You know those YouTube channels where everything is so entertaining that you can kid yourself into believing you’re learning while getting no work done? I can’t really think of many better examples than Veritasium.
Derived from the Latin word “veritas” meaning truth, Veritasium fits right in with animated science show AsapSCIENCE, VICE’s science arm Motherboard and the Royal Institution’s online demonstrations. Derek Muller, the channel’s host, conducts the experiments you wish your science teacher would have done, while asking enough questions to make sure you learn something in the process.
Can Silence Actually Drive You Crazy?
An anechoic chamber is designed to dampen echoes using specially shaped foam that absorbs high frequencies, and bounces low ones indefinitely until they are lost within the material. The world’s so-called quietest room is one of these chambers in Minneapolis, which prompted Derek to hop on over to Brigham Young University to test out theirs.
According to many shared articles online, just 30 minutes in one of these rooms has been said to drive a person crazy. While this isn’t quite the world’s quietest room, it’s pretty close, so it’s time to put the theory behind insanity and quietness to the test.
Why Do Venomous Animals Live in Warm Climates?
Mexico, Brazil and Australia are full of venomous creatures that may or may not want to eat you, but why? What is the link between the world’s most deadly spiders, snakes and insects and warm climates? The answer, or rather, the unravelling of the belief might just surprise you.
Derek, being a Canadian-Australian, was perplexed by the difference in the two countries most dear to him, so he travelled to Australia to ask some of the most knowledgeable snake and spider experts what they think has contributed to the global distribution of venomous snakes.
The Anti-Gravity Wheel
In one of the best YouTube videos I’ve watched all year, Derek experiments with his custom-made anti-gravity wheel which he is barely able to move while stationary. The wheel itself weighs 19KG, yet after spinning it up to a speed of a couple of thousand RPM, the flywheel takes on a completely new property – vastly reduced weight and increased maneuverability.
The answer lies deep within the theory of gyroscopic precession, whereby the wheel’s weight creates a torque that pushes it round in a circle, rather than pulling it down to the ground.
In August 2013 Facebook deleted more than 83 million fake accounts, which made up for roughly 9% of the social network’s total population. The effects of this were seen throughout the social web via a diminished growth rate for pages, but Facebook didn’t actually remove the previous Likes.
This problem snowballs when you throw Facebook advertising into the mix, particularly with relation to Facebook’s page ranking algorithms. In the end it all boils down to a bit of a scam, and one that Facebook seems perfectly happy to live with as they are making bank while doing so.
The Most Amazing Thing About Trees
Trees are awesome, we should probably plant a few more simply to bask in their many awesome qualities – like their ability to seemingly defy science by delivering water to their leaves at heights exceeding 100 metres. Using a vacuum to suck water up a tube at heights of greater than 10m will cause it to spontaneously boil, which is bad news for plants, so how do they do it?
The answer involves plenty of science, and some negative pressure that’s directly proportionate to the tree’s height. Of course, I’m massively over-simplifying a detailed explanation, so click play above and find out for yourself.
Making Solid Nitrogen
It’s possible to boil water at room temperature provided the pressure is low enough, a phenomena caused by the fastest molecules escaping which essentially leaves the slowest ones behind. This actually results in a cooling of the liquid, despite the fact that it is for all intents and purposes “boiling”.
When applied to liquid nitrogen, the process actually causes solid nitrogen to form where the pressure is lowest. Add it to water and you’ve got a recipe for solid CO2 – beautiful stuff!
Keep telling yourself “there’s nothing wrong with procrastination provided I’m actually learning something” while you subscribe to Veritasium on YouTube. You’d be forgiven for getting very little done while you browse through the back catalogue of questions answered.