But Not Simpler has had a great first year (over 1,000,000 hits in eight months!), of course thanks to all my nerdy readers. I did a lot of experimenting here, from controversial pieces about water fluoridation to a piece on taste perception in full Seussian rhyming scheme to a piece proving that a Pacific Rim punch is like a 747 to the face. I’ve had so much fun learning about this stuff and sharing it with you. Here are the top ten posts of the last eight months, hoping for another uber nerdy 2014:
- Squirtle, I (Should) Choose You! Settling a Great Pokémon Debate with Science
- The Fungus that Reduced Humanity to The Last of Us
- Saving Lives in Serenity: Can a Fanboy and Physics Change a Movie?
- What Really Happens When Lightning Strikes Sand: The Science Behind a Viral Photo
- The Mechanics of the Pull-Up (and Why Women Can Absolutely Do Them)
- I Hate to Break it to You, but You Already Eat Bugs
- Why Portland Is Wrong About Water Fluoridation
- The Ocarina of Time Travel, Extra Dimensions and Branching Universes
- What The Nerdiest Chart of Sci-Fi Ships Says About Our Dreams of Space
- Pacific Rim Physics (Part 1): A Rocket Punch is a Boeing 747 to the Face
And, as always:
I have dug through the Internet this week and uncovered all this geeky goodness. You can find the thousands of links from previous weeks here.
I have marked my favorite links with a ∞. Enjoy.
Science to Read, Watch
∞ Is the anti-gluten movement a magic bullet for brain disease, or a bunch of hype?
Could this ancient scorpionfly fossil be showing off some ancient camouflage?
This Wasp-Eating Falcon Laughs at Your Puny Stings
∞ I could watch this video on the amazing physics of ants all day
Sorry astronauts, you can’t really fry food in space (in case you wanted to)
The Angelina effect: Immediate reach, grasp, and impact of going public
∞ “All orgasms are clitoral. Wouldn’t Freud be pissed to find that out?”
“The mola deftly slices through the water…like a perpetually surprised saw blade.”
Obsessively wash your hand with hot water? You don’t have to, and not doing so could help the environment
Why today’s biomimicry is only biophilia, and what we can learn from animal architects
Wow! The prettiest aurora video I’ve seen was shot from an airplane window
Nice footage of the insect that dresses like a flower to lure tasty pollinators to spiky DOOM
A Russian philosopher gives a to-do list for space exploration, in the 1920s (#14 might take awhile…)
∞ For me, the easiest way to understand tidal forces on a planet was to look at the vectors. Mathematical!
Eating cooked meals and listening to uncles spout off about politics is what really makes us human
A new hypothesis about the brain that could explain an evolutionary jump to complex human consciousness
Huh. Many animals actually do have a soft white underbelly for legitimate evolutionary reasons
∞ In the brain, home does actually *feel* like home: Emotional Renovations
New Clues and Some Wild Guesses About Those Strange Spider Towers in the Amazon
∞ “Chances are you’ve never wondered how hard it is to remove the testes of a hippopotamus…it’s almost impossible”
Those “You Are Here” galaxy photos are a lie. Here’s why
Watch the intricacies of fluid flow in a supersonic rocket engine
∞ Polyethylene oxide shines brilliantly under UV light, and you can pour it uphill!
How, by Neptune, are we to number the suckers on octopus arms?
Lovely NASA video showing the different wavelengths the Sun bathes us in
The effects of the small moon Prometheus loom large on two of Saturn’s rings
Year’s End and the Holidays
∞ “Wait…what if we jingled…all the way?”
NASA took some amazing images from space this year. Here are a few of WIRED’s favorites
A post after my own heart: The year in awesome science GIFs
∞ My favorite quote of the year has to be this one: Wil Wheaton explains to a newborn why being a nerd is awesome
Of all the life forms I’ve met in my travels, I hope you are the most…jolly
Ernst Haeckel’s 1904 “Kunstformen der Natur” as Christmas cards!
∞ If we know anything about flying in fog, it’s that Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very useless nose
If your window freezes just right this holiday, you can feel like an action hero
Holiday conversation: “Hey, mistletoe is actually really weird”
One of my favorite holiday pieces: Why Are Reindeer Eyes Golden In Summer But Blue In Winter?
∞ The first level of Super Mario 64 re-created in LEGO
Odd but fascinating: What tones do you get from simple harmonic motion?
The 90s kid in me always gets distracted by great Pokemon art
With some material and carpentry skills, you can introduce your cat to the joys of video game plumbing!
Artist Cliff Chiang makes Star Wars propaganda. “He [Vader] can’t do it alone!”
Whatever gifts you got for your PC, I guarantee you it won’t make it look like *this*
Waste some time on this: Robot/Monster or Prescription Drug?
This card game looks so fun. It’s like Cards Against Humanity, but with nerd battles
∞ Someone made an incredibly intricate 3D printer in Minecraft and it is really cool (If a bit laggy)
Hyper-realistic Pokemon convince me that Nintendo needs better graphics damnit
MacGuyver (1988) clearly showed that hand puppets make effective psychological distractors
Sciencey GIFs and Images
Who knows what makes these awesome clouds?
∞ Incredible GIF of a wonderfully ornate spider glowing under UV light
What do you think happens when you crack an egg 60ft underwater? Go ahead, guess
January 29, 2010: Hubble picks up a comet-like asteroid that I’m pretty sure is actually a cloaked Klingon Warbird
Oh, Reddit: “My speedo is broken, but the tachometer works fine. Lets fix it with vector graphics”
Luke Jerram makes incredible glass sculptures of HIV, swine flu, MRSA, and more. (Cool video of those virus sculptures being created by blowing glass.)
One of my favorite macro shots is of the bloody ink coating a pen tip
A long-exposure on an airport shows our photon-laden journeys into the sky
GIF of that amazing caiman predation by a sneaky jaguar
∞ Sometimes life is like a chameleon’s tongue, and you’re a mantis
Pop Culture Happenings
∞ Violence isn’t just hack n’ slash, it can mean something: Exploring Meaningful Violence
Instead of a disgusting and ineffective shark cull Australia, try tweeting the positions of sharks!
∞ How privacy died over 100 years ago, and the demise continues: The Men Who Open Your Mail
Bones McCoy swindled people out of millions by impersonating a gov. official and selling a bogus tricorder
The man responsible for 1/5th of the world’s gun supply has died
Using a physical Encyclopedia Britannica for something useful: A beautifully carved mountain landscape
Yes, of course my home state pours cheese on the roads to deal with ice
∞ Unraveling the story behind the stereotype of video games being for boys: No Girls Allowed
“For robotic spacecraft, the greatest hazard in the solar system turns out to be the NASA budget.”
∞ On skepticism, Big Viral, and the hoaxes we gladly consume: The Year We Broke the Internet
∞ The rise and possible return of the great saber-toothed cats
On tracking great whites: “There’s no frickin’ pattern at all”
∞ How nuclear bombs put a timestamp on our biology, and solved a neurological mystery