Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Can You Solve the Cuddly Duddly Fuddly Wuddly Riddle? - Dan Finkel

You’ve promised to get your son the cutest creature in creation: the cuddly. Can you outsmart the cuddly incubator and go home a hero?


You’ve promised to get your son the cutest creature in creation: the cuddly. It’s part of the Wuddly species, cousin to the terrifying duddly and the hideous fuddly. To make one, 100 eggs are placed in an incubator to undergo egg fusion, and the resulting combination will produce either a cuddly, a duddly or a fuddly. Can you make the right combination to get a cuddly? Dan Finkel shows how.

Lesson by Daniel Finkel, directed by Artrake Studio.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Music and Confidence | Benefits of Music

'One of the most important things for being successful in life is having high levels of self-belief...music can provide that self-belief'

Dr. Susan Hallam, Emerita Professor of Education and Music Psychology, on the benefits of taking part in music.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Surprising Reason Our Muscles Get Tired - Christian Moro

Why do our muscles get tired and sore after exercise? Explore how our muscles function, and how you can exercise longer without experiencing muscle fatigue.

 You're lifting weights. The first time feels easy, but each lift takes more and more effort until you can’t continue. Inside your arms, the muscles responsible for the lifting have become unable to contract. What’s going on? Christian Moro explains how exactly our muscles operate, and what causes them to become fatigued.

Lesson by Christian Moro, directed by Nichola Latzgo.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Positive Impact Of Negative Harmony

Remember negative harmony? Jacob Collier mentioned it at one point a couple years ago and the whole music world went nuts. Whatever happened to that? Anyway, now that the dust has settled a bit, I figure it's time to take a closer look at the theory and see what it actually has to tell us. And it turns out? There's something pretty cool at the heart of it.

Friday, April 19, 2019

A Humorous Introduction to the Double Bass | Bret Simner | TEDxBasel

Why is a double bass called a double bass? Bret Simner shares his history with the instrument and beautifully plays a piece by Johann Baptist Vanhal on his classical double bass — both music and instrument were created around 1760.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Thunderstorms 101 | National Geographic

At any moment, about 2,000 thunderstorms are occurring worldwide. Learn how thunderstorms form, what causes lightning and thunder, and how these violent phenomena help balance the planet's energy and electricity.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

How Tall Can a Tree Grow? - Valentin Hammoudi

What makes a tree grow tall? And do trees ever stop growing? Explore how photosynthesis and gravity can affect and limit the height of trees.


Reaching heights of over 100 meters, Californian sequoias tower over Earth’s other 60,000 tree species. But even these behemoths seem to have their limits: no sequoia on record has been able to grow taller than 130 meters. So what exactly is stopping these trees from growing taller, forever? Valentin Hammoudi investigates why trees have limited heights.

Lesson by Valentin Hammoudi, directed by Doug Alberts.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Why this Black Hole Photo is Such a Big Deal

On April 10, 2019, the team announced their results: They had successfully imaged the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy m87, which is nearly 54 million light-years away from us. They were able to achieve unprecedented resolution using very long baseline interferometry, which combines the observations of multiple radio telescopes across the globe.

The team wanted to find out whether Einstein's Theory of General Relativity holds up in the extreme environment of black holes, and the results do, in fact, seem to be consistent with the predictions. In the future, we may see more and shaper images of black holes as the team targets smaller wavelengths of light and recruits more telescopes. Eventually, they may include an orbiting space telescope.

Vox Observatory takes a magnifying glass to some of life's most interesting questions with a focus on science and technology.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Can You Tell These Notes Apart?

What do we do when two notes that should be the same thing just... aren't? When we've tried everything we can but they just won't line up? Well, that's where we turn to commas. Commas are, more or less, the difference between two notes that we're pretending is the same thing, which can lead to some pretty confusing situations, but fortunately, we've been solving commas for centuries, if not millennia, so we've got a pretty good handle on how to smooth things out.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Exoplanets 101 | National Geographic

Exoplanets challenge the notion that we are alone in the universe. Learn what types of exoplanets exist, the methods scientists employ to find them, and how many worlds might exist in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

How to Grow Your Own Glacier - M Jackson

Explore the ancient methods of growing glaciers, the homemade bodies of ice used as water sources, and how they can be used to combat climate change.


In the 13th century, Genghis Khan embarked on a mission to take over Eurasia, swiftly conquering countries and drawing them into his empire. But, legend has it that there was one obstacle that even he couldn’t overcome: a towering wall of ice, grown by locals across a mountain pass. M Jackson explores the ancient methods of growing glaciers and how they can be used to combat climate change.

