Monday, May 17, 2010

Richard Feynman

While browsing on YouTube a few nights ago, I happened upon some clips of Richard Feynman appearing on a British television show in 1983. The show was called "Fun to Imagine," and in it, Feynman talks about the magic of everyday phenomena, like how rubber bands heat up when they stretch. He also discusses why trains stay on tracks (the reason is fascinating), and explains fire in an unusual and gripping way. I love hearing Richard Feynman talk because he explains science concepts using very down-to-earth, ordinary language. Whenever possible, he eschews abstract words in favor of concrete ones. I would have loved to have seen him walk around the Exploratorium. I heard he had visited, and liked it, but I still would have liked to have heard him talk about the exhibits with Frank Oppenheimer.

Watch clips from Fun to Imagine here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Beaver Dam Visible from Space!

I read a story today about a beaver dam, found in Canada, that is 2,800 feet long. A Canadian ecologist stumbled upon it in Alberta's Wood Buffalo National Park, and claims that it is now the largest beaver dam in the world. Some people believe that the dam was started in the 1970's, and it has been steadily built up by generations of beavers. I have now begun wondering how many other structures in the world have been created by animals working across generations. I immediately think of all coral reefs, possibly some termite mounds, and the Great Pyramid in Egypt (as well as all human cities). Does anyone else have any ideas?