CURIOSITY STREAM

CuriosityStream.com claims to have the world’s best documentaries from the BBC and other channels around the world, plus original programming. The first month is free, then it’s $3 a month if you want to continue. But you have to give them a credit card for the free trial — and we never like that.

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STUFF IN SPACE

Stuffin.Space has a “3D Interactive Map of Absolutely Every Object Orbiting Earth.” Put together by incoming Texas college freshman James Yoder, it includes rockets, satellites and 20,000 pieces of junk. Blue objects are rocket bodies, red is for satellites, gray is debris. You also get the launch date, velocity and other details. (A few years ago, a deep hole in one of windows of the space station was found to have been caused by a collision with a tiny paint chip.)

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SMARTER EVERY DAY

“Smarter Every Day” is a YouTube channel for practical experiments. In one, a guy changed a bicycle’s handlebars  so that steering left made it go right and vice versa. It took him eight months to learn how to ride again. Switching the handlebar directions on a child’s bicycle took the child only two weeks to readjust.  Go to YouTube.com and search on “smarter every day.”

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APP HAPPY BIRDING

If you can’t tell the difference between a White-Breasted Nuthatch and a Blue jay, we’re ashamed of you. You probably could use the “Merlin Bird ID” app from the Cornell University Ornithology Lab. Non-smart phone owners can skip the app and get the information they want from AllAboutBirds.org.

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FREE SCIENCE BOOKS

“List of Free Science Books” from physicsdatabase.com. This site has hundreds of free books in chemistry, physics, astronomy, math, physiology, etc., all online. Click on a title and the online version pops right up. We’re intrigued by “The Wonder Book of Knowledge.” The table of contents lists topics like “Why do we Smile when we are pleased?” “How did the Dollar Sign originate?” “Why do some of us have freckles?”

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MAP APPS, EARTH AND BEYOND

– “Google Earth Pro,” which used to cost $400 a year, is now free. It can print much more detailed images, import thousands of addresses at once to be pinned on a map, capture high def videos of what’s on the screen, and measure distances using paths, circles and other shapes. It can measure the acreage of an area quickly or open ESRI files, the common format for Geographic Information Systems.

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A SCIENTIST’S CURIOSITY CABINET

Bit.ly/scicabinet is a kind of science “curiosity cabinet,” a term used to describe collections of marvels in Renaissance times. This modern cabinet contains videos explaining the wonders of science. We watched videos on the electric motor and cannons. The videos are amateurish, but that doesn’t mean you won’t learn something.

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X-RAY VISION AND BEYOND

Chromoscope.net displays the Milky Way (our galaxy) in several wavelengths. If you were an alien with x-ray vision the galaxy would look quite different to you, so probably would we. Wave lengths shown add gamma rays and radio waves. Here’s looking at you, kid.

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WHY TOOTHPASTE MAKES EVERYTHING TASTE BITTER

Smithsonianmag.com   Click “Smart News” to find fun articles. We learned why toothpaste makes everything taste bitter, why we weigh more on Mondays and why the International Space Station is getting an espresso machine.

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LOVELORN FISH MAKES CROP CIRCLES

“BBC One Pufferfish” Google those words or click the link to see an amazing video of a puffer fish drawing elaborate designs in the sand to impress a female. Imagine: guys trying to impress girls.

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