PBS_ItsOKToBeSmart

S5 Ep22: Why Do We Itch?4m57s

S5 Ep22: Why Do We Itch?

It’s one of the most annoying sensations our bodies can feel, but does anything feel better than when you scratch an itch? Ok, maybe *some* things. But itching and scratching are up there. How does this weird sensation work? And what is itching for?

S5 Ep19: Where Did Life Come From? (feat. PBS Space Time and12m47s

S5 Ep19: Where Did Life Come From? (feat. PBS Space Time and

The origin of life is one of the most important mysteries in all of science. When did life begin? How did life first evolve from chemistry? Where did life get started? In some primordial soup or somewhere else? Let’s journey back to the origin of life, as best as we know it, from the RNA world do the last universal common ancestor of everything alive today.

Can You Bend Light Like This?8m04s

Can You Bend Light Like This?

Does anyone really remember what we used to do when we were bored before we had these hi-tech devices to keep us occupied? In the old days, people just had to be more creative. Next time you feel that life is going too slow, why don’t you put those idle hands to use and play with the fastest thing in the universe. Here are tree experiments that will bend light itself by using nothing but your own two hands. Try this: close one eye, look at something across the room, preferably something with a nice straight edge or interesting pattern; next, put your finger a few inches in front of your eye, focus on that object and let your eye relax until your finger and the background are slightly out of focus . Look what happens when you move your finger side to side: the light seems to bend around your finger. For some people, it may bend towards the finger, for some it may bend away, but in a few attempts, you should be able to do this quite easily. What is going on here? Is your finger tugging at the fabric of the universe? Well, just a bit. Everything with mass wraps space by a bit, but your finger isn’t massive enough to be noticeable unless you have a black hole in your finger. So, what happened to the light around the finger and what other light experiments are there for us? We wouldn’t want to spoil your fun by saying anything more! Grab yourselves a cup of coffee and enjoy the rest of the video!

S1 Ep44: Is Santa Real? (A Scientific Analysis)5m35s

S1 Ep44: Is Santa Real? (A Scientific Analysis)

Happy Holidays! Ever wonder how Santa could possibly manage to deliver all those presents in a single night? Or what gives red-nosed reindeer the ability to fly? And why do your Christmas lights get tangled in knots no matter how carefully you put the away?!

S5 Ep17: Could You Be Immune To Everything?6m16s

S5 Ep17: Could You Be Immune To Everything?

Do you remember having a cold in 5th grade? Or the flu a couple years ago? Your immune system does. Our bodies hold many levels of immune defense. Millions of B cells and T cells and antibodies are constantly on patrol for germs and antigen invaders. As scientists learn more about how this system works and how to engineer it, could we ever actually be immune to everything?

The Most Interesting Life Forms On Earth And Beyond5m24s

The Most Interesting Life Forms On Earth And Beyond

What have we learned from exploring Earth’s harshest locations? That pretty everywhere we look for life, we find it. From smoking hot hydro-thermal vents to icy deserts, up in clouds and inside rocks, extremophiles have found a way to survive. These survivors and adapters are not only teaching us about life on Earth, but expanding the possibilities of where life can exist elsewhere. Earth mysteries are a wide range of spiritual, quasi-religious and pseudoscientific ideas focusing on cultural and religious beliefs about the Earth, generally with regard to particular geographical locations of historical significance. Believers in Earth mysteries generally consider certain locations to be "sacred", or that certain spiritual "energies" may be active at those locations. The term "alternative archaeology" has also been used to describe the study of Earth mystery beliefs. The study of ley lines originates in the 1920s with Alfred Watkins. The term "Earth mysteries" for this field of interest was coined about 1970 in The Ley Hunter journal, and the associated concepts have been embraced and reinvented by movements such as the New Age Movement and modern paganism during the 1970s to 1980s. Some New Age believers engage in travel to locations they consider important according to their beliefs; for example, Stonehenge is a popular destination among New Age seekers. For those of us who are over run by our curiosities this just might be the video in which you are introduced to life forms of all different species that by human standards are over all hazardous and dangerous, to say the least. Somehow, nature has made these specs of life in such manner to withstand abnormal surroundings. Take a look as this video is sure to broaden your horizons!

