Snorkelling with Seals in Cape Town

A few weeks ago, my best friend and I climbed aboard a boat and struck out for Duiker Island, a seal, seal pup, and seal poop covered collection of rocks tucked around the corner from The Sentinel Mountain in Hout Bay, Cape Town. Why would anyone endure the swells and smells for such an excursion? Aside from the staggering beauty of the Cape peninsula and the pleasure of watching seals in their natural habitat, we were here to go snorkelling with them!

For one blissful hour, we escaped reality to submerge ourselves in the moody greens and blues of the Atlantic Ocean, where prolific kelp forests swayed and swished in the swell and the playful seal pups were close enough to touch. Usually, I use my words to describe experiences. This time, we hired a Go Pro camera from the company who took us out – Animal Ocean – to document it all and so I present to you my first ever (shoddy) attempt at putting together a travel video!

Drunk History: The Invention of Coca Cola

Watch the “Eureka” moment when American pharmacist John Pemberton innovated one of the world’s biggest and probably (in the eyes of dentists) most regrettable inventions: Coca Cola. What initially began as a new medicine with some interesting applications ended up as the addiction of tens of millions around the world and an essential accompaniment to popcorn at the movies.

This “Drunk History” moment is brought to you by ingenious comedy writer Derek Waters, a very drunk Jenny Slate (narrator) and brilliant actor Bill Hader, who plays John Pemberton.

Video Source: Comedy Central, as seen on the YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-mU4pf3ywU

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Answers Angry Tweets on Pluto's Demotion

Many moons ago, Pluto – the outermost planet in our solar system – was demoted. For those of us who grew up with the nine-planet solar system model, this came as somewhat of an affront to everything we knew about anything, ever. I mean, what is the meaning of life if the planetary status of Pluto can so easily be revised and revoked? Why, Neil, why??

In this hilarious video, Neil DeGrasse Tyson answers to the angry rants and raves (and insults) of those really strange people who were truly and deeply wounded by Pluto’s demotion from planetary status to mere space-wandering rock. Why people give such a damn is beyond me. After all, Pluto is only a quarter the size of our moon and even then, most of its mass is ice.

Video Source: Uploaded by National Geographic on YouTube channel https://youtu.be/eBREBAnglr

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a megamind and, not coincidentally, also curator of the Hayden Planetarium, as well as the presenter of Carl Sagan’s revised TV-series, “Cosmos” He is awesome and anyone who has watched any of his videos, lectures or presentations will appreciate just how erudite and smart this man is.

But by far one of Neil’s greatest talents is the perfect balance between a sophisticated understanding of science and the ability to communicate with those who don’t. This makes him one of today’s most powerful and persuasive public figures in science and technology.

15 Awesome Human Superpowers

Some people work hard, train hard, educate themselves and push themselves to the very limit to gain some kind of notoriety in life (and the money it tends comes hand-in-hand with). This video is proof that, in addition to being inherently gifted, there are other ways to become famous… be exceptionally stupid. Eating metal screws makes you an idiot. Just because you survive your diet of cars, wheelchairs and bad life choices doesn’t make you special.

Having said that, there are some incredible cases of human superpowers in this video, such as the “human calculator” and the man who learned conversational Icelandic in just one week. My only superpower is being able to make my one eye squint – actually I have two if you count the other one, but that’s far too lascivious to mention here – and so my concluding question to you is: what’s your superpower?

Video Source: “15 Real Life Human Superpowers” Uploaded by Planet Dolan to YouTube channel www.youtube.com/watch?v=dM3_s0rKBVc

Epic Rap Battles of History: Ghostbusters vs. Mythbusters

I could quite happily watch Epic Rap Battles of History all day. If there was a job that involved doing this, I’d cut a bitch to be the first in line to get that job. However, reality dictates that I wade my way through work of a slightly less glamorous nature in order to pay my bills. I’ll just have to be happy posting the odd science-themed rap battle on this blog… and with the Ghostbusters team up against the Mythbusters nerds, this one’s a real doozy!

Video Source: Uploaded by ERB on YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0pnTm-KK9k

Dolphins Are The True Lords of the Rings

Sure it sounds cute, but you’ve got to see it for yourself, because the bubbles these critters are playing with aren’t your garden variety bubbles. These perfectly spherical vortices of underwater air are also known as bubble rings or toroidal bubbles. What’s even more fascinating is that whales and dolphins use them for both business and pleasure. Humpback whales strategically aim these rings of bubbles at schools of fish, which then act as a kind of net for trapping a delicious bait ball. Dolphins, not surprisingly, see the lighter side of blowing cool bubbles and proceed to play with them, as you can see in this pretty funny video.

 

Source: “Extraordinary Toroidal Vortices” uploaded by Evasius on YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHyTOcfF99o

The laws of physics that govern the generation and motion of these rings are the same that govern “smoke rings,” which may have been your teenage party trick, but are actually a serious hobby of active volcanoes and nuclear bombs. This video shows that, too… but, watch it to the end because the last segment is “ooh, aah!” inspiring.

Bioluminescence: Because Shining Out Your Butt Is Cool

I was going to write a blog post about bioluminescence – the ability of certain critters to create their own light – and then I came across this brilliant video by (who else?) the people behind TED Talks! If you are yet to spend the time you should be working skipping through the fathomless coffers of YouTube TED Talks, you haven’t lived, man. Check it out – you’ll find a handsome suite of live science and technology presentations given by people who, for scientists, actually have a personality and a sense of humour!

In this particular animated video, you’ll come to learn what bioluminescence is, why it’s a useful personality trait to have and how this special adaptation benefits the creature in question.

The brilliance of bioluminescence – Leslie Kenna

Video Source: Ted-Ed on YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKjFVBVGad0. Lesson by Leslie Kenna, narrated by Michelle Snow, animation by Cinematic Sweden