YouTube.com/user/RoyalInstitution has lectures from Britain’s 216 year old Royal Institution, an organization founded for research and teaching in the sciences. Of particular note are their famous Christmas lectures. We recently watched “What a Wonderful World: One Man’s Attempt to Explain the Big Stuff,” by Marcus Chown. He spoke on “why babies are powered by rocket fuel, why slime molds have 13 sexes, and why 98% of the Universe is invisible.”
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.
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.)
“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.”
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.
“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?”
– “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.
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.
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.