S5 Ep15: Defusing the Population Bomb5m51s

S5 Ep15: Defusing the Population Bomb

Is overpopulation real? Is Earth filling up with too many humans? How many people can Earth hold, anyway? As our species approaches 8 billion, human overpopulation is a major concern for many people. How can we reduce poverty and our impact on the environment? Do we need a forced one-child policy or something? Maybe not, because when we look at the science and history, populations seem to control

S5 Ep14: Tuatara All the Way Down7m55s

S5 Ep14: Tuatara All the Way Down

During the 2017 Project For Awesome livestream, I promised I’d make a tuatara video if we hit our fundraising goal, and I’m a man of my word! Little did I know I’d get to meet a tuatara and learn things about a 200 million year old branch of life that would blow my mind. Get ready to meet the chillest reptile, weird living fossil, and star of Turtles All The Way Down… the tuatara.

Why Are There As Many Males As Females?5m20s

Why Are There As Many Males As Females?

In almost every animal species on Earth, equal numbers of males and females are conceived. Why is that? Especially in populations like lions or elephant seals, where most males don’t get to mate? That’s survival of the laziest, not survival of the fittest. It turns out that in most cases, an equal balance of the sexes is the evolutionarily stable strategy. The equal ratio of sexes is so common in nature most people never wonder why it is that way. When male and female chromosomes shuffle and combine there is a 50% probability of either sex. But this just tells us how it is not why it is this way rather than some other way. If getting your genes from one to the next generation is the whole point of evolution , than you think that the best strategy is to put a lot of eggs into the female basket. Sperm is really cheap to produce so males make a lot of them, and animal males typically don’t do most of the childcare. So, you get a situation where you need only a few males to keep a population going. This seems to be the ideal situation for most animal species. This doesn’t seem like the best strategy and allocation of natural resources. What is the logic behind this process? We wouldn’t want to spoil your fun by saying anything more! Grab yourselves a cup of coffee and enjoy the rest of the video!

Here Is Why Blue Is Such A Rare Color In Nature7m39s

Here Is Why Blue Is Such A Rare Color In Nature

Among living things, the color blue is oddly rare. Blue rocks, blue sky, blue water, sure. But blue animals? They are few and far between. In this video, we'll look at some very cool butterflies with Bob Robbins, Ph.D. from Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History to help us learn how living things make blue, and why this beautiful hue is so rare in nature. To understand how blue works, we need to take a look at the most colorful animals of them all - butterflies. If you didn’t already know, butterflies have evolved from moths to be able to frolic in the sun. Their wings have developed lots of different colors, ranging from earthy browns to the most spectacular blue colors. The natural occurring colors in our bodies actually come from the food that we are eating and they are usually browns, reds and yellows, so how come some people have blue eyes? The scientific explanation is that, well, they don’t. There is no real blue color in nature, rather it’s all physics. The blue hue that we are constantly mesmerised by is nothing more than refraction of blue light. The animals that have been able to produce blue coloring for their skin do it by having a complex skin structure on those parts of their body. The wings of the butterflies have the tiniest ridges where the light is refracted and the only colored light being able to deflect is the blue light. Everything else is absorbed at the bottom of the wing and that is why nature is the greatest scientist of them all!

