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Showing posts from July, 2020

Zombie Boxing | Because Science Footnotes

Jaguars, as British people like to call them are pound for pound the big cats with biggest bite; the most force. They have more bite force behind their cute little face fluffsthan tigers, than lions, than a big cat that rhymeswith big bears, oh my. And with that bite force,they use it to feed on the caiman alligator. How can a big cat bite into an alligator? Well, the jaguars, the jaguars they bite right behind the eyes of the caiman so hard that it goes through their skull, and into their brain. Jaguars bite so hardthat they bite brains, and it paralyzes the caiman,and then they drag it out of the river, and they feed on it.

How metal is that? And, jaguars, among other large cats, have really big toe beans,and I wanna touch them; touch their pads, but theywon't let me cause I'd die. (up beat electronic music) Hello, and welcome to another edition of Because Science Footnotes, the show where I take your comments,questions, and corrections from the previous weeksnerdery on thi…

Why You Don't Want X-Ray Vision

You don't actually want x-ray vision. What would the world be like if you could see through everything? That's the promise of the power, known as x-ray vision. Wanted to peep what's behind that wall, no problem. Also got you. Wanna see what goodies are inside of a safe? Easy. It seems like a simple super power with a lot of potential applications, but just like other classic powers, I think that if you evaluate x-ray vision scientifically, you wouldn't even want it.

What?X-ray vision has been a super power for longer than x-ray specs have been a creepy scam, and I think it's so popular because it's both powerful and easy to understand. Most of us have seen medical imaging using x-rays and so we know that x-rays can go through stuff, and so extending that ability to our eyesight is a lateral move. It's the kind of simplistic x-ray vision that you see characters like Clark Kent use in movies like Man of Steel. But like how x-ray specs were a let-down, real x…

How Spider-Sense Works

This episode of Because Science is brought to you by Destiny 2: Forsaken. I have a confession to make, I've been trying to scienceSpiderman for years now and every time I havebeen asked to look into the so called Spidey-sense, I've dismissed it out of hand without ever really looking into it. And now that I have, I have to apologize. I was so wrong. Spiders have tarsal claws down some of the most amazingsenses of any organisms on this planet. If Peter Parker had spider senses, they would definitely make him amazing. Ooooohhhhh.

Spiderman's Spidey-sensehas been a part of Peter Parker's webatoirsince the hero first swung into the pages of Marvel Comics all the way back in 1963. Since then, comics, movies and video games have depicted spider-senseas a feeling or premonition that something is about to happen or that something,somewhere is going wrong. It's an almost magical sixth sense without a solid biological backing. Like I said, you don'thave to look any furt…

The Predator Explained

This episode of Because Science is sponsored by Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Here's everything you need to know about the Predator. Keep moving boys, he's around here somewhere. (shushes) We're trying to get the jump on the deadliest humanoid this side of Andromeda. It's already wiped out half my Kyle. So just in case something happens to us, I'm gonna tell you everything that you need to know about the invisible, heat-sensing, glowing-blood monster that is the Predator. First appearing in 1987's classic, Predator, the extraterrestrial hunters later known as the Yautja, are arguably some of the most iconic monster designs in all of cinema. The aliens are extremely proficient killers who sport a combination of interesting biology and cutting-edge technology, while tracking down their exo-trophies. They may be inherently mysterious creatures but we can use science to de-cloak the Predator's most famous properties, before it's too late.

Let's start with…

Can Master Chief Survive Falling from Space?

This episode of Because Science is sponsored by Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Could Master Chief really survive a fall from space? ♪ Oh ♪ ♪ Ho science oh ♪ If you're going to fight off an alien invasion and stop the obliteration of all sentient life in the galaxy almost single-handedly, you better be seriously tough. And that's exactly what the Halo franchise's Spartan soldiers are. They are bigger, taller-- Take this!faster, and stronger than any other human fighter. But are these Covenant killers really so tough that they can survive a fall from space? This thought experiment comes from the opening mission of the long-lasting first-person shooter, Halo 3. In it, soldier John-117 jumps from the enemy ship, the Anodyne, as it's descending through the Earth's atmosphere.

According to the game and the Halo comics, Master Chief jumps out 2 kilometers above the surface and rides an improvised heat shield all the way down into the African soil below. The Chief takes a bea…

Beware The Phaser's Maximum Setting

Real vaporization is so much worse than science fiction shows. Everything in our best science fiction is more advanced, from the ships to the computers to the weaponry, but it's not just the weaponry itself that is advanced, it's the way that they dispatch enemies that's so futuristic. The most powerful sci-fi weapons can vaporize targets, reducing them to nothing but a flash of light and a puff of smoke, but almost no science fiction in media has shown you just how terrible and horrendous vaporizing someone would actually be, so let's do it. That's my directive. (upbeat music) Sci-fi weapons that vaporize or disintegrate matter have been around since the concept was introduced 120 years ago by the book Edison's Conquest of Mars.

Since then, movies like Mars Attacks! have put their own spin on the idea, and TV shows like Star Trek have been vaping for decades. Sick. There are many variations, but if these weapons are actually vaporizing people, we've never…

What Kind of Symbiote Is Venom?

What kind of symbiote is Venom? (spaceship crashing) Life on Earth has been evolving for billions of years, and in that time, life has gotten a lot more complicated than just one thing eating another thing. Life is a complicated and intricate web of competition, exploitation, and symbiosis. But what if an alien creature fell to Earth and bonded with a host? How would we even categorize that? And could we? What kind of symbiote is Venom? No! O kay. The iconic comic villain known as Venom has been terrorizing comic books, video games, TV shows, and movies for decades. A writing mass of alien goo, the defining feature of Venom and other symbiotes of its species is that it needs a host to survive and, in exchange, the creatures offer terrible viscous power.

Given everything we've seen so far, though, especially in the films, how would a biologist actually classify Venom? Does it offer true symbiosis? Is it a parasite or not? Let's bond with our scientist suits and figure it out. …

Why You Don't Want Teleportation

This is why you don't want the ability to teleport. Six, nice. Teleportation, extreme interdimensional mobility. Sounds great. (puffing) We can all imagine what we'd do with such a power, whether it be good, oh, I found her in a tree, or bad, oh, I just found this. But, just exactly how we'd accomplish these feats is never quite explained in popular culture. And, I think a big reason why is that if you try to explain teleportation scientifically, try to make it work in our world, it's a superpower I don't think you'd even want. Oh. What? There we go. (electronic music) American writer Charles Fort is credited with coining the term teleportation, as the transportation of material objects from one place to another without traveling the distance in between, all the way back in 1931.

Teleportation is now a staple in many forms of fiction, especially science fiction. And, as a superpower you can find teleportation in everything from Dragon Ball Z, to Watchmen, to w…

Could Mosquitoes Drain One Punch Man?

How many mosquitoes wouldn't it fancy drain all of your blood? (rock music) ♪ Science ♪ (Sigh) One hundred push-ups. You know there aren't many sounds more immediately annoying than the sound of an approaching mosquito. Because of their blood sucking ways, these 3500 different species of ectoparasite have become symbols of irritation and disease. We're usually only worried with what happens after we get bit by a mosquito.

Dang. But what if the blood sucking itself was the really dangerous part. How many mosquitoes wouldn't it fancy drain all of your blood? (upbeat music) This thought experiment comes from my favorite recent anime, One-Punch Man. In the second episode of season one, Saitama and Genos face off against Mosquito Girl, a demon level threat who controls massive swarms of mosquitoes. She uses those insects to drain an entire dude of blood, a fate that presumably would have befallen One-Punch Man and Genos had she not been splattered in a single swipe. The qu…