Mr Littlewood's resource space


The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco has created a primer on NASA’s Kepler Mission. Kepler has found over 1200 planet candidates, 54 of them in the habitable or “Goldilocks” zone. How do we see these planets from so so so so so far away? We measure light!

What to watch next: ScienceCasts: Getting to Know the Goldilocks Planet.


Kilauea’s Pu`u O`o crater has been erupting off and on, with little interruption, since January 3, 1983. In the last few months, it took over a green area called Royal Gardens, where a lone house, a bed and breakfast called The Lava House, was the only structure. It was run by Jack Thompson, who moved into his home in 1983, the day before a huge eruption that destroyed all other homes nearby. Tourists visited Jack’s home via helicopter in a video — the beginning and the end from about 5:15s really give a good view. From June 2011:

Jack and his home are completely cut-off from the outside world. Jack uses a generator for a few hours a day and has a cell phone to chat with the reporters who frequently call him, as well as the helicopter companies that call to check on the weather. Jack does have satellite TV. His water is collected from rain water and stored in a large tank (very common in remote areas of Hawaii). 

Every seven to ten days Jack hikes to town for supplies. The hike is an eerie, risk filled trek across three and a half miles of lava to the closest road, which was also cut-off by a lava flow. From there Jack rides a bike he stores nearby, to town. 

Spared for three decades, the home was finally consumed a month ago (video with shots from above to compare). Documentarian Leigh Hilbert was on site when Jack had to evacuate his home on March 2nd, 2012. It shows both the power of the lava and Jack’s positive attitude as he prepares to change his life and leave his home. 


Lava flows are powerful and fascinating to watch. We saw this one on Devour, and immediately watched it and the one above. These are both from Kilauea’s Pu`u O`o crater, which “has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983, making it the longest-lived rift-zone eruption of the last two centuries.” 

For a more personal take on the event, meet a man who lived next to the flows for 30 years.


“James Cameron and his team pull together a new CGI of how they believe the Titanic sank and reached the ocean floor…” which completely fascinated the kid. We get National Geographic magazine (which featured the Titanic for the April 15th, 100th anniversary of its sinking) and to see their still images turned into this animation was a treat for him. It was a treat for me to see him paying attention to the physics of it — how it sunk and broke in half from the stress, its size and weight, falling and hitting bottom in water. Also: bada bing, bada boom.

via Devour


Dear Hummingbirds, you are amazing in the air. But it looks like this fly has at least one trick up its sleeve: a somersault. And it won an award for it, too:

The move is seldom observed in real time due to its speed, but Joris Schaap and Emile van Wijk managed to capture the behaviour using a high-speed camera. The escape manoeuvre is performed when a fly is taken by surprise, allowing it to regain control during the tumble.

The same behaviour in fruit flies has been observed in the lab by biologists Michael Dickinson from the University of Washington and Gwyneth Card from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dickinson and Card typically study fruit flies in flight, for example to find out more about wing dynamics and how the brain translates decisions into motion.

The short film is one of the winners in a competition organised by the Flight Artists group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. The team taught amateur filmmakers how to use high-speed cameras to capture flying animals, or plant seeds, and selected the best results.

Flight Artists has a huge collection of slow motion flying creatures including this white dovethis red admiral butterfly, and this hovering robin.

And previously here: hummingbirds, owlspollinators, and the northern goshawk.

via Science Dump.


From Great Migrations: Red crab larvae hatch and head for dry land, covering Christmas Island’s beaches with wiggly creatures trying to survive beyond hungry fish and determined ants. 

Previously: Crab balls, sea turtle hatchlings and more beaches.

via doobybrain.


Symbiosis is the interdependence or cooperation of two species who rely on one another. In this video narrated by David Gonzales and animated by Sunni Brown, a symbiotic relationship is demonstrated between the Clark’s nutcracker and the whitebark pine.


Nine year old Caine Monroy made a super-detailed cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto part store. His first customer happened to be filmmaker Nirvan Mullick, who was inspired by Caine’s inventiveness and decided to get Caine a flashmob of customers one Sunday. This is a film about that day.

We loved this video immediately. And when the video ends, it’s always good when my kid says, “I want to see it again.” If you’re inspired by Caine and his cardboard arcade, too, you can follow @cainesarcade on Twitter and visit to donate to his college fund (which is happily climbing)!!

via @Veronica.

Other kids makin’ it happen: Audri and his Rube Goldberg Machine, and Milah and Korben sing Depeche Mode with their dad.