Lesson by M Jackson, directed by Artrake Studio.

Monday, April 1, 2019

The Benefits of Taking Part in Music

The benefits of music are endless! One of the areas that it can make a difference to is physical and coordination.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

How Music Affects Your Mood

Menzie Pittman, a member of the National Association of Music Merchants, talks about the different ways music affects your mood

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Neptune 101 | National Geographic

Neptune is the most distant of the solar system's eight planets. Find out about the blue world's orbit, which of Neptune's moons is the largest, and how the planet is home to the most severe weather in the solar system.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A Brief History of Dogs - David Ian Howe

Trace the history of how wolves, one of humanity’s oldest rivals, evolved into the domesticated dogs we call “man’s best friend.”


Since their emergence over 200,000 years ago, modern humans have established communities all over the planet. But they didn’t do it alone. Whatever corner of the globe you find humans in today, you’re likely to find another species as well: dogs. So how did one of our oldest rivals, the wolf, evolve into man’s best friend? David Ian Howe traces the history of humanity’s first domesticated animal.

Lesson by David Ian Howe, directed by Cabong Studios.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Positive Psychological Effects of Music - Benefits of Making and Listening to Music

Learn about the positive benefits of listening to music and the creative psychological effects of creating music in this educational animation. Tons of people listen to hundreds of songs a day for lots of reasons, but this video will break down why we do, and reasons we should keep listening to music. Music has tons of effects on the brain, and a book title “Music and the Mind” is a great resource for more information.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Solar System 101 | National Geographic

How many planets are in the solar system? How did it form in the Milky Way galaxy? Learn facts about the solar system’s genesis, plus its planets, moons, and asteroids.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Can You Solve the Unstoppable Blob Riddle? - Dan Finkel

A shooting star crashes onto Earth and unleashes a hideous, rampaging blob. Can you stop it from destroying the planet?


A shooting star crashes onto Earth and a hideous blob emerges. It creeps and leaps, it glides and slides. It’s also unstoppable: no matter what you throw at it, it just re-grows and continues its rampage. The only way to save the planet is to cut the entire blob into precise acute triangles while it sleeps, rendering it inert. Can you stop the blob from destroying the planet? Dan Finkel shows how.

Lesson by Dan Finkel, directed by Artrake Studio.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

What Do You See? | Brain Games

Your brain interprets distance, depth, and height by the way light hits an object. -- but looking at objects from a different angle can radically change your perspective.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Physics of Surfing - Nick Pizzo

Wondering how you can catch the perfect wave? Dive into the fascinating and complex physics of surfing.


Whether or not you realize it, surfers are masters of complicated physics. The science of surfing begins as soon as a board first hits the water. Surfers may not be thinking about weather patterns in the Pacific, tectonic geology or fluid mechanics, but the art of catching the perfect wave relies on all these things and more. Nick Pizzo dives into the gnarly physics that make surfing possible.

Lesson by Nick Pizzo, directed by Wonderlust.

Monday, March 11, 2019

The World's Most Popular Rhythm

It's easy to forget how important rhythms can be, but they're the foundation on top of which music is built, and it doesn't get much more foundational than the Clave. Born in Africa, brought to the Americas by slaves, and eventually showing up in musical styles all over the world, the Clave is one of the defining rhythms of modern music across cultures. It's complex but approachable, jagged but smooth, and odds are pretty good that even if you didn't notice, you've heard it somewhere in the past week or so.

Friday, March 8, 2019

How Does the Rorschach Inkblot Test Work? - Damion Searls

What are the origins of the Rorschach test and how does it work? Explore the inkblot tool psychologists use to test a subject’s perceptions and mental health.


For nearly a century, ten inkblots have been used as an almost mystical personality test. Long kept confidential for psychologists and their patients, the mysterious images were said to draw out the workings of a person’s mind. But what can inkblots really tell us, and how does this test work? Damion Searls details how the Rorschach Test can help us understand the patterns of our perceptions.

Lesson by Damion Searls, directed by Kozmonot Animation Studio.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Surprising Pattern Behind Color Names Around the World

Why so many languages invented words for colors in the same order.

