Cool science videos (round two!)

Black Hole Artist's Impression Astronaut Falling Into Tidal Forces Firewall Hawking Weekly Show Stephen

Hey, all! To splice things up a bit and deal with the awfulness of finals (damn you, Galois theory!), I’m throwing together another video post for this week! These are the people who inspire me to share the wonders of science, and I want to give them as much credit as I can. Enjoy these videos, then go check out the creators’ full channels. Beyond!

MinuteEarth

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Scanning electron microscopes will blow your mind

How do we see things that are really small? Classical microscope technology can let us see all but the tiniest of objects, but some are so minuscule as to evade our eyes. Enter the Scanning Electron Microscope. This marvel of math and engineering fires a stream of electrons and measures the way they bounce off objects. This data reveals the topology of what the electrons hit, producing precise recreations of surfaces. These images give us insight to an alien world on the smallest of scales. Check out the following images of the world beyond our eyes.

Scanning Electron Microscope Cool Insect Tiny Cells Scary Science Weekly Show

A worker ant.

Scanning Electron Microscope Cool Insect Tiny Cells Scary Science Weekly Show

Surgical mesh.

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Does vitamin C really prevent the common cold?

Vitamin C Common Cold Health Myth Weekly Show Pills Supplements Oranges Citrus

Gluten-free. Low carbs. Vitamin supplements. While some of these habits have demonstrable benefits, some seem a little…weird. For instance, what would you say if I told you eating fifty-one bananas a day was the key to healthy living? Many people swear by obscure diets and practices without researching what they actually do. Let’s examine a common one: vitamin C’s ability to cure the common cold.

In 1970 famed chemist Linus Pauling published Vitamin C and the Common Cold, the culmination of his studies on vitamin C. Pauling advocated high intake of the vitamin to prevent the common cold, and in the following years championed oral and intravenous doses to increase the longevity of terminally ill cancer patients. According to his trials, vitamin C intake extended the patients’ survival as much as four times.

Vitamin C Common Cold Health Myth Weekly Show Pills Supplements Oranges Citrus

Pauling’s claims have been widely rebuked by the medical community.

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Is gaydar real?

Gaydar Real Fake Scientific Exist Stereotype Rule Study Weekly Show

Since the 1980s, gaydar has become a common word in the English language. A combination of “gay” and “radar,” Merriam-Webster defines it as “the ability to recognize homosexuals through observation or intuition.” Clearly, the idea is ridiculous (not to mention insulting to gay people). But what if I told you not only that gaydar exists but that it is a scientifically documented phenomenon? Enter one of the weirdest and most fascinating series of studies this blogger has ever seen.

In 2008, Dr. Nicholas Rule of the University of Toronto (then a Ph.D. candidate at Tufts University) began to investigate the idea of using visual cues to determine someone’s membership to  a perceptually ambiguous group (i.e. one without clear physical identifiers, such as religion or sexual orientation). Rule and fellow researchers gathered headshots of individuals and removed hairstyles, piercings, makeup, tattoos, or any other cultural markings. In a series of experiments, they flashed the bare faces for five hundred milliseconds and asked subjects to determine whether their sexual orientation. The results were shocking.

Gaydar Real Fake Scientific Exist Stereotype Rule Study Weekly Show

Gaydar: a made-up concept or a scientific phenomenon?

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Is sex addiction real?

I know how you feel. You have a burning, insatiable desire. Nothing can satisfy it except for the one thing you want—no, desperately need. You can’t hold it in anymore, you just have to know: is sex addiction real?

Addiction, while often thrown around colloquially, is a real medical condition. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.” That’s their short-definition—you can read their long definition here. (Also: how the word “spiritual” can appear in any medical definition is beyond me, but that’s for another post.). So what does this actually mean?

Sex Addiction Hypersexual Disorder Dependence True Real Weekly Show

Hide yo kids and hide yo wife. It’s a movie. About sex. But is sex addiction a real thing?

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