Chris Higgins is the author of The Blogger Abides and writes for This American Life, The Atlantic, Breakfast on Mars, and The Magazine. You can follow him at chrishiggins.com.
The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome opened in 1982. Its signature feature is its Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric roof that is literally inflated by the air inside the stadium. The stadium is pumped full of air to keep the roof up. This requires people to enter and exit the dome via airlocks, to maintain positive pressure within the playing field area.
Over the weekend, the roof collapsed under a heavy load of snow -- and the dramatic collapse was caught on video (see below). But this is the fifth time... READ ON
In the seventh "Symphony of Science" installment by John Boswell, Carl Sagan sings: "Science is more than a body of knowledge: it's a way of thinking; a way of skeptically interrogating the universe. If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we're up for grabs." That's the theme of the song/video, which features Sagan, Bertrand Russell, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Lawrence Krauss, Carolyn Porco, Richard Dawkins, Richard Feynman, Phil Plait, and James... READ ON
Since 2002, the film Minority Report has inspired computer geeks the world over. At the time, touch interfaces were relatively rare, and where they did exist, they were typically limited to one finger at a time. In the film, Tom Cruise's character famously interacts with his computer by standing in front of a projected screen and basically waving his hands at it, manipulating objects without even touching them. In the film, computers had lept past mere touch, and moved to gestures, performed in the air.... READ ON
3-2-1 Contact was an educational TV show that aired from 1980 to 1988. Produced by the Children's Television Workshop, it aired on PBS in the US, and I used to love the heck out of it -- it featured science as well as my favorite crimefighters, "the Bloodhound Gang," who used science to solve crimes. I had no idea that, so many years later, I could easily sing along with the theme song. Can you?
This brings back lots of memories. The shots of the frog, the cat, and the baby?... READ ON
Tonight at 9pm ET/PT: The MythBusters tackle, once and for all, the "Archimedes Solar Ray" myth! Set your DVRs for the Discovery Channel.
Way back in 2004, the MythBusters first tried out the "Archimedes Solar Ray" myth. The myth essentially was (quoting an excellent writeup at The Annotated MythBusters):
Myth: At the seige of Syracuse in 212 BC (during the Second Punic Wars), Archimedes built his 'burning mirrors,' which was an arrangement of mirrors that was capable of focusing a ray of... READ ON
In 1952, Disney released the 7-minute cartoon "Applecore" featuring Donald Duck and Chip 'n Dale, the mischievous fast-talking chipmunks. In this short, Donald plays an apple farmer whose crops are being eaten by Chip 'n Dale, so Donald retaliates, only to be foiled at every turn.
This short is cute, but there is a hugely powerful Cold War undertone here. In the wake of World War II, this short is about the futility of nuclear war, showing the escalation of an arms race, the loss of Donald's crops,... READ ON
I would imagine that New Yorkers would be a little concerned about any unusual aircraft zipping around their airspace. So it is particularly remarkable that a team managed to assemble a remote-controlled miniature airplane, equip it with a camera, and fly it around various parts of the city, including parts of Manhattan, over the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, over the Statue of Liberty, and so on -- without getting arrested or having their aircraft taken down. Here's the video:
According to various... READ ON
In July 2010, Ze Frank presented this brilliantly goofy TED Talk, explaining various web projects he's taken on, including the infamous Earth Sandwich (in which people on opposite ends of the globe placed bread on the ground), Young Me Now Me (re-staging childhood photos as adults), Ray (the "I'm about to whip somebody's ass" song), and many, many more. It's basically a Ze Frank's Greatest Hits collection. It's not all jokes, but...well, it's mostly jokes.
Check it out in the embedded video below, or... READ ON
Arcade Fire may be the official favorite band of mental_floss bloggers, with Ransom and I continuing to blab about this one time we saw them in the desert, and how awesome it was. Tonight I collect some official music videos and notable live performances for your enjoyment. If you have the chance to see them live, do it.
This video, directed by Spike Jonze, has strong visual and thematic parallels with the film Gummo. In the video, suburban kids ride bikes through their... READ ON
Last month, Ain't It Cool News announced a contest to "TRON-itize" vintage films. The idea is to take an old film and add CGI TRON-style graphics. Lots of entries have come in, but this is the best -- Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, recut as a trailer for Modern Times: Legacy. It's short but effective. You've never seen The Tramp like this, folks.
Nick Tierce's Tron-ified Modern Times from Nick Tierce on Vimeo.
And yes, I'm sure Chaplin's time-traveling extra will get a walk-on role if this film... READ ON
Visit a waterfall at dusk and you may see moonbows—nighttime rainbows.