I love science, especially offbeat and weird science. During my Internet travels I've come across some amazing resources-- some informative, some strange, but all of them fascinating. Here then, are my top picks in the Weird Science category...
Top 10 Weird Science Sites
- Space Daily - At the top of my list is Space Daily. The Website features general space news both on this and other planets, and offers the e-zines Space Mart, Terra Daily, Space War, Mars Daily, Space Travel, and GPS Daily. It is here that you can keep up with NASA, whose sometimes dreary reports could use interpretation. They also feature the latest in robotics, including those that are now being tested by various military (in several countries) for combat purposes. I'm thinking maybe we can fight our next war with robots instead.
- EOL - The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is on its way to becoming the first collection of images, sounds, locations, videos, and information of all of the nearly 2 million species of living things on our planet, including those recently discovered. The undertaking began during the 90’s, and scientists in charge are hoping to complete it in the next ten years. Both professionals and amateurs are welcome to contribute and register on the site.
- MIT - MIT may have earned the reputation of being home to practical and serious engineers, but beneath its intellectual Ivy League exterior beats the hearts of the foremost and probably weirdest scientific geeks in the country. They regularly compete with other institutions of their ilk in such contests as robocars that drive themselves and trying to squeeze orange juice without touching it in the most moves (which by the way, was won this year by Ferris State in 345 steps.) I have spent hours marveling at such gadgets as their wireless powered lightbulbs and a light/bot that literally follows you wherever you go, kind of like those creepy-eyed velvet pictures of Elvis.
- Seed Magazine - The goal of Seed Magazine is "the nurturing of a science-savvy global citizenry by increasing public interest in and understanding of science." I just know I dig a site that covers everything scientific, including podcasts, videos, and slide shows. There are plenty of articles on saving the planet, as well as glimpses into past and present medical technology being used to cure illnesses. It updates 6 days a week so you may trouble just keeping up with them, much less understanding the more complicated topics.
- Robo Garage - Home to Croino, one of the most innovative robots I've ever encountered. The incredibly gifted Tomotaka Takahashi has also designed Plen, Robonova, Bioloid, and Manoid. You can purchase one of his creations or kits through Roboporium and they are even auctioning off one of only two FT (Female Type) bots, but keep in mind that the bidding has begun at $300,000.
- Instructables - If you believe there's a bit of Mad Scientist in you... Instructables not only displays weird science, it teaches you how to make it. On this site I've found 1001 uses for old Altoids mint containers (not really, but there are a multitude of them,) an iRobot contest, and a cool way to detonate your old car’s muffler.
- Charity Guide - If you are the type that not only wants to read about but help save the planet, I discovered an incredible site that can turn you from a couch potato watching "The Discovery Channel" to an actual participant in global events. Non-profit Charity Guide teams your volunteering skills and global dilemmas and disguises them as fun-filled vacations. Who wouldn’t want to help save an African Leopard or be a part of a biospheric expedition in the Azores? In most cases you pay a fee and must get to and from the event on your own, but often your room, board, and meals are supplied.
- Pink Tentacle - I'm not exactly sure why I am attracted to Pink Tentacle, I just know that I am. They document everything from meals on Japanese Space Ships to scientific oddities, such as the one I found a few weeks ago that featured a print ad from the 80’s about a Household Nuclear Generator. The advertisers claimed it was simple enough for a child to use, making us wonder if it was serious or placed in jest after the Chernobyl disaster. Be careful... Pink Tentacle can become just as addictive as the peanuts it displays as advertisements for Japanese businesses.
- CNES - I couldn’t resist including one site that involves aliens. France’s CNES (National Space Agency) is the first government agency to release its UFO files to the public. Covering the past 50 years, the site contains at least 10,000 documents with explanations offered for about 9% of them. There are images, videos, and police reports, but be sure to bring along your babelfish, since the site is in French.
- Edmund’s Scientific - No definitive list of scientific sites can be complete without including one where you can buy elementary to advanced scientific gadgets. Edmund’s Scientific is top of the line with items ranging from the infamous Dippy Bird to a do-it-yourself Solar Car. Try a couple of their kits and you may just find yourself developing a lifelike and full size model of your own creation. There can never be too many Dr. Frankensteins. Or Frahnkensteens. :-)
Got a great science site? Post your research findings in a comment below!
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 19 Jul 2007
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Weird Science (Posted: 19 Jul 2007)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved