Posts Tagged: Science


7
Nov 10

Audio Illusion – do you hear the missing fundamental?

Listen to these two sounds:

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Is the second sound higher or lower than the first sound? (let us know in the comments). Play it again if you're not sure.

Ask a few other people to do the same. You'll find that some people hear the second note as higher and some hear it as lower!

(mini update: so far 5 commenters hear the second note as lower and 8 hear it as higher)

That's because it's an audio illusion. And just like an optical illusion an audio illusion can tell us something about the way we perceive the world around us. Continue reading →


20
Oct 10

How to make a fire tornado

All you need to make a fire tornado is: Continue reading →


11
Sep 10

Our Brains Didn’t Evolve – the problem with headlines

Our Brains Didn’t Evolve – the problem with headlines

I read a very interesting article about the development of the human brain in the Observer recently. But there was one very big problem with it - the headline. Continue reading →


20
Jun 10

Magnetic levitation and ferrofluid

I made this video to demonstrate how you can levitate something using diamagnetism. The video is pretty self explanatory but leaves out some details... Continue reading →


15
May 10

3D pictures (of me and Ben Miller)

3D pictures (of me and Ben Miller)

I recently had the privilege of hosting a Q&A with Ben Miller, from double act Armstrong & Miller, at the Brighton Science Festival. There was a man there called Mark Bennett taking 3D pictures of us. He has very kindly let me have the originals so I thought I'd write a blog post about 3D photography using these images as examples. Continue reading →


15
Jan 10

How 3D cinema works

I recently saw Avatar in 3D and 'forgot' to hand my glasses back in at the end. I thought I knew how this technology worked so I was very surprised when I started doing some experiments.

I saw Avatar at a Vue cinema that recently had 3D installed and the way it works is quite different to the IMAX. Continue reading →


13
Nov 09

Burning paper with giant steel balls

Burning paper with giant steel balls

I bought these enormous ball bearings from this guy. They're fantastically heavy. When you whack them together you get a lovely sound. But for that brief moment and in that small space you also get really high temperatures and you can easily burn holes in paper. Here's a video:

Continue reading →


8
Nov 09

How to cheat with Frank Benford

How to cheat with Frank Benford Pick a number at random from the universe. Not just from inside your head. Open a page of the financial times or look up the size of a planet; convert you height to cubits or measure the weight of your favourite book. Something like that.

Don't actually do it, it's hypothetical. But ask yourself a question. What are the chances of that number starting with a 1? Continue reading →


23
Oct 09

The curious case of Magenta

The curious case of Magenta

Magenta is a peculiar colour. We use it all the time in printers along with cyan and yellow.

The weird thing is, you won't find magenta in a rainbow!

Continue reading →


21
Sep 09

Magnetic balls: reloaded

A few more exciting shapes made from magnetic balls. Here's the original post. And here's the full coverage.

This is a dodecahedron - 12 faces and 20 vertices (the faces a dimpled, that's not part of a standard dodecahedron):

Magnetic balls: reloaded

Continue reading →