What are the odds that you will die this year? Whatever they are, the mortality tables suggest those odds will double eight years from now. Death, apparently, moves closer at a curiously regular pace. Why this eight-year progression? Is it something biological? Random? What is it about eight that attracts the Grim Reaper? Let's ask.
There you are in a train station, and if you stand in the right space, suddenly an angel — a lady with enormous wings, looking like the real deal — appears at your side. She's not real. She's a billboard display gone wild. Which is what a bunch of billboards have been doing lately. We visit three of the wildest.
They leap into the air, adjust their tails, land headfirst in the snow, burrow down and hit a teeny moving target — buried three feet below. It's their lunch. How does a fox catch a mouse in winter? This is amazing.
They're little flatworms that glide along riverbeds and perform miracles. Chop off their tails, they grow them back. Split them in half, they grow whole again. But chop off their heads, and not only do they grow new heads, but those new heads contain old memories! Whoa!
This isn't science. Not today. It's art — in this case, the sly performance of a young comedian who is accosted backstage by not-so-nice "fans." But he gets free (wait for this, it comes a few minutes in) by using his pointer finger. I was enchanted.
First I look in my right coat pocket. Nothing. Then my left. Nothing. Then my pants, right side — no. Then my pants, left side — yes! This is me at my front door, looking for my keys. Every day.
I'm going to play you a sound that you hear all the time. But this time, instead of hearing it in context (in a familiar setting — the movies, an Xbox, on TV, in a phone), it's all alone. Naked. Will you be able to identify it?
I'm thinking of a man and his cat. A real man. His real cat. Then I'm imagining a bunch of world-famous cartoonists, Calvin & Hobbes' Bill Watterson, Wile E. Coyote's Chuck Jones, Gary Larson, Maurice Sendak — all of them drawing this same man and his cat. Then I'm staring at very different men and very different cats. Then I'm giggling.
You order a lobster and the waiter shows you an animal that is, he says, older than you are. It's had more birthdays than you. For some people, this is a meal-stopper. Especially, if you are on in years, and what's on the plate is just as elderly (and just as wise?) as you are.
The idea seemed sensible: Send young elephants from a crowded national park in South Africa to an emptier one, where they could form a new herd and thrive. The problem? Elephants need elders. Without them, all hell breaks loose.
They look, at first, like dangerously protruding rocks on this towering, almost vertical wall in the Italian Alps. But then, uncannily, they move. What are they? And why don't they fall off? What are they doing?
Whatever happened on Easter Island, it wasn't good. Polynesians landed there, farmed, thrived, built their famous statues, and then things went very bad, very fast. Sixteen million trees vanished. What happened? Was this a case of ecological collapse? Not exactly, say two anthropologists. It was, arguably, worse than that.
When bees disappeared from central China years ago, Chinese apple farmers had to pollinate by hand. Embarrassing — people doing bees' work, but then came the big discovery –- a surprise that still haunts the conservation movement. What if people outperform bees?
Look inside most machines today and what do you find? Computer chips functioning mysteriously. Gaze at a 1920's Rube Goldberg cartoon and what do you find? Machines powered by hungry parrots and angry ladies. Will future tools stay inscrutable or become more Rube-like? Here's a guess.
Reporter Emily Graslie explores natural history museums, showing us what's going on behind the scenes. Her viewers write her, of course, and in this video, she reads some of those letters. They're not about science. Or Museums. They're about Emily. And it's embarrassing.
Today's a day to share, so that's why I want to share this moment: Two girls are on a city street, trying to figure out who's going to be friends with the nastiest person they can think of. Not an easy problem, but they solve it. Gorgeously.
A fresh tomato is 93.5 percent water. A fresh baby girl or boy is 75 percent water. A banana, 74 percent. We all start wet, and then, inevitably, dry. A 1-year-old baby carries 10 percent less water; a male adult 15 percent less. Life is a slow evaporation, with some curious exceptions.
Something strange happens when you slosh wine in a wineglass. The wine doesn't just settle. Some of it starts to "cry." That is, little droplets of wine slide down and then mysteriously creep up again, dripping, then climbing, dripping, climbing, over and over, pushed by some force that doesn't seem to end. What's going on?
You're high, high up. You lean over and look way, way down. Then you leap. Meet my favorite leapers: An Austrian who falls for 24 continuous miles, a medieval musician who leaps off a tower, a movie stuntman who lands on a chain of cardboard boxes, and my favorite, a man who almost falls into the sky.