Find The Day Of The Week For Any Date With This Maths 'Magic' Trick5m29s

Find The Day Of The Week For Any Date With This Maths 'Magic' Trick

In 1970, British mathematician John Conway devised a way to quickly calculate the weekday of any given date without the help of calculators, computers, or calendars. It is called the doomsday algorithm and the best thing about this algorithm is that your friends will think you have a superhuman memory, when all you need to do is memorize a set of numbers and do a series of simple calculations. Conway algorithm bases on the fact that some dates always fall on the same weekday within any given year. These dates are called doomsdays. There are plenty of scary doomsday formulas out there, but how about those of us who don't hold a degree in mathematics? There are couple of steps to do this, the first one is to memorize weekdays as numbers because according to Conway, each weekday is represented by a number, for example: Sunday is 0, Monday is 1, Tuesday is 2 and so on. You need to memorize these numbers before moving on. As a mental anchor, it may be helpful to think of Tuesday as “Twosday”. To determine the doomsday of the year in question, you have to follow a series of 6 simple calculations. Before you start, don't forget to memorize the weekday numbers and century anchor days and the most important thing is no to give up. This might sound awfully complicated at first, and most of us will need a good minute or three to go through all the steps. But with a little practice things will soon pick up speed. If you want to find out a more detailed info about any day, just watch the video to the end.

S5 Ep10: How Atom Bombs Can Uncover Forged Art5m06s

S5 Ep10: How Atom Bombs Can Uncover Forged Art

It’s been estimated that 1 in 10 works of fine art are forged or misattributed. The truth is, no one really knows how much fake art is out there, because many art counterfeiters are so skilled that their paintings are almost indistinguishable from the real works. But even counterfeiters can’t beat physics!

 Understanding How Big The Solar System Is Is Easy With This Demonstration7m07s

Understanding How Big The Solar System Is Is Easy With This Demonstration

Our brains have a really hard time understanding distance. Sure, we know how far away the street corner is from our apartment or how far away our grandma lives. But we see the Moon in our sky and we know it as this white glowing orb. Actually, the Moon is 385,000 kilometers away from Earth and that is really far! We can’t fathom just how big the solar system is, let alone the universe, and how tiny everything is in it. To help you understand just how big it is, we will try and bring everything to a bit smaller size. Let’s imagine our Sun is the size of a grapefruit. It’s at a size of 110 millimeters in diameter, which we will assume it is the same as the 1.4 million kilometers of the Sun. At this grade, Mercury would be some 15 feet away from our grapefruit sun, an equivalent to the 59 million kilometers that is in real life, with the width of just four human hairs. Venus would be 8.5 meters from the Sun, which is 108 million kilometers. She would be just under a millimeter wide. Earth would be a blue dot measuring one millimeter, at a distance of 11.6 meters. Some 18 meters away from the Sun would be Mars, a tiny, half-millimeter speck, the size of a human egg cell. After Mars comes the asteroid belt, some 23 to 46 meters out from the grapefruit Sun. When clumped together, it would be about 4% the mass of our Moon. Think of it as a grain of salt crushed and scattered around an orbit. Jupiter might be the largest planet in our solar system, but in this presentation, it is just bigger than a centimeter. To scale, it would be 61 meters away from the grapefruit. Saturn would be 112 meters our from the fruity center of the universe, the equivalent of 1.4 billion kilometers. You can barely even see Jupiter from here! The ice giants, Uranus and Neptune, are 226 meters 350 meters away from the Sun, respectively. If you are on Neptune, you can barely see Uranus! The outer ice giant orbits so slow around the slow, that it only made one revolution around it since we discovered it in 1846. Pluto is a bit of a sore subject for us since it isn’t considered a planet anymore. He is in the Kuiper Belt , made up of frozen remnants of what once was the solar system, frozen chunks of methane and ammonia. He is so far away, his one year on Pluto is 250 years on Earth! Now, do you have an idea of how big the solar system is?

