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This Week in Science: Star Wars Physics, Hovering Hummingbirds, and Drones Over Chernobyl

Digging through the web this week, I 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

Why Everything You Know About Wolf Packs Is Wrong

Video of a tiger beetle larva inside its burrow

That thing where you alter an ecosystem to give yourself a hummingbird mustache

∞ This is a python eating a deer whole. You want to click it. There, you’ve learned something about yourself

More evidence that DNA could survive a trip into our atmosphere

To get knocked out by tryptophan alone, you’d have to eat 4kg of turkey

Remember: You are eating *way* more calories than you think

The average Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon requires 12,000 cubic feet of helium

How did Alan Turing help end WWII? Breaking Enigma breaks my brain

If you ate bearded seal meat instead of turkey, it *could* make you sleepy on tryptophan alone (0.795g/100g)

What kind of dream will you have as you die? It will probably have one of these themes

Dealing with raccoons’ tapeworm-filled feces by feeding the bandits medicine marshmallows

Dogs are sloppy drinkers, but there’s a method to the messiness

“A female can carry multiple males (read: testes) at a time.”

Always bet on the Musk, who wants to recapture rockets with a floating platform in the ocean

∞ It took a supercomputer to see how a hummingbird really hovers

In the midst of shaping our environment around ourselves, we got domesticated, and cats came along for the ride


Garlic *attracts* vampires, if those vampires are also leeches

Listen to the song that jumping spiders “sing”

Vultures’ stomachs are filled with botulism. It might help them eat corpses

∞ Inside a termite kingdom, a Game of Clones

I probably don’t have to tell you this, but the gender distribution in tech is pretty bad

We used to think birds flew to the Moon in winter. That was a bit off. Where do they go anyway?

Ebola is scary, but antibiotic resistance should scare us more

Hookah is indeed dangerous, qualifies as smoking

Computers are writing photo captions. Here’s why that’s such a leap forward

∞ The fluid mechanics in a whiskey glass is beauty like I’ve never seen

This tarantula is gold-plated for a much better reason than you think

You can make a crazy half tube vortex in your pool on a sunny day!


Extreme Nerdery

Is the trisaber any good?

Hm. Robert Kirkman regrets having the CDC episode in The Walking Dead, which is where all the bad science stems from

∞ Googly eyes make everything better

Comparison of Cumberbatch’s and Serkis’s voice from their different trailer voiceovers

If Han Solo went on one Kessel run during A New Hope, he’d return for VII chronologically the same age as Harrison Ford

∞ Jurassic Park with cats

Star Trek unknowingly made a space debris PSA 40 years ago

Only based on the movie/show, who is faster, Quicksilver or The Flash?

I would pay all the money to see a mosasaur Shamu

∞ “I’ll take my science over your magic any day.” Batman vs. Darth Vader

If a piranha plant ate Yoshi, would you be able to see it in the fossil record?

Never get tired of watching great VFX reels: Godzilla

Why The Skywalker Twins Aren’t the Same Age Anymore

“Never tell me the odds! I’m predisposed for risk-seeking behavior because my lifestyle is framed in terms of loss!”

What in nature will give you a white streak of hair like Rogue?


Sciencey GIFs and Images

Time-lapse video of bone marrow–derived eosinophils and a C. elegans dauer larva over 80 min”

The bower bird pulses its irises for its mates

∞ The real versions of Jurassic Park chase scenes are *much* more stressful

So shells that turn themselves into shrapnel are terrifying

Have fun never using the bathroom again

∞ When an owl doesn’t want to let go, it turns into a bird roomba

Goblin sharks eat prey with their specially-evolved protruding jaws

Perfect Timing

Sneak away and watch this GIF when the family gets to be too much

Fill a balloon with powder to see some cool fluid mechanics because why not

∞ A simulation of US river and stream flow that’s as close to science LSD as you get

A scary, beautiful image of the sun, drawn from NASA-SDO data

A gallery of award-winning fluid mechanics GIFs

Antique calculators were hella complicated

The laser engraving of a corozo button

∞ An incredible visible shockwave from an Atlas rocket

Schlieren photography lets you photograph the flow of different density fluids. Even a hair dryer looks epic

Shock diamonds during a propulsion test

You can’t handle the googly eyes

Y’all. Sugar gliders.


Pop Culture Happenings

∞Wanderers“: A short film about human expansion into space, narrated by Carl Sagan. This is absolutely *breathtaking*

Our Favorite Pictures of Cats You’ve Never Heard Of

Crop circles are lame. Icy lake circles are where it’s at

In a 2-minute timelapse (over 11 months), man disassembles and reassembles whole engine

∞ Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl

Why I Sent My Kids Through An Interdimensional Particle Vortex (And Why You Should Too)

∞ This isn’t anime, it’s a *toy*

Perfect. The Day After The Comet Landing, Everyone Was Listening To Aerosmith

Your reminder that tear gas is banned by the Geneva Convention and we abide by it…except for use on civilians

Tyson Boop

TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 Episode 1 Recap

TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 Episode 1 Recap

Giraffes Barely Sleep, and When They do, it's on Their Butts

Giraffes Barely Sleep, and When They do, it's on Their Butts

Bigfoot Bundt Cake

Bigfoot Bundt Cake