Dan Burns, a high school physics teacher in Northern California since 1992, explains how gravity and space-time warping work at a teaching workshop at Los Gatos High School.
Stretch a sheet of lycra over a drum shape made out of PVC and electrical conduit. Put a 2kg mass in the middle and roll marbles to show orbits. Put 2 large metal spheres on it and they will slowly attract. Put a large marble rolling with a smaller one next to it and it will orbit the larger marble mimicking the Earth-Moon system. Throw a handful of marbles going one way and a slightly larger handful going the other. They collide and fall in, leaving most of the survivors all going in the same direction, just like the formation of the solar system. Put 2, 2kg masses apart from each other and try and get a marble to do a figure 8 orbit around them both. Have a pole stick up from below creating a force of repulsion and you have Dark Energy.
Want to make your own Spacetime Simulator? Yeah you do, you beautiful nerd, you! Click here.
(via) 83 year old Italian architect Luigi Prina has a unique hobby. He makes model ships with his bare hands, but not just any model ships. Using balsa wood, ultra-light paper, and some very particular rubber bands, he makes ones that fly. And they, in turn, make him happy, even when they crash.
This jolly fellow spends three months every year putting up some 51,000 lights and sets them to patriotic music through 14 different timers. His electricity bill? $700. Mr. Christmas is “an offbeat, touching portrait of a man who has spent three decades turning his small Northern California home into a beautiful, towering Christmas display people travel across the country to see.” He also parties like a wayward teenager and plays a lot of Liar’s Dice for money, which we were not expecting.
This new video from the Toronto Public Library is as captivating as it is exquisitely, touchingly, and fittingly made (the animated story is told through the turning pages of a book). We wish them the very best of luck in their ongoing tilt for culture against Mayor Rob Ford and his hayseed brother, Councillor Doug Ford, who once boasted - as if it was a badge of honour – that he didn’t know who Margaret Atwood was. Bonus: it’s narrated by Giller Prize winning writer Vincent Lam.
Two years ago we posted a story/video about a group of BC boys who head north to an undisclosed lake-front cabin every winter to build their very own hockey rink in the wilds. Each year, they get a little older and the rink gets a little more sophisticated. They’ve just sent us their newest video, and it’s the type of thing that would leave Don Cherry in a puddle of tears. It definitely has us – stuck in the office today – pining for the flakes and ponds of yore. It’s time to sharpen your skates and tape up your sticks – make hockey happen!
Check out this fake trailer for a fake Rob Ford biopic starring Chris Farley as Rob Ford and Robert DeNiro playing Police Chief Bill Blair. It covers all the bases beautifully, from the drugs and thuggery to the football fixation and the bowling over of councilwomen. He even walks into a camera face first. Total genius!
A French art director named Thomas Jullien stitched together 852 different pictures from 852 different Instagram users in order to create some structure out of the social media chaos. The result is pretty cool.
A new eight-minute short film by Wes Anderson called Castello Cavalcanti has just been released in collaboration with Prada. It stars Jason Schwartzman as Jed Cavalcanti, a race car driver who crashes in a small village during the Italian Motle Miglia rally in 1955. The world premiere was earlier today at the Rome Film Festival. Press play and enjoy a charming, stylish, staccato, typical Anderson piece of work.
It’s Monday morning, so you probably have three unbroken hours available to you so you can watch this fascinating series of BBC documentaries on The Wine Industry. If you don’t have the free time to press play, bookmark this page and get into it when you can.
The first film, The Firm, “unwittingly becomes a chronicle of the changing world order and Berrys’ Chairman Simon Berry unveils the secrets of a successful family-owned and run business. From the unassuming winemaker David Clarke of the small village of Morey-Saint-Denis, in Burgundy, to the wily General Manager of Chateau Cos d’Estournel, Jean-Guillaume Prats, — one of Bordeaux’s premium chateaux, the programme explores the eccentric and compelling world of wine.”
The second film, The Faith, “charts the creation of the 2008 vintage at Margaux, one of the world’s greatest wine estates. Corinne Mentzelopoulos, daughter of a Greek supermarket tycoon, introduces us to the chateau her family has owned for the past 30 years, as everyone from vineyard worker to chief winemaker looks anxiously at a sky which appears hellbent on making the year a wretched one. One bottle of this cult wine can cost up to 1,000 pounds if the vintage is good, but the quality of the vintage is always in the lap of the weather gods. Blessed by sunshine and a soaring economy in previous years, Margaux has turned itself into the world’s luxury wine. From the inside, we track the meticulous cultivation of a top-notch brand, with Margaux’s urbane director Paul Pontallier playing the role of chief evangelist as we follow him all the way to China where he is almost mobbed by devotees of Margaux.”
The third film, The Future, “looks at the importance of the industry to South Africa’s future and why, despite a history that stretches back to the 17th century, it still hasn’t decided what its identity should be. Oupa Rangaka and Mark Solms are two unlikely wine producers. Six years ago, Oupa, a retired philosophy professor, didn’t even drink wine, let alone make it. Today he and his family, including three-year-old grandson Kwena, are the only black people to own a vineyard in South Africa. Its survival depends on their ongoing relationship with Marks and Spencer and convincing the judges at London’s International Wine Challenge that their pinotage passes muster. Mark is a world-renowned neuroscientist who inherited the family business, and is struggling to reconcile his idealistic plans for the farm with the practical realities of post-apartheid South Africa. Via the struggles of these two remarkable men, wine becomes a prism through which to view the current state of the Rainbow Nation.”
(via) Uncommon figures of speech can be dizzying in their multitude, diversity, and meaning. Who better to explain the likes of paradiastole, eranorthosis, syncatabasis, grandiloquence, pleonasm, synonymia, auxesis, meiosis, paralipsis, paraprosdokia, apheresis, apocope, and syncope than Monty Python?
So it turns out that not every modern map is created equal. According to C.G.P Grey, who narrates the short film above, we really have no firm idea how many countries there actually are on this rock. “But it’s the 21st century!” you exclaim. “We have to be certain by now!” That feels true enough, but one glance at either the Caucasus or the Caribbean will send you right down and deep into a rabbit hole of geographical doubt (down and deep, to be sure, into unceded Coast Salish territory).
(via) Roundhand script is a 17th century calligraphical art form that today has largely been relegated to the sides of big trucks, motorcycles, and military aircraft. It’s been made easier with typefaces like Snell Roundhand and Kuenstler Script, but it stands out more when done by hand with a paintbrush. Glen Weisgerber – who looks all kinds of badass – is a self-taught master of this craft, as evidenced by the doubtlessness of every stroke in the demo above.