Beware of the Big Brinicle of Death

The Brini­cle of Death. It has nev­er been cap­tured on film … until now. And it’s all on dis­play cour­tesy of the BBC series Frozen Plan­et.

In a nut­shell, a brini­cle forms when cold, dense brine comes into con­tact with warmer water. It all starts on the ocean’s sur­face, and then the emerg­ing brini­cle (oth­er­wise known as an ice sta­lac­tite) starts to move down­ward, form­ing some­thing of a sub­merged tor­na­do, until it even­tu­al­ly hits the ocean floor and freezes every­thing in its path. The video above takes a 5–6 hour event and reduces it to a crisp, kind of hair-rais­ing two min­utes. We will be adding this clip to our col­lec­tion of Great Sci­ence Videos.

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Iron Mike Tyson Sings “The Girl From Ipanema”

Once beau­ty, now farce. h/t @opedr

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Getz and Gilber­to Per­form ‘The Girl from Ipane­ma’

The World’s Highest Artificial Tornado

The Mer­cedes-Benz Muse­um in Stuttgart, Ger­many, is a remark­able struc­ture. Designed by Ben van Berkel and Car­o­line Bos of the Dutch firm UN Stu­dio, the build­ing received rave reviews when it opened in May of 2006. Influ­enced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggen­heim Muse­um in New York, the build­ing was described as “jet-age baroque” by The Guardian archi­tec­ture crit­ic Jonathan Glancey. “It twists and turns with breath­tak­ing com­plex­i­ty,” Glancey wrote in 2006, “clever as a con­jur­ing trick.”

The archi­tects need­ed a bit of mag­ic to bring the muse­um’s open plan into com­pli­ance with fire codes. Like in the Guggen­heim, the inte­ri­or is one con­tin­u­ous­ly unfold­ing space that spi­rals around a cen­tral atri­um. As a con­se­quence there could be no fire doors to con­tain smoke if a blaze broke out in one sec­tion of the build­ing. To solve the prob­lem, UN Stu­dio hired the engi­neer­ing firm Imtech to design a sys­tem that would draw smoke away from all areas of the muse­um, allow­ing peo­ple to escape.

The result is the world’s largest man-made air vor­tex, a 112-foot-high tor­na­do that auto­mat­i­cal­ly acti­vates in the event of a fire, draw­ing smoke into the cen­ter of the atri­um and mov­ing it upward through an axi­al fan in the ceil­ing. An array of 144 out­lets in the sur­round­ing walls emit pow­er­ful jets of air to gen­er­ate a cen­tral region of low pres­sure, just like in a real tor­na­do. Imtech engi­neers per­fect­ed the design using com­pu­ta­tion­al flu­id dynam­ic (CDF) sim­u­la­tions and lab­o­ra­to­ry mod­els.  The firm has cre­at­ed sim­i­lar sys­tems for air­ports in sev­er­al Ger­man cities, includ­ing Düssel­dorf and Ham­burg. You can watch the tor­na­do at the Mer­cedes-Benz Muse­um in action above.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The DIY Tor­na­do Machine


To Infinity and Beyond: A Mind-Bending Documentary from the BBC

Infin­i­ty. It’s a puz­zling con­cept. Is it real, or a math­e­mat­i­cal fic­tion?

Aris­to­tle believed infin­i­ty could only be poten­tial, nev­er actu­al. To speak of an actu­al infin­i­ty, he argued, is to fall into log­i­cal con­tra­dic­tion: “The infi­nite turns out to be the con­trary of what it is said to be,” Aris­to­tle wrote in the Physics. “It is not what has noth­ing out­side it that is infi­nite, but what always has some­thing out­side it.”

Aris­totle’s log­ic rest­ed on com­mon sense: the belief that the whole is always greater than the part. But in the late 19th Cen­tu­ry, Georg Can­tor and Richard Dedekind turned com­mon sense upside down by demon­strat­ing that the part can be equal to the whole. Can­tor went on to show that there are many orders of infinity–indeed, an infin­i­ty of infini­ties.

But what rela­tion does the Pla­ton­ic realm of pure math­e­mat­ics have to the phys­i­cal world? Physics is an empir­i­cal sci­ence, but that has­n’t stopped the­o­rists from imag­in­ing the mind-bog­gling con­se­quences of an infi­nite uni­verse. To Infin­i­ty and Beyond, a one-hour BBC Hori­zon spe­cial fea­tur­ing inter­views with lead­ing math­e­mati­cians and physi­cists, is an enter­tain­ing explo­ration of a sub­ject which, by def­i­n­i­tion, you won’t be able to wrap your mind around.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Dan­ger­ous Knowl­edge: 4 Bril­liant Math­e­mati­cians & Their Drift to Insan­i­ty

Futur­ist Arthur C. Clarke on Mandelbrot’s Frac­tals

Math­e­mat­ics in Movies: Har­vard Prof Curates 150+ Scenes

A Day in Venezia

3,000,000 tourists move through Venice each year. The flood starts dur­ing the spring and peaks in sum­mer, then recedes dur­ing the cool­er months, giv­ing the local res­i­dents a lit­tle peace. True, the city, made up of 124 islands, 183 canals and 438 bridges, is radi­ant dur­ing the sum­mer. (Just watch below.) But the “Queen of the Adri­at­ic” takes on a dif­fer­ent beau­ty in the win­ter, some­thing that a tourist, who sim­ply goes by FKY, cap­tures in an art­ful video above. Enjoy, and if you want to know more about the archi­tec­tur­al won­ders of this 1500-year-old city, don’t miss How Venice Works.

