• Scientists Just Broke a Quantum Record; What Happens Next?
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    Scientists Just Broke a Quantum Record; What Happens Next?

    One of the reasons quantum mechanics is hard to get your head around is because it’s just so friggin’ weird. Things at the quantum level behave completely counterintuitively, compared to what we’re used to out here on the macro-scale. Recently, though, scientists have announced possibly the largest objects yet observed being governed by quantum physics. Macroscale objects doing quantum things sounds absurd; at least, Erwin Schrödinger thought so. That’s what Schrödinger’s cat is all about. The famous thought experiment says that if a cat is in a box with an atom that has a 50-50 chance of decaying and setting off a Rube Goldberg murder machine, then, according to one…

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    B01e Natural Selection

    [Music] Natural selection, which drives evolution is a basic and easy to comprehend process. For natural selection to take place, we have to meet only three conditions: Variability, Selection and Heritability. The first condition is that the population is variable, because in a population where all individuals are identical, selection has nothing to work on. I like to run marathons and an important part of each race is that there are faster and slower runners. If all runners were the same, this would make a very boring race. The second condition is selection. Circumstances under which individuals can express their differences to determine the most successful ones. If all runners…

  • Does being beautiful mean dying sooner? In nature, it can. | Richard Prum
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    Does being beautiful mean dying sooner? In nature, it can. | Richard Prum

    One of the most extraordinary examples of beauty happening in the natural world is the courtship display song of the Club-winged Manakin. The club-winged manakin is a South American bird that sings with its wings. The female club-winged does all the nesting and builds the nest and lays the eggs and takes care of them all on her own, but she chooses among available mates based on the songs they sing. But they sing with their wing feathers in a very special way: by shaking their wing feathers rapidly over their back they create an “electronic” sound that sounds like “Bip! Bip! WAAANG” that rings out of the forest, and…

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    Why is Grass Green? | #aumsum

    It’s AumSum Time. Why is grass green? Because green grass, blue sky and brown mountains look great together. No. First of all, we are able to see objects around us. Because they reflect the sunlight falling on them. Sunlight is comprised of a full spectrum of colors. Including violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. The color of an object depends on which color of sunlight it reflects. Now, strawberries have a pigment called anthocyanin. It absorbs all colors except red. It reflects red. Hence, strawberries appear red. Coal absorbs all colors and doesn’t reflect any. So, it appears black. Now, coming back to the question. The grass appears…

  • Ryan Dewey Part 1│Volunteer Spotlight│Burpee Museum of Natural History
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    Ryan Dewey Part 1│Volunteer Spotlight│Burpee Museum of Natural History

    (Uncrated theme) Let’s uncrate an adventure today! Welcome to our Volunteer Spotlight! Today’s guest is Ryan A. Dewey, a.k.a. RAD. Say hi to everybody, Ryan. Hello. Alright. So, Ryan is a volunteer at the Rockford Burpee Museum of Natural History. So, Ryan, tell us a little bit about yourself. Well, to start off, I make dinosaurs. Wait, wait, what? Y-You make dinosaurs? (animal grunt) Oh boy, that right there, that’s a real dinosaur right there, isn’t it? She’s a hand puppet. Puppet? What’s a puppet? Yeah, yeah, no clue, buddy, no clue. Anyway, moving on here, so what else do you do? Well, currently I’m a student at NIU (Northern…

  • Enzymes: Nature’s Factory Workers
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    Enzymes: Nature’s Factory Workers

    Professor Dave here, let’s learn about enzymes. We now know that proteins are polymers of amino acids, and since there are 20 amino acids in the body, and each protein has hundreds of amino acids, there are a mind-boggling number of possibilities for primary protein structure. This is how proteins can be so diverse and serve so many functions in the body. One type of protein is called an enzyme. An enzyme is a protein that serves some catalytic function in the body. Remember that a catalyst is something that lowers the activation energy of a reaction, and enzymes catalyze biochemical reactions. These are critical molecules for living organisms because…

  • $20 for 7: Help students fund their trips to the Aquarium this Giving Tuesday
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    $20 for 7: Help students fund their trips to the Aquarium this Giving Tuesday

    One of the things about the Tennessee Aquarium is that we are a non-profit organization. We’re non-profit because we are an educational organization. We offer complimentary admission to students who are economically disadvantaged, who may not be able to come, but transportation is still an issue. Bus prices have been rising over the last few years, so even though we can allow students to come in complimentary, sometimes, the schools just can’t get them here. [PAIGE, OFF-CAMERA] For my students in our district, especially, being able to go on a field trip at all is a challenge. To be able to come to a city like Chattanooga and have an…

  • Why are birds the only surviving dinosaurs? | Natural History Museum
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    Why are birds the only surviving dinosaurs? | Natural History Museum

    Dinosaurs were the dominant land animals for hundreds of millions of years. But then, 66 million years ago, an asteroid hit Earth. Dust clouds filled the sky and blocked out the sunlight. It became much colder. Plants died. And because it was so cold and dark, new ones didn’t grow very well. Large volcanic eruptions also added to the bad conditions. Most dinosaurs were wiped out, but one group survived. These were the avian dinosaurs, which most of us know as birds. So why were birds the only dinosaurs that survived? There are three main ideas. Firstly, most birds are small. The ones that survived the mass extinction of the…

  • How to Protect the Rainforest
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    How to Protect the Rainforest

    [The Brain Scoop theme song] Corine: So, Emily, this is one of the trees that was cut down here. This is about 2 meters in diameter. It’s just a huge tree that, who knows, may be 2000 years old. Emily: Wow. Corine: Yeah. And cut down for timber. And this is one of the sort of higher end timber species here in Peru. Some of them they actually take in barges and then they go Pacific Ocean. The others, they go Atlantic Ocean. Emily: So, this tree is going to make quite the journey over the next couple of years. Corine: Totally. And the papers that will accompany it will…

  • Secrets of the spitting cobra | Natural History Museum
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    Secrets of the spitting cobra | Natural History Museum

    Look at these two snakes. At first glance they look pretty similar: they’re both cobras, both are rearing up and both are spitting venom at a plastic face. But you might be surprised to learn that these two seemingly similar snakes are separated by 14 million years of evolution. And, back when they diverged, cobras couldn’t spit venom at all. In fact, two different branches of cobra – African and Asian – and rinkhals all evolved the ability to spit venom completely independently of each other. And research into why this happened could unlock secrets not just about the evolution of snakes and their venom, but about our own evolutionary…