In 1969, two Berkeley researchers, Paul Kay and Brent Berlin, published a book on a pretty groundbreaking idea: that every culture in history, when they developed their languages, invented words for colors in the exact same order. They claimed to know this based off of a simple color identification test, where 20 respondents identified 330 colored chips by name. If a language had six words, they were always black, white, red, green, yellow, and blue. If it had four terms, they were always black, white, red, and then either green or yellow. If it had only three, they were always black, white, and red , and so on. The theory was revolutionary — and it shaped our understanding of how color terminologies emerge.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Mini BIO - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart learned the piano at the age of three, and soon developed his skills in all musical forms. Widely recognized as one of the greatest composers of all time, he produced over 600 works.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Can You Solve the Jail Break Riddle? - Dan Finkel

You’re a bank robber trying to escape from jail. Can you solve the riddle to get past the fence to freedom?


Your timing made you and your partner infamous bank robbers. Now, you need to use that timing to break out of jail. Your partner is about to flash you a signal, and exactly 45 seconds later the electric fence circuit will short out. Then you notice that your watch is broken, and all you have are two 1-minute fuses in your pocket. Can you time your escape and get free? Dan Finkel shows how.

Lesson by Dan Finkel, directed by Artrake Studio.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019

How Do Ocean Currents Work? - Jennifer Verduin

Dive into the science of ocean currents (including the Global Conveyor Belt current), and find out how climate change affects them.


In 1992, a cargo ship carrying bath toys got caught in a storm. Shipping containers washed overboard, and the waves swept 28,000 rubber ducks and other toys into the North Pacific. But they didn’t stick together -- the ducks have since washed up all over the world. How did this happen? Jennifer Verduin dives into the science of ocean currents.

Lesson by Jennifer Verduin, directed by Cabong Studios.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Secret To Writing Lyrics

Lyrics are one of the most important aspects of songwriting: They're the first thing most people listen to, and they convey your song's story more clearly than anything else. But they're really hard, right? Language is so complicated and weird that many of the structural approaches we theorists like to take for chords and stuff just don't work. Well, fortunately for us, we're not the only ones asking these sorts of questions, and the answers are out there. We just have to look a little further afield.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Earth 101 | National Geographic

Earth is the only planet known to maintain life. Find out the origins of our home planet and some of the key ingredients that help make this blue speck in space a unique global ecosystem.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Einstein's Brilliant Mistake: Entangled States - Chad Orzel

When you think about Einstein and physics, E=mc^2 is probably the first thing that comes to mind. But one of his greatest contributions to the field actually came in the form of an odd philosophical footnote in a 1935 paper he co-wrote -- which ended up being wrong. Chad Orzel details Einstein's "EPR" paper and its insights on the strange phenomena of entangled states.

Lesson by Chad Orzel, animation by Gunborg/Banyai.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Will There Ever be a Mile-High Skyscraper? - Stefan Al

Would a mile-high skyscraper ever be possible? Explore the physics behind some of the tallest buildings and megastructures in the world.
In 1956, architect Frank Lloyd Wright proposed a mile-high skyscraper, a building five times as high as the Eiffel Tower. While this massive tower was never built, today bigger and bigger buildings are going up around the world. How did these impossible ideas turn into architectural opportunities? Stefan Al explains how these megastructures became fixtures of our city skylines.

Lesson by Stefan Al, directed by TED-Ed.

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Furthest Distance Between Two Chords

What does it mean for two chords two be far apart? How do we even measure that? Well, there are lots of different approaches that each give their own answers, but one of my favorites is a motion that really hasn't been examined very deeply, one that I got to invent my own name for: The Exochord. It's a cool, dramatic sound that works a lot better than it feels like it should, and the story of why it's so far away is a really fun one. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Uranus 101 | National Geographic

Uranus is a planet beyond convention. Find out why it boasts the coldest temperatures in the solar system, what phenomena caused the unique tilt of its axis, and the curious origin of the planet's name.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Brain Networking Among Musicians | Tomorrow Today

When musicians play, what is happening inside their brains? Scientists at Berlin's Max Planck Institute for Human Development have discovered that while performing together, their neurological activity goes into a kind of synchronization mode - almost as though they were connected by a wireless network.

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Secret Structure Of Children's Music

There are all sorts of music out there, but one genre that probably doesn't get enough attention is the songs that we sing for children. It's easy to write them off as simple (Because they are) but there's more to it than that: Children's music is how we pass on cultural ideas about the structure of music, and examining how they work can tell us a lot about what's actually important to us. Of course, working with such a limited palette can be pretty restricting, but if we look at what's been done, maybe we can find a way to make something new. Or maybe not. It's actually pretty hard. But we can try!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

How Music Therapy Affects Moods

Menzie Pittman, a member of the National Association of Music Merchants, talks about the different ways music affects your mood

Monday, January 28, 2019

Can You Solve the Vampire Hunter Riddle? - Dan Finkel

You’re a vampire hunter entering the enemy’s lair. Can you outsmart this tricky brainteaser and vanquish the vampires?


