World’s Strangest

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Brittle Star Walks Like a Man

Whodathunk that brittle star walks like a man. After all, unlike the bilaterally symmetrical humans, the sea creature is round and has five limbs: In a series of first-time experiments, Brown University evolutionary [...]

East of the South Pole

If you stand at the South Pole and walk in any direction, you’d be walking north, wouldn’t you? So how do people in Antarctica read a map or give directions? Minnesotastan looked it up, and the answer is: they throw out the directions from the globe and make up a system. The continent is labeled [...]

The Aerodynamics of Whiffle Balls

Photo by Noah Kalina What makes wiffle ball so, well, wiffly? Putting an advanced degree in physics to benefit all of humanity, mechanical engineer Jenn Rossmann of Lafayette College decided to do a little fluid mechanics analysis on whiffle balls: So over the past eight years, she and her students have built the world’s most advanced Wiffle-ology [...]

Printable Sundial

Damia Soler created a website that makes sundials. Type in your location, and it’ll give you a printable paper sundial customized to function there, provided that you point it in the right direction. And the site will tell you orient you in that direction. Link via Make | Photo: Hacked Gadgets

Ventriloquist Birds

Certain bird species can project their voices in one direction while their beaks are pointed in another. Jessica Yorzinski, a graduate student in animal behavior at UC Davis conducted a study with Gail Patricelli, professor of evolution and ecology, to see how birds use alarm calls. Yorzinski and Patricelli placed a ring of directional microphones [...]

The Largest Mona Lisa in the World

Under the direction of artist Katy Webster, children painted an enormous copy of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa at a shopping mall in Wales: Dozens of adults from community groups and youngsters from Wrexham schools coloured 82 vinyl tiles to make the paint-by-numbers portrait. It is on show at Eagles Meadow, and will be used to [...]

How the Brain Localizes Sound

With sound sources bouncing off walls and other surfaces, how is the brain able to sort out from what direction and distance sound is traveling? Robert Goodier explains: In an April study, neuroscientists led by Sasha Devore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tested the widely held hypothesis that specialized cells in the brain actively suppress [...]