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Science Friday: The Six Coolest Videos You'll See Today

The 1st is a vid from National Geographic featuring UC Davis researchers. The 2nd is of a cool new electric vehicle. The 3rd is of alkali metals and their sometimes violent reaction to h2o. The 4th is of singing sand dunes. The 5th is of a real life example of the Bernoulli Effect. And the last is a time lapse at the Very Large Telescope Array in Chile’s Atacama Desert

Nat Geo special features UC Davis Keck CAVES

    A National Geographic Channel special feature, ‘X-Ray Earth,’ ... featuring work by UC Davis geophysicist Magali Billen and the Keck Center for Active Visualization in Earth Sciences.


It’s Not a Bicycle, It’s a Diwheel — And Its Name Is EDWARD

    A group of engineering students at the University of Adelaide have built a vehicle that would be perfectly at home in just about any science fiction movie you’ve ever seen: Electric Diwheel with Active Rotation Damping, or EDWARD for short.


Alkali metals

    The science

    The alkali metals are the elements Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium, Caesium and Francium. They are grouped together because they all behave similarly (except with different ferocity) and together form Group 1 of the Periodic Table.

    They are in fact very soft metals that can be cut with a knife and have relatively low melting temperatures. They do not occur naturally because they react readily with air and moisture and so need to be stored under oil.

    One of the signature reactions of alkali metals is their reaction with water to form alkaline solutions, for example sodium reacts with water to form sodium hydroxide – caustic soda.

    The reaction of alkali metals with water is pretty vigorous and as we see in the video clip as we go down Group 1 of the Periodic Table, from Lithium to Caesium, things get more and more frightening.


BBC partner website

Singing sand

The Bernoulli Effect

This Time Lapse Video of the Very Large Telescope At Work is the Coolest Thing You'll See Today

    There’s very little we can write to preface the imagery so we’ll just set the scene and get out of the way. The video below was captured by Stephane Guisard and Jose Francisco Salgado at the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile’s Atacama Desert. And it might make you cry.

    What makes this time lapse particularly amazing--because we’ve all seen plenty of time lapse videos of the night sky--is the four telescopes in the foreground. Watching these instruments work against a black background would be endlessly fascinating on its own. Unfortunately you won’t be able to pay them too much attention. Because damn, what a sky.