Apparently, human beings are hard-wired creatures of kindness – hell-bent on helping each other out even when there’s nothing in it for us. Science said so.
The University of California’s recently launched Fig. 1 YouTube channel takes you on a virtual tour of the institution’s areas of expertise, top professors and oh so interesting factoids you simply can’t help but tell your friends all about.
We Are Built To Be Kind
Despite poverty, disparity in wealth, war and everything else that drags the human race through the mud, scientists still find themselves asking why human beings are so frequently caught being nice.
To suggest that these random acts of kindness are in fact limited to our own species would be foolish, but you can’t ignore the fact that we’ve got thousands of years of natural selection-defying selflessness and empathy in the history books.
The History of Mountain Biking
Before mountain bikes, there were just plain old bikes. These weren’t very good at going up and down mountains but just like the birth of skating (beautifully retold in the 2001 documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys), mountain biking’s earliest pioneers were some of the bravest riders to date.
Furthermore (to draw even more parallels between this and the early skate scene), photography became an important means of documenting the pioneering riders – and Wende Cragg was one particular rider who was bitten by the photography bug at just the right time.
What Does A Cancer Cell Look Like?
Cancer is one of the biggest killers, claiming thousands of lives each year around the globe. Though many of us know what cancer is, most of us aren’t that sure what it looks like and what makes a cancerous cell visually different to any other.
Doctors diagnosing and treating cancer patients use this visual marker as an indicator for the type and often severity, along with texture and “sqishiness” to use the technical term.
The Fascinating History of Animation
The University of California isn’t too sure about preserving archive footage in digital formats, describing them as a “constant moving target” with little guarantee of them being viable beyond 20, let alone 50 or 100 years.
This is important because the University of California has a swelling silent animation collection, featuring some of the earliest works of innovative cel-based entertainment. That’s why they’re backing everything up to 35mm safety film, rather than constantly evolving digital standards.
Sugar & Fructose
In an apple weighing 100g, there is roughly 10 grams of sugar. In a similarly sized soft drink, there is roughly the same amount of sugar (go on, ask Google). So, fruit is terrible sugary junk we should all be avoiding right?
No, of course not!
How Plants Predict Climate Change
We’ve learned pretty much everything we know about the present world by studying it, and now we’re trying to apply the study of the present to the future too. One way this can be done is using the data gathered from studying the life-cycle of plants to detect changes in the seasons.
The Origins of Green Eggs & Ham
Ted Geisel (better known as Dr Seuss) had a very particular method of working with words. His stories touched generations, and featured tongue-twisting rhymes that have been copied, parodied and turned into big budget Hollywood blockbusters.
Lynda Claassen from UC’s San Diego campus explores the Dr Seuss collection along with notes from the famous man himself.
Subscribe to Fig. 1
Fig. 1 is a relatively new YouTube channel, only having launched in the latter part of 2014 but already making some interesting additions to YouTube’s swelling educational landscape. If you’re considering studying there or are simply more interested in what the institution is doing with its research budget, head over and subscribe for more.
If you’re looking for a YouTube education then you can do much worse than topical science channel SciShow, the stop-motion animated stylings of AsapSCIENCE or Veritasium’s vault of interesting questions.