Why the hell didn’t any of you tell me about Orbeez?

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Life is a series of crushing disappointments, and this is no exception: I have recently learned that Orbeez, which are tiny, absorbent polymer balls that expand to 100 times their original size when wet, and which YouTube personalities love to purchase by the millions and pour into pools, have existed for years.

And none of you posers thought to tell me!

Check this out. Here’s a guy putting 25 million Orbeez in a swimming pool, where they become large and jelly-like, and jumping in to see if he’ll float. This video has everything I like: yelling, science, and a vague connection to the Salem Witch Trials.  Read more…

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This ‘4D’ printing method could make packing for outer space much easier

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These tiny objects made with 3D printers can dramatically expand when exposed to heat.

Scientists have created a pair of compact, unfurling structures that could pave the way for innovations in biomedical devices or space exploration, where payloads can cost tens of thousands of dollars per pound.

A team at the Georgia Institute of Technology crafted these objects using “tensegrity” — a structural system of floating rods in compression and cables in continuous tension. Researchers crafted the rods and cables, called “struts,” from shape memory polymers that unfold when heated. Read more…

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