Archive for the ‘Watch’ Category

Space shuttle launch from above

In Watch on March 10, 2011 at 7:19 am

Neil Monday is a software developer who was on a commercial flight out of Orlando National Airport on February 24th.  His window seat afforded him a spectacular view of the Space Shuttle Discovery’s final launch:

The video really gives you a sense of the power.  A parabolic path for a projectile seems so natural (Angry Birds!), but the shuttle just keeps going up.

Also, the shuttle coming up out of the cloud cover looks an awful lot like the Delta 2 rocket that we looked at last summer.

Via:  The Atlantic, via Cosmic Log

Skateboarder with no legs

In Watch on March 9, 2011 at 7:21 am

Italo Romano is a skateboarder without any legs:

Amazing.  The shirt comes off at 4:19.  Dude is ripped.

Via:  GOOD

Complicated mechanisms explained

In Watch on March 6, 2011 at 9:53 pm

The World of Technology blog has a post from last August called “Complicated Mechanisms Explained in simple animations.”  Pretty self-explanatory:

Maltese Cross Mechanism, used in clocks to power the second hand movement.

Maltese Cross Mechanism, used in clocks to power the second hand movement.

Also excellent in the post are the animations of a manual transmission mechanism and the constant velocity joint.

San Francisco Bay clouds

In Watch on March 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm

A gorgeous time-lapse video of clouds around the San Francisco Bay area:

1:36 looks like waves lapping at a shoreline.  Creator Simon Christen appropriately calls it “The Unseen Sea.”

Via: The Atlantic

Johnny Knoxville does Detroit

In Read, Watch on February 24, 2011 at 9:43 am

Palladium is a French boot manufacturing company.  Johnny Knoxville is best known for his MTV series “Jackass” and its subsequent movie iterations.

Put this unlikely pair together and you get a remarkable 3-part documentary on the current state of Detroit.  From the Palladium website:

Once the fourth-largest metropolis in America—some have called it the Death of the American Dream. Today, the young people of the Motor City are making it their own DIY paradise where rules are second to passion and creativity. They are creating the new Detroit on their own terms, against real adversity. We put our boots on and went exploring.

Part 1 of Detroit Lives is embedded here above.  You can find Parts 2 and 3 on the project’s website.

The documentary is unexpected in a few ways.  Johnny Knoxville doing something serious?  Detroit isn’t a complete disaster?  A city actually going with lack of regulation and/or structure to help with rebirth?

One of the most grabbing things for me was at 3:00 in Part 1 (above).  Ko Melina is a Detroit musician who describes an instance of “pick-and-choose journalism” about Cass Tech high school.  The news story talked about the old dilapidated abandoned school campus without mentioning the brand new campus right across the street.  The video is striking.

It is good to see evidence of the city’s rebirth, even in the face of an American public and a press that only want to tell one story.

Via:  GOOD

UDPATE:  Another noteworthy Detroit video would be the Superbowl commercial for the Chrysler 200.  (Watch here.)  After the game, Fast Company did a piece talking about the impact the ad had on the city:

But a Super Bowl ad from the company that is now 25%-owned by foreigners has the whole city buzzing today. Chrysler, which is run by Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne, delivered a rousing two-minute spot last night that summed up the hopes of everyone who believes the city can come back strong. The ad made the front page of today’s Detroit Free Press, with the headline “Motor City Pride.”

LAX landing cockpit view

In Watch on February 23, 2011 at 7:29 am

This is a gorgeous video of the approach into LAX from the cockpit on a southbound flight:

I just flew this again on Monday, and the thing that always surprises me is how low you are already when you pass downtown/the 110 freeway/USC on the last little leg before landing.  In the video this is right at 2:00 when the screen flashes “Watts.”  That’s the 110 below at that point, and if you’re sitting on the right side of the plane you have a great view of downtown.


Construction of the Empire State Building

In Watch on February 22, 2011 at 7:19 am

Ken Burns has a younger brother named Ric who also makes documentaries.  His film New York: A Documentary Film aired on PBS from 1999 to 2003, and includes a segment on the building of the Empire State Building:

This video is Part 1 of 3 that cover the Empire State Building. has the other two parts embedded in one easy-to-view page here.  Jason Kottke also calls out some highlights, including this one:

At the peak of construction, the workers were adding 4-5 stories a week. During one 22-day stretch, 22 new floors were erected. From start to finish, the entire building took an astonishing 13 months to build, about the same amount of time recently taken by the MTA to fix the right side of the stairs of the Christopher Street subway station entrance.

Two years ago when they were building the Ritz Tower in downtown L.A., there was a stretch where they were putting up a floor every five days.  I remember that seeming like a screaming pace.  These guys were going 4-5 per week!?

Superhydrophobic carbon nanotube array

In Watch on February 17, 2011 at 7:23 am

Via Popular Science, here is a video from two researchers at Cal Tech.  It shows water droplets bouncing off a surface made of carbon nanotubes:

The surface is superhydrophobic, which is to say that it repels water to an extreme degree.  From the PopSci page:

Hydrophobic materials have all kinds of practical applications, from creating surfaces that never have to be cleaned to making supertankers and container ships glide more efficiently through the water.

Superior autobiographical memory

In Watch on February 8, 2011 at 7:18 am

Here’s a 60 Minutes story Lesley Stahl did in December on individuals who have the ability to recall every single day of their lives.  Each part is around 13 minutes long.  (You can also watch in a little bit better quality at the 60 Minutes website.)

Part 1

Part 2

“They can do with their memories what you and I can do about yesterday.”

Amazing, but it can also have a flip-side:

“Sometimes having this sort of extreme memory can be sort of isolating.”

I have a friend who has commented that the ability to let memories and ideas decay over time is more of a feature than a bug.  One of the researchers in the piece quotes American psychologist William James on this idea:

“If we remembered everything, we should on most occasions be as ill-off as if we remembered nothing.”

The five of them don’t seem to feel this way, though the piece does explore some of the drawbacks.

Also, at 60 Minutes Overtime there is an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how Lesley Stahl and her producer developed the story.  Stahl knew Marilu Henner as a friend, and knew that Henner had this gift.  When Stahl’s producer tried to sell her on the story about this super-rare condition, Stahl kept turning it down because she didn’t think it was that special.  “C’mon, it can’t be that rare.  I have a friend right over here who can do that too.”


Ants circling

In Watch on February 7, 2011 at 7:27 am

A few months back, this video of an ant circle made the rounds:

Some quality theories in the video comments:  ant mosh pit, ant death spiral, ants creating a portal to another dimension, ants summoning Azathoth, etc.

Discovery News got a hold of Sanford Porter, an ant expert who offered a real explanation for the behavior:

“The mill just goes round and round, generally until the ants simply die.”

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