padlock

1991 Toast a Slice of Bread

1990 Put the Lid on a Ball Jar

1989 Sharpen a Pencil

1988 Adhere a Stamp to a Letter

1987 Put Toothpaste on a Toothbrush

(Via Devour.)

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
science
Can You 'Hear' These Silent GIFs?
iStock
iStock

GIFs are silent—otherwise they wouldn't be GIFs. But some people claim to hear distinct noises accompanying certain clips. Check out the GIF below as an example: Do you hear a boom every time the structure hits the ground? If so, you may belong to the 20 to 30 percent of people who experience "visual-evoked auditory response," also known as vEAR.

Researchers from City University London recently published a paper online on the phenomenon in the journal Cortex, the British Psychological Society's Research Digest reports. For their study, they recruited more than 4000 volunteers and 126 paid participants and showed them 24 five-second video clips. Each clip lacked audio, but when asked how they rated the auditory sensation for each video on a scale of 0 to 5, 20 percent of the paid participants rated at least half the videos a 3 or more. The percentage was even higher for the volunteer group.

You can try out the researchers' survey yourself. It takes about 10 minutes.

The likelihood of visual-evoked auditory response, according to the researchers, directly relates to what the subject is looking at. "Some people hear what they see: Car indicator lights, flashing neon shop signs, and people's movements as they walk may all trigger an auditory sensation," they write in the study.

Images packed with meaning, like two cars colliding, are more likely to trigger the auditory illusion. But even more abstract images can produce the effect if they have high levels of something called "motion energy." Motion energy is what you see in the video above when the structure bounces and the camera shakes. It's why a video of a race car driving straight down a road might have less of an auditory impact than a clip of a flickering abstract pattern.

The researchers categorize vEAR as a type of synesthesia, a brain condition in which people's senses are combined. Those with synesthesia might "see" patterns when music plays or "taste" certain colors. Most synesthesia is rare, affecting just 4 percent of the population, but this new study suggests that "hearing motion synesthesia" is much more prevalent.

[h/t BPS Research Digest]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
The Google Docs Audio Hack You Might Not Know About
iStock
iStock

To the uninitiated, Google Docs may take some warming up to. But although it may seem like any other word processor, Docs offers its fair share of nifty features that can make your life a whole lot easier. The only problem is that few people seem to know about them.

The Voice Typing function is one such example. As Quartz discovered, this tool can be used to drastically cut down on the time it takes to transcribe an interview or audio recording—a feature that professionals from many fields could benefit from. Voice Typing might also be useful to those who prefer to dictate what they want to write, as well as those with impairments that prevent them from typing.

Whatever the case may be, it's extremely easy to use. Just open a blank document, click on "tools" at the top, and then select "voice typing." A microphone icon will pop up, allowing you to choose your language. After you've done that, simply click the icon when you're ready to start speaking!

Unfortunately, it's unable to pick up an audio recording played through speakers, so you'll need to grab a pair of headphones, plug them into your phone or voice recorder, and dictate what's said as you listen along. Still, this eliminates the hassle of having to pause and rewind in order to let your fingers catch up to the audio—unless you're the champion of a speed typing contest, in which case you probably don't need this tutorial.

According to Quartz, the transcription is "shockingly" accurate, even getting the spelling of last names right. For a how-to guide on the Voice Typing tool, check out Quartz's video below.

[h/t Quartz]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios