The bongo-drum Internet

Ferrofluid is freaking me out

Ferrofluids — oily substances filled with tiny particles that respond to magnetism — have been around for decades, and now they’re actually becoming useful. Airlines use ferrofluids to help seal rotary valves. Loudspeaker manufacturers use them to make better speakers.

But mostly, ferrofluids are used to creep the living heck out of people. That’s because when you bring a magnet near a few drops of this stuff, it writhes like some sort of silicon-based alien substance that is about to COME TO LIFE AND CRAWL UP YOUR NOSTRILS AND KILL YOU.

Don’t believe me? Check out these videos on this page. In particular, dig this one where a bunch of ferrofluids pick up a penny and move it around. Yeeee.

(Thanks to El Rey for finding this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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