Public service: calculate cubic roots instantly

So you are at this party, right? And you want to become the center of attention. In a loud voice, say "I can calculate the cubic root of any number that you've cubed". Then watch the reaction (or lack thereof).

Anyway, if someone's still interested, do as this video indicates...

... and profit.

Troll speed painter

So this happened in the US, you need to see this. Look at the faces of the judges as the painting is being "completed", and the masterstroke at the end.

Trolls be trollin'.

Song of the weekend: a spectacular rendition of a classic

I use the term spectacular literally. This re-thinking of "Stairway to Heaven" by the band Heart, complete with Jason Bonham (son of the original Zep drummer) and a humongous choir even made old Robert Plant cry!

Did you like it? Or, more appropriately, how much did you like it?

Do a double-take

These photos are not what they look like at first glance. Which one is your favourite? (More and the link to all of them, after the break).

What if the Earth had rings like Saturn?

Well, apparently the Earth did have rings at one point. Billions of years ago, a small planetoid impacted against the Earth, lifting billions of tons of debris into the atmosphere, where they formed a ring. As this ring was outside of the destructing sphere of influence of gravity (what is called "Roche's limit") the Moon was formed.

But what if besides the Moon, we still had the rings? An artist has imagined how it would look. Retouched photos (obviously) below and after the break tell the story.

The shadow is the Earth reflecting on the rings

Try not to laugh: a jumping raccoon

This is the best gif I've seen in a while. It's a raccoon getting ready to jump a chasm. Notice his concentration, and his body tension as he gets ready... and jumps.

I bet you have laughed at this!

Rules of storytelling by PIXAR

Ok, not by Pixar itself, but by a storyboard artist who works at Pixar. Close enough? They are very good, ideal for new writers. And they are... after the break.

Tell me which one you liked the most!

Epic movie GIFs

This site has collected 40 GIFs of movies. Out of them, for me 39 are very well done, the only one that is not great is the one of Arnold looking at his mechanical hand. Still an impressive ratio. Some of my favourites below:

Which ones did you like the most?

Some more German interesting words

So... last year in this post (in Spanish) we compared the words for "butterfly" in different languages. All of them cool, except for German.

Well, the Interwebz is back again with some more funny German words. Brace yourselves:

I found the last one's face hilarious!

Song of the weekend: harmonies make me happy

In a bit of an "emotional rescue", I bring you a band that disappeared as quickly as they had sprung up: Incubus. I really like their vocal harmonies and melodies.

Did you like it? If so, watch Nice to Know You, their other big hit.

A great idea: a portable library

So this is one of the entries for a contest done in Manhattan to create a portable library, with the ultimate goal to encourage reading. I find it an amazing project, a more organized version of the usual "pay it forward"  with books that is found in several hotels around the world (read a book, and when you finish leave it there for others to read).

Do you like the idea and/or design?

Russians + steering wheel + luck = A + mazing

So, apparently lots of Russians have cameras on their cars, and this compilation happened. I can't help but putting myself in the shoes of each one of the innocent bystanders, and imagine my thoughts at the time. I reckon most of them didn't even realize how close their brush with death was. Their M curve was surely close to 1.

Did you like it?

How will we look like in 100,000 years?

Not very pretty. That is the conclusion that a team reached after thinking about it for a while. (I mean, come on, it's not like they are basing it on any facts). I hesitated about adding the tag "Science", but hey, why the hell not.

You have something on your eye... there! It was just a little slice of apple pie.
I, for one, am glad we won't be alive for this.

Very interesting life lessons from an unlikely source

I recently stumbled upon this article about the life lessons that the CEO of a start-up took from the recently deceased Senator Frank Lautenberg while on a business trip. Very good read, conveying emotion in a simple way.

Did you like it?

Chuck Norris' dad

This guy William Rankin survived falling from 9000m into a thunderstorm... and survived.

The video itself is not so relevant (except when showing the picture of the guy), but the audio... oh boy. Amazing story.

Good ad, bad physics

This ad (which has a "noble cause") is spectacular in its making:

Unfortunately, its physics are a bit iffy, as demonstrated by this post from xkcd.

But still, it's very cool! Did you like it?

Song of the weekend: one of the best intros

I love this song. Its melody, its cadence, Thom's voice... and the intro is one of the most beautifully simple ones I have heard in a "pop" song (I use the term loosely). No wonder it's a classic.

Did you like it?

