Category: gif

Each square represents an individual:


uninfected but susceptible to infection


infected in the latent period and not yet infectious


infected and infectious


deceased or recovered


isolated by community screening policies

Daniel Cooney, Vincent Wong, and Yaneer Bar-Yam, Beyond contact tracing: Community-based early detection for Ebola response, PLoS Currents Outbreaks (May 19, 2016). [PDF, arXiv]


New England Complex Systems Institute

Precision vs. accuracy

Imagine an archer who has shot ten arrows. In this scenario, precision is a measurement of the arrows’ positions relative to each other and accuracy is a measurement of their positions relative to the bullseye. A precise archer isn’t necessarily an accurate one, and vice versa.

The precision of an archer is analogous to a concept called clock stability. If one thinks of each tick of the clock as a shot and hitting the bullseye as keeping the exact right time between every tick, then a precise but not accurate clock would consistently tick either slower or faster than the desired amount of time. On the other hand, an accurate but imprecise clock would tick sometimes faster and sometimes slower, but the accumulated errors would average out somewhat over time.

Via Inside Science: Why Do We Need Super Accurate Atomic Clocks?

The stunning emergence of a new type of superconductivity with the mere twist of a carbon sheet.

It’s exceptionally difficult to twist two sheets of graphene exactly 1.1 degrees out of alignment. But this “magic angle” leads to extraordinary effects.

Credits: Olena Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine

Via Quanta Magazine

Celebrating Jean-Michel Basquiat today with this beautiful animation!

From the TED-Ed Lesson The chaotic brilliance of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat – Jordana Moore Saggese

Animation by Héloïse Dorsan Rachet

Oh, hi, didn’t see you there.

Excuse us while we get ready for a little summer vacation! See you again in the Fall!

From the TED-Ed Lesson Which sunscreen should you choose? – Mary Poffenroth with animation by Rob Kohr & Travis Spangler

What’s It Like When You Fall Into A Black Hole?

From outside a black hole, all the infalling matter will emit light and always is visible, while nothing from behind the event horizon can get out. But if you were the one who fell into a black hole, what you’d see would be interesting and counterintuitive, and we know what it would actually look like.

Via Forbes – Ask Ethan

Gif info: General relativistic visualization of a supercomputer magneto-hydrodynamic simulation of a disk and jet around a black hole. The disk and jet were supercomputed by John Hawley at the University of Virginia. The general relativistic rendering was done with the Black Hole Flight Simulator.



One of the most amazing things about poetry is its seemingly infinite capacity for interpretation. To illustrate that fact, TED-Ed launched a great poetic experiment. We gave one Walt Whitman poem to three of our in-house animators, and asked them to interpret it using three different styles of animation. They were each given a recording of the text to work from, which was supplied by three local poets who also interpreted the text using their voices. The result? A stunning video that breathes three very different lives into Walt Whitman’s timeless poem, “A Noiseless Patient Spider.” 


Interpretation #1 by Jeremiah Dickey

Medium: Paint on Glass


Interpretation #2 by Biljana Labovic

Medium: Video


Interpretation #3 by Lisa LaBracio

Medium: Scratchboard

Watch all of the interpretations here: A poetic experiment: Walt Whitman, interpreted by three animators – Justin Moore

Happy Birthday to Walt Whitman today!

Today, we celebrate Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday!
Happy birthday, Walt!!


Fun Fact Friday!

Did you know that over 100,000 metric tons of caffeine are consumed around the world every year? That’s equivalent to the weight of 14 Eiffel Towers!

From the TED-Ed Lesson How does caffeine keep us awake? – Hanan Qasim

Animation by Adriatic Animation


Today, the treadmill is one of the most common ways to get in your weekly workout, but did you know that in the 1800s, treadmills were created to punish English prisoners?

The original version was invented in 1818 by English engineer Sir William Cubitt. While the prisoners stepped on 24 spokes of a large paddle wheel, the rotation made gears pump out water,  crush grain, or power mills, which is where the name “treadmill” originated.

Watch the dark and twisted history of the treadmill: The treadmill’s dark and twisted past – Conor Heffernan

Animation by Yukai Du

Fun Fact Friday!


Even after writing eleven books and winning several prestigious awards, Maya Angelou couldn’t escape the nagging doubt that she hadn’t really earned her accomplishments. 


Albert Einstein experienced something similar: he described himself as an “involuntary swindler” whose work didn’t deserve as much attention as it had received. Accomplishments at the level of Angelou’s or Einstein’s are rare, but their feeling of fraudulence is extremely common. Why can’t so many of us shake feelings that we haven’t earned our accomplishments, or that our ideas and skills aren’t worthy of others’ attention?


Psychologist Pauline Rose Clance was the first to study this unwarranted sense of insecurity. She and her patients experienced something that goes by a number of names– imposter phenomenon, imposter experience, and imposter syndrome. Together with colleague Suzanne Imes, Clance first studied imposterism in female college students and faculty. Their work established pervasive feelings of fraudulence in this group. Since that first study, the same thing has been established across gender, race, age, and a huge range of occupations, though it may be more prevalent and disproportionately affect the experiences of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups. 


To call it a syndrome is to downplay how universal it is. It’s not a disease or an abnormality, and it isn’t necessarily tied to depression, anxiety, or self-esteem. Where do these feelings of fraudulence come from? People who are highly skilled or accomplished tend to think others are just as skilled. This can spiral into feelings that they don’t deserve accolades and opportunities over other people. And as Angelou and Einstein experienced, there’s often no threshold of accomplishment that puts these feelings to rest.


The good news? Talking about imposter syndrome helps! Hearing that an advisor or mentor has experienced feelings of imposterism can help relieve those feelings. The same goes for peers. Even simply finding out there’s a term for these feelings can be an incredible relief. Once you’re aware of the phenomenon, you can combat your own imposter syndrome by collecting and revisiting positive feedback. One scientist who kept blaming herself for problems in her lab started to document the causes every time something went wrong. Eventually, she realized most of the problems came from equipment failure, and came to recognize her own competence. We may never be able to banish these feelings entirely, but we can have open conversations about academic or professional challenges. With increasing awareness of how common these experiences are, perhaps we can feel freer to be frank about our feelings and build confidence in some simple truths: you have talent, you are capable, and you belong.

Learn more about imposter syndrome by watching the TED-Ed Lesson What is imposter syndrome and how can you combat it? – Elizabeth Cox

Animation by Sharon Colman