The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.
Epic in so many ways. When Planet Earth came out a few years ago, it was mandatory Sunday night viewing in our dorm rooms. Very few shows were appointment television in college because of all that “studying” all the time, but Planet Earth was something different. It was something like we had never seen before, and I love BBC America for throwing this twist and launching a promo video featuring kids as narrators. Some of them stick to the script and some of them don’t…dropping gems like “I would never eat a fly because I like cheeseburgers” and “Ok, so the grizzly bear is like, ripping their heads off.” Love it. (via kottke.org)
Or, if you prefer your steak well done. Backstory: Cattle are allowed to roam freely to graze on federal lands out West. Some of those wilderness areas also prohibit motorized vehicles. Now, six of those aforementioned cattle were stuck in a snowstorm high in the Rockies near Aspen, Colorado and actually sought shelter inside a Forest Ranger cabin. The cows were not smart enough to figure out how to get out of the cabin and they all froze to death. Since the federal officials cannot use motorized vehicles to get the cows out, they are left with three options: let the cows decompose, burn down the cabin, or use explosives to destroy the carcasses. Apparently, they are concerned that the amount of mass will attract the wrong types of scavengers and pollute a local water supply.
All cheer the Bibliomulas! Remember the excitement that book orders and book mobiles brought you when you were in elementary school? Well, I do. And my wife does to, so there are at least two of us. Now imagine if you are a child living among to peaks of the Andes in Venezuela, and motorized vehicles don’t even make it to your town. Enter Bilbiomulas, or “book mules” which carry loads of children’s books to these isolated communities to spread to joy of reading. That is an investment in the future that will pay off.
Venus: sky racer. We all know that the planets orbit the sun, and we know that the planets change position in our sky over time, but have you ever actually noticed how they move? This is an amazing photograph that captures a perfect arc of Venus’s rotation in a time-lapse shot over a six month period. I have always been vaguely aware that Venus is one place one time, and a different place another time, but I never put the whole picture together until I saw this. Amazing that the solar system really does work like they say it does.
Prepare to have your mind blown. Ferrofluids are solutions that suspend incredibly tiny iron particles in an organic compound. What makes them so amazing is that when a magnetic force is applied to the fluid, the iron particles move and organize themselves in really stunning ways. It’s part science and part art, but completely amazing. An article over at Wired Science has a compilation of mind-blowing videos showing ferrofluids in action. (via Boing Boing)