One-billion-years-old water

Of course, technically all water is even older than that. But as opposed to most water on the planet, this water discovered in Canada has been isolated from the "outside world" for over a billion years, trapped in a pocket of rock just recently accessed via a mine... making it extremely rare. Scientists think that it may contain bacteria that grew without the need for oxygen at all!

It's only for this water that you can't apply the following joke:

Amazing, huh?

Wasting time with science

Never have the tags "Wasting Time" and "Science" been used more appropriately together. Do you have a lot of time in your hands? Then replicate the following experiment:

I have to say, these videos always give me guilty pleasure. Don't know why.

All blue-eyed people...

...descend from one mutated individual who lived 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. So you are all related! (Yes, I have dark brown eyes. Dreamy, I may add). Apparently, the blue comes from the inability of the eye cells to produce melanin. Green and brown eyes vary in the degree of melanin... but blue eyes lack it totally.

Oh hai, Bar Rafaeli!
Hm. So... question to the blue-eyed couples out there. How does it feel to be doing a relative? (Yes, yes, I was leaving).

Japanese equilibrium

This video is epic. In it, a Japanese woman (Miyoko Shida) balances several wooden long objects, from the very heavy up to the very light feather at the end, in a TV show... and does it in a way that leaves everyone open-jawed, getting a standing ovation.

Did you like it?

Young sport genius

Boyanka Angelova. Why haven't we heard of her before? In this 3-year-old video (which came to light only recently), she uses the ring in ways that I have yet to see. And I say this in the safest-for-work way possible.

Did you like it?

Science Saturday: show this to your children...

... it's a 2m video in which Neil deGrasse Tyson tells high school kids why to study science. It was obviously an unscripted request, and he responded very kindly.

It's fantastic. His voice lends to the great message. Did you like it?

Song of the weekend: a petite girl who's still the best

Move over, Alanis Morrissette, Avril Lavigne et al. The one to listen to (still) is called Fiona Apple. This little girl (she's 5'2") brims with creativity and her songs show how she wears her vulnerability in her sleeve.

A couple for you. First, her biggest hit, from 1998:

Then, a cover from John Lennon (ok, The Beatles). The video is a-mazing! And her style would have undoubtedly been approved by John himself:

Did you like them?

Epic feat of engineering... for a taco

This article, which reads delightfully, tells the very interesting story behind the creation of Taco Bell's Doritos Loco Taco. It's a story of transformation, of trust, of wins against almost insurmountable odds... and also about a Taco.

Unrelated, but I can't just stop seeing this.
Let me know if you liked it!

Ooh baby baby it's a sea world

If you think -as I did- that you live in a wireless, aero-transported world, think again: 90% of all international trade still moves via ship. An astonishing 99% of all telecoms traffic, including phone and web, is routed via submarine cables - not satellites. See the links to two very interesting maps: shipping traffic over a year (measured with unprecedented precision by a group of scientists) and all major submarine cable routes and connection points.

This explains why the world's biggest navies have a common interest to keep concentration points like the Panama and Suez canals and the Malacca strait open and pirate-free.

For those who like electronic music...

... and are of the nerd persuasion, please watch this. On second thought, the non-nerds in the audience will also enjoy it. I was left wanting more!

What did you think?

Public service: 38 ways to improve your English grammer

(I know: it's grammar! See what I did their? And there?)

Anyway, after these bad puns, on to the video by the guys at Mental Floss. I believe I knew most of these, but found some a good reminder (who vs whom, lay vs lie). The most important missing one? Definitely "definately" ;-)

And you? Did you like them?

Fantastic screengrab movie

Apparently this movie has been done with no CGI trickery - just a good old editing software (and a printer).

Did you enjoy it? It was definitely not a green movie!

Science Saturday: a momentous day in Maths

The other day was a momentous landmark in analytical maths... we are inching ever so close to prove the Goldbach conjecture! This, the oldest unsolved problem in maths (after Fermat Last Theorem was solved in 1992) was first stated in a letter from Goldbach to Euler in the 18th century - in which he simply stated that every even number bigger than 5 can be stated as the sum of two prime numbers. (Examples: 6 is 1 plus 5; 10 is 3 plus 7. 100 is 47 plus 53. And so on). This has been proven empirically until  number 4,000,000,000,000,000,000, but not generally (for every number).

Related mathematical proof :-)

Up until last month, this had only been proven generally using 5 primes (ie - any even number can be stated as the sum of 5 primes).

Less than a month ago, this was now proven for 3 primes. We are getting close!