You’ve stealthily descended into the darkness of a vampire cave, setting a sequence of mirrors as you go. When the sun reaches the right angle in the sky, a beam of light will ricochet along the mirrors, strike a diffuser, and illuminate the great chamber where the vampires sleep. Can you place the diffuser correctly and flood the lair with sunlight? Dan Finkel shows how.

Lesson by Dan Finkel, directed by Artrake Studio.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

See a NASA Physicist's Incredible Origami

Twenty-five years ago, physicist Robert Lang worked at NASA, where he researched lasers. He has also garnered 46 patents on optoelectronics and even wrote a Ph.D. thesis called "Semiconductor Lasers: New Geometries and Spectral Properties." But in 2001, Lang left his job in order to pursue a passion he's had since childhood: origami. In the origami world, Lang is now a legend, and it's not just his eye-catching, intricate designs that have taken the craft by storm. Some of his work has helped pioneer new ways of applying origami principles to complex real-world engineering problems.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Why is There No Saxophone in the Orchestra?

The saxophone is one of the most popular instruments, so why is it not a regular in the orchestra? Contrary to what some people say, it's not because the sax "doesn't blend" - in fact, it was designed with blending in mind, and blends fantastically well with almost any instrument. The real reasons are largely historical to do with the cartel-like world of Parisian instrument manufacturers in the 19th Century, and the effect this had on the instrument's perception over the next 100 years.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The History of the World According to Cats - Eva-Maria Geigl

In ancient times, wildcats were fierce carnivorous hunters. And unlike dogs, who have undergone centuries of selective breeding, modern cats are genetically very similar to ancient cats. How did these solitary, fierce predators become our sofa sidekicks? Eva-Maria Geigl traces the domestication of the modern house cat.

Lesson by Eva-Maria Geigl, directed by Chintis Lundgren.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

How A London Orchestra Broke International Law

There are some stories that just seem right, some things that make perfect sense and don't require further explanation. The story of pitch inflation is not one of those. It starts off fairly innocently, with vague attempts to standardize, until suddenly in the 19th century everything exploded and, well... I don't want to spoil the ending, but it's a wild ride.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Oceans 101 | National Geographic

Oceans serve as the planet’s largest habitat and also help to regulate the global climate. But why is the ocean salty? And how is climate change impacting the ocean? Find out more about the ocean, including the consequences of and potential solutions to these changes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Benefits of Music: Sound, Language & Memory

There is evidence that shows parallels between how we process music and the way we process language. The benefits of music are endless!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Can You Solve the Multiplying Rabbits Riddle? - Alex Gendler

After years of experiments, you’ve finally created the pets of the future – nano-rabbits! They’re tiny, they’re fuzzy ... and they multiply faster than the eye can see. But a rival lab has sabotaged you, threatening the survival of your new friends. Can you figure out how to avert this hare-raising catastrophe? Alex Gendler shows how.

Lesson by Alex Gendler, directed by Artrake Studio.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Introducing the Baroque Theorbo

"People complain a lot about the space that I take up".

Lutenist Elizabeth Kenny explains how and why the theorbo was developed in the 17th century, what it was used for, and what it's like to carry it around on the train.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

What a Conductor Actually Does on Stage

If you’ve ever seen an orchestra perform you’ve probably had a difficult time looking away from the person dead center on the stage – the conductor. It’s hard to miss someone as they swing their arms around pointing at the musicians that seem to be focused instead on their music stands. So what exactly is the conductor doing?

We decided to ask James Gaffigan – a conductor who recently guest conducted the New York Philharmonic in Central Park – just what it is that makes a conductor so necessary and how their actions shape the performance.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Can You Solve the Stolen Rubies Riddle? - Dennis Shasha

Townspeople are demanding that a corrupt merchant’s collection of 30 rubies be confiscated to reimburse the victims of his schemes. The king announces that the fine will be determined through a game of wits between the merchant and the king’s most clever advisor – you. Can you outfox the merchant and win back the greatest amount of rubies to help his victims? Dennis Shasha shows how.

Lesson by Dennis Shasha, directed by Artrake Studio.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Jupiter 101 | National Geographic

Jupiter is the oldest and most massive world in the solar system. Learn about the planet's origin story, its Great Red Spot and oceanic moons, and how this ancient world influenced the formation of the solar system's other planets.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

Let the old year end and the New Year begin with the warmest of aspirations. Happy New Year!