Viral Videos: The Magnus effect, black holes and Djokovic dances

17 Jul 2015

An experimental plane that utilises The Magnus Effect. Photo via YouTube

In this science-heavy edition of Viral Videos of the Week, we’ve got clips of the Magnus Effect in action and there’s finally an answer to that age-old question: what would happen if a black hole suddenly appeared in your pocket?

Surprising applications of the Magnus Effect

A recent video of a basketball soaring through the air had many people scratching their heads. Just how had the ball, dropped off the edge of a dam with no force whatsoever, taken to the skies like some kind of rocket ship?

As explained by Veritasium, a YouTube channel dedicated to science and engineering, it’s all down to the Magnus Effect. In this new video, the team explains how spinning a ball can cause it to swerve dramatically, and lay out some of the most interesting inventions to harness the effect, including some unique ships and planes.

Uploaded: 15 July 2015

What if there was a black hole in your pocket?

It’s a question that I’m sure has yanked at us all at some point: What would happen if a black hole the size of a coin suddenly appeared in your pocket?

The answer? Terrible, terrible things.

We can thank YouTube channel Kurz Gesagt – a initiative made up of designers, journalists and musicians who want to make science look beautiful – for putting this issue to bed in a new video that goes into almost sadistic detail when explaining the horribleness that would be inflicted on you and, indeed, the whole planet in the event of such an occurrence.

It’ll probably never happen though. Probably.

Uploaded: 16 July 2015

Night Fever dance for Djokovic and Williams

It supposedly irks tennis star Novak Djokovic that, despite all the grand slam titles he’s racked up, the Serb is still not as popular as some of his generation’s other top male players, like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Maybe it’s that desperate yearning for acceptance that motivated him to break out his best dance moves at the Wimbledon Champions’ Dinner.

Having lifted the trophy at this year’s tournament, Novak went full John Travolta alongside women’s champion Serena Williams, grooving to The Bee Gee’s Night Fever. It wasn’t quite Neil from The Office good, but still, a solid effort that should help convince tennis fans everywhere that behind those steely features and freakish back and shoulder muscles is a guy who is actually super sound.

Uploaded: 13 July 2015

Daniel Radcliffe works reception

Daniel Radcliffe recently stopped by the offices of Nylon magazine and, unbeknownst to staffers and office visitors, served as receptionist for an hour.

Celebrities do this ‘interacting with the peasants’ stuff all the time, but rarely are they so out of their depth. The Harry Potter star looks genuinely terrified each time he’s required to help someone. He can’t figure out the phone system. He doesn’t know where the keys to the bathroom are. Plus, he swears in front of visitors, which I’m pretty such is a receptionist ‘oh no no’.

Don’t quit your day job Dan. Whatever that is.

Uploaded: 15 July 2015

The GoPro-stealing seagull

These nature enthusiasts thought they’d get some sneaky Attenborough-style footage of a flock of seagulls (that’s the birds, not the band) using their GoPro camera. The problem was, one of the featured beasts wasn’t fixing to be part of their personal documentary, and instead snatched the device and took to the air, as seagulls tend to do.

What resulted, though, was some killer drone-esque footage shot by the bird, who flew just about far enough to make the clip killer, but not so far away that the GoPro couldn’t be retrieved.

Uploaded: 8 July 2015

Dean Van Nguyen was a contributor to Silicon Republic