Could Humble Milkweed Replace Down Feathers In Your Outdoor Gear?

Down is the most effective commonly-available insulator for outdoors apparel. But, it's also expensive, loses its ability to insulate when wet (if untreated) and — there's no way around this — is horribly cruel to most of the ducks and geese who donate their underfeathers. Now, there may be a real alternative:… » 4/16/15 5:00pm 4/16/15 5:00pm

What's the Blockchain, and Why Does Bitcoin Depend On It?

It’s going to unshackle us from the oppressive dungeon of fiat currency! But also criminals and rogue cops use it to do nefarious drug stuff! Digital currency is often defined by its volatile hype cycle. And yet its most promising feature is incredibly mundane-sounding: a bookkeeping system called “the blockchain.” » 4/15/15 4:44pm 4/15/15 4:44pm

Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Rabies

So far as awful ways to die go, being attacked by a rabid animal then dying a slow, painful death must rank near the top. And exactly that happens to 55,000 people every year. Here's how you (or your dog) can get rabies, what it does to your body as it kills you and what you can do to ensure neither of you gets it. » 3/19/15 6:24pm 3/19/15 6:24pm

How Nanoscale Optics Create Nature's Most Dazzling Colors

What do a butterfly's shimmering wings, a fish's opalescent scales, and a peacock's brilliant feathers have in common? Yes, their colors are beautifully iridescent. But they are also produced by the physical interaction of light with sophisticated nanoscale architecture that we are only just beginning to understand. » 2/19/15 2:00pm 2/19/15 2:00pm

This is why most action movies today suck so badly

The majority of action films today suck. They became repetitive formulas. Sterile displays of visual effects, annoying camera movements, and happy ending duels between the hero and his foes. Luckily, there are exceptions. Chris Stuckmann analyzes why this happens in this interesting video. » 2/10/15 9:31pm 2/10/15 9:31pm

Here's Why Small Black Holes Are More Dangerous Than Big Ones

If you were going to travel close to a black hole in order to study it, which type should you choose? Most people would probably pick a smaller black hole, because it seems easier to avoid. But that's a fatal mistake. Small black holes can be far more dangerous than big ones, due to a terrifying process called… » 1/27/15 3:15pm 1/27/15 3:15pm

How small is an atom, really? (or how to make your head explode)

Kurzgesagt has a neat new explainer: "How small is an atom?" I watched it. It does a great job at giving you an idea of how small atoms are and how they work. But it doesn't matter, because my brain just plainly refuses to believe any of this. Hulk head hurt. Hulk smash atoms. Oops, Hulk make nuclear detonation. » 1/21/15 10:03pm 1/21/15 10:03pm

The Real Story Behind the 1914 Christmas Truce in World War I

It was 100 years ago this very night that something miraculous happened along the Western Front. After months of bitter fighting, soldiers on both sides gathered in no-man's-land in a spontaneous show of peace and goodwill. Here's what happened on that historic day — and why it marked the end of an era. » 12/25/14 8:34am 12/25/14 8:34am

A must-watch 4-minute explainer of the entire Tolkien universe

J. R. R. Tolkien's posthumous The Silmarillion describes the universe where The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place. It has all the secrets of Middle Earth, from individual characters to the genesis of wizards, elves, orcs, or men. This must-watch short explainer reveals its crucial elements in four minutes. » 12/17/14 8:20pm 12/17/14 8:20pm

All we know about neutron stars explained in one simple video

Neutron stars. They are so strange that we can barely wrap our heads around the idea of their existence. In fact, we still don't really know most things about them, so we can only guess and wonder trying to explain their extreme properties. This video explains all we know—or suppose—about them. » 9/08/14 6:03am 9/08/14 6:03am