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How to Run Up a Wall—With Physics!

March 20, 2019 | Story | No Comments

I can't decide if this looks like something from a super hero movie or from a video game. In this compilation video of crazy stunts, a guy somehow finds a way to bound up between two walls by jumping from one to the other. "Somehow," of course, means with physics: This move is based on […]

3 Smart Things: The Hidden Lives of Liquids

March 20, 2019 | Story | No Comments

1. Most substances make a clean break between their liquid and solid states. But liquid crystals straddle the boundary: They flow smoothly, like water, while maintaining a crystalline structure. A tiny jolt of electricity aligns the molecules in the same direction and allows them to rotate light—an effect you see when the pixels in your […]

Nearly 300 million years ago, a curious creature called Orobates pabsti walked the land. Animals had just begun pulling themselves out of the water and exploring the big, dry world, and here was the plant-eating tetrapod Orobates, making its way on four legs. Paleontologists know it did so because one particularly well-preserved fossil has, well, […]

For the last two days, a colossal, coursing stream of super-soaked subtropical air has been pummeling California with record-shattering amounts of moisture. On Wednesday, parts of northern California received more snow in a day than New England cities like Boston have seen all winter. On Thursday, Palm Springs got eight months’ worth of rain in […]

Cannabis is a hell of a drug. It can treat inflammation, pain, nausea, and anxiety, just to name a few ailments. But like any drug, cannabis comes with risks, chief among them something called cannabis use disorder, or CUD. Studies show that an estimated 9 percent of cannabis users will develop a dependence on the […]

This weekend, the Perseid meteor shower will light up the moonless sky, the product of dust breaking off from the same Swift-Tuttle comet that sends its greetings to Earth every August. The richest display of meteors will appear between August 11 and 13. But as you settle down to watch those fragments burn up into […]