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Stanford Launching 14 Free Online Courses in January/February: Enroll Today

Two weeks ago, we men­tioned that Stan­ford will be rolling out sev­en new cours­es in its exper­i­ment with online learn­ing. Fast for­ward to today, and yet anoth­er sev­en cours­es have been added to the win­ter line­up, bring­ing the total to 14.

Imme­di­ate­ly below, you’ll find the lat­est addi­tions. All of these cours­es fea­ture inter­ac­tive video clips; short quizzes that pro­vide instant feed­back; the abil­i­ty to pose high val­ue ques­tions to Stan­ford instruc­tors; and feed­back on your over­all per­for­mance in the class.

Cours­es start in Jan­u­ary and Feb­ru­ary. Enroll today for free. And, if some­thing does­n’t pique your inter­est below, don’t miss our big list of 400 Free Online Cours­es.

New­ly added:

Tech­nol­o­gy Entre­pre­neur­ship
Mak­ing Green Build­ings
Infor­ma­tion The­o­ry
Design and Analy­sis of Algo­rithms I
The Lean Launch­pad

Orig­i­nal­ly men­tioned:

Com­put­er Sci­ence 101
Soft­ware Engi­neer­ing for SaaS
Human Com­put­er Intere­ac­tion
Nat­ur­al Lan­guage Pro­cess­ing
Game The­o­ry
Prob­a­bilis­tic Graph­i­cal Mod­els
Machine Learn­ing

More Free Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties

Yale Rolls Out 10 New Cours­es – All Free

MIT Intro­duces Com­plete Cours­es to Open­Course­Ware Project

Har­vard Presents Free Cours­es with the Open Learn­ing Ini­tia­tive

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Address is Approximate: A Lovely Animated Film Made with Google Maps

Next up: a love­ly film about a lone­ly desk toy that longs for adven­ture. Observ­ing the space around him, a robot finds a toy car and heads off on a road trip across the Unit­ed States, guid­ed only by Google Maps Street View. We start on the Brook­lyn Bridge and fin­ish on the Pacif­ic Coast High­way in Cal­i­for­nia. Parts of the video look like sequences from a Pixar film, they are so well made. In real­i­ty, the film was pro­duced, ani­mat­ed, filmed, lit, edit­ed and grad­ed by one per­son: Tom Jenk­ins.

A great treat to start the week.

via Flow­ing Data

Eugene Buchko is a blog­ger and pho­tog­ra­ph­er liv­ing in Atlanta, GA. He main­tains a pho­to­blog, Eru­dite Expres­sions, and writes about what he reads on his read­ing blog.

Free Films by Andrei Tarkovsky, Sergei Eisenstein & Other Russian Greats

Dur­ing the past two years, the films of Andrei Tarkovsky have qui­et­ly come online, giv­ing view­ers the chance to encounter the Sovi­et direc­tor’s great body of work. If you’re not famil­iar with Tarkovsky, it’s worth men­tion­ing that Ing­mar Bergman con­sid­ered him his favorite direc­tor, and Aki­ra Kuro­sawa once said, “Every cut from his films is a mar­velous image in itself.” The list of avail­able films now includes:

(Note: If you access the films via YouTube, be sure to click “CC” at the bot­tom of the videos to access the sub­ti­tles.)

You can thank Mos­film, the old­est film stu­dio in Rus­sia, if not Europe, for bring­ing these films to the web. If you head to Mos­film’s YouTube Chan­nel, you can watch more than 50 Russ­ian clas­sics, includ­ing Sergei Bon­darchuk’s 1969 adap­ta­tion of Tol­stoy’s War & Peace, a film that Roger Ebert called “the defin­i­tive epic of all time.” In a con­ces­sion to West­ern cap­i­tal­ism, each film is pre­ced­ed by a short com­mer­cial, prov­ing yet again that there’s no such thing as a tru­ly free lunch.

Final­ly, don’t miss our col­lec­tion of 1100 Free Movies Online, which fea­tures six films by Sergei Eisen­stein, Rus­si­a’s pio­neer­ing film­mak­er and film the­o­rist: Strike, Bat­tle­ship PotemkinRomance Sen­ti­men­tale, Octo­ber: Ten Days That Shook the World, Old and New and Alexan­der Nevsky. They’re all there.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ing­mar Bergman Vis­its Dick Cavett, 1971

The Kuro­sawa Dig­i­tal Archive

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