Check Out These Incredible Animals With Real Superpowers8m05s

Check Out These Incredible Animals With Real Superpowers

‘If you could have any superpower, what would it be?’ is one of the most common icebreaker questions there is. It makes sense, since our physical limitations are pretty firmly defined and the idea of being extremely exceptional is something that everyone has dreamt about at one point or another. Superpowers aren’t only found between the pages of comic books and sci-fi movies, there are many animals on Earth who have extreme abilities compared to humans. Of course, we humans shouldn’t feel too bad. Sure, we might not be able to jump as high or fly, but we’ll just need to take comfort in the fact that our species is intelligent enough to develop the technology necessary to create videos such as this. Chitons can make their own magnetic teeth. These molluscs might not have a face, but they do have the ability to make their own teeth out of one of the hardest materials made by a living organism: magnetite. Lizards are capable of truly outstanding feats, including the salamander. This amphibian is known for its ability to re-grow not just its tale but also entire limbs and parts of major organs. And salamanders can regrow whole limbs. Cuttlefish are masters of camouflage while pit vipers can see in infrared. So there's nowhere you can hide (except maybe a freezer). Salmon sense the Earth's magnetic field to guide them home and dragon millipedes can shoot cyanide at their predators. Platypuses have a sixth sense - electrolocation - that means they can sense the electrical signals in their prey's muscles. So the more they try to swim away, the more visible they become to the platypus. Electric eels can generate electric shocks up to 600 volts. You don't need a sixth sense to detect that. Dung beetles can pull over 1,000 times their body weight while geckos can walk up windows thanks to electrostatic forces between thousands of tiny hairs on their feet and the surface. Fleas can jump 200 times their body length in a single bound. Mantis shrimps swing their arm out at 80kph when they punch, with about the same acceleration as a 22-caliber bullet.

S1 Ep15: Why Do We Go to Space?2m54s

S1 Ep15: Why Do We Go to Space?

Why do we go to space? In the beginning of our space program, the answer had a lot to do with war and paranoia. But with the dawn of the space shuttle, that all changed. Where do we go from here?

Why Do Things Sound Scary?5m14s

Why Do Things Sound Scary?

If you sometimes feel scared and are ashamed of it after, don’t be. It is a good thing. It means that you are alive and all of your ancestors successfully avoided death at least for a while. It also means that you come from a very long line of people who are good at being scared. Grab your chair folks, this is a story of sound, science and fear. Fans of scary movies know that there are primarily two was movies use sound to scare you: your jump right off the corner trick, or, use sound to set a generally more frightening mood. If sound is nothing more than vibrations, what is about our biology that makes only some of them so scary? And we are not talking about that creepy kind of scary that grabs you slowly with its cold ethereal hands. That slow fear only happens when your higher brain functions take over. Here we are talking about instant fear, the fear that is built into our very biology. So why do we get scared in the first place? Easy. So we could live long enough to reproduce. If you want to avoid being a lion’s dinner you have to think fast. Luckily, sound moves faster than sight. Wasn’t this the other way round? Yes, in physics, but not in our biology – our brain gets in the line first. Despite the fact that light travels faster than sound, our brains take much longer to process that light into an image. A millisecond too long for us to react. So, we are wired to have sound as the first alarm. And what happens then? We wouldn’t want to spoil your fun by saying anything more! Grab yourselves a cup of coffee and enjoy the rest of the video!

S1 Ep20: Exoplanets: Are There Other Earths?4m21s

S1 Ep20: Exoplanets: Are There Other Earths?

We live in one of a hundred billion of galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars. And now, thanks to modern astronomy, we know that the Milky Way is home to perhaps a hundred billion planets! In the past two decades, these exoplanet discoveries have spawned new questions about our universe, and if there might be another Earth, or other life, somewhere out there.

S1 Ep21: Is There Intelligent Life Beyond Earth?7m51s

S1 Ep21: Is There Intelligent Life Beyond Earth?

Now that we know planets are common in our galaxy, how would we tell if one holds life? Sure, it will take incredibly powerful telescopes and ambitious new space missions, but what are we looking for? What are we listening for? How do we help other worlds know that we are here?

S1 Ep23: What is Deja Vu?!3m43s

S1 Ep23: What is Deja Vu?!

Most of us have felt it before, that strange sensation that you’ve been somewhere or seen something before, as if you already remembered what’s happening. Are you psychic? Nope, that’s just déjà vu. Why does déjà vu happen? Well, scientists aren’t completely sure, but they’ve got a few good theories about it.

S1 Ep24: Why Vaccines Work6m09s

S1 Ep24: Why Vaccines Work

As more and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children or are vaccinating them later, diseases like measles are making a comeback. Are vaccines safe? How do vaccines work? Why do some people claim there is a link between vaccines and autism? This week we look at why are people afraid of something that has saved so many lives, and look at the history and science of vaccines.