Join us for a night of nanospectucular wonders, hosted by Robert Krulwich, live from the World Science Festival tonight (May 30) at 8pm ET here on radiolab.org. Watch below, and join two Radiolab producers for a live chat as the event gets underway.
Take a metronome. Then take another. Then another. Set them ticking at different times. Look. Lift. (That's the key part.) Watch. Then Laugh. Because you will be dumbfounded.
What do you get when you get a college diploma? To hear David Foster Wallace tell it, you get a muscle that will help you forever after — in shopping lines, overcrowded parking lots, in traffic jams. This muscle, he says, frees you when the world gets painfully dull.
Sex is nice, but can animals make babies without it? One summer, two little boys, their tutor and the tutor's two friends did an experiment to explore this question. What they discovered, back in 1740, shocked the world.
Bees could build flat honeycombs from just three shapes: squares, triangles or hexagons. But for some reason, bees choose hexagons. Always "perfect" hexagons. Why?
What would it be like to be a string that made music? Not anything simple, like a guitar string or a cello string, but a magical string, a sine curve that's taut then loose, that doubles then doubles again, that sheds then dissolves into showers of notes.
Welcome to the New World in which, no kidding, insects run robots. In this case, 14 moths take 14 drives in a wheeled vehicle and steer right to the target. Seeing is believing.
SpaceX calls it the "Grasshopper" — it's a rocket that doesn't fall back to Earth haphazardly after launch. It carefully returns itself to the launchpad standing up, right where it started.
Put away that old Rand McNally map — it's time for a new way to see what America really looks like.
When a bunch of people get into an elevator, do they segregate in any predictable way? Do tall ones stand in the back? Do men stand in different places than women? Who looks where?
The images are sharp and concentrated. But this isn't art, it's more than advertising, and it's not quite education. It's an invitation.
What if you put all 7 billion humans into one city, a city as dense as New York, with its towers and skyscrapers? How big would that 7 billion-sized city be? As big as New Jersey? Texas? Bigger? Are cities protecting wild spaces on the planet? We try a little experiment to find out.
Monty Python's John Cleese gives us a highly sophisticated, totally un-understandable, look at the human brain. The secret is, Cleese isn't speaking English. It sounds like English, but its nonsense. The closed caption English translation goes nuts, especially at the very end. It curses!
They call them Romance Pants, from Instructables.com, one of the world's premier do-it-yourself sites. They're for the Romantic Man who has overplanned (and overthought and overdone) his upcoming night of love. One 7805 voltage regulator required.
They're not locusts. They don't eat crops, don't sting babies to death, don't even harm fruit. Yes, they make loud, screechy noises, but if you were a female cicada, you'd find the love songs ... um ... lovely. Here come the cicadas!
You probably know the feeling: You turn on your computer, decide to mosey around, but only for a minute or two, you have important things to do, and then — whooooosh! The computer sucks you in and you can't stop clicking. Why does this happen? Artist Dina Kelberman knows why. Let her trap you.
Some of the best science reporters, like the best Vaudevillians, the best circus performers, the best teachers, are hungry for attention — not for themselves, but for a way to seize your mind, to bring you to an idea, a puzzle, or a creature.
You don't expect fourth-graders to be wise. They're still boys. But one, who was playing and ruminating on his back patio, had a knack for cosmology seemingly well beyond his years.
Sandy Island, located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Australia, occupies about about 45 square miles of the Coral Sea. It was documented in 1772 and appeared on a 1908 admiralty chart and in Google Maps. The problem is, Sandy Island never existed.