Is luck real? Sometimes it might feel like there’s a mystical force tugging you toward good or bad fortune, but it turns out that what we call “luck” is really where chance and probability run head-on into the human mind.
Seer of Seers Sage of Sages
Prognosticator of Prognosticators
Weather Prophet Extraordinary
So reads the official title of Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous weather-predicting groundhog/woodchuck/marmot/whistle pig (yes, they are, in fact, all the same animal… surprises abound in the world of meteorological mammals).
Phil hails from the town of Punxsutawney, PA, where every year on February 2, a group of grown men sporting top hats and waxed mustaches pull him out of a box and ask him when winter will end. I can never keep straight whether seeing the shadow means spring will come early or if we’ll have a long winter, but this doesn’t really matter, since rodents are not good weather prediction tools.
Despite being about as reliable as a coin flip, Phil is joined in this annual tradition by more than a dozen North American groundhogs like Shubenecadie Sam, General Beauregard Lee, and Wisconson’s humbly-named Jimmy the Groundhog, seen here:
Surprise! Groundhogs can bite! And I would too, if you forcibly removed me from my warm, comfy house, held me aloft in the frigid air in front of thousands of gaping onlookers and flashing lights and asked me about a subject in which I have no expertise.
Rodents might not be real educated in the fields of meteorology and astronomy, but humans are! We’ve got Earth’s orbital mechanics and their corresponding effect on annual temperature cycles down to a literal science. We smart. Just look…
I dug into the science of seasons this week, and I discovered that our system of defining “winter” and “summer” and “spring” and “autumn”, at least the way that most of us non-meteorologists think of them, doesn’t really make sense when you compare it to the weather.
You might already know that we define “winter” or “summer” based on Earth’s position in relation to the sun, namely the solstices. This makes the seasons easy to keep track of, but for most of us these dates are unreliable, illogical, and remarkably disconnected from the actual weather. The little boxes on your calendar that say “First Day of Winter”, “First Day of Spring” and so on don’t line up very well with how cold or hot it is outside.
Unfortunately, that’s what happens when you try to apply a single calendar to an entire planet… could there be a better way?
I’ve been a LEGO maniac since I was old enough to figure out I shouldn’t eat the pieces. I still am a LEGO maniac… I mean, my avatar is my minifig! And then there’s the time I made this:
LEGO brought a world of creativity and making into many our lives, and I’d bet good money that lots of the world’s best engineers and designers started out by snapping bricks together. It’s a toy so incredible that it hardly seems fair to call it a “toy”.
But until I saw this video from Vanessa at BrainCraft, I assumed (by accident/ignorance) that LEGO was something you needed hands and eyes for. Could LEGO do for blind or visually impaired people what it did for me and for so many others? Could it actually do more? How would that even work?
Vanessa recently met an inspiring guy named Matthew, and this is his story. It’s changed the way I look at LEGO and a whole lot more.
What Does YouTube Do To Your Video After You Upload It? - YouTube
What happens to a video after it gets uploaded to YouTube?
Making millions of videos from thousands of camera types play on thousands of models of computer and mobile device and making them work every time someone pushes the YouTube play button… well, that is nothing short of a technological miracle. But even as someone who lives and works on YouTube every day, seeing words like compression and codec thrown my way and trying to decode whatever that “processing” bar is doing… I guess I’ve never really asked myself how it’s all done on the level of bits and bytes and 1s and 0s.
Thankfully, we have this great series from Nat and Lo about the science behind YouTube to explain it all! Check out Part 2 here, “What happens when you watch